Tag Archives: Dave’s not here

Today on Tommy T’s obsession with the Yucatan – Dave’s REALLY not here, man!

Hi all – the Barbara and I are currently defying The Darnold’s wall-eyed wishes and crossing the border into Playa Del Carmen.  This is the most beautiful (but definitely not the most expensive) resort in Playacar – the Iberostar Quetzal.

Instead of paving over the jungle with concrete and marble columns, they built this place around the jungle, leaving it and its wildlife as the centrepiece.

Enjoy these pics from previous trips there – adios!













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Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with other things – studio geek edition

Just couldn’t face Freeperville this week.  Sorry.
So, this week you get :
On recording demos –
In the mid-80s, I worked at Good Vibrations Recording Studio as intern, then engineer, and then as Manager. We were a 1” 16-track studio, founded by Dallas great Charlie Pride, that did almost exclusively demos and EP releases, with a few albums and commercials thrown in.
Thanks to some very good mikes and even better engineers, we managed to siphon off some work from the big 2” 24-track studios in the area, and everyone (including the first MTV Basement Tapes winners 4 Reasons Unknown) was happy when they left with their recordings.
But – they didn’t always start the sessions happy.
First-time-in-the-studio bands are a challenge in two ways. First, the ones who think they know how sessions work by reading about other people’s sessions in magazines. Those bands are a bit of a challenge, but a little gentle guidance usually gets them to cuddle up alongside reality.
Second, the ones who place themselves in the engineer’s hands and just go for it.
For the majority of them, it was the first time they had ever heard themselves on multitrack tape. And therein lay the problem.
When you’re rehearsing with your band (or singing in the shower, for that matter), you hear things very selectively. You hear mostly yourself, largely due to the fact that you’re concentrating on your own performance.
When you hear it back during playback (especially when all tracks but yours are muted),  two things can happen:
  1. You REALLY hear yourself for the first time unselectively, and you suck. Fortunately, this is the studio, and anything (well, almost anything) can be fixed.
  2. You really hear everyone else in the band for the first time unselectively, and one of THEM suck. This is where it can get ugly.
I have seen more bands break up in the studio over number two than I care to remember, but of course, EVERY band has one person who’s not letter-perfect, or doesn’t have that inner metronome, or sings that one note sharp or flat. The rest of the band turns on them and the session can degrade into a verbal fistfight if you let it.
Don’t let it.
As an engineer, your main duty (after getting them a good sound) is to be den mother, manager, producer, and counselor. Calm them down, get them away from each other’s throats, pause the session off the clock if need be, but do it. They’ll thank you for it when they leave with their music under their arm (or in their CD case).
Oh, and not to go all Adrastos on you or anything, but here’s the aforementioned MTV Basement Tapes winner from our studio.  Pay no attention to the annoying Emulator 2 whip crack sound – that was their idea, not mine.


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Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with his back – pins and needles edition

Wish me luck folks.  Even as you’re reading this, I’m under general anesthesia while they do a thoracic intercostal nerve block to try and kill the horrible back pain I’ve been dealing with since January, when Paul Severe made his famous ambulance ride.

What happened?

All will be revealed below…

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Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – A quick one while I’m away edition

Won’t lie, folks – I’m more than a little burnt out. I hear that garbage collectors can go home and scrub and scrub and even burn their clothes, but the stench clings to them like a bill collector.

The stench from diving into Free Republic every week has started to cling to me to the extent that I walked down the aisle in Wally World, and fourteen thong-displaying customers fell over.

One brief thread below the “continue reading”, but first, a rant from the righteous dude The Red State Rustler which pretty much sums it all up:

“I haven’t posted lately because I’m in a bit of a funk about the sorry state of things in this twisted up, smoldering wreck of a country I used to love. Trump and his petty goon squad of hateful miscreants, buttlickers, grifters, whiners and walleyed lying liars has left me pissed off and honestly sort of paralyzed. It’s just tedious to mock this shit, over and over and over again, because the things that are happening right now are shocking and shameful and sad, not funny.

I don’t think it’s funny that every other word that spills out of Trump’s sneering hamburger hole is a lie. I don’t think it’s funny that Sarah Huckafuck wakes up every morning, spackles a human face over her true reptilian form, puts on her pearls and prepares to kick the press in the nuts again. I don’t think it’s funny that Rudy Giuliani is explaining away Trump’s crimes like he’s reading from the “Choose Your Own Adventure” book of legal strategy. (OK, I guess that’s actually kind of funny.)

The North Korea situation isn’t funny. The Israeli-Palestinian situation isn’t funny. Collusion isn’t funny. The hostilities unleashed in this country toward immigrants isn’t funny. The environmental sodomy, the tax “reform,” the healthcare horrorshow, the dumbing down of literally every federal department – not funny. The endless insults, the pot shots, the misinformation, the spin, the half truths, the none-truths and the obvious, refutable lies – none of this is fucking funny.

Not to mention that with the subtlety of an ice bucket challenge, we’ve all suddenly been forced to wake up and realize that roughly half of this country is made up of people who are either too proud to admit they’re morally bankrupt or too stupid to know what that means. It’s an ice bucket challenge for the soul of our democracy, and the outcome is still undecided.

“But we need to come together and find common ground,” they say. Sure. They can look for some up my ass.

It’s impossible to respect the other side when the other side is comprised of a frothy mix of anti-intellectuals, torch-waving nationalists and witless workaday bumpkins all controlled by a handful of string-pullers at the very top who sit on their piles of money and convince the rest of the lot to march into the voting booth in Nowheresville, Craptucky and punch themselves in their own faces until they fall down dead.

It’s really hard to capture this shit in a meme, is what I’m saying.

I’ll get back to writing jokes very soon. I’ve just needed a short break from the newspapers and the press briefings and the bonfire consuming our government. It’s depressing and exhausting, and I want Mueller to take down this bastard and his entire criminal empire so I can sleep again.

And now, a quickie:

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Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – the completion backward principle

If you’re looking for this Monday’s post, it was last Friday.

In the future, all Monday posts will be posted on Fridays, unless the Friday post is posted on the following Monday, except, of course, on leap years.

Glad we cleared THAT up.



Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – wet and wild edition

No post this week, chillens. Entire east half of my house flooded after a record 4″ in one hour rain. Entire week has been full of roaring fans and dehumidifiers. torn up carpets in my studio, and everything piled into a heap in the entry. Fourth time this has happened. Previous drainage improvements kept the water out for a week of soaking rains, but the last wave was unstoppable. Anyone have an outdoor sump pump they want to donate?

Since I can’t do this post thing on the phone, we’ll have to wait until next week, after carpet pad’s been replaced and carpet’s been re-laid and final carpet treatment/cleaning is finished and I can move everything back to where it was.

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Why I don’t like rap

Athenae said this was a “post what you will” day, so here goes:

I think rap stinks on ice, but for a different reason (probably) than most, and it’s not racial or cultural.

I hate poetry read aloud.
I can’t stand it.
I thought beatniks doing it at coffee houses in the 50s sucked.
I think their later incarnation of “slam poetry” sucked.
Dressing it up with drum machines and other people’s sampled music doesn’t make it suck any less.
I have nothing against poetry per se, but it should be read by the consumer, so that it’s a private experience, in the voice that the reader gives it internally. To me, it’s a personal communication from the writer to the reader, not some kind of “listen to ME” declaration to an audience.
I guess I could read poetry out loud in a public transit situation, at the top of my lungs (and I have some powerful lungs), but that would probably be annoying.
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Just go away.

Leave me alone. Don’t bother me.

I  have an very ugly cold, and Adrastos gave it to me.


Just kidding about the last part.

I think.

I’ll be back next Monday, presumably.




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Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – EJECT! EJECT! EJECT! edition

I….just….can’t, people.




I honestly tried. I cruised Freeperville to try to find something that wasn’t crowing-over-Al-Franken and had to shut it off after 3 minutes.

So instead, I penned this:

On Senator Al Franken and the accusations…

So-called conservatives are running around on social media hooting like howler monkeys. They’re not concerned with harassment issues, or they wouldn’t have condoned Donnie Darko’s “grab them by the pussy”.

It’s just locker room stuff, after all. Or tour-bus stuff.
Or something.

Leaving alone the FOX news connection and the interesting fact that her “bombshell” was spoken of by the Stone people before it was spoken of by her – that aside, the whole thing reeks of right-wing hypocrisy.

If Trump had been accused of this behaviour, it would have been dismissed as boyish hi-jinks. Hell, if Trump had even been over to the Middle East and Afghanistan a tour to raise troop morale (instead of dodging the draft so he could sit safely over here and enrich himself), they’d be calling him a selfless hero for even considering going.

Trump’s supporters aren’t really concerned about women being harassed because, after all, they all have it coming. They ALL have it coming.

Just ask them. Let’s start with Newt Gingrich and work our way down to Mark Foley.

(Or maybe start with David Vitter and work our way up to Ken Calvert)

All I’m really seeing now is a bunch of hooting and gibbering because they think they finally, at long last, got one on the scoreboard.

Thanks for listening. I’ll try it again next week.

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Today on Tommy T’s Can’t Even – Runaway muse edition

Hi, folks – taking a break this week. Combination of nothing new in Freeperville (besides the inevitable crowing that The Darnold was all alone in that G20 pic because he’s better than everyone else there and they’re just jealous) and general fed-upness.

Speaking of fed up, here’s the surf and turf portion (broccoli was still steaming) of last night’s dinner.


Congratulations – my contribution to First Draft has now turned into a bad Facebook page.

There’s an APB out on my muse, and hopefully they’ll find her before she gets a new identity and a plane ticket to Fiji.

If only I’d gotten a comment on my last post……..

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Playin’ around in Playacar

As promised last week, pics of previous trips to the Iberostar Quetzal in Playa Del Carmen. Some pics from this trip next Monday,  then back to the depths of Hell  Free Republic.








More below the fold, if you like…

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Today on Tommy T’s mundane musings – the invisible man

Well, good people, I actually saw the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen on Facebook this week.

A wingnut in one of my political discussion groups actually replied to a liberal poster by calling him a “Commie”.

For reals.

Habit, I guess.


I’m thinking that he didn’t get the memo from The Darnold that red “commies” are the new black.

One more random musing, as Freeperville is still pretty boring (although I did save a thread about their former hero Paul Ryan’s town hall which was pretty amusing).

The Invisible Man

Being a bass guitarist is like being the invisible man of the band. The guitarists get all the attention, the drummers get all the women, and you get the bar tab. Bassists seem to compensate for this in several ways. Some jump all around in an attempt to be noticed (see Flea), some retreat even further into the shadows (see Entwistle), and some overplay (see me).

But do you know something? Without the bass line, the song falls apart. The rhythm stops. The guitar noodling with no sub-strata to hold it up just sounds like some guy practicing scales,  and the kick drum sounds like a petulant ex kicking the door to be let in.

And if your removal from the band’s sound doesn’t do this, you’re not doing your part as a bassist. Your contribution has to be just that – a contribution. Not a dull drone or a kick drum with a note attached to it, but an integral part of the sound.

If it’s not, you may as well just sell your shit and buy a motorcycle.

(bonus Musing below)

Tech Support Humour

Years ago, at my first tech support job, 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 Sargent Chen from Galaxy Quest always says:

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

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Today on Tommy T’s Mundane musings -Tape Doesn’t Lie!

Well, folks, the Freeperati still haven’t realized that they’ve been Don-conned, so I have this fond memory for you :

Back in my studio engineer days I had a guy come in with a karaoke tape he wanted to sing along to (first one I’d ever seen).

Horrible little low-fi cassette, with his vocals on our good U47 mike laid over it.Okay.

It’s his money.

Then this guy, who is loaded up with bling, proceeds to dance around in the vocal booth. Really. Big moves and all. Like he’s doing a music video.

The bling’s clinking and clanking, his polyester outfit’s whooshing and zzziping like a bedsheet in a whirlwind every time he moves his arms up to frame his face, it’s all being sucked up by the microphone, and since I have to put a ton of compression on him (because he’s dancing around and moving sideways away from, and toward the mic) all the noise he’s making is as loud as his voice (which isn’t very). At several points he spins around, which means that he’s singing at the rear Auralex sound-absorbing wall instead of toward the mike.

Between verses, he’s smacking his tongue against the roof of his mouth and sucking air through his teeth. I can hear the studio owner and a visitor laughing in the next room through the open side door to the control room.

Finally, the guy finishes after several stopped takes, and comes into the control room for the playback. I’m waiting for the explosion – ” What is all that noise?? I don’t sound like that!!” (this is the common reaction of someone actually hearing themselves for the first time on tape, and it doesn’t sound anything like it does when they’re singing in the shower or along with the stereo)

He slaps me on the back and tells me he’s very happy that I captured the essence of his personality.

Tape doesn’t lie.

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Today on Tommy T’s random musings…

OK guys – I told you that funny stuff at Freeperville is getting harder and harder to find.

Now, it appears to have vanished completely.

I’m taking a unavoidable break from “Obsession” for a while, and am instead gonna subject you to random musings from my Facebook page. Take that.

Oops.  Posted one from last May accidentally.   Here’s a different one:

Today – Nuclear fearmongering, and a modest proposal

I see a lot of hysterical gobspatter over the Iran Nuclear Treaty.



You know what?

GIVE the Iranians some of OUR nukes.

Go ahead. They’ll come to the same realization that every nuclear power has – that the things are fucking worthless.


You can’t use them.

They’re hideously expensive tinkertoys that serve no offensive military purpose, other than to try to keep someone (like Israel in this case) from nuking YOU.


I’m about as worried about Iran launching an ICBM they don’t have (with a nuclear warhead they don’t have on it) at us as I am of a plane crashing on my house.

Actually, less, as there is a one-in-fifty-million chance of the plane crash.


So – let’s say Iran does have nuclear weapons. Weapons they don’t dare launch because the retaliatory strike will make a crater where Tehran used to be, before their missile even lands. See? You can’t USE the damned things.


But –but – what about nuclear terrorism?


What if Iran slips some of those nuclear weapons they don’t have to a terrorist group?


Allow me to introduce you to a term : “Nuclear forensics”.

What does it mean?

It means that there is NO SUCH THING as an anonymous/untraceable nuclear device.


If the nuclear device the terrorists don’t have was exploded, and the forensics results pointed to Iran – well – see above.


Even if Iran did have a nuclear device, the LAST thing they would do is to give it to someone who would be stupid enough to use it.


So – let’s give them some of OUR nukes. They need something non-productive to spend their money on maintaining and guarding.



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Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – “Dave’s not here” edition

Good morning, gentle people.

Many thanks to the thousands that read First Draft’s special on the debate!

I’m taking a week off to go and recharge my batteries   This wonderful place in Nacogdoches looks like just the place to do it.

Jude asked me (on the book of faces) if it was full of roaches, and I do intend to stand on the stage  where The Four Nightingales became The Marx Brothers.  Steve Simels – if you’re reading this, I’ll bring back some pics.

As for the place Barbara and I are holing up for the next four days, take a peek :














See you good people one week from today!

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Today on Tommy T’s obsession with the Freeperati – dry hole edition

Well, it finally happened, folks –  this week, there isn’t one single current Freeper thread of any entertainment value.  Not one.

The usual Cruz vs. Trump supporter vitriol, but I’ve already done a dozen plus posts on that subject, and the arguments are just repeating themselves now.

So – in a distressing (to me, anyway) trend of personal, non-Freeper posts, I’ll just add:

A Tale Of Two Shitties!

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.


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Taking a little break – back next Monday

Hi, good people! I’ve been trying to take a week off for several weeks now, but current events forbade.

Since not much (other than the Bundy Bunch all getting jailed, and we’ll get to that next Monday) has happened this week, my being a lazy bastard plan is in full effect.

In the meantime, please enjoy this pic of the Brillo-beast, and know that she whimpers for joy.

Come to think of it, she whimpers all the time (I thought she had been abused when we first got her from rescue), so it’s not that big a deal.



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What goes into creating an “Obsession” post

Hi, good people! Ms. A has given me permission to take a mental health day (week). Here’s what prompted it:

In the middle of a “Kill all the ragheads” thread (which is about all there is on Free Republic lately):

To: robowombat

You can kill them, you can bomb them, you can even nuke them, but until the magic space rock in Mecca is turned into a sizzling pile of oozing glass, there will always be more of them.

13 posted on 11/18/2015, 11:43:24 PM by tcrlaf (They told me it could never happen in America. And then it did….)

Another Freeper tried to point out that this is making common cause with daesh, but nobody noticed or responded to him :

To: tcrlaf
“but until the magic space rock in Mecca is turned into a sizzling pile of oozing glass, there will always be more of them.”

Actually that’s what ISIS wants, they think it represents Idolatry, instead of “true” Islam.

14 posted on 11/18/2015, 11:44:40 PM by dfwgator

That’s when I realized that I just couldn’t do it this week.

Here’s why:

The posts you see every Monday morning take from 1.5 to 3 hours to compose (and debug/edit spacing and fonts), but that’s not the hard part.

The hard part is wading through the muck in the first place.

I browse Freeperville every other day or so. It’s a target-rich environment, and my trouble is not finding stupidity, but having to read so much of it to select the little nuggets you see here on First Draft. Selecting the threads is only the first step. Now I have to read up to 1,000 comments on each one.  All of them. Then I select the comments I’m going to use, and in which order. This means reading them again. Then, and only then, I can start assembling the post.

Some days I do it with a smile on my face, some days I just sit here, jaw agape like a Tex Avery Bulldog, trying to fathom how these people can even exist. Last week I had one of the Bulldog days.

I’ll be back next Monday, even if it means mining some old threads for fool fodder. Perhaps in the intervening week, the Freepers will have moved on from wanting to nuke Mecca to wanting to nuke Belgium.


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The fall of the Flying Cloud, and Captain Burke’s dream

Something a little different this week – just to show that there are things I can write about that aren’t Freeper-oriented:

Back in the 90s, I only had one vacation dream – to go on a Windjammer Barefoot Tour.

This company had a small fleet of tall ships, and they weren’t the kind of place to wear a tux for dinner.

They were the kind of cruise where they had a “Pirate Night”, and you weren’t really sure if they were play-acting.

They were the kind of ships that had all the passengers moon the “Foo-foo ships” as they sailed past the 15-deck-high  monstrosities, fire the windjammer’s signal cannon at them as a literal parting shot, then repair to the deck bar for a rum swizzle or ten.

They were the kind of ships that could cozy up to islands and coves that the cruise ships couldn’t get within a nautical mile of.

But before I could scrape up the cash, two things happened:

The S.V. Fantome four-master from the fleet was lost with all crew in a hurricane, and suddenly, you couldn’t book online any more.

I didn’t know it, but the founder, Captain Burke, had retired and left his kids to run the business – into the ground.

And they did – with a vengeance.

The Flying Cloud:







Beautiful, no?


The flying cloud as of 2009:





And if that wasn’t bad enough, Captain Burke’s marvelous, whimsical, outrageous Florida home castle burned to the ground (he was in a nursing home by then)






The story of how it all came tumbling down is here:

(a long read, but SO worth it!)

This story had everything.  A far beyond colourful patriarch, scheming brothers and sisters, draining of company coffers for personal use – a true-life “Dallas” series with tall ships instead of oil wells. Someone should really make this story into a movie.


The takeaway?


All flesh is grass?  Best laid plans of mice and men? Preen over that house/car/wardrobe as much as you like – in 50 years (or less) it’ll all be gone, either crumbled to ashes, or sold to someone who neither knows nor cares to know about you?

Or the old standby – entropy increases.

But damn, it must have been fun while it lasted!

(footage below is of the S.V. Fantome before the hurricane sank it)

My humble apologies – the footage below was taken on the Fantome’s sister ship, the S.V. Polynesia, which was sold several times after the dissolution of Windjammer Barefoot Cruises.


A infomercial for Windjammer including the perky hostess holding forth in the now-underwater Fantome, and a surprisingly young-looking Captain Burke:



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