Archive for the mental chex mix Category

Dusting Off the Mental Chex Mix

Posted in mental chex mix on June 8, 2013 by tom
  • I apologize for having been a neglectful blogger here in The Tom Zone. I’ve been reading a ton of books, and reviewing them on my dedicated book and movie review blog, booksandmoviesandcrap.com
  • I realized the other day, when I was submitting my blog URL to a publisher whose book I’d just reviewed, that “Books and Movies and Crap” lacks a certain gravitas. It sounds like some douchebag who doesn’t take this especially seriously put together a dumb blog with his dumb book and movie reviews.
  • Thus, acquiescing to the voices inside my head, I changed the title to the much more stately, “St. Petersburg Book and Film Review.”
  • Within a couple days, I heard from three authors who thought “Books and Movies and Crap” was a hysterical name for a blog. Two of them were before I made the change. The one after copied a large portion of my review to her website, and commented that the name of the blog was “St. Petersburg Book and Film Review.” “BUT,” she added, “Check out the URL. It’s the hilarious “books and movies and crap.com.”
  • I did some soul-searching, realized that I truly AM some douchebag who doesn’t take this especially seriously, and changed the title back.
  • I’ll just let my reviews—which are literate and intelligent—speak for themselves.
  • If this particular Chex Mix looks different from usual, it’s because I’m writing it in the brand spanking new Word 2013! Woo-hoo!
  • I purchased this, because the new Super Ultra Hewlett-Packard-Ferrari Quad-Turbo Mega-Sport XL Six-Gajillion SS (also known as, “my new laptop”) runs the brand spanking new Windows 8 Operating System.
  • Windows 8 has proved a bafflement to many users. It has a tile display, much like a smart phone, and one doesn’t so much “buy software” as “download apps,” again, like a smart phone.
  • Windows 8 is really easy, as long as you know this little trick: one of the colorful tiles is emblazoned “Desktop.” Click on that. It takes you to a screen that looks and functions like the same Windows page Jesus used back when He had to write papers for his “Intro to the New Testament” class.
  • That must have been easy: “I was born, and some magi brought me gold, frankincense, and myrrh: shit no baby could possibly use. The End.”
  • I bet He’d want to continue, though it was outside the assignment parameters.
  • “Seriously, Magi: would it have killed you to bring a couple more teats for me to suckle? Maintaining this halo takes a lot of energy, and since my mom is like 13, she could use the help. Also, I’m leading my Little League team in batting average and doubles, and—naturally—I haven’t made an error all season. I totes OWN third base, just like this guy who’ll play for the Baltimore Orioles in about 1960 years, named Brooks Robinson. That guy’s like a Hoover Vacuum at The Hot Corner. Right. Okay, the Hoover will replace beating as the best way to clean carp—know what? Let’s move on. SO I’m kicking ass on my baseball team, making good grades, and I think this hot girl named Mary has a crush on me. We were making out behind Zacharia ben-Affleck’s falafel stand, and she let me touch her boob. Suh-weet! Now I know why Dad made them. Also, Uncle Baruch said he’ll give me one of these special donkeys imported from Italy on my sixteenth birthday: it’s a Lamborghini Burro. It’s supposed to leave all these crappy other donkeys in the dust. I’ll be valedictorian of my high school class, then I’ll be king of the after-party when I start turning Sprite into Tanqueray and tonic. I’ll get to third base with Mary M, and she’ll be itchin’ to get to home plate, but I didn’t bring a stupid condom. Also, if I bang her, it’ll wreck my plans to go to Nazareth Tech, and become a chemical engineer. That will be awesome. If I pwn it like I know I will, I could be a Rhodes Scholar. I could use a year in England. All this sunshine is nice, but damn, a little rain would be nice. So, I’m going to do all this stuff, and not one BIT of it will end up in the New Testament. I have all these big plans, and they’ll just blow it all off, just for some me-damned Myrrh. Like anyone uses myrrh anymyrrh. Get it?? I’m sure they’ll leave out that I’m freakin’ hilarious too. Oh, wait. There’s My Father again. He has that “Things are not going to go as you planned” look He gets, like when I wanted to sleep over at Abdul’s house, but He said I couldn’t. Something about Abdul wearing “muslin?” Who the hell—HECK—knows anyway? Well, I’d better go see what He wants. He’ll probably send me off to carpentry school like some shop-class loser. I mean, that would suck, but really, how bad could His plan really be for Me, right???”
  • My apologies to you for forcing you to read that ridiculous diatribe next to the previous bullet point.
  • Also, sorry, Jesus, but I know you were grinning. ;-)
  • So where were we.
  • Oh, right! MS Word 2013!
  • So I’m using MS Word 2013, because that’s what you have to use with Windows 8. It’s exactly like previous versions of Word, except that absolutely nothing is where it’s ever been, and it’s nearly impossible to figure out. I’m going to need a tutorial.
  • Or an older machine.
  • I kid. I’m figuring this thing out slowly, and it’s a pretty top-shelf laptop. It has the quad-core Core i7 chip, and runs at about 3.something GHz. The graphics are brilliant, and noted audiologist, Dr. Dre, has personally engineered my laptop’s sound to my personal specifications using his BEATS protocol.
  • Since this is such a good laptop, it might make it to Thanksgiving before it’s obsolete.
  • Word 2013…good Lord. Words fail me. I tried to change fonts one day, and I jammed Tampa International’s air traffic control radar for seven hours.
  • OH! Which brings me to the point of why I’m writing this Mental Chex Mix in Word in the first place. Simple. My ISP (whose name starts with V and rhymes with “herizon”) apparently has cables made of delicate spun sugar. Thus, whenever it rains, I lose Internet Connectivity.
  • Normally, this would be a mild inconvenience—an annoyance, to be sure, but nothing insurmountable.
  • The problem is that I work from home. If my Interweb goes down, I can’t work. I get put on “tech leave,” which means I have the rest of the night off, however I don’t get paid. This…
  • FUCKING SUCKS! The past three nights, I’ve lost Interweb access. The first night, I’ll concede that we had a Tropical Storm. Last night was perfectly fine. Tonight, we had a hellacious band of thunderstorms move through.
  • This is Florida. In the summer, there’s a hellacious band of thunderstorms moving through EVERYDAMNDAY!
  • So, I’m having to change ISP’s, just because this has become ridiculous. I’ll call the cable company and have them hook me back up Monday. I can just see it now. Mr. Tech Guy will come out, connect wires or whatever, then tell me I’m all set, and ready for maximum Interweb reliability and speed…
  • “Oh, one thing. You’re not one of those dumbasses using Windows 8, are you?”
  • (sfx: tom’s head exploding)
  • Happy Saturday night. Or Monday afternoon. Or Flag Day, depending on when they get my damn service back up and running.

Post-Surgical Sunday Morning Mental Chex Mix, live from The Purple Zone (feat. The Hunger Games (2012))

Posted in Films 2012, mental chex mix on August 26, 2012 by tom

Ah, “The Hunger Games.”

Shit. Sorry.

Ah, “The Hunger Games.”

That’s better.

*- At its core, “The Hunger Games” is about people using what they have to survive, to make the best of their situations, no matter how bleak and foreboding, how hungry they are, or how they have a giant golf-ball-sized crater in their backs.

(This is an odd one. Get a beverage and prop up your feet.)

*- A real life example: a Hagrid-sized misanthrope notices a bump on his back a week ago. He slathers it every day and night with enough Neosporin to fill a small pond, yet after a week, it’s still there. Grown, in fact, and red. So, he…oh, who are we kidding, I ended up going to my doctor. (I have kind of a thing about infections, believe it or not ;-) ) My doctor said something to the effect of, “EEK! We must drain this immediately, or you’ll end up in the hospital this weekend.”

*- “NO,” I cried. “I will NOT go to the hospital with an infection this weekend! Fie. Fie on the damned hospital! Prithee, Dr M. I beg of thee, work thy magic. Defy these hellish portents, and spare me such a dreadful future!”

*- So, my doctor and his nurse stabbed me in the back with a syringe full of a  “numbing agent,” which seemed to have as much effect as simple tap water, numbing-wise.

*- Now that my back was just as sensitive as it was before being stabbed, the doctor proceeded to cut. And cut.

*- The incision was two feet long!

*- Sorry, INCHES. Two INCHES long, and it hurt like a sonofabitch.

*- The doctor then squeezed the abscess. And squeezed, and squeezed, and drained like a 5 gallon bucket of toxic death goo out of my back, as if he’d opened a spigot to hell’s septic tank.

*- Not even I could make this part up. My doctor actually said, “You know, I have to admit. Squeezing this thing? Squeezing out all this crap? It’s really very satisfying, like I’m actually doing something instead of just writing a prescription.”

*- “Glad I can help, doc.”

*- Okay, yuck. I apologize, and I accept that this pus-draining has nothing to do with “The Hunger Games.”

*- Except for one thing: I demanded pain meds. He said something about Vicodin, and I said, “No. OXYcodone. Hydrocodone makes my heart race.” (That’s true)

*- To be honest, the abscess didn’t really hurt until he started hacking on it. To be even more honest, it felt a hell of a lot better once he drained it. But I’m too damned old to be rewarded with a lollipop, so, I left the office with a crater-sized hole in my upper right back–a hole that had been stuffed like a Christmas goose, (only with gauze) and bandaged over–and a prescription for Percocet.

*- So, tonight, I picked up some supplies for the impending nasty weather, just in case. My dinner consisted of a ham sandwich, some M&M’s, about a gallon of water, and a respectable number of Percocets.

*- It was at this point that I popped in the DVD of “The Hunger Games.” (note: I loaded the DVD into the laptop’s optical drive. I did NOT ingest the DVD, no matter how pretty it was)

*- Ham sandwiches, water, and M&M’s are all pretty consistent, and a few Percocets probably weren’t going to make me feel worse–they might actually help my lower back stop aching. As far as the film, though?  I was prepared to be disappointed.

*- I was quite happily wrong.

Like 90% of literate humans, I read “The Hunger Games” trilogy, and thoroughly enjoyed it. The story was fresh and disturbing, with some wonderfully drawn characters. Writer-Director Gary Ross did an excellent job bringing this book to the big-screen. There was some controversy. Jennifer Lawrence, who plays the heroine Katniss Everdeen, is an actual woman, with curves and boobs and things, just like real women have. Many people thought Katniss should be a stick-figure. I’ll grant that Katniss in the book spent a lot of time hunting and bartering for food, but this doesn’t mean she can’t have curves and boobs and things. Hell, in the 90′s, Kate Moss shilled for perfume reflecting the super-rich life, and she has the figure of a coffee stirrer with two ant bites.

Jennifer Lawrence was a brilliant Katniss, in my opinion. Her face is beautifully expressive–she can convey a broad palette of emotions without speaking a word.

Katniss’s fellow tribute from District 12 is Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson). He’s a nice guy, very charismatic and warm, where Katniss comes off as more aloof.

If you don’t know the story, I’ll explain briefly: there are 12 districts. Once a year, each of them sends one young man and one young woman to participate in The Hunger Games. In The Hunger Games, the 24 tributes from all over Panem are pampered for a few days, then thrown into the “arena,” wherein they kill each other–or die from some sort of ookey “nature”–until there is one person left. The Hunger Games champion is rich, and just has to enjoy life and do publicity crap forever. In this particular Hunger Games, there’s a hitch: Peeta professes his love for Katniss. Blah-cubed, the rules are changed, so that they can both win, just because it’s better tv.

I’ll just hit  on a few observations, since I assume everyone has read the books, or at least knows what they’re about.

*-I liked the chemistry between Peeta and Katniss. The book had them faking it more. I know they weren’t really in love, but I liked how the movie didn’t obsess on this.

*- Stanley Tucci played Caesar Flickerman, the emcee/play-by-play announcer/TV host of The Hunger Games with tremendous flair. He’s good in everything, but I really liked him in this.

*- Woody Harrelson’s performance as District 12′s “mentor,” Haymitch Abernathy, was brilliant. This film was full of good performances. He easily blew everyone else away.

*- The film version of “The Hunger Games” showed us what happened behind the scenes–we got to see the game-master guy, and all the control room people, as they decided which obstacles to put where, and how to change the “arena” to crank up the action and sate the nutball viewership. The book didn’t touch this, since it was told from Katniss’s point-of-view (third-person, limited omniscient, if I recall)

*- I also remember reading of controversy surrounding the casting of Rue, the young, tiny tribute from District 11 or something. Amandla Stenberg played Rue. Ms Stenberg is Half African-American and half Danish. Some people were freaking because the book Rue was not designated as a person of color. These complaining people can just bite me. Amandla Stenberg is lovely, and was a fine Rue. Plus, her first name is A) the Zulu word for “power”; B) a lovely name, and C) the title of a really good Miles Davis cd. Yay, Rue.

*- Half-Jewish/half-African-American Lenny Kravitz played Katniss’s image consultant, Cinna. Lenny Kravitz is an awesome musician and songwriter, and he did a nice job acting in this film.

*- Holy shit, this hole in my back really itches. It could be the tape. It could be that it’s healing. Either way, I want it to stop itching. However, I can’t do anything till Tuesday. Because voices carry.

*- No, I mean because that’s when I go back to my doctor, and he unpacks the crater, and examines it to make sure it’s done producing satan-pus, and that I’m not going to die.

*- In a perfect world, I’d be able to have an orchid growing out of the crater.

*- Hell, there may be an orchid growing back there. I’m not allowed to take a shower till this is unpacked Tuesday.

*- “The Hunger Games” is one of those books that features so much detail, and so many thoughts inside the protagonist’s head, that it is difficult to do it justice in a film. Kudos to Gary Ross for his excellent, loving treatment of a book so many people love.

*- I really like Donald Sutherland (Donald Sutherland is one of the whitest people ever). In The Afterlife, I hope I’ll be given access to a special film lab, where I can go in and substitute Donald Sutherland for any actor in any film. For example, I could replace, say, Richard Widmark in “Judgment at Nuremberg” with Donald Sutherland. Or see how he would do as Louis in “Casablanca,” trading barbs with Bogie.

*- The BEST, though, would be to substitute Donald Sutherland for Kevin Costner in “JFK,” meaning that Donald Sutherland would fly off to DC to meet up with Donald Sutherland! How cool would THAT be???!!!

*- My sandwich is gone. My water has been drunk, and my M&M’s savored. The pain meds knocked out the pain in my back, and left me sufficiently comfortable to enjoy the film.

*- “The Hunger Games” is not going to change the world–either in book or in movie form. Very few films do that.

*- However, I found “The Hunger Games” to be highly entertaining. It’s not cheery or upbeat, to be sure, but it is a well done film, well acted and paced so that it never bogged down.

*- I’m far from District 12. The only district that matters to me this morning is that I live in “District A,” the Purple Zone if you’re looking at your Pinellas County Evacuation chart. Hurricane Isaac is out in the Gulf. If it gets stronger and jogs this way, mine is the first zone to be evacuated. This is reality; “The Hunger Games” is just a lovely piece of fiction.

*- How pleasant, though, that I can lie here in District A, and watch people from Districts 1 through 12 battle it out, while I enjoy a ham sandwich from the “Deli District” at my 24 hour grocery store, and augment that with a couple of pills from the “Control Class II” district of my favorite Walgreen’s.

*- It’s ever-so-lovely when people, food, entertainment, and medications can join together–regardless of race, creed, or district–and entertain the crap out of me for a few hours.

Grades:

“The Hunger Games”: B+

“Ham & Swiss Sub”: A-

“M&M’s (Plain)”: B

Water: H20

Percocet: A

Happy Sunday from The Purple Zone.

Oh,Nutella! Saturday Mental Chex Mix

Posted in mental chex mix on February 11, 2012 by tom

*- One thing I hate is having to read signals, to discern whether “Of COURSE you can go out with your friends” really means “Don’t you DARE go out with your friends!”

*- This is why I like direct things, like Nutella.

*- Sunday was World Nutella Day. I trust you celebrated appropriately.

*- Nutella is awesome, with over 50 HAZELNUTS PER JAR!

*- When The Universe created hazelnuts, they weren’t quite right. Nor was cocoa.

*- I mean, how could anyone carry 50 hazelnuts, not to mention cocoa?

*- It took Canadian brilliance to mush them all together and put the resultant awesome sauce into jars.

*- Nutella doesn’t play games.

*- Nutella gives you a suggestion on how to work it into a balanced breakfast: “A glass of skim milk, orange juice, and Nutella on whole wheat bread.”

*- Best of all, right on the label, it commands, “DO NOT REFRIGERATE OR MICROWAVE.”

*- There’s none of this, “Please” or “It would be best if you didn’t,” or “We recommend…” Not for Nutella.

*- And neither for Laurence Fishburne.

*- LurkerType mentioned “Event Horizon,” specifically that Sam Neill does a great job of going nuts.

*- Lo and behold, it was in the $5 bin at my Wal-Mart. I put it in my cart, along with my jar of Nutella.

*- Laurence Fishburne is one of my favorite actors. His face, voice, and bearing just scream, “DO NOT REFRIGERATE OR MICROWAVE, OR OTHERWISE DICK WITH ME.”

*- Laurence Fishburne is captain of the Lewis & Clark, a rescue ship sent to Neptune to rescue any survivors of the Event Horizon.

*- The Event Horizon is basically a portal to hell, designed by Sam Neill, in order to see people tortured and eaten. Or something like that.

*- The important thing is that Sam Neill goes nuts, claws out his eyes, then everyone starts seeing loved ones who aren’t there.

*- But no matter what happens, Laurence Fishburne is steady and calm, even when standing in the gateway to hell or defying physics.

*- I love this movie. It’s not good, but it’s fun.

*- And when Sam Neill is trying to save his demonic portal ship, Laurence Fishburne doesn’t gently try to soothe the crazy guy. He cuts loose with, “FUCK THIS SHIP!”

*- And in the end, Laurence Fishburne closes the portal to hell.

*- Sam Neill-demon screams, and Laurence Fishburne bellows, as the final explosions start, “I SAID DO NOT MICROWAVE OR REFRIGERATE, YOU DEMONIC M**HERFUCKER,” and eats one last spoonful of a certain hazelnut & cocoa spread.

*- And that’s why I love Nutella, because Laurence Fishburne died for it, and he staved off Hell in the process.

*- No damn way peanut butter could do that.

*- Happy Saturday

Limping Along: Saturday Morning Mental Chex Mix

Posted in mental chex mix, Uncategorized on October 15, 2011 by tom

*- On behalf of everyone who has had the fluey thing that’s gone around, I would like to send this to the virus disseminators: F*** **U!

*-The thing was misery on toast points, took a break, then came back for an encore.

*- That’s great in a rock band, but I’ve never had a virus that left me wanting more.

*- If I ran things, i’d balance out the virus game. For every herpes, cold, or flu, i’d drop in a virus that suddenly increased muscle tone and caused weight loss. Or one that caused one to be temporarily irresistable to the opposite sex.

*- If that happened, I wonder if we would have “Get Worse Soon” cards, or wish our friends a speedy return to normalcy.

*- We might not send cards with that sentiment, but Schadenfreude would run rampant. “Bob’s running around all buff, banging that Hooter’s girl who finds him irresistable. I hope his antibodies kick-in quickly, and his pecker falls off!”

*- I’d also want viruses that caused spontaneous loss of limbs, or projectile lactation.

*- That would be rare. Then again, I had a really rare disease, so i’d be one of those poor bastards whose arms fall off while taking a leak.

*- Also, if I ran things, i’d carry the Catholic, pre-Vatican 2 Friday fish thing a step or two further. There would be a whole schedule of foods with designated times for their consumption.

*- I’m okay with mandatory grouper sandwiches on Fridays (clam chowder recommended, but not mandated). I’d have mandatory chicken wings on autumn and early winter Sunday afternoons, mandatory key lime pie certain days during Summer, and a minimum candy cane requirement during Christmas.

*- If I were placed in charge of Catholicism, i’d be a bastard, like a Medici Pope: foods consumed during Christmas would have one-third their usual caloric content. During Lent?

*- Yup: three times as many. “I said FAST, YOU BASTARDS!!”

*- Also, I would have a really awesome nutrient that could only be found in certain foods of the “ice cream” family. Brocolli? Bupkes.

*- Butter Pecan ice cream? A huuuuuge source of Tomium. Gelato, tofutti, frozen yogurt, sherbets, and Italian ices would have decent levels, but nothing like full-bore ice cream.

*- It’s a good thing I’m not in charge of things. If I couldn’t answer “why are my boobs different sizes?” Then i’d have no chance at “Why do bad things happen to good people?”

*- Lieb Vaterland magst ruhig sein.
Lieb Vaterland magst ruhig sein.
Fest steht und treu die Wacht, die Wacht am Rhein.
Fest steht und treu die Wacht, die Wacht am Rhein.

*- Sorry. I went to give Wind his nightly treat, and a table full of 1942 Nazis got hold of the DorkFone.

*- The poor DorkFone. I don’t know how much longer it will survive. It’s now missing half of the keypad buttons. Also, it has developed this overexcitability, like a demon-possessed puppy. I’ll be trying to do something, and suddenly, the screen will flash, it’ll freeze up, then piddle on the floor.

*-  C’est la vie.

*- Major Strasser has been shot; Ilsa and Laszlo are en route to Lisbon, and Louie and Rick are BFF’s in subterfuge.

*- All is right with the world. (I just hope everyone’s boobs are where they’re supposed to be). Have a great weekend.

Tweets, Teats, and Riboflavin: Monday Evening Mental Chex Mix

Posted in mental chex mix on July 19, 2011 by tom

*- Where the hell has 2011 gone? We’re beyond the halfway point through July? Gah.
*- This has been an odd year.
*- Quite honestly, I don’t remember much of it, due to stabbyfeet medcoma.
*- It’s like this: blurrrrrrrrrrrrrDINNER WITH NOTED CANADIAN, CUPCAKEIST AND AUTHOR, LAURIE!!!blurrrrrrrrrrrrr
*- Dinner with Laurie was during Spring Training (March 1st-ish?). We just finished the All-Star Break. Sheesh.
*- I love Laurie, because she credits my Mental Chex Mix as being examples of “lateral thinking,” as opposed to the more apt “squirrelly dumb stuff with no linear thought process.”
*- A couple weeks ago, I went to my doctor, and explained that we needed change my meds completely, because I was just not having any quality of life.
*- Specifically, I felt like I’d had a ridiculously severe hangover for eight months, without the benefit of getting flat-out shiftfaced every night.
*- We changed meds, and by damn, I suddenly woke up awake one day.
*- That’s an appalling sentence–I suddenly woke up awake one day–but it’s absolutely the truth.
*- Anyway, It’s been an interesting two weeks.
*- For some reason, my sandbar is only in the news for really crappy things, like providing the Casey Anthony Trial jurors.
*- Please, don’t blame my sandbar for her. It was the bonehead prosecutors. One of the newspapers interviewed one of the jurors, and he said, “We were just hoping and praying the prosecutor would prove the case. She did it. The prosecutor just didn’t prove it enough.” (Well, something like that.)
*- We also had Terry Schiavo back in 2005. Holy crap, that was a nightmare.
*- Then, back in 1996, we had massive race riots downtown, sparked after a white cop shot a black teen who was about to run him over.
*- QUIZ: The most lasting effect of these riots is which of the following:
A) A new era of racial understanding, where everybody loves one another
B) The rejuvenation of the damaged areas, and a new sense of community spirit
C) A respectful sense of cooperation between minority residents and police officers, or
D) Due to looking dorky on CNN, our local gendarmes are no longer allowed to wear shorts on patrol.

*- The answer is D, sadly. I think they’re crankier because of the long uniform pants.
*- The word “riboflavin” sounds like it should be more fun than it really is.
*- I do not mean to disparage “riboflavin,” not by the longest shot.
*- In fact, I have a deep and abiding respect for riboflavin. Riboflavin does all sorts of beneficial body health crap, which is fine.
*- However, riboflavin is the ONLY vitamin that causes ones pee to turn the color of watered-down Mountain Dew.
*- Hooray, riboflavin!
*- Still, it sounds like a ride at Busch Gardens. “We rode Kumba, the Python, and this new rollercoaster, the Riboflavin! It was so scary, I peed fluorescent yellow-green for hours!”
*- Whenever I can, I use the word “fluorescent,” simply because it took me decades to remember how to spell it correctly.
*- Which brings me to Twitter. I hated Twitter with a hot passion, until my friend Amily made me sign-up for it. It’s fascinating in a strange way. There’s a bot that you can follow, and anytime you put (sp?) after a word, it will tweet you back with the correct spelling. OR it will compliment you on having spelled the word correctly.
*- Plus, it was nice when Rosanne Cash wished me a happy birthday, and surreal when I found myself discussing Bob Dylan’s genius with Peter Fonda.
*- What happened was that Peter Fonda tweeted an obscure quote from “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go.” I tweeted a reply that that whole album, “Blood on the Tracks,” could be the perfect album, certainly in the top ten. Well, a day later, he replied, then we went back and forth for a truly fluorescent half hour.
*- I’ve been on an Audrey Hepburn kick recently. My local Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market has a bunch of Audrey Hepburn dvd’s for $5 each.
*- This “kick” really means that I bought “Roman Holiday” and watched it four times, then bought “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” and watched it once.
*- If you’ve never seen “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, and Buddy Ebsen are all spectacular. Then…
*- Then there’s Mickey Rooney, playing a Japanese neighbor.
*- This is not Mickey Rooney showing amazing Method skills, like those that transformed 40-something Brando into an old Italian guy.
*- This is an unfunny, incredibly racist, sterotype performance, complete with ginormous buckteeth, bad makeup, and this grating “Miss Go-right-ry” accent thing.
*- “Teats” is a funny word, too. If a guy named Peter sold special winterized teats, Halloween candy, and upscale linens, the store could be “Pete’s Neat Sheets, Sleet Teats & Sweet Treats.”
*- The only time I’ve ever liked Mickey Rooney was when Dana Carvey impersonated him on SNL. He just seems like an arrogant little guy. I’ve never found him to be funny or talented, and it’s unseemly to me that he schtupped Judy Garland when she was his teenaged bride.
*- Really. That’s like the Yule Ball-hot Hermione ending up with Kreacher.
*- So we have this pleasant enough, beautifully acted romantic comedy, and then in the middle, there’s Mickey Rooney offending Asians.
*- Ask Laurie: I am the biggest, pastiest white guy in the world (from my toes to my teats ;)), and I was offended on behalf of Japan. Seriously. What a douchebag.
*- Then on top of that, we had people being spiteful toward the Japanese because they beat Team USA in the finals of the World Cup.
*- Good Lord, it’s just a game, and it’s not like Japan has had the easiest year.
*- Call me crazy, but I’d take having the #2 best women’s national quidditch team (or whatever the hell sport it is), and NO major earthquakes, tsunamis, and nuclear meltsdown, as opposed to Japan’s lot.
*- “Yay! We won a sporting event! We’re growing radioactive endemames, and our livestock glow like fluorescent riboflavin piss, but we did something impressive with a ball of some kind.”
*- “This recreational activty makes up for all the bad stuff…but we’re still pissed about that frakkin Mickey Rooney!”
*- I leave you with a photo of Princess in her Royal Cast. (Said cast is now gone, and Princess is back to, as Stacey put it, “normal 7 year old activities (in P’s case, running the world))
*- Perhaps coincidentally, the cast is the color of??????
*- Happy Tuesday.

(BTW, the correct answer was “one of those fluorescent highlighters.” What were you thinking? ;-) )

Cuatro de Mayo Mental Chex Mix

Posted in mental chex mix on May 4, 2011 by tom

image

*- That is Princess’ left wrist. Kindergarten can be quite dangerous, as can gravity.

*- The former explains why she was on the monkey bars. The latter is what led to her hasty reunion with the ground.

*- The doctors put her under and reset the break. Princess will be fine, thank God. 

*- Princess being Princess, she’s convinced that her nap was responsible, that she healed herself by her own powers.

*- If anyone could do that, it would be her.

*- My doctor has given me a new med to combat stabbyfeet med-coma. 

*- On their website, it mentions a possible side effect: “Sensing things that are not really there.”

*- How will I know? If I sense it, I’m likely going to believe it’s really there.

*- Further, in the medication guide that came with my pretty new pills, I was advised to contact my doctor if taken with, “an exaggerated sense of well-being.”

*- Now why the hell would I want to do that???

*- I wish I could control these side-effects, to use them as mental BLOCK buttons.

*- First to go? The tank-top and flip-flop guys.

*- Seriously, y’all.  If you are A) a male older than 9, and B) anywhere other than home, the beach, or playing basketball, lose the tank-top.

*- Flip-flops? Pretty much the same, except for the basketball playing.

*- Here on my sandbar, when the weather first gets hot, the flip-flop-tank-top guys crawl out from their thatched undergrowth lairs, and walk the sidewalks between 7-Elevens. They never rest, wandering to and fro until November, when cool weather drives their leathery carcasses back underground.

*- It kind of scares me that my first thought upon seeing Princess’ x-ray was, “Good Lord, she broke the crap out of her left radius.”

*- Once upon a time, my life’s mission was to be an orthopedic surgeon.

*- I found that I had more of a love for reading and writing than I did for medicine, so I took a different path.

*- Otherwise, I might have been the orthopedic surgeon on call Monday night at Bayfront. I’d have seen the x-ray, ordered the anæsthesia, and reset the left arm of a feisty little girl I’d never met.

*- Life is full of odd little twists like that, little nodes where our potential life paths intersect. I am not an orthopedic surgeon. I knew how to read that x-ray, because 30 years ago, I broke the crap out of my right wrist, and everything on my x-ray was reversed from P’s.

*- I went on to break my left wrist and tear ligaments in my ankle before high school ended.

*- My brother went a little crazy being competitive. He blew out his rotator cuff and tore his ACL, both requiring surgery. So I chose to have Fournier’s Gangrene and almost die. He responded by having a massive back operation, but the wuss never almost died.

*- Nice try, little brother. ;)

*- I’m kidding, of course. It was never a competition.

*- We humans love competition. I’m probably the least competitive person on earth. I have an ego about certain things, of course, but that’s different.

*- I’ve been thinking about that after the events of this weekend. We started with the Royal Wedding®, had a million people attend a ceremony beatifying John Paul II, then Sunday, US troops killed Osama bin Laden.

*- I like Prince William, and Kate seems to be a good match for him. Like most people, I liked Princess Diana. I watched her wedding, and I watched her funeral: sad bookends at 4am.

*- I kind of like JP2 as well. I disagreed with some of his opinions, but I think he was a great guy.

*- I think Osama bin Laden was an evil shithead, and I’m not the least bit sad that a Navy SEAL shot him in the left eye.

*- I am sad the way some people have reacted, though, all puffed-up and growly. “Hah! Showed you!” “Don’t mess with us!” 

*- I haven’t forgotten 9/11, nor have I forgiven bin Laden. But I’ve moved on with my life. The guy was a rich thug who killed in God’s name and never built anything.

*- Hitler was an evil shithead, too, but at least he built roads and buildings, and turned around a nation.  

*- If bin Laden’s death brings closure to the 9/11 victims’ families, I’m glad for them.  It’s their right to feel that way. But hundreds of thousands of people have died, and trillions of dollars have been spent to get that $2 bullet into that particular evil shithead’s left eye.  

*- We got him, but I hope the mindless whoopers remember one thing: this guy eluded the most powerful nation on earth for nearly a decade.

*- I think about all those people who lost loved ones during this pursuit, both the thousands of American military, and the ungodly number of civilians. We got the KO in the end, but if the whole thing got judged on points?

*- That’s not my call.  I’m not God. For all I know, God appoints Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan to hash out these things (or Spencer Tracy and Frederic March, anyway). 

*- Life shouldn’t be a competition, and death certainly shouldn’t. We all come into this world, haul ourselves around through triumphs and failures, and then we die. Some live with a bit more panache, and some die with more dignity. It’s not a competition.

*- Which is good, because Princess’ fracture kicks my fracture’s ass.

*- Happy Wednesday.

Gimme a Dish of Mental Chex Mix, please Sascha, and a Double NyQuil: Lent in Casablanca, Night 10

Posted in Lent in Casablanca, mental chex mix on March 19, 2011 by tom

*- When the Universe issues a karma slap, it can be a doozy.

*- The other night, I spoke disparagingly about the 1983 Casablanca, starring David Soul of “Starskey and Hutch” fame. I didn’t say anything bad about Mr Soul especially, but tonight…

*- I’ve felt like absolute crap the past two days, sort of like I was catching the flu. This would piss me off severely, since I shelled out ten bucks for the damn flu shot a few months ago.

*- So my Friday dawned with me feeling especially poo-like, but I persevered in the name of a Free France! VIVE LE FRANCE!

*- Sorry. I’m on my tenth straight night watching Casablanca.

*- So I was trying everything to perk up and get myself to work. The radio played one of my favorite Oldies: The Drifters, “Under the Boardwalk.”

*- Hooray! I cranked it and sang along: “Under the boardwalk. Down by the–” *ACK PTHH*

*- It’s like I sprained my voice, namely that ligament connecting my voicebox to the center of my brain, that little, stupid bunch of ganglia that decided, “No PROBLEM! You can just switch to falsetto just like Ben E King for “Down by the SEEEEAAAA yeah.”

*- Stupid brain.

*- So I felt like my brain had been sprained, and I dragged myself through the day with a pronounced mental limp.

*- The limp was such that I actually dropped a Casablanca line apropos of nothing. My coworker, April, asked me, “Do you think we should send a mid-month e-mail?” Without missing a beat, I replied “I’m afraid Major Strasser would insist!”

*- Good Lord.

*- I went through a similar phase after I finished writing, directing, producing, editing, voicing three parts in the U-92 version of “A Christmas Carol.”

*- Every time anyone said, “It was a long night,” I had no choice but to reply “But it was ONLY a night. And it seemed strange, too, that while Scrooge remained unaltered in his outward form, the giant had grown older, clearly–” “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, SHUT UP!!”

*- One of the few complaints about Casablanca is Sam. I like Dooley Wilson, and the chemistry he shows with Rick is amazing.

*- However, in the name of Merlin’s most baggy y-fronts, he is the worst fake piano player ever. He does the same crap with his hands, independent of where the notes in the song go.

*- I’ve seen some monster keyboard wizards in my life: Bruce Hornsby was probably the most mind-blowing (this after he woodshedded for a couple years and became jaw-droppingly great). I’ve seen Joe Sample, Dave Brubeck, Dr John, and lots of spectacular unknowns in jazz clubs.

*- This guy would be my favorite: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjyrVL8bKOI&feature=youtube_gdata_player
*- That’s Keith Emerson, improvising.  His technique is amazing, but look at how beautifully this is photographed. You can see how quickly and accurately his fingers move.

*- Not so with Sam in Casablanca.

*- Know who’s a more believable pianist?

*- This guy.

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*- Oh, well. If I have just one complaint about a movie, that’s still pretty amazing.

*- I can only dread what karma slap awaits me for dissing Sam.

*- When I got into the USS Nimitz to come home, the radio played a keyboard intro to a song I hadn’t heard in decades. A song by a one-hit-wonder, whose day job was as an actor in a popular tv series.

*- Gods help me, and somebody give my soul the Heimlich, it was “Don’t Give Up on Us Baby,” a huge hit for David frakkin Soul.

*- Thank God my voice was on the DL, because if i’d started singing along with that one, my brain would’ve self-destructed con molto brio.

*- I’m afraid Major Strasser would insist.

*- Happy Weekend.

Non-Depressing Thursday Mental Chex Mix (fortified with PICTURES!)

Posted in mental chex mix on February 25, 2011 by tom
  • I was having a bad tom morning.  The stabby-feet meds were making me really groggy.  I woke up, popped two Vivarin, and slept another half-hour.  Even then, it was excruciating trying to get moving.  My hair hurt, for crying out loud. 
  • Anyway, I managed to drag-ass down to the USS Nimitz, fire up the engine, and begin grousing my way to work.
  • The radio saved me today. 
  • My mood improved 2500% between my home and The Job.  First was Sly & the Family Stone, “Dance to the Music.” I love this song. It’s a dumb oldie, but by God, anything with a Hammond B-3 and a horn section makes me smile.  After that, the station played Jimmy Buffet’s “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes.”
  • Ohhhh, yeah.
  • It’s not even that I especially like that song, but it reminded me of an interesting period in my life.
  • Back during the day, I used to frequent a little beer & wine pub called Gamble’s.  I’ve mentioned it a few times, once when I eulogized my buddy Tom B, who owned it.  Some nights, I’d go down there after work–maybe 5pm or so–then close the place down at 2am.  That’s a lot of beer.  By the end of the night, it was less intoxication than weariness that overtook us bar denizens.  Gamble’s’ jukebox had Jimmy Buffet’s Greatest Hits.  At some point, usually in the 1am hour, somebody would play “A Pirate Looks at 40″ and/or “Why Don’t We Get Drunk (and Screw)”.  Both of these songs were just perfect for that dark, lonely, bloated time of the night.
  • The point wasn’t that I was thinking, “Gosh! I want to get sick-drunk on draft beer, and risk catching anthrax from some drunk bar skank as desperate as I am,” but “Thank the LORD, that’s not me anymore.”
  • By the time I got to work, I felt okay. 
  • Probably the Vivarin kicking in.
  • Anyway, my Canadian recruitment is underway. 
  • First off, my dear Vox friend, Arbed, sent me a beaver a couple years ago after the Boston Squee Party:

 

  • I was scolded into hiding my beaver in the workplace, but I can still play with my beaver when nobody’s watching.
  • Also, my friend Emily has been trying to recruit me into Canadianism by filling me with love for the Toronto Maple Leafs.  While I haven’t watched any actual Leafs games, I love following them vicariously through her Tweets (ie, “FUCK YEAH LEAFS!!!”).  I have learned to distrust any Habs fans (Habs=Montreal Canadiens), and even to fly my Leafs colors proudly:

  • Laurie from that self-same Toronto is threatening to come to Tom County to watch Spring Training Baseball. We’ll see if that happens.
  • All I know is that a country with a giant central bacon depository is a country I could love.
  • As long as it’s not cold.  ;-)
  • I feel bad sometimes that I don’t share a lot of my important life things.  Yeah, I’ve talked about almost dying a few times, and stuff, but I don’t share important things.  Like my desk art:

  • Yes, that’s a printed out Natalie Dee cartoon, with blue Mardi Gras beads.  The caption is “I’m not a malcontent, I’m just perfectly happy hating everything.”
  • OH! My Work Wife and Work Daughter:

  • Kristin the work daughter is on the left; Christina the work wife is on the right.
  • There’s inside joke comedy involved in the glasses they’re wearing.  Y’all won’t get it, but it’s hilarious.
  • OH! And Ashley and T-Bone!
  • First, though, I need to point out a couple things.  I turned Ashley on to the wonders of ERDA Studios Winter Relief Emergency Hand Cream.
  • These are Ashley’s hands now, framing the lovely, still baking T-Bone:

  • Before ERDA Studios Hand Cream? Basher’s hands looked like this:

  • Well, they were a little dryer.  And a little less “rock & roll hall-of-fame/Keef-like”
  • Basher does have beautiful hands, though, like a hand model.
  • By “Basher,” I mean “Ashley,” not 80′s Rockabilly Revivalist Nick Lowe.
  • Ashley is one of my favorite coworkers, and she needed a nickname.  I was going to use “Smashley,” but I had a Vox friend named Smashley.  Then, all of a sudden, it dawned on me to call her “Basher,” since A) it has the “Ash” like “Ashley, and B) Ashley is feisty.
  • Plus, Basher & T-Bone sounds like a rock radio morning show.
  • Oh.  I apologize if I replied to your comment twice on “I Can’t Handle the Truth.”  For some reason, WP had my replies listed as “spam.”
  • I love Spam, but I can’t imagine lower-case-spamming myself.
  • At least not at my desk (if I can’t even display my beaver!) ;-)
  • Anyway, I hope you have a great weekend! I’m doing a bunch of overtime, but it’s okay, because A) the Oscars are on Sunday night; B) I’m no longer a depressing character from a Jimmy Buffet song, and C) the Leafs beat the Habs tonight.
  • FUCK YEAH LEAFS!!!!
  • (Pardon my language, but I’m studying for my Canadianism test)

Wednesday Night Mental Chex Mix (Now available in Shrimp Flavor)

Posted in mental chex mix on February 9, 2011 by tom

*- First off, kudos to the good folks who make Cat’s Pride Cat Litter.  I just changed the litter box. A bit later, Ana-Sofia Vargas began howling till I came running. She raised her left paw, and pointed to a tightly clumped glob of cat waste. Then she bowed.

*- Truly, she was proud. 

*- I’m amazed sometimes when I realize how much unsolicited information I have.

*- I went to The Infernal Store™ earlier, and I was shocked with how familiar I am with the place. I know where everything is. I know Barbara, one of the managers. I even have certain cashiers I like, and some I loathe.

*- Okay, loathe is a bit strong, but if I have the choice between being second in Kayla’s aisle or first in Tiffany’s…

*- I’ll be first in Tiffany’s. My goal is to get out of there with my provisions, and return to my command hut.

*- Still, Kayla is very nice. She occasionally has coupons hidden that she’ll use for me. She’s also tiny and freckled, and she could pass for 14, even though she’s 24, married, and just had her second child.

*- Also, with my Infernal Store™ Bonus Club swipey card, I have saved nearly $500!

*- That’s over 260 gallons of Diet Infernal Cola, or a couple thousand packs of Infernal Ramen™ (now available in shrimp flavor!)

*- All I can think of when I see shrimp flavored ramen is that they just dump Sea Monkey eggs into the MSG packet.

*- Poor Sea Monkeys. :-(

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*- Back in the Old Days, kids magazines sold Sea Monkeys. The picture showed little arms and legs, and faces, smiling at the gullible cartoon kids. It looked like not just hours, but perhaps years of fun. Your little sea monkey friend would be there all through your childhood and adolescence. He’d be there to console you through your first crush. He’d be your rock as your body suddenly sprouted hair in revolutionary new places.  Your sea monkey would help you with your homework, demurely avert his eyes when you masturbate, and share your hopes and dreams. When it came time for you to graduate, your mom could carry him in a baby food jar. His teary cheers would join in with “Pomp and Circumstance” to speed you on your way.  Then, one sad day, you’d be called home from college. Your sea monkey would be sprawled on his sea monkey bed, an IV in his tiny arm. You’d profess your love for each other, and the sea monkey would go gentle into that good night, his soul off to join smiling Sea Monkey Jesus and all the Sea Monkey Saints in Sea Monkey Heaven. And years later, when it’s your time, your Sea Monkey would be there waiting for you, when you cross the bar.

*- Um, yeah. They’re brine shrimp. They won’t smile and wave and have cocktail parties. They’ll just float through their days, until you get bored and flush them down the toilet.

*- Or add them to your ramen noodles.

*- I’m happy that I’ve saved $466.26 with my swipey card thing.  I’d be more impressed if they’d hand me $466.25 (they can keep the penny) next time I pop in for supplies.

*- Or if Kayla would come to my house and cook me dinner, or let me cook while she cleans the cat box.

*- Sea Monkeys were one way life teaches you lessons by beating you down. You send in your money order, and you wait 6 to 8 weeks for delivery, dreaming of how bad-ass it will be, how you’ll be like Poseidon over the Monkey People, and Tony Marachino will stop bullying you, and even Timmy the Retard will admire you.

*- They’re brine shrimp. Tony Marachino will still give you atomic wedgies, and Timmy will judge you “a loser” from behind his thick glasses.

*- Even Timmy knows they’re brine shrimp, and he sticks crayons up his nose. Jeez.

*- It’s like the star naming thing. “Name a star for your loved one. We’ll send you a certificate, put it in a book, and more.”

*- Send me $100, and I’ll name a whole damn constellation for you, and write you into a bad pulp fiction novella to boot. For an extra $50, I’ll let you use Kelly Vision’s jet (if she’s working in her lair)

*- What if that expanded? If we allowed history to be sponsored? “The Tostito’s Roman Empire,” or “The Black Plague, sponsored by NyQuil.”

*- With digital editing, how hard would it be to add a Coors logo to Allied B-17′s?

*- Or we could have adversarial sponsorship. How much would it be worth to Reebok and Puma to have all Hitlerian swastikas changed to Nike swooshes?

*- Oh, well. Enough about dashed hopes and false expectations.  It’s a cold night in Gomorrah. If nothing else, I know my Burt’s Bees lip balm is made with real beeswax.

*- and my ErdaStudios.com hand creme is made from real hands. ;)

*- I better run. Ana-Sofia Vargas and her valet, Wind, have sculpted a cat poo Sphinx they’re very proud of. 

*- For $50, I’ll let you name it. :P

*- Stay warm, and happy Wednesday.

Tuesday Evening Mental Chex Mix

Posted in mental chex mix on February 1, 2011 by tom

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*- I met my parents for dinner yesterday. We went to a lovely local diner featuring all-day breakfast.

*- I should mention that this makes sense for me, since I was just waking up at 4:30 in the afternoon.

*-My parents, bless them, just enjoy eating breakfast foods for dinner.

*- So I was sitting there, eating my lovely ham, mushroom, and Swiss cheese omelet, and I went to jelly-up my toast.

*- The restaurant manager ran over and knocked the jelly out of my hand.  “Can’t you READ?”

*- Sure enough, this little tub of jelly was “Grade A Fancy,” and I was wearing shorts and a Montana Grizzlies t-shirt.

*- The waitress brought a vat of “Grade C+ Sloppy-Casual” apple butter.

*- Amazingly, it did taste more appropriate somehow.

*- I mention this, only because you can sum up the aggregate change in my world view using that above-pictured container of jelly: When I was a kid, I thought mixed-fruit jelly was awesome and special, the careful blending of fruit extracts, formulated to delight the palate.

*- 2011 tom just thinks they dump whatever leftover crap they have from the pure flavors and call it “Mixed Fruit,” trusting naïve consumers like 1980 tom to praise it.

*- Hell, in 1980, maybe mixed fruit jelly was special. Maybe the world is decrepitating along with me.

*- I mean, what’s next? Congress trying to raise the standards for what constitutes rape?

*- Oh. Right. They’re doing that.

*- It makes sense, in a way. By eliminating statutory rape, date-rape using rohypnol (or chloroform, if you’re old school), or any other form of rape that doesn’t involve overpowering brute force, the government can save money.

*- By that same logic, I think they should refuse to treat stab wounds inflicted by anything smaller than a 10″ blade, gunshots smaller than .38 caliber, and any tumor smaller than 2″ in diameter.

*- All they’re trying to do is legislate meanness.

*- There’s a great line in The West Wing episode “In This White House.” The Republican lawyer Ainsley Hayes tells Sam & Josh, “It’s not that you don’t like guns. You don’t like PEOPLE who like guns.”

*- I don’t like abortion. I don’t know anyone who does. But there have been friends and loved ones in my life who have needed them, because they were date-raped, or 14, or whatever. None of these were connected to me–I wasn’t “getting off the hook” for anything–but I’m glad that these loved ones, who decided that this horror was their best option, didn’t have to go to some back-alley criminal and risk their lives.

*- And I know that Congress isn’t legislating abortion. They’re simply trying to reduce the number of abortions the government would cover under Medicaid.

*- What I think, sadly, is that they don’t dislike abortion as much as they just don’t like women who are poor and get raped.

*- I would imagine the current Medicaid abortion tab is far smaller than a week’s worth of our current war. Just saying.

*- Last Saturday, I suffered a workplace injury. I was rolling my chair over to assist my coworker, April, and I smashed my leg into her open filing cabinet drawer. I said something like, “Holy #@!!*! THAT hurt. What’s wrong with your computer?” Five minutes later, I scratched my leg, and lo, there was blood. A coworker saw it. “Better tell somebody.” We told the only supervisor who was above us and still there at 1 am. She came over quickly, and unsealed an accident report packet. I had to fill out forms. April had to fill out forms. The supervisor had to take our forms, then fill out her own form. I had to refuse further medical treatment. She gave me the corporate “Worker’s Compensation Specialist” business card. She also made copies of all the forms, and gave them to April and me for our files. When I came back to work, I had I nice, caring e-mail from the Worker’s Comp Specialist. She asked how my leg was, and wanted to make sure I really didn’t need any further medical treatment.

*- I felt really comforted, that this person over in HR or Legal or wherever was genuinely concerned about my injured leg.

*- Except that she addressed this heartfelt message to “Theresa.”

*- I think Congress is like that (and by “Congress,” I’m referring to the Congressional Asshole Caucus). They get so caught up in thinking about “those damn people” en masse that they forget that it’s individuals who get sick, or stabbed, or roofied and raped.  “Those damn people” aren’t a group, a caucus of people who weigh their options and decide to be poor, un- or under-employed rape victims, just so they can get pregnant and have an abortion at taxpayer expense.  “Those damn people” are however-many-million “one persons.”

*- And I’m sure at least one of those would be named “Theresa.”

*- And maybe, given a chance, Theresa could grow and improve herself, till she finally can enjoy paying for her own health care (and, of course,Grade A Fancy mixed-fruit jelly).

*- Have a great night.

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