Category Archives: Random Ruminations

Today on Tommy T’s Random Ruminations – “Simplest Fixes” edition

Simplest fixes are often the best ones

In my tech support days, we got a lot of calls from users having trouble connecting to their VPNs (virtual private networks). One user had called us three different times with no resolution. He was (rightfully so) extremely pissed off, as he was a high-level executive working from home, and many miles from his office. Previous techs had changed his password, run traceroutes to the VPN server, and even deleted / rebuilt his VPN account on the server.

Nothing had worked, and the user had already spent a lot of time on the phone with us. I have always known that the first rule of troubleshooting was to address the basics first, then go for the lesser and lesser common probabilities in order.

So – I asked the user to just delete his wireless adapter in Device Manager, then reinstall.

VPN connected instantly. He demanded to know why VPN hadn’t been working when all his other internet connectivity was fine. I explained that the part of the TCP/IP protocol that VPN uses is way up at the top complexity level of the stack, and that even minor issues with wireless connectivity can be caused by issues with the drivers that control the wireless adapter.  Uninstall/reinstall reloads the drivers – problem solved.

Then, he asked WHY the previous agents hadn’t tried this.  I hemmed and hawed a bit, and distracted him by asking him to access some of the secure folders that his account gave him access to.  He was just glad to get his VPN access back, and I thanked him and closed the call. Total call time – around three minutes.

He did send a very nice commendation email to my Supervisor and Manager, so it was a good day.

One of the techs who had tried to assist the user before actually called me up and asked how the hell I had done it. When I explained, there was a long silence on the other end of the phone.

Life’s a lot like that, frankly – the simplest remedies are usually the right ones. Don’t overthink shit and go for the most complex fixes first. They’re usually not what’s wrong.

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Today on Tommy T’s Random Ruminations – “A sale of two shitties” edition

Hi – my computer died earlier this week, and the only existing backup was over three months old, so my spreadsheet of what I had posted and what I had not yet posted is gone. This one may be a duplicate, so my apologies in advance if it is. Also, it’s kinda long, so a lot of it will be below the fold.

So – In the 80’s, I worked for Marshall Field and Company (the famous Department Store) in the Dallas Galleria location.

At that time, Marshall Field was a purveyor of high-end merchandise and clothing, providing boutique lines of merchandise and superior customer service.

However, Marshall Field was sold by BATUS to Dayton-Hudson, which also owned Target.

That’s when the fun began.

Our new corporate overlords determined that we would benefit by carrying the low and mid-priced goods already being purchased by the Target buyers.

Good idea, on paper, but it killed the company.

I dunno, maybe that was their intention, although it seems mightily like driving a Rolls-Royce into a concrete lane divider to make it more like a compact car.

In any case, the upper-middle and upper-class patrons quit buying, and quit coming. They went to Neimann-Marcus (which, unlike Marshall Fields, is still around, BTW) to get the goods they wanted. If they had wanted to shop at a Target or a Dayton’s, why drive to the Galleria?

The stores outside of home base Illinois closed, one by one, including the Dallas Galleria.

And I lost my job.

I did get a severance package that allowed me to take three months for a job search, at least.

Macy’s swooped in, picked the bones clean, and finally killed the tottering animated corpse in 2006, completing the destruction of a legendary department store that had existed since 1881.

My computer skills (self-taught when at Marshall Fields and A.C. Nielsen) allowed me to get a job in phone tech support for GTE. One day they outsourced the entire level 3 (top level) helpdesk.

One of my favourite authors once wrote “If a little black box puts you out of work, find a job building little black boxes.”

(more below the fold)

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Today on Tommy T’s Random Ruminations – VAERS deferens edition

I see the anti-vaxxers spouting “VAERS! VAERS!” like it was some kind of chant to keep the spectre of reality away from them. And they report that VAERS says more people have died from the vaccinations than have died from COVID-19

I’ll tell you what VAERS is – it’s the stupidest thing the CDC has ever done. In a misguided attempt to get some numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations, they created a database where anyone (yes, even you) can identify themselves as a MD (none of these identities are verified), and report adverse reactions or deaths from inoculations. (none of these are verified, either).

Guess what happened next.

As a result, what the CDC has done is set up a forum as reliable as a Reddit thread or a Free Republic post. So – every time you see an anti-vaxxer post a VAERS statistic, know that it’s about as true as The Darnold’s medical exam assessment.

Ferchrissakes.

One person reported that the vaccine turned him into The Incredible Hulk, and that his daughter had been turned into Wonder Woman.

 

The chief problem with the VAERS data is that reports can be entered by anyone and are not routinely verified. To demonstrate this, a few years ago I entered a report that an influenza vaccine had turned me into The Hulk. The report was accepted and entered into the database.

This is what people routinely claim is ‘bullshit’. So, I thought I’d put it to the test.

VAERS has two ways of submitting a report. Firstly, you could download a PDF, fill it in and post it off. Or, you could do what I elected to do and fill in and submit a report online.

VAERS has a helpful popup which tells you exactly what it needs to know – which are the most important pieces of data it needs. However, the fact that I live in the UK was not deemed of importance. Neither was the fact that I told VAERS that my daughter had been turned into Wonder Woman. The only piece of contact data I submitted was my email address and I wasn’t even asked for that. I submitted it voluntarily.”

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Today on Tommy T’s random ruminations – “You’re in bad hands with Failstate” edition

I keep wondering what the medical insurance companies (no, not Medicare) are going to do about the mounting thousands of claims for ICU treatment for COVID-19 infection cases. It’s gotta be wrecking them.
 
So what are going to do? Charge the patients instead? At $78,000 average (patients aged 21 to 40 paid the most for these longer hospitalizations, on average paying $980,821. The over 60 age group paid the least – about $460,989). , that would just amount to a lot of personal medical bankruptcies.
 
If the insurance companies have to eat the cost, that’s going to be a lot of CORPORATE bankruptcies – and there goes the stock market AND the economy.
 
If the hospitals have to eat the cost – ditto.
 
All because idiots won’t vaccinate/mask up.
 
How long do you think it’ll take for insurance companies to start denying payments based on whether or not patients were vaxxed?
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(edited to add)
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I wrote the above last Tuesday.
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On Thursday, this hit the news :
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If North Texas runs out of ICU hospital beds, doctors can consider a patient’s vaccination status

This would be a big change in health care, but doctors have yet to announce it. So The Watchdog does it for them.

Dallas-Fort Worth medical doctors are quietly planning for a worst-case scenario if they run out of intensive care beds. The Watchdog reveals the plan to include vaccination status as part of triage.

Dallas-Fort Worth medical doctors are quietly planning for a worst-case scenario if they run out of intensive care beds. The Watchdog reveals the plan to include vaccination status as part of triage.(Hani Mohammed)

By Dave Lieber

1:53 PM on Aug 19, 2021

North Texas doctors have quietly developed a plan that seeks to prepare for the possibility that due to the COVID-19 surge the region will run out of intensive-care beds.

If that happens, for the first time, doctors officially will be allowed to take vaccination status of sick patients into account along with other triage factors to see who gets a bed.

A copy of an internal memo written by Dr. Robert Fine, co-chair of the North Texas Mass Critical Care Guideline Task Force, was sent to members of the task force — and leaked to The Watchdog. It summarizes the latest work by the task force, a volunteer group that periodically updates medical guidelines for hospitals in our region. There are about 50 members from various hospitals in the group. Although their recommendations are not enforceable, the guidelines are generally followed.

The one-page summary memo is a “heads up” alert in the event things get worse, says Dr. Mark Casanova, director of clinical ethics for Baylor University Medical Center and a spokesperson for the task force. After Monday’s meeting, doctors had yet to make plans to inform the public.

“We’re trying to decide how to explain this addition to the public,” Casanova said.

But after studying the memo and interviewing doctors involved in the decision for two hours this week, The Watchdog can explain it to you.

Although doctors make triage decisions all the time, the proposed guideline addition is significant. Casanova predicted that if this change were copied by others medical care, for as long as the crisis persists, “is going to look and feel different for everybody who is alive right now in the United States of America.”

Yet a leading medical ethicist who studies how COVID-19 affects communities says he worries that adding vaccination status to the triage of patients will unfairly harm low-income people and people of color. These groups are historically disadvantaged when it comes to obtaining proper medical care.

One important note: A non-vaccinated person will not necessarily be denied care when competing with a vaccinated patient for an ICU bed, doctors say. Other medical factors come into play, such as underlying conditions and the likelihood that a patient will get better and leave the hospital.

Dr. Mark Casanova checks on a patient at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. Casanova is one of the doctors explaining how vaccination status could soon become an accepted part of triage for hospital admittance.

Dr. Mark Casanova checks on a patient at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. Casanova is one of the doctors explaining how vaccination status could soon become an accepted part of triage for hospital admittance.(Ashley Landis – Staff Photographer)

The memo

The online meeting involving several dozen doctors representing many area hospitals took place Monday. Afterward, in his email, co-chair Fine summarized decisions made by the task force. He boiled it down to three bullet points. Here they are:

1. “COVID-19 vaccination decreases severe infection and death. Vaccine status therefore may be considered when making triage decisions as part of the physician’s assessment of each individual’s likelihood of survival.”

2. “When vaccination status is considered, accommodations may be needed when the reason for non-vaccination is beyond the patient’s control such as but not limited to caretaker refusal to have a disabled dependent vaccinated, recent COVID-19 infection, or medical contraindication.”

3. “Many are understandably angry and frustrated with the unvaccinated, but triage must remain grounded upon likelihood of survival. Health care professionals should continue to honor duties of care and compassion.”

Fine concludes, “I encourage the medical professionals on the task force to share these ideas within their respective organization ethics committees, triage committees and/or any physicians who might be involved in triage decisions.”

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Imagine that.

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Today on Tommy T’s Random Ruminations – the unliving dead edition

Ok – where were we? Oh yes – I was now an ex-cowboy.

A friend of my family whose own family lived in Mexico City invited me up for a couple of weeks that turned into several months.  Neither of my parents accompanied me, so I had a blast. When I finally returned home, I was ready to get out of the house for good, but had neither a place to live nor a job. My Mom had bought an enormous black Chrysler Imperial from a local funeral home (what they called a “family car”),

and I finagled a job there. Since the two after-hours workers also lived there in a room upstairs and down the hall from the prep room, I had killed (sorry) two birds with one stone.

Here’s the now-shut-down funeral home – in the second pic, our window is on the upper left.

The garage door to the right was where the two hearses were kept. Whoever was on duty that night had to be ready at any time the phone rang to hop up, put his suit on, go downstairs, get in a hearse, and go to pick up the body. (you know, people seldom die during the day). When I left the garage, I usually shot out like Batman hurtling out of the Batcave.

I had a girlfriend over at Baylor (having a black girlfriend in Waco in the late 60s was an experience difficult to describe), but my workmate/roommate’s girlfriend lived about 60 miles away, so he was usually there. Often my girlfriend would call, and to get a little privacy, I’d put her on hold and go down the hall to the prep room, turn the lights on, plop down on one of the two tables (the unoccupied one, of course), and talk to her there.

I learned the embalming trade, and did a lot of the dirty work even though I didn’t have a license. In the daytime, which one of us was on duty would take one of the family cars to the house specified by the next of kin, and make sure they got all the flowers, arranged nicely.

At night, the only person downstairs was a receptionist (family from out of town would often arrive late at night/early in the morning, and want to view the deceased). Usually all she would do was lie on the couch in the staff lounge, watch TV, and snack.

My roomie and I were particularly bored one night, so I laid on one of the body transport tables and had him cover me with a sheet. Now, it was not unusual for one or the other of us to be pushing a body through the hallway, so when he stopped at the lounge room door to chat with her, she didn’t find it unusual.

Then I slowly started to sit up. I can still hear the scream.

We got in a lot of trouble for that one, but I was ready to leave anyway. My high school roommates were ready to start Journalism classes at McLennan Community college, and so was I.

I can tell you that spending that much time with dead bodies pretty much wiped out any “living with the angels in Heaven” bullshit I still had.

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Today on Tommy T’s Random Ruminations – “Home on the strange” edition

This week’s RR is another look into my past, and (I think), a look into part of what makes me tick.

My Dad finished his 28-year stint in the Navy, and settled in Waco to take the civil service job he was offered – as a fireman at the James Connally Air Force Base.

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But…

He had grown up on a farm tending cattle, and I guess he wanted some of that lifestyle back. He and I did some clean-up work for a retired Polish couple on their farm (clearing mesquite frees and such), and the next thing I knew, he had bought it from them.  Guess who became his unpaid farm hand?  Moi.

It was about 118 acres, and we kept around 30 / 60 head of Hereford cattle on it. My Dad bought me a horse – a roan mare who I named “Apache”. She was turned over to me so well-trained that I could throw the reins over her head, tell her “Go get the cows, girl!”, and she’d trot off and round them up like a border collie does sheep. She would always come when I called her, and she got lots of treats – usually raw carrots.  I spent a lot of time riding fence, looking for broken or loose strands of barbed wire, and fixing them. The rest of the time riding her was spent rounding up the herd, looking for newborn calves in the tall grass, etc.

My other duties included the stuff you don’t see in cowboy movies – inoculating, turning young bulls into steers (castrating them – having too many bulls in a herd start fights),

                          YOU WANT A PIECE OF ME, BUDDY??

shooting varmints (particularly armadillos, because they dig burrows that cattle can step into and break their legs). A cow that has broken a leg in an armadillo hole is truly tragic – because it was up to me to put the poor animal out of its misery, and then wait there until my Dad had gone to the closest phone to call the knacker.

Not the stuff you see cowboys doing in the movies, is it?

I also dispatched rattlesnakes and water moccasins (there were several water pools, which are called stock tanks), but never rat snakes, king snakes, corn snakes, or other harmless vermin-consumers.

More after the YE HA!

 

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Today on Tommy T’s random ruminations – shaking my tree edition

Well, as you’ve probably heard by now, bassist for ZZ Top Dusty Hill left us this week.  In early 1971, even journeyman musicians like me knew them well from reputation alone. They had just put their first album out. So on a cold day early that year, I saw them at a dive bar (R&B joint, actually) called the Mark III club in my hometown of Waco.  Capacity was probably 60 people, and it was about half full.  Mostly local musicians, unsurprisingly

Guitarist Billy Gibbons was using two 100-watt Marshall stacks, and Dusty was using two 200-watt Marshall Major stacks. That’s outdoor/stadium stage amplification, not dive bar amplification.

To say it was loud would be an understatement. Playing three-piece rock music pretty much dictates a lot of volume, to keep the sound full, but – damn.

By the time they got to their third song, I looked around, and there were only about 15 people left.  Including me. They didn’t care. They threw down like they were playing for the tens of thousands they would one day be playing for.

I’ll never forget it

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Oh – I was going to Adrastos-post their “hit” Shaking Your Tree from that first album, but I changed my mind at the last minute.

Here’s a heaping helping of Brown Sugar for ya. (while they were recording this, they sent their manager out for food so he couldn’t put the kibosh on overdubbing guitar leads)

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Today on Tommy T’s Random Ruminations – Leaping Lemmings edition

You know, people – I’m obviously fascinated with the GOP’s destruction of their own voting base – old white people, of course.

Do they realize that by spreading the anti-vaxxer tropes, they’re killing their own voters?

Is this intentional? Is there someone at the top (no, not The Darnold, someone who actually runs things) who is a Democratic Party plant? A double agent whose mission is to put the Dems back in power permanently?

It’s a legitimate question, and I can’t come up with a lot of answers for “why are they so intent in killing their own voters?”

Do they think they can pin this on President Biden somehow, when we have to start piling their bodies in refrigerated trucks again?

I have to agree with Showercap when he says : The practical effect of all this disinformation has been to feed your audience directly into the queue with the captive bolt pistol at the end.

Showercap also speculated because they’re all in Big Mortician’s pocket?, but he was kidding.

I think.

I’ll let Joe Heller have the last word:

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Today on Tommy T’s Random Ruminations – “In da HOUSE” edition

I know our beloved Athenae did TV reviews (mostly “Game Of Thrones” and “Battlestar Gallactica”), so please allow me just this one.

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Ok – for starters, I’m a “House, M.D.” addict, even though I started watching it after the series finished.

In spite of the wonderful script-writing, and even better performances from Hugh Laurie, et. al, there was one thing that drove me nuts – the protagonists.

The network executives insisted on a protagonist to battle House, because they thought the procedural nature of the series wasn’t engaging enough. They were imbeciles.

The first one was the guy who bought his way into power (and no, big-time donors don’t start trying to run everything in the company they are contributing to), Edward Vogler. The network execs thought this was a good idea. David Shore and the writers thought it was a stupid idea.  The execs won.

Fox demanded a bad guy to be added to the show, a few months before House went on a Christmas hiatus.[2] Shore opposed Fox’s request, because he thought adding such a character would be a bad idea.[2] Although Shore thought he managed to convince the producers not to add the character, during his vacation in Israel, he was informed that Jeff Zucker, the head of the Universal studio, had threatened to cut the season short by six episodes unless the character was added

The “story arc” with Vogler lasted about five episodes. He was just a bully, and did nothing to advance the narrative.

Did the execs learn from that spectacular flop?  No.

They then introduced another antagonist, Detective Michael Tritter.

Tritter’s beef with House was that House had put a rectal thermometer in him after being told how to practice medicine (told by a cop to the most famous and highly-paid diagnostician in America), then walked off and left Tritter in the exam room with the thermometer sticking out of his rectum, and went home.

Tritter, in turn decided to follow House wherever he went, arrest him for his prescribed medication, search his house for Vicodin, threaten House’s medical team as if they were Mafia Capos, and threaten to have House’s medical license revoked and House sent to jail.

These are the actions of a Glenn Close-style revenge stalker, not a LEO.

In the show, Tritter was allowed to do these bullying tactics with no interference from anyone. Not Dean Cuddy, not Tritter’s Department bosses, not even House’s lawyer (who was only sightly less effective than a dead frog).

In reality – well, I’ll let  commenter “Dilux” set it out (including the Vogler character) :

My biggest problem with this arc was how hard it was to suspend my disbelief with the whole situation. There is no lawyer worth his salt that wouldn’t have taken Tritter and his precinct apart on account of the blatant harassment and intimidation tactics that were taking place during the course of his “investigation”, you cant just seize or freeze peripheral peoples assets willy nilly either. I kept rolling my eyes every time Tritter waved his magical police wand and did whatever he wanted to do, police work isn’t like that its a bureaucracy no one gets carte blanche, particularly when that nobody’s interests are built on a personal altercation.
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Vogler is a control freak. Rather than just make a regular donation, he wanted to oversee how the hospital will spend it. He then begins slowly taking over and trying to get House fired, first for being unprofessional and then because he humiliated him in public for revealing a new drug he was selling was a scam.
The creators of the show weren’t fond of Vogler due to the fact that the executives of Fox demanded an antagonist to go against Dr. House. They were able to get rid of him though when the show went through some ratings clout.

There you go. You go after a DOCTOR – with a Doctor’s money and resources?

You’d not only get sued for harassment by a team of lawyers that only a Doctor could afford, you’d get fired for it, and end up lucky to get a job bagging groceries in a Piggly Wiggly.

You’d also have every one from the ASU to the BJA on your ass like murder hornets.

But never mind that. The issue is that network execs thought that House needed antagonists.

He already had two of them.

His disease of the week – and himself.

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Today on Tommy T’s Random Ruminations – Terminal Stupidity edition

You know, I’ve tried – really TRIED to have sympathy for idiot anti-vaxxers.

I really have.  At least I’ve tried to have sympathy for their friends and families they infected while they were asymptomatically blowing the virus into the air around them.

But I’m running out of fucks to give.  Seriously.

A nurse.

A fucking ER NURSE.

The stupidity of the “You can’t tell me what to do with my body”  (irony meter pegged) cult is fatal.

Even the ones that COVID doesn’t kill outright will spend a lot of their time in the hospital suffering from the “long-hauler” issues of lung, heart, kidney, and brain damage.

I used to smile at commenters on the internets making sarcastic jokes about denying medical help to people who thought “my immune system works” was going to save them.

I’m not so sure now that that wouldn’t be a bad idea.

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Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with random ruminations – “Big Pharma” edition

“Big pharma doesn’t cure….”

I’m sick of people saying that “Big Pharma doesn’t cure diseases”. Cures are few and far between (the most recent cure is the one for Hepatitis),because once the damage is done, it’s done.

It’s a little like saying that regular oil changes don’t fix a cracked engine block – of course they won’t, but they might have PREVENTED the hung valve that broke the engine block.

The Eliquis I take keeps me from having multiple AFIB-generated strokes like the ones that struck down my Mom and destroyed her brain, (and the ones that paralyzed her Mom and Dad and destroyed THEIR brains) It doesn’t “cure strokes”.

The Allopurinol I take doesn’t cure me from having had kidney stones, it prevents me from getting them ever again. The first time YOU have one, you’ll be screaming for that pill.

The Januvia I take doesn’t prevent me from having congestive heart failure due to the hereditary deficiencies in my lower limb circulation (my Mom lost both of her legs to this), it ameliorates it.

Now – which one do you want to take away from me?

 

 

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Today on Tommy T’s obsession with random ruminations – headroom edition

 

Headroom

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I just added a second 1X12″ 120W subwoofer to The Home Theater From Hell.

Why? One word. Headroom.

Modern soundtracks make pretty heavy demands on home theater sound systems. If you have a crappy little soundbar, that’s going to get overloaded and possibly even push the amplifier into clipping (distortion) during the peaks that abound in today’s movie soundtracks. (movie soundtracks? these days even COMMERCIALS have low-end artifacts that sound like a tank coming down your street)

Nothing sounds worse than a speaker / amplifier system approaching its limit.  Amplifier manufacturers even put compressors in the amplifiers to push back the wattage when peaks hit so the amps don’t crap out.

Look at it like this – you have two cars going 80mph. A Ferrari and a Volkswagen.

Suddenly, you need to be going 90mph. The Volkswagen might do it, but the motor is stressed to the breaking point.

The Ferrari? Effortless acceleration.

The amount or reserve power in any speaker system isn’t about volume. It’s about CLEAN volume.

The speaker size / capacity also isn’t about volume. It’s about barely pushing the speakers to produce that volume. I use JBL 4412 studio monitors for mains, which also have 12s.

(side note – I spent a large part of my life hearing my musical group’s songs being mixed on them, and later, mixing (as a engineer/producer) other people’s music on them.
I’d go home afterwards and hear my crappy home stereo speakers and I couldn’t stand it.
I said to myself : “One day I’ll have a pair of these in my living room.”.)
And now I do.
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This is why I have double the wattage and speaker capacity most people would consider adequate.

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That’s also the reason my bass rig sounds so kick-ass. (IMHO)

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Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with random ruminations – tech support humour edition

Tech Support humour

Years ago, at my first tech support job for GTE, there was a Supervisor who had that obnoxious “You’ve got mail” .wav file tagged to his Outlook incoming mail event.

Fifty times a day. “You’ve got mail!” “You’ve got mail!” “You’ve got mail!” “You’ve got mail!” “You’ve got mail!” “You’ve got mail!”

I was pretty fed up after a week of this, and the next time there was a Supervisors meeting, I went to his machine, unlocked it with my Admin password, and replaced that event sound with one I had brought from home – the sound of someone violently projectile-vomiting. It was in stereo, and so well-recorded that you could hear the secondary splatter and chunks falling from the wall after the initial – um, surge.

Then I turned the sound card volume up all the way, and removed the volume control icon from the systray. I went to several of the techs on the floor and had them prepare innocuous emails to the Supervisor and not send them until they saw him come through the door to the floor after the meeting.

He did, and they did. Puzzlement on his face turned to revulsion which turned to anger, which turned to horror when he realized that the puking and splattering that filled the air was coming from his machine. Panic when he was unable to mute the volume, and desperation as he yanked the speaker leads out of the back of the computer.

As Tech Sargeant Chen from Galaxy Quest always says:

“It’s the simple things in life you treasure.”

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Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with Random Ruminations – “Five stages” edition

The Stages Of Barbara’s Unemployment

I wrote this some years ago, when Barbara was unceremoniously dumped from her long-time job at SEI.

I believe that there are enough people looking for work again to make this relevant today.

(Oh – and since the death of Brillo the Scottish Deerhound, the house is petless for the first time since we met 20 years ago)

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Stage 1 – Elation.

Sleeps late.

Gets dressed

Goes around the house singing “Ding Dong The Witch is Dead”. (her former boss was an asswipe)

Plays a lot of computer Maj-Johng.

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Stage 2 – Catching up.

Gets up with me.

Gets dressed.

Starts cleaning house like the proverbial white tornado.

Washes and waxes pets.

Catalogues everything in house alphabetically.

Puts resume out.

Cleans house again.

Attempts to alphabetize firewood.

Calls all her old friends – as an afterthought, calls her brother.

Attempts to alphabetize pets – discovers that placing Bailey Bulldog next to Kingsford Kitty doesn’t work very well.

Looks for bandages.

Cooks dinner for me.

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Stage 3 – Apprehension.

Posts resume again.

Goes around house turning lights off.

Gets cable bill.

Gets phone bill.

Gets water bill.

Goes around house making sure taps aren’t dripping and tuns sprinklers off.

Gets electricity bill.

Turns main breaker off and hides in closet.

Turns electricity back on again long enough to post resume again.

Turns breakers back off and returns to closet.

I cook dinner.

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Stage 4 – Panic

Wakes up at 3:30AM.

Puts on warm clothes and turns heat off.

Thinks about going to the store because we’re out of everything, but decides not to, because she’s almost out of gas.

Tests her email to see if it is actually working.

Beats animals for being hungry and whimpering

Posts resume again.

Calls all her old friends again, but by now they are watching their Caller ID, and refuse to pick up.

Posts resume again.

Starts calculating how much the furniture will fetch at a garage sale.

No dinner.

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Stage 5 – Depression

Stays in pajamas all day.

Reads.

Pets are all dead from starvation.

I have started eating out to avoid her.

Accuses me of not loving her any more.

Screams at me for not washing my breakfast dish.

I take the slide and magazine out of the Glock and hide them.

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Stage 6 – Gets new job !!!

Goes shopping for all new wardrobe.

Has car washed.

Back to normal again – whew!

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Today on Tommy T’s Random Ruminations – “Queen for a day” edition

Something a little different on this week’s RR.

They even got the “bell chord” effect right.

Barbara laughed as hard as I’ve ever heard her laugh when she saw it.

Best comment so far?

 

“Well done! My wife and I both laughed. Then she yelled at me.”

Dave Simmons

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The Friday Fishwrap

Herb Caen Column Heading

Once upon a time there was a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle (that was a newspaper) named Herb Caen. His column ran in the paper six days a week, but his Friday column was called the Friday Fishwrap. A convenient reminder that that morning’s paper would be used in the evening to wrap up and dispose of the remains of the no meat on Fridays throw aways. Thus he filled the column with throw away items, thoughts, flotsam and jetsam.

In his honor I’m going to try that today.

The Democrats missed an opportunity last week with the 1/6 investigation vote in the Senate. They should have let the Repugnicants filibuster, really filibuster, the Jimmy Stewart in MR SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON type filibuster, where all work in government comes to a stop. The public would have gotten a look at what the filibuster really is. Then the Dems could have gone on a media blitz tearing up the Repugnicants for bringing the federal government to that halt. It could have built a groundswell of support into a tsunami of criticism, the kind of criticism that would prevent the Repugs from trying to filibuster the For The People Act or the Infrastructure Plan.

On HBO Max right now is a film of the play OSLO. It’s about the back channel negotiations that led to the Oslo Peace Accords in 1993 between Israel and the PLO. The key takeaway from the film is that the Norwegians who acted as facilitators between the two parties insisted that each day when the meeting ended all the participants would then sit down and have dinner and drinks together and talk only of their families and friends. In other words humanizing each side to the other. If the Israelis and the Palestinians can do that, surely those of us on the left can have a meal with those on the right.

The San Jose rail system is still down, a week after the proverbial disgruntled worker killed nine. The reason? He had planted bombs at his house and bomb making materials were found in his locker at the yard. The VTA is taking no chances and methodically going through everything looking for explosive material. Maybe if they had combed his employment record as keenly as this, nine of his fellow workers would be alive today. Just saying.

The Army won’t investigate Herr Obermeister Flynn’s comments on the appropriateness of a “Myanmar style coup” here in the country all members of the armed forces swear an allegiance to protect. They say it’s because they never investigate retired officers. OK then, call him back to duty and court martial his ass for insubordination, treason, and any other crime you can think of that he’s committed.

There’s an old saying in politics: If you’ve got the votes, call the roll. Gavin Newsom has the votes to overcome this insipid recall vote so it looks like we will have the election in early September. Once that is finished, can we please talk about making it more difficult to qualify a recall vote? Ten percent of the electorate should not have the power to force a wasteful and unnecessary recall election.

More after the break

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Today on Tommy T’s obsession with Random Ruminations – No Clubbing, No Cry edition

Why I don’t go clubbing

You see, I spent an incredible amount of my lifetime in live music clubs – almost always to play.

I have inhaled enough cigarette smoke to kill a hundred healthy men (in case you never noticed, most club stages put the musicians’ heads pretty close to the ceiling, where the smoke pools up) – sometimes I’d have to bend down to be able to see.

My Rickenbacker 4001 was snow white when I got it in 1977 – it’s nicotine ivory-coloured now. Sometimes I wonder if the inside of my lungs look like that.  (it’s the second one from the left in the pic below)

But the worst part?

If I’m not performing, I feel like I’m on break. I sit at the table with fingers drumming, one eye on the clock, subconsciously waiting for my 15 minutes to be up. Decades of playing live music in clubs has conditioned me to feel like this, and it doesn’t lend itself to enjoying the evening.

If I’m there, I’m there to play – and I give it every fucking thing I’ve got, because it’s all about you.

So – if you invite me to your gig and I don’t come, this is why. It’s just too much like going to your place of work, then just sitting there instead of working.

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Today on Tommy T’s obsession with Random Ruminations –

You rang?

I was staying with a (platonic) girlfriend overnight and head the doorbell ring. Thought
“who could it be this early in the morning?”

Heard a conversation at the front door, so I got up from the couch, dressed, and went to see.

My very nice host had opened the door to a pair of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and she was trying to be nice and still get them to leave. Wasn’t happening.

I came up beside her and slipped my arm around her shoulders, saying “Who are these fine people, sweetheart?”. She looked at me and advised me that they were informing her about the Lord Their God, Jesus Christ.

I chuckled gently and told them “I’m terribly sorry. You see, we worship The Dark Lord.” – smiling all the while.

They left a hole in the air from their sudden departure.

 

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Today on Tommy T’s obsession with Random Ruminations – Context is everything

Context.

I see a lot of embarrassment and attempts to hide (NOT “cancel”) movies, shows, even music from the past – just because it doesn’t jibe with modern sensibilities.

When I watched “Birth Of A Nation” for the first time, I didn’t think  “Wow – I want to go out and join the KKK!”. I thought  “That approach was obviously acceptable back in 1915.” It was a window into the past. Not the past of 1865, but the past of 1915.

After I read “Snow White”, I got the original version (I don’t think Mom and Dad knew exactly what was in the Grimms’ Fairytales volume when they gifted me the Collier’s Junior Classics set) .
You know – the one where the evil Queen is forced to wear red-hot iron shoes and dance until she’s dead? With her sweet daughter Snow White (another little tidbit excised from the original story) watching in glee.
Why?
Because it was written in the middle ages, and people in power tortured their enemies by putting red-hot shoes on them. It’s how they did things back then.  Allow me to display an example :

 

And the other original Grim Grimms’ fairy tales were worse. Rape, cooking children and feeding them to their father (Holy “Game Of Thrones”, Batman) – it goes on and on.

Sure, these stories were sanitized in 1825, and more so in later years, but a simple trip to the library would have revealed the horrendous original versions of these delightful “children’s stories”. Trying to hide it doesn’t work.

When I watch “Gone With The Wind”, I don’t cringe at the “Mammy” character, because it’s a pretty good representation of how things were back then. I just enjoy Hattie McDaniel’s performance, and move on.

When I see Caucasian actors playing Asians or Africans in old films, I shrug and remind myself that men played all female parts in Shakespeare’s plays at the Globe Theatre. The real “Lone Ranger”? A black guy. And so on…that was then.

This brings us to NOW.

I cringe when I see real diversity dishonoured by casting POC as historical figures who were white as milk. This doesn’t undo anything, and comes off as pandering at best. Picture Jackie Chan playing Benjamin Franklin. And I’m still waiting for the version of “Hamilton” where the Congressmen from the North and the Congressmen from the South have it out over slavery.

That would be quite a bit of fourth-wall-breaking, no?

And I’m also still waiting for the movie starring Neil Patrick Harris as Nelson Mandela.  Or Ed Begley, Jr. playing Shaka Zulu.

“Whitewashing”, and sugar-coating bad people are (for the most part) things of the past.
And we need to remember the past.
All of it.
In context.

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Today on Tommy T’s Random Ruminations – Ants and Uncles edition

There’s a lot of jibber-jabber from the right-wing about Tim (Look! We have a black friend, so we can’t be racist) Scott’s responding to President Biden’s first address to congress.

Most of it centers around the “Uncle Tom” thing currently bouncing around in hashtag land.

I’m a musician. And an engineer/producer. I’ve had (and still have) a number of black friends and associates. And yes, I’ve heard the “Uncle Tom” thing used.

By them.

I’ve never heard one white person call a black person an “Uncle Tom”. Not one.

It’s  a term exclusively used by black Americans to describe someone they consider a sellout.

Like Tim Scott.

Someone like Tim Scott (or Diamond and Silk, etc.) who has acquired some money and/or prestige, and now wants to join the club that the right-wingers will never let him or her into.

They think they’ve won a place at the table, but they’re really just parking the cars.

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