Tag Archives: Random Ruminations

Today on Tommy T’s obsession with random ruminations – “You rang?” edition

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 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 – Hot Mix in the Summertime edition

One more dip into Wacoville, I think

Before I left for Dallas, my day job (for the City Of Waco Street Department) was driving/operating 20-ton dump trucks, asphalt rollers, and front-end loaders so big I had to climb a 10-rung ladder to get into them.

Obviously I had my commercial license, and my usual job was to hook up the asphalt roller behind the dump truck, load three workers into the cab, and go to the asphalt plant, where the truck would be filled with hot mix (asphalt).  After that, I’d drive to the designated location, let the panels on each side of the truck down, and follow behind on the roller while two of my co-workers dug their shovels into the hot mix on each side, and filled the potholes – the other co-worker drove the truck slowly forward.  As the asphalt cooled, it stuck together and hardened, usually leaving a large triangular pile against the front of the bed. (where it was hardest to reach with the shovels)  Usually, I would release the rear tailgate (which was hinged at the top of the bed), disconnect the adjustable release chains at the bottom, and drive forward slowly, with the bed raising, until the sticky lump at the front of the bed would come unstuck, and slide to the ground.

Simple, no? Until one day, a rookie driver didn’t get rid of the cooling lump, and by the time he got back to the equipment yard, it had solidified into an immovable chunk.

The driver thought he could loosen the chunk by racing backward with the bed lift engaged, and then hitting the brakes. He did this three times without dislodging the chunk.

On the fourth time, the chunk dislodged and slid down the bed to the rear tailgate. Unfortunately, he had neglected to undo the chains on the bottom of the tailgate, locking it closed, and the chunk hit hard.

The front of the truck went high into the air, leaving the driver pretty high off the ground. It stayed there. He began to panic. And then –

The tailgate broke loose.

The truck cab slammed down onto the ground,  bounced up about 10 feet, then fell again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Four times.

We could see him bouncing off the roof of the cab each time. It looked like something that would happen to Wile E. Coyote. He had been wearing his hard hat, and wasn’t injured, just a little stunned.

He looked at the group of us that had been watching, and we were all laughing hysterically.

Here’s a look at what happens when you’re not watching lour load distribution :

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Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with Random Ruminations – “Missed opportunities” edition

After I moved from Waco to Dallas, I still returned from time to time to see my family.
And I always made a stop at Ray Hennig’s Heart Of Texas Music.

Before Ray moved to Austin and got famous for selling Stevie Ray Vaughn his famous Stratocaster, he was famous in Waco for his ingenious sales technique.

At any other music shop in Waco, if you asked to try something out, you got the stinkeye, an unspoken question of “Are you going to buy this?”, and a grudging “ok”, followed by an admonition to not play it so loud.

At Ray’s, it was different. He encouraged you to crank it up, even if he knew that he wasn’t going to make a sale that day.

Actually, because of his friendly approach to local musicians, he made a LOT of sales, eventually running two of the three Waco music shops out of business. Everything I own, with the exception of a couple of basses and a keyboard, came from there.

Ray’s was where local musicians came to hang out and talk as well. Hell, when the increase in his business led to his leasing the space next door and knocking a big hole in the wall to cojoin the two, he actually put a big couch and easy chair in there so we could gather in comfort.

Anyway, this led to a lot of local musicians hanging out there, and there were quite a few on the day I went by there in 1990.

We were all talking and catching up (everyone there wanted to know how I had fared so far in Dallas) when a gangly dude plugged a guitar into a 100-watt Marshall and started playing.


REALLY badly.

“Smoke On The Water” intro badly.

“Sunshine Of Your Love” chords badly.

He was out of tune, couldn’t determine what key he was playing in – at around 110db – you get the picture.

In 5 minutes, he had emptied out Ray Hennig’s.


We all headed for a local warehouse where a lot of locals rehearsed, to escape.

I walked past this tone-deaf moron on the way out, and he had the nerve to smile a smirky smile at me.

I found out later on that his name was Vernon Howell.

Yeah – THAT Vernon Howell.

If I’d known then what I know now, I could have crushed his windpipe and killed him.

I would have done possibly 6 years for manslaughter, and all of those men, women, and (especially) children would still be alive.

Missed opportunities…….


This is (was) Ray –


And this is (was) Vernon Howell –



Burn in hell, Vernon.


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Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with Random Ruminations – “That’s a sweet burnstein” edition

From a long time ago –

I was going through My Documents and found this ode to a long-forgotten Free Republic poster Kevin Krepko, done to the tune of “Officer Krupke” from West Side Story (back when Republicans HATED Russians).


Deeeeeear Kindly Kevin Krepko

Give me a fuckin break;

Right-wingers are a nuisance;

And always on the take;

They’re screaming “communism”

But don’t know what it means;

Leapin lizards, you got crummy genes!


(You got genes, you got genes, you got crummy genes,

You’re a dummy from your crummy genes!)


Deeeeeear Kindly Komrade Krepko;

I’ll tell you once again

That ACORN quit existing

In two thousand and ten

If you can’t understand that;

You’re just a fucking hack;

I have reas’ning powers that you lack!


(you’re a hack, you’re a hack, you’re a fuck-ing hack

reas’ning power’s what you surely lack!)


Deeeeeear crazy Pubbie Krepko;

You must clean out your head

You fret about “the other”

And commies under your bed

With Glen Beck and Dead Breitbart

You don’t know what to think;

Cognitively challenged, you just stink!



(He don’t know, he don’t know. Cause they told him so;

Cog-nitively challenged, you just stink!)

The problem is he’s greedy!

The problem is he’s sick!

The problem is he’s heartless!

The problem is his prick!

The problem is Rush Limbaugh!

The problem is Ron Paul!

Jeepers – they’ve made suckers of you all!

(slow chorus)
Dear wingnut Kev Krepko

Don’t jack with me please;

You’re proof that some have never

Come down from the trees!

At a rolling doughnut

Take a flying screw –

Gee, wingnut Kev Krepko –

Krep You!


Here’s the original in case you want to do a sing-along :




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Today on Tommy T’s obsession with Random Ruminations – guest post edition

Doing something a little different today and posting something that I didn’t write.

The morons currently trying to run Texas into the ground have now made it law that all you need to carry a concealed handgun is the money to buy one, which prompted this post.

I am a gun owner myself, have no wish to carry my Glock21 anywhere, and agree with every single word below from Leonidas Christian Mixon.


“We have a gun problem and a bullshit problem in the United States. Let me start by saying I am a gun owner. I have been since I was 6. I’ve had jobs that required me to carry a weapon. I’ve been shot at more than once. I’ve disarmed people who were trying to kill me. This isn’t coming from someone who doesn’t understand guns. It’s precisely because I do understand them that I’m going to call out the bullshit that stops us from having the reforms to gun laws that we needed years ago. If you want to debate any of the points below, I have no problem. These are simple facts.

1) I need an assault rifle for home defense.  No, you don’t. A short barreled shotgun is the best tool for home defense. And that only counts if you’re insanely proficient with it and you get incredibly lucky. The likelihood you will get the chance to use it is next to zero. If you do, you’re very likely to kill a member of your family accidentally. In a REAL altercation, you don’t get to choose your field of fire. It happens incredibly fast, usually in the dark. If you’re popping off with a rifle, you are going to hit things you don’t intend to. Guns are tools. Period. Assault Rifles are intended to be used on a battlefield. Battlefield tactics don’t work in your house. It’s a bullshit argument.

2) I need to protect myself from a tyrannical Government…  Holy Shit that’s stupid. That idea was from a time when the state of war was much more level. It isn’t now. At all. If an armored transport shows up on your front lawn with a 50 cal on the roof, you and your AK are fucking toast. Soldiers train, and their weapons are an extension of their body. You will instantly lose. And before you bring up guerrilla fighters in Afghanistan or Iraq… you need a reality check. Those people were born in a country that was at war, on their soil, for their entire lives. You don’t compare to that on your best day. And they die in FAR greater numbers than they kill.

3) Gun registration, background checks, etc are a slippery slope to confiscation.  Bullshit. We register cars. We have to prove proficiency to operate them. We are required to have insurance in the event we cause damage with them. It’s been that way for decades, and no one is “coming to take your car”. Making sure people have the barest minimum of responsibility doesn’t lead to loss. Fear of loss leads to fundraising and bullshit. It’s not rational.

4) My gun is a right that can’t be modified. Again, utter bullshit. You can’t own a howitzer unless the barrel is full of concrete. You can’t own a cannon manufactured in the last century. You can’t own a fully automatic weapon without a FFL. That’s why those things are rarely used in crimes. And all of that is based on an amendment to our constitution that can be changed if we as a country see fit to do so. We have changed amendments before and we will again. If you don’t understand that you need a history lesson and a dictionary.

Creating common sense laws that put speed bumps in the way of lunatics helps. Every time. Automobile licenses, speed limits, etc don’t end accidents, but they make them less frequent and less deadly. It’s a proven concept. The time for bullshit excuses is over. It’s time to step up and take responsibility. Fuck this stupidity.”

Leonidas Christian Mixon


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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?
(edited to add)
I wrote the above last Tuesday.
On Thursday, this hit the news :

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.”



Imagine that.

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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.




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!


Continue reading

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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



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 – “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.


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.
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




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.

This is why I have double the wattage and speaker capacity most people would consider adequate.



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 –

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


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.
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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Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with Random Ruminations – Ellison Wonderland edition

This week’s Random Rumination comes from Harlan Ellison :


From Harlan Ellison, responding to a discouraged police officer :

I know damned well there are (good) cops like you. I’ve met a few; and they always wind up like Serpico,brokenhearted or bust-headed. Because police these days aren’t like police when I was a kid in Painesville, Ohio in the Forties.

Friend of mine, a lieutenant of homicide, got a
trifle bombed one night, sitting around rapping with
me, and he let slip one of the most scary things
I’ve ever heard. He said :

“Harlan, it used to be,when a cop said ‘them or us’ he meant us were the good people, the cops and the decent citizens and the responsible business community, anybody on the side of Law and Order, the way it used to be in those Frank Capra films.

Them meant bank robbers, homicidal maniacs, rapists,
guys who torched their own stores for the insurance,
murderers, all the kooks.

Things’ve changed so much,these days when we say ‘them or us’ we mean anybody with a badge is us . . . all the rest of you are them.”


He wrote this in 1975.


(yes, I know I blogged this here in 2014, but it bears repeating)

I may be late reading comments.

  1. It’s my Birthday
  2. I’m on my way to Terlingua / Big Bend National Park
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Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with Random Ruminations – “A modest proposal” edition

Nuclear fearmongering, and a modest proposal

I’ve seen 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. Every fission product (and byproduct) has a fingerprint that is unique, and shows EXACTLY where it was mined.

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

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 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.

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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.


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