Tag Archives: Dave’s not here

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with Random Ruminations – TV show mockery edition

Smell This House

I wrote this while I was waiting for my 1/2 duplex to sell, and watching that stupid “Sell This House” show every day :

************************************************************

Tanya: “Well, on this episode of Sell This House, we’re looking at Tommy’s duplex. It’s been on the market for 8 months, and there are only 12 other comparable properties on his block, so why won’t it smell…err, sell?. Let’s look at the videotape, Tommy!

Voice on videotape: “Christ! Did a cow shit in here??”

.
Tanya: “Ok,-  with two big dogs and three cats in a 1,190 square foot ½ duplex, I can understand how carpet cleaning and deodorization isn’t going to make a fart in a whirlwind’s worth of difference (sorry, Tommy), so let’s turn to Roger for some ideas. Roger?”

.

Roger: “Well, we can eliminate some of the pet odor by eliminating some of the pets. BJ, your Bulldog is a cute boy, but he’s gotta go. (Roger produces a large handgun and fires two shots into BJ, looks closely and then fires one more. He looks satisfied) All right! (claps hands together) now while you guys start digging a hole in the backyard, I’ll run to the supply store for some quicklime. Nothing puts off potential buyers like a charnel pit smell in the backyard. Your other dog Morrie seems to have made quick work of that bowl of antifreeze I set out, and I’ve already strangled your cats Sunny and Kingsford with the strength in my amazingly-muscled forearms! Precious Kitty might be a bit of a problem, as she seems to have disappeared after watching me dispatch Sunny and Kingsford, but moving the furniture in the spare bedroom should take care of that.

.

Tanya: “See why we call him the miracle worker? You’re amazing, Roger! What a MAN!!” (starts to remove clothes)

.

.

Roger: “Let’s DO it!”

.

And then I woke up.

.

Remind me not to eat spicy foods any more before going to bed.

Tagged , ,

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with Random Ruminations – Big Bang edition

Homemade fireworks

Every year (when I was in high school) I used to make industrial-grade crackerballs (the fireworks available back then that exploded with a pop when you threw them down on pavement) out of Potassium Perchlorate and one other ingredient.

The report was cherry-bomb sized, but not as fierce as an M80, and everyone I sold them to knew to either throw them against a wall or hit them with something like a spade. I was busily making them in study hall, wrapping the finished products in tinfoil and putting them in my satchel, when a classmate came over and said “Whatcha doing?” I told him, and he continued to stand there – said he wanted one.  I got nervous that the teacher would come over to see why he was out of his chair, hurriedly gave him one with the usual safety lecture.

During my next class I was summoned to the Principal’s office. Apparently, idiot-boy took it to his shop class, put it on an anvil, and dared idiot-boy 2 to hit it with a hammer.

They never did find the hammer head, idiot boy had a bloody nose and no other injury, and the big viewpane glass between the shop instructor’s office and the shop broke.

The Principal asked if I had any “exploding powder”, and I admitted that I did, brightly adding “How much did you want, sir?”.  He replied “All of it”.

No suspension, just sent me back to my class.Only time I ever got in trouble at school.

These days, I’d probably still be in a FBI holding cell.

.

Tagged , ,

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with Random Ruminations – “Tape doesn’t lie” edition

Tape doesn’t lie.

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 while he’s singing. Really. Big moves and all.

He’s clinking, he’s 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 because 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). As he dances around, he’s even spinning in a  circle, which means that he’s momentarily singing towards the back wall of the booth.

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!! “

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.

**********************************

This is the last of my studio stories, I believe. from this point on, my Ruminations will truly be random, but hopefully entertaining.

.

Tagged ,

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with Random Ruminations – “The trick to thick” edition

Studio notes – thick guitars

Re-listening to Boston lately, I was reminded of a trick (can’t remember who I nicked it from) to put down multiple guitar tracks without the sound (especially the high-mids) jumping out in a grating fashion.

If you record several tracks using the same guitar, the prominent parts of the guitar’s sound add up and jump out of the mix in a way that’s not at all pleasing. To get those multiple tracks to nest together rather than blare certain frequencies out is a simple trick.

31-band equalizers were (and still are) the standard for graphic EQs.

There is an individual fader for each one of these frequencies:

20Hz, 25Hz, 31.5Hz, 40Hz, 50Hz, 63Hz, 80Hz, 100Hz, 125Hz 160Hz, 200Hz, 250Hz, 315Hz, 400Hz, 500Hz, 630Hz, 800Hz, 1kHz, 1.25kHz, 1.6kHz, 2kHz, 2.5kHz, 3.15kHz, 4kHz, 5kHz, 6.3kHz, 8kHz, 10kHz, 12.5kHz, 16kHz, 20kHz.

A lot more precise than bass, midrange, treble, no?

Here’s what one looks like:

 

Now – if you pull down every other fader to knock little sonic holes in the guitar sound, then reverse the process for the next guitar track, BOOSTING those same tiny frequency areas, you prevent the frequency peaks from adding up and becoming annoying.

Easy peasy. Works for multitracked vocals as well.

Hear a song with creamy-sounding guitars and ethereal vocals? That’s what you’re hearing.

.

.

.

And (just to show you what use I personally put this technique  to) – the choruses in “Far Away” as well as all the lead and backing vocals on the song are something I call “The Tommy Choir” – all tracks sung by me, with different EQs on each track to make it nice and creamy. Jump to 5:08 for the big chorus effect.

.

.

Oh – the keys as well as the bass guitar are also yours truly.

.

Tagged , ,

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with Random Ruminations – Demo Hell edition

On recording demos

(in case you missed last week’s RR post)

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, originally 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.

Secondly, 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 tape.  And therein lay the problem.  When you’re rehearsing (or singing in the shower, for that matter), you hear things very selectively.  Your brain does a neat little trick of pitch correction. You sound great.  In rehearsals, you hear mostly yourself, largely due to the fact that you’re concentrating on your own performance.

When you hear it all during playback, two things can happen :

  1. You REALLY hear yourself for the first time un-selectively, 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 un-selectively, 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. or can’t keep their guitar tuned. 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).

.

.

 

Tagged , ,

Today on Tommy T’s obsession with Random Ruminations – “studio daze” edition

OK – when I was playing in various Dallas bands, I was working a day job – since I already had a commercial drivers license from back in Waco (where I was driving a 20-ton dump truck for the City,  hauling asphalt for the Streets Department).

I was working in North Dallas hauling forklifts with a 10-wheel rollback. My boss eventually decided to get out of the hauling business and sold the truck.

Suddenly I had a lot of time on my hands, so I went over to a recording studio that I had passed numerous times as it was close to my job. The name of the place was “Good Vibrations Recording Studio”, and I found out that it had been started by Charlie Pride’s band members.

I talked to the owner and his lead engineer, and they gave me a little test.  The studio had a very nice Neumann condenser mike, and the owner said “Go out there and put a pad on that mike.”

I went out and found a foam rubber mike protector (spit guard), and put it over the Neumann. I went back and they were both laughing. What I didn’t know was that condenser mikes have a switch to limit the output, so that an amp has the same dynamics as a vocal. It’s called a “pad”.

.

They took me on anyway, as an intern. I learned a lot in a short time, and after a number of months, the owner called me into his office and asked me if I wanted to be manager. I said yes (of course).

Good Vibrations was a 1″ 16-track studio (Teac/Tascam), and as such, did mostly demos for local bands who didn’t want to spend $100 / hr to record in a 2″ 24-track place. We did a fair amount of business, largely because we had outstanding microphones, which are any studio’s most important asset. One day, a local group called “4 Reasons Unknown” came in to do a demo that would shortly be the track for a music video .

The group’s manager got them a slot on a new competition on MTV (you may remember MTV from back when they were just music videos) called “The MTV Basement Tapes”.  They won the competition.  Over hundreds of bands that submitted songs. For real.

Suddenly, the phone started ringing off the hook, and we were booked 24 / 7.  Everyone wanted to record at the little place were the first MTV Basement Tapes winners recorded. I didn’t get much sleep in the months that followed.

.

So – we’re at the studio daze part of my random ruminations series.  Click on the “read more” for the first installment.

.

Continue reading

Tagged , ,

Today on Tommy T’s obsession with Random Ruminations – Ambivalent about ambidexterity edition

Ambivalent about ambidexterity

When I was very young, the conventional wisdom (thank you so much, Dr. Spock) was to take your lefty child and turn them into a rightie, so that they would fit into a right-handed majority’s world.

This was accomplished by things like “If your baby reaches for something with their left hand, withhold it. If they reach for it with their right, let them have it”, and similar aversion training. My Mom did this with me.

Unfortunately, what this really did was to screw up my manual dexterity, and make me equally clumsy with BOTH hands.

I realized this when I took a manual dexterity test at Texas State Technical Institute which consisted of removing tiny washers from one steel rod one at a time, and transferring them to an adjacent rod. I was almost to the time limit when I looked around and saw my fellow students picking up the washers by the tens and doing the move. Too late for me to join in the cheating, I failed the test. The instructor responsible for counseling new students on their suitability for the classes/career path they wanted to take (in my case, electronics) looked at my entrance exam questions and noted that I played the bass guitar. His unspoken “NOT VERY WELL, I’D WAGER” hung in the air like miasma.

So – I’ve lived my entire life with my right-side fighting my left side for control. I shot Marksman with both hands at Allen Academy (and my “weak hand” is still almost identical to my “strong hand” in pistol target shooting), but I pick up things with my left hand, write with my right, and play bass right-handed. This has assisted me in becoming The World’s Clumsiest Person, and denied me the ability to do things I know perfectly well how to do, but would screw up through clumsiness.

Thanks, Mom.

Tagged , ,

Today on Tommy T’s obsession with Random Ruminations – “Insufficient Bone Spurs” edition

Insufficient bone spurs

When I was in Allen Military academy, our MST (military science and technology) instructors were active-duty Army, assigned to Allen after rotating out of Vietnam. It was 1968, and things were getting a lot worse over there. The ethos of Allen Academy (one of the 10 “honor academies” in the country) was that you attended through high school levels, to two years of junior college levels, then were enlisted as a First Lieutenant. A lot of the gung-ho cadet officers bombarded the Nam vets with questions about what it was like over there.

To a man, they refused to say anything at all about it. This scared me more than any horror stories they could have told.

When I came back home to Waco, my father asked me to let him submit my name for acceptance in the Waco branch of the Naval Reserve. My dad was sort of a big wheel there (28 years active duty, and a civil service fireman at James Connally AFB in Waco), so it was a shoo-in way to escape the draft, which was crucial, as my draft eligibility began the next year.

I told him “No – it’s not right for me to hide there while all my friends were being snapped up by the draft. I’ll take my chances like everybody else.” I couldn’t tell if he was quietly approving, or thought I was an idiot.

The night of the lottery drawing, I went to Cameron Park with my friend and ex-bandmate Bobby Arnold. It was night. We took our amplifiers and instruments, and jammed some, then sat in my car and listened to the radio to hear the drawing announcements (they announced each birth date for those eligible, and called out the number that was drawn for it). The higher the number, the lower the chance of being shipped off to Nam. They drew the number for my birthday, and it was 328. They drew the number for Bobby’s and it was 3. He joined the Navy immediately thereafter.

No bone spurs for either of us.

.
Company “C” (my company) :

 

That’s me below with the book satchel (yes, I was a book-reading nerd even then)

 

Tagged , ,

Today on Tommy T’s obsession with Random Ruminations – Creeping cancer edition

Pain issues preclude me doing a regular “Obsession” post this Monday, so here’s a little piece I wrote some years ago :

.

On libertarianism – a creeping cancer

I’ve noticed that so-called “libertarians” (I say “so-called” because no two libertarians can agree on what it is) are really just sociopaths in training.

Greed enters into it, of course, but the real hallmark is loss of empathy. It starts with groups of people they don’t have any contact with (people in other countries, people who have been born into situations they couldn’t imagine, and things that would make them cry like a child if they happened to them) and then expands.

As it grows, their loss of empathy extends to people who occupy the same world but are somehow (usually through lack of hustle) inferior to them, and undeserving of help.

Their circle of give-a-fuck gets smaller and smaller and smaller over time until – guess what? It only extends to them and their immediate families.

And then, in the end, it only extends to them.

And that, my friends, is the textbook definition of sociopathy.

More below the fold

 

Continue reading

Tagged , ,

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with Random Ruminations – “Why I didn’t run away from home” edition

When I was a pre-teen / teenager, I only had one dream.

Go to Hollywood and become a cinematographer – failing that, a sound recordist. I was smart enough to know that I would need a mentor to take me on as an intern, and smart enough to know what happened to the large majority of people who ran off to Hollywood to make it big.

Did I know anyone in the  ASC?  No.  Did I think it was a good idea to hitchhike to Hollywood without much more than the clothes on my back? No.

Then I got married and had children, and that was that.

However…

I never quit looking at movies with a cinematographer’s eye, or wincing when I heard/saw a badly dubbed line of dialog. To this day, perspective, lighting and sight lines are in the front of my thoughts when watching a film.

I will say that when I heard that MGM had decided to sell all its props, scenery, wardrobe, et cetera, and bulldoze its back lot so people could build offices on it, that plunged me into a depression that lasted a week. Then a friend who owned both “American Pie” and Don McLean’s first album “Tapestry” played me a song called “Magdeline Lane”, and my heart sank again.

“MGM studios can’t make the nut
They’re auctioning Dorothy’s shoes
Gable is gone, the good witch is a slut
And I’ve got the parking-lot blues
The wizard brought benzedrine smiles
And he never let Dorothy doze
Ha- she died as she walked down the aisle
And all that remains is her clothes

Over the rainbow a Kansas tornado
Can twist up a little girl’s head
Aunt Em’s on relief and the tin man’s a thief
And even the wizard can’t wake the dead.”

 

For a look at what is gone forever, click here.

.

.

 

(Pics courtesy of the “Phantom Of The Backlot” website.)

.

 

Tagged , ,

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with random Ruminations – I ELPeed myself edition

My greatest concert experience, and my band Grendel

 

Emerson, Lake and Palmer in Dallas – Oct 20, 1977

I saw ELP on their Brain Salad Surgery tour. Entered Dallas Memorial Auditorium with anticipation. As I topped the balcony steps the audio geek in me fixated on the P.A. system, reportedly (pre-internet info age) quite a big deal.

I looked at the stacks on either side of the stage (nobody was flying PA systems at that time) and saw a PA that was the equal if not better than any I had ever seen. – impressive, but not THAT big a deal. Then I turned to the left to go up to my seat and found myself facing the twin of the stage right PA stack.  Ulp.

Slowly I turned (gotta copyright that) to the right and saw, on the other side of the balcony, the twin of the stage left PA stack.

They were not only carrying double the largest PA system I had ever seen, it was QUAD!

The FOH man had fun for the whole show, dive-bombing the audience by sweeping Emerson’s Moog leads from upper right to lower left. The snarling Moog (they’re a completely different beast at 115db than they are coming from your living room stereo) made an interesting effect. I could see the heads of the floor audience DUCK as the Moog leads passed (sonically) over their heads.

They played just about everything they had recorded, came back for an encore, and played the entirety of Pictures At An Exhibition. The whole bloody album.

They also played this astoundingly difficult repertoire about 20% over album tempo. It was like they had decided “Well, we’re going to play every single thing we’ve recorded, and if we don’t get on the stick, we’re going to be here all night.”

Carl Palmer kept up this relentless pace with perfect timing, and didn’t seem human. I would NOT have been surprised to have seen a big key sticking out of his back.

They played for 3 hours and 20 minutes, and I was deaf for three days afterwards.

It was worth it.

****************************************************************************************************

Meanwhile, my band Grendel was cranking out the old Prog rock (covers for the most part) at club after club.

We were playing music of a difficulty level that most other bands just couldn’t perform it. Too complicated. So we were the only way for them to see a band playing these pieces, unless Yes, ELP, Moody Blues, etc. were in town. We started noticing that our audiences were largely other musicians.

It was amusing to see our audiences (guys, mostly) divide themselves up – keyboardists on the stage left side, guitarists in the middle, bassists on mid-stage right (in front of me), and drummers on stage right (where the drummer was located).

During breaks, I would be cornered by other bassists who wanted to talk shop, music, and gear. I always had time for them, and never brushed them off.

Grendel started our shows with the ignition of “caramel candy” in two barrels behind the backline, lights off during the guitar intro to “Tie Your Mother Down”, then as the guitar smash chords came in, lights coming on to reveal the band, shrouded in smoke, in front of our homemade 30’X12′ backdrop. Good times!

 

.

 

Tagged , ,

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with random Ruminations – Adventures in Babysitting edition

On playin’ da blooz…

 

For a bassist, it’s not much fun.

I grew up in Texas, where playin’ da blooz is a rite of musical passage. “Nobody gets out of here without playing the blues!” isn’t just a line from a movie, it’s a way of life. It’s why Stevie Ray Vaughn, Lightnin’ Hopkins, T-Bone Walker, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, and Johnny Winter existed.

Having said that, it’s one of the most boring and soul-crushing things a bass guitarist can do on stage. You’re basically (see what I did there?) playing I-IV-V-IV over and over and over, and every 16 bars you get to do a walk-up / walk-down. Whoopee.

Yes, I know it’s a sacred part of our musical heritage, and the springboard to most of rock music, but unless you’re the guitarist who gets to play 12 minutes of solos, or the vocalist, it’s boring as shit.

 

I can’t even begin to imagine how the drummers feel.

 

 

 

Tagged , ,

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with random Ruminations – The Invisible Man edition

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 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.

.

.

Oh – and while we’re at it – I’d like to introduce you to “The Fantastic Four” :

.

 

And, of course – “Rigzilla”…

.

“SUNN – when you absolutely have to destroy everyone in the room with low end”.

.

 

 

Tagged , ,

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with Random Ruminations – bass guitar edition

Here we go with my first non-Freeperati post, people.

The first reader to reply on what my first non-political post on First Draft should be, said this:

“I’ve always enjoyed the reminiscences of the days as an itinerant musician and recording engineer, having some tangential connection to folks in those professions.”

gratuitous

**********************************

Well, I’m going to start out with my bass guitar stuff, and expand from there – so – it’s The bass guitar and me :

Ok – surprisingly enough, other bassists actually ask me how I started and how I developed my style/sound (some people are easily entertained).   Here goes:

When I started, it was the era of Cream and Led Zeppelin.

Unfortunately, it was also the era of Grand Funk railroad.

My earliest bass sound was that of a tonal dinosaur fart. Part of this was due to the rudimentary nature of my rig, but part of it was due to the attraction of how a combination of playing with my fingers and mucho low-end and distortion sounded. I mean, you just couldn’t play a wrong note. As least, no one could hear it. It wasn’t even a prerequisite to be in the right key.

So, I blundered and thundered along for years, secure in my ability to perform as a rhythm instrument without having to worry about pesky details like being in tune and knowing all the chord changes. Then a tech at Ray Hennig’s Heart Of Texas Music (in the original Waco location) invited me over to his house. He had a incredible Altec Valencia sound system, and said “So you like to play bass, do you?”, and put on The Yes Album.

Everything changed. All the percussion of the bass was still there, but you could hear every note being played. And it was awesome. I determined to have this sound for my very own.

I tried this and that, boosting the treble, lowering the bass, starting to play with a pick (at first, just for Deep Purple covers – how’s that for irony?), but I knew I had to have that bass. That Rickenbacker bass. This HAD to be the key. So I finally got one.

Horror.

This is the time as I always describe as “wanting to sell my crap and buy a motorcycle”. Because I could really really hear myself for the first time.

And I sucked.

I was sloppy, rushing, dragging, misfretting – this was the worst thing that had ever happened to me. I almost quit.

But instead, I got mad. I started forcing myself to unlearn every old bad habit, and before very long at all, I was actually playing like someone who knows how. Buying that bass did more to improve my playing in one year than the preceding 5.

So – it was all about hearing what I was actually doing, rather than what I heard myself doing in my head.

And I still have that bass I bought new in 1977.

Tagged , ,

Today on Tommy T’s obsession with the Furrperati – “saying goodbye” edition

Hi, people.  One of our readers advised me to take a short mental health break from Freeperville, so I decided to post about something marginally less sad – pets who have passed on. So – let tribute time begin!

I’d like to start with Sunny and Kingsford, who were fast friends from the day they met.  Sunny was one of those kittehs who thinks they’re a dog (and everyone who comes in the front door obviously did so just to pet him). He loved rubbing against your legs, especially when you were on the can.  Kingsford was the charcoal-coloured polar opposite – the kind who would sit behind the back edge of the couch, and take a swipe at you as you passed. I picked him out of a litter that a friend brought over, because while his litter mates were hanging around in front of the records (remember records?) mewing, he was on top of the records taking swipes at them as they passed by underneath.

Here’s the not-so-dynamic duo. Sunny would get in the straw basket, and Kingsford would squeeze in next to Sunny and go to sleep :

 

Sunny succumbed to an infection, and Kingsford, ever the escape artist, sneaked out an unclosed door one day and never came back.

I also had a Bulldog mix called B.J. He loved to lie down with his nose in my shoes just so he could smell me all the time.

Cancer took BJ about 15 years ago.

When Barbara moved in with me, she brought a hound named “Moe” (for “more dog”). He had been looking for a father figure, apparently, and was just happy to have a man to pet him. I’d be at my computer, when a wet nose and furry muzzle would nudge under my left hand, and suddenly I’d be petting Mo Doggie.

He left us around 12 years ago.

Barbara also brought her cat, “Precious Kitty”. She WAS precious, ultra feminine, and carried her poofy tail over her head like a parasol.

Precious made it to the very old age of 16, and was always the mistress of the house.

And that brings us to Bailey Bulldog.  He was a surrender from a family that didn’t want to take him in after their Dad died.

He came to us housebroken, leash and crate trained, and he loved to back up to you for bully-butt-pets.

Bailey died in his sleep at the incredible (for a bulldog) age of 15. He was a Very Very Good Boy.

Lastly, we had Brillo. Barbara met her at a Pet Smart adoption event, and this big girl (Scottish Deerhound, mostly) went up to Barb, lay down and put her muzzle on Barbara’s leg. And that, as they say, was that. I never saw the dog, just gave my blessings to the adoption, and was driving home the day Barbara had picked her up. I was on the phone with Barbara and she said “Sweetheart –  she’s not the prettiest dog….”   I took a deep breath, and then replied: “OK  –  how ugly IS she?” The dog’s shelter name had been “Purdy”, but I took one look at her with her outer coat fringe, and said “Brillo”. And Brillo she was, from that day forward.

That ugly mutt with the beautiful heart followed Barbara everywhere she went, and would proceed Barbara when she was coming toward the living room (looking over her shoulder to make sure Barbara was still coming).  I told Barbara: “That’s your herald.” Brillo was the most loving dog I’ve ever met, much less owned. She loved everyone, and everyone loved her.

We lost Brillo to lymphoma two months ago, only a month or so after we lost Precious.

So – we’re now petless for the the first time since we met, 20 + years ago.  It’s tough opening doors and not seeing a doggie or kitty on the other side.  We’re now of the age that a puppy or kitten might outlive us, and we wanted to do some traveling while we still can. So – no more pets.

Barbara was thinking about volunteering at a local shelter, but I know how that would turn out.

Here’s the good part. They’re not really gone. They’re right here now, on the pages of First Draft. Nothing lasts forever, but the love we give to and receive from our pets stays with us.  And this is where you come in.

Now, our wonderful furry friends are all still here with all of us, because you read this post.

I’ll see you good people next Monday, with Freeper reactions to the Electoral College decision.

 

 

Tagged , , ,

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – shortest post ever edition

Taking a short mental health break, people.

Have to.

Saw this while cruising Freeperville for reaction to Kamala Harris’s VP pick:

KamalaFreeper

 

I got nothing.

*****************************************

Actually, that’s not true – I do have one little observation to make :

A few weeks ago, I opined that Trump’s attack on the USPS would backfire on him, and in spectacular fashion.
I’d like to take this opportunity to say “I told you so”.

But why?
It’s not Pelosi’s actions in recalling the House from recess to address this transparent rat-fuckery.
It’s not the Veterans who get almost all of their medications by mail.
(after all, this is a “president” who doesn’t know – or care – what a Gold Star family is)

It’s the older voters.
Voters 50 and above largely have a unique experience with our USPS delivery people.
They’re our friends.
We grew up waving to them as they pulled up to our mailboxes, and talking happily with them. They were a part of our neighbourhoods, and we treated them as such. Not as government employees, or Federal stooges, but as our friends and our neighbours – which they were.

When Reagan disemboweled the Air Traffic Controllers, few of us interacted with (or even KNEW) an ATC.

This is different.

Why does it matter so much this time?
Because we oldies not only fondly remember, we VOTE.
In large numbers.
More than any other demographic.

Keep it up, Trump – and your ship will sink even faster than it currently is.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – TL, DR edition

Well, THAT was fun. There was a dead rat in the electric rat-zapper lest Tuesday, so I went out into the alley to dump him where a hawk could find him and have some breakfast. Crossing the concrete-paved alley I stepped (barefoot) into a slick spot where the night’s rain runoff was flowing, slipped and fell backwards, landing on the back of my head.
In the flowing water runoff.
Lump – yes.
Concussion –  I don’t think so  actually, a mild one. Gone in two days
Pain – 7 on a 10 scale.
Damned lucky I didn’t break anything.
I had to struggle to my feet as quickly as I could, because the alley has a 20 – degree down-slope, and people tear down it as they leave to go to work and wouldn’t have been able to stop on the rain-slick concrete. I would have been run over for sure if I’d lost consciousness, or just lain there and waited to recover some.
Alleyway
Anywhoo – a quickie.

Donald Trump’s favorite pollster puts him 12 points behind Joe Biden Daily Mail ^ | 6-15-2020 | Nikki Schwab Posted on 6/15/2020, 10:43:18 PM by ZagFan

The poll comes the same day the Biden campaign announced an impressive $81 million fundraising haul in May.

Rasmussen’s survey with Just The News found that 48 per cent of registered voters nationally liked Biden, while just 36 per cent said they’d support Trump in the November general election.

********************

Well, this sucks.
1 posted on 6/15/2020, 10:43:18 PM by ZagFan
Wait for it….
To: ZagFan

Fake Fake Fake Fake news.

2 posted on 6/15/2020, 10:44:16 PM by EnglishOnly (eeWFight all out to win OR get out now. .)

Now RASMUSSEN is “fake news”?
Oy.
To: ZagFan

This means one of two things – either Trump is headed for a Carter-like shellacking by a Reaganesque rout at the hands of Biden, or pollsters have created a very bad model of the electorate, perhaps because of the Trump’s hidden support which is hard to poll. The first alternative is somewhat more likely than the second.

8 posted on 6/15/2020, 10:50:20 PM by nwrep

What could have happened to that reliable GOP-leaning outlier provider??
To: ZagFan

Except this is not the Rasmussen poll. Scott Rasmussen sold his poll, which keeps his name and now does a new poll for an outfit called Just the News. This is a joke. Biden may well be ahead, but Trump doesn’t have 36%. An utter embarrassment for Scott Rasmussen to publish this crap.

3 posted on 6/15/2020, 10:45:47 PM by usafa92 (Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States of America)

What to do, what to do??
To: ZagFan

If I would be polled, I plan to lie to the pollster, and say I support Biden. Let the pollsters be shocked the night of the election.

10 posted on 6/15/2020, 10:51:22 PM by EvilCapitalist (Fire Fauci)

That’ll show them!
To: Midwesterner53

43% approval and 56% disapprove.

You better all wake up. “Rasmussen sold the company” ain’t cutting it.

15 posted on 6/15/2020, 11:00:48 PM by Williams (Stop Tolerating The Intolerant)

That’s it for this week, good people.  I should be back to normal (whatever the fuck THAT is) later on this week.
Tagged , ,

Today in people who made a difference in Tommy’s life

Ray Hennig died this week. You probably didn’t know him, but many Texas musicians did.

His original Heart Of Texas music store was in Waco, and he changed everything.

Long before the Austin store even existed, he put most of the other Waco instrument dealers out of business. How? By treating us (musicians) like people, instead of marks to cough up cash.
He allowed and encouraged us to hang out at HOT music, whether we were there to buy something or not.
At Holtze or Buzze music, if you asked to try a guitar or amp and didn’t look like you had the funds on you, you got the stinkeye.
At HOT, if you asked, Ray would plug it in for you and tell you to go to town and crank it up.
THIS breeds respect from your potential customers, and turns them into lifetime customers.
Ray even put recliners and sofas in the display room so that the local musicians who often met there could have a place to sit.
Also, his repair tech J.D. Bennet (real name: Deitz Gengelbach) went on to become a head amplifier designer at Crown Amplification, then Peavey.

Rest easy, Ray.  You had the BEST run.

Ray-Hennig-2
My Rickenbacker 4001 that Ray sold to me in 1977 and that I still have :
TommyRedspot
.
One of these days I’ll tell you all the story about how a jackass named Vernon Howell emptied Ray’s store out with his suck-ass guitar playing….
Tagged ,

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Shorter and Sweeter edition

OK, people – stepping up to the plate here while Adrastos recovers mentally from the horrible event that brought the Mardi Gras parade to a premature end….

I now present – THE SHORTEST THREAD IN THE HISTORY OF FREE REPUBLIC!

Finally – FINALLY – they found some health care fraud.

Former Michigan Health Care Consultant Pleads Guilty to Fraud and Tax Evasion Used Faked Credentials to Obtain More than $1.4 Million, and Did Not Pay Taxes
justice.gov ^ | February 18, 2020 | DOJ

Posted on 2/19/2020, 11:33:27 AM by ransomnote

A former health care consultant pleaded guilty today to mail fraud and tax evasion relating to her scheme to be employed under false pretenses as a highly paid health care consultant, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Sonja Emery, using several aliases including “Sonja Lee Robinson,” “Sonjalee Emery-Robinson,” and “Sonjalee Emery,” resided in Georgia, New Jersey, New York, and California.  From 2011 through 2018, Emery falsely represented her professional status, educational background, and work experience to secure and maintain highly paid consulting positions in the health-care industry. She falsely claimed to have a nursing diploma from a school she never attended.  She also falsely claimed to be a Registered Nurse licensed in New York, Georgia, Connecticut, and California and provided employers with licensure numbers that belonged to other people. In fact she never was a Registered Nurse.  Emery also falsely told employers she had a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Master of Health Administration, a Master in Business Administration, and a Doctor of Philosophy from Emory University and New York University, but Emery never attended those schools or received these degrees.

As a result of these lies, from 2012 through 2018, Emery secured high-level health-care positions.  She worked as a Senior Vice President for an Ann Arbor, Michigan healthcare consulting firm earning an annual salary of approximately $285,000; as a consultant for a community health system in Wisconsin earning approximately $267,000; and as a health care consultant for a Massachusetts company that paid her approximately $226,000.  From 2015 until her arrest in May of 2018, Emery worked as a senior executive for a county government health services agency in California that paid her a total of approximately $960,000.

During these years, Emery either did not file or late-filed tax returns, despite owing more than $400,000 in taxes.  She sought to avoid being detected by providing employers with different names and false social security numbers, by falsely instructing employers that she was “exempt” from taxes, and by supplying an employer with an identification number that did not belong to her.

U.S. District Judge Linda V. Parker scheduled sentencing for June 17, 2020.  At sentencing, Emery faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for mail fraud and five years in prison for tax evasion. Emery also faces a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties.

1 posted on 2/19/2020, 11:33:28 AM by ransomnote

Responses, Freepers?

CricketsCan

 

Zilch.

Nada.

Nothing.

Not.  One.  Single.  Reply.

As for myself, due to my Neurosurgeon refusing to do my spinal surgery without an OK from my Cardiologist, and my Cardiologist not being able to schedule a nuclear stress test until after my scheduled surgery date of February 13th, my laminectomy/discectomy/foramina-whatever-ectomy, has now been rescheduled for March 6th.

A week after that, I should be back in the saddle (able to sit at my chair in front of the PC for more than 15 minutes) again. and looking forward to ploughing through the Freeperati backlog and picking only choicest juicy chunks of fresh Freeper ram’s bladder, emptied, steamed, flavored with sesame seeds whipped into a fondue and garnished with lark’s vomit.

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – short and sweet edition

Ok, people – going to be MIA for at least a couple of weeks. Pre-op meeting this morning, and my back surgery is the 13th. It should go well – my neurosurgeon is probably the best in the DFW area, and we have some good ones here.

I was able to sit in front of the computer long enough to look at this, though (in a thread about JZ and Beyonce sitting during the national anthem) :

To: chris37

 

Wonder what they thought when Jennifer Lopez whipped out a flag for her dance routine.

9 posted on 2/2/2020, 8:35:56 PM by Engedi (ui)

Wait for it…

To: Engedi

 

It looked like a Puerto Rican flag. Can’t be sure.

11 posted on 2/2/2020, 8:38:06 PM by trublu

To: trublu

 

Yes, it was a Puerto Rican flag.

17 posted on 2/2/2020, 8:40:19 PM by Blue Highway

Followed by a Trump commercial for Bounty paper towels?
To: Blue Highway

 

Disgusting and half their songs were sung in Spanish. This happens to be America and America’s sport is football. The whole show was disgusting. I thought women weren’t supposed to objectify themselves these days.

42 posted on 2/2/2020, 9:04:56 PM by dandiegirl (BOBBY)

No, you idiot – MEN aren’t supposed to be objectifying them.
.
Anyway, back to horizontal world for me.
.
See everyone in two or three weeks.
.
Meanwhile:
.
BackPainMeme
BackPainMeme2
And, my fave :
.
BackPainMeme4 (2)
Tagged , , , , , , ,