Archive for January, 2008

I’m Speechless

Posted in Uncategorized on January 30, 2008 by tom

This church is made entirely from Lego blocks.  Every detail.  From Lego's.  It's absolutely amazing the amount of work that went into this thing.  I spent a few minutes looking through her site, and I've had a strange, quizzical look on my face ever since.  It's…awesome? I mean, the Sistine Chapel is awesome, and this is made with Lego's, but still…it's quite an achievement. 

Take a few minutes and look at all the pictures on her site.  I wouldn't even know where to begin thinking of imagining doing something like this.  My parents never gave me Lego's (they knew I'd do something devious with them, and probably blow up the house or end up in prison).  And she dedicates it as a tribute to Precious, her cat.  I told Kitten not to get her hopes up.  Enjoy.

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Anna-Sofia (aka, Kitten) on her Yoga Mat

Posted in Uncategorized on January 29, 2008 by tom

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Shocking Music News from The Onion Radio Network

Posted in Uncategorized on January 29, 2008 by tom

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Mental Chex-Mix for a Cool Night by my Pond

Posted in Uncategorized on January 29, 2008 by tom

Would Britney and Paris still “make headlines” if everyone stopped writing headlines about them? (If a bimbo falls in a media vacuum, would anyone care?)

There’s a sign next to my pond.  Humans read it as follows: "Caution! ALLIGATOR! No fishing! No feeding animals!”

Dogs read the same sign as follows: 
Rex was here.
Spot was here.
Spike was here.
Fifi was here.
Ralph was here.
For a good time, call Babette the Poodle, cuz she’s in heat.
Daisy Mae was here, and thinks Babette is a whore.
Brutus was here.

Thing I’m so glad I didn't say when it popped into my head:

Fiona: I celebrated dumping (psychotic girlfriend, who’s caused huge rifts among F’s family and friends) by getting my nose pierced.
Me: Good for you.  Nothing says “I’ve stopped behaving in a reckless and insane, life-ruining manner” quite like getting a ring in your nose.  Maybe you can get a swastika tattooed on your forehead next, like that nice Manson fella.

Thank God I stopped after “Good for you.” (note: I like piercings.  It was just the timing.)

Do angst-riddled Chinese teens rebel by getting Mickey Mouse or “Mom” or an American flag tattooed on their arms?

I’ve actually TiVO’d boring Super Bowl games, then fast-forwarded through the football to get to commercials.  

Keith Richards is same age as my grandfather when he died.  My grandfather couldn’t play guitar as well as Keith, but he was a hell of a great writer, and I bet he could drink more Bourbon.

A comedian mocked young people who get Asian symbols tattooed on their bodies.  “You think it means ‘peace and harmony?’ Bullshit! It says, `Beef with Broccoli.”

Dorothy was right: There’s no place like home.

Think I’ll get that tattooed on my ass in Chinese.  

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A Spot in the Garden for Kayla Marie

Posted in Uncategorized on January 27, 2008 by tom

One of the greatest things about finally being home from the hospital is having broadband Internet service.  For the past three weeks, I’d been on dial-up.  Remember dial-up? The 56k modem? Oy.  I tried to download a song Ali sent me.  In the time it would take to download it, Ali could record the song, have a huge hit with it, go on tour, make millions, develop a horrible addiction to Chianti and Cherry Garcia ice cream, go to rehab, and have her own “Ali: Behind the Music” documentary on VH1.    

I love the Internet.  I doubt it’s lived up to the hopes some folks had for it—it hasn’t fixed the environment or facilitated world peace—but I love the thing.  I love that with a few keystrokes, I could download midget porn, then type some more and find a great champagne-cheese fondue recipe.  Even better, there are probably sites with midget fondue and champagne-cheese porn.

With all the information online, I sometimes find truly bizzaro juxtapositions in my e-mailbox.  Yesterday, my friend Jane sent me an e-mail called “Things you shouldn’t find in your garden.”  An example:


The next item was this, from my friend Abby, about something sad she had to put in her garden:


I talked to Abby tonight, and she’s still reeling.  There are fourteen flowers where Kayla rests: one for each year she lived with Abby. 

Abby was in high school when she adopted Kayla from a rescue shelter.  Kayla was there for Abby’s various attempts at college, and stuck by her during her first marriage.  Kayla was there eight years ago when Abby met Bryan.  Kayla was there almost three years ago on Bryan and Abby's wedding night, and a few months later when Abby graduated from college.  For every good time and bad time Abby had, Kayla was there.

I’m a cat person. I'm kind of a geek about it.  If you look in my Vox photos, you’ll find pictures of Ana Sophia (aka, Kitten), my current feline partner in crime, and my previous cat, Hannibal (aka, Kitty).  I typically love cats, but Kayla—God bless her soul—had the most horrible meow of any cat I’ve ever met.  She was a beautiful animal, as you can see, with a sweet spirit.  But her meow—it was like Fran Dresher and Hillary Clinton and a klaxon fire alarm melded together, with a constant underpinning of impending dread and great dislike for everything.  I’d be talking to Abby, and that sound would appear in the background.  Abby would talk back to her, and Kayla would eventually go on about her business.  She just wanted to make sure her opinion was noted. 

You were noted, Kayla.  Most times, I'm sure you made more sense than Abby and I did. 

I was thinking about it, and I’ve never heard anyone refer to a former pet as “the devilbitch” or “dickhead” or “what’s her name.”  (These are actual appellations used by actual friends of mine to refer to actual exes (except the one rhyming with "bevel hitch," which refers to the embodiment of darkest evil I used to date)).  I have exes I’ll be happy never to see or hear from as long as I live—one whom I probably wouldn’t cross the bedroom to Heimlich if she were choking to death on her own spiteful bile—but I have nothing but fond memories of my pets.  No matter what was going on in my world, Kitty was there, or Kitten is today.  They all have their quirks and foibles and unique personalities.  But for a bowl of food, a dish of water, and a chin scratch here and there, the rewards are amazing.

Somewhere in pet heaven, a choir of angels is singing sweetly…and one beautiful, feisty gray cat with white mittens and boots and lime green eyes is croaking along with them, letting everyone know just exactly how she feels. 

‘Bye Kayla.  Tell Hannibal the Cannibal Cat, Mr. Palmer, Gypsy, Magoo, and Gina howdy for me, and I'll help Abby tend to your garden.  

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Career Day Heroes in My World

Posted in Uncategorized on January 24, 2008 by tom

One of the most enduring sitcom plot instruments is Career Day.  On Career Day, various parents come into the classroom and talk about their jobs.  The conflict arises when—oh, gosh—the protagonist finds that his or her career sounds tedious and lame next to some of the other parents.  Naturally—being a sitcom—the child and parent bond in the end; the child feels proud of the parent, and the parent is reassured that he or she doesn’t suck.  Hooray for all of us.  

The reality is that some people have more impressive sounding jobs than others.  When I was a radio production director many years ago, we’d get an analogous situation: school field trips.  A class of eager young minds would come to our radio station, and one of the promotions people would lead a tour.  Naturally, the kids dug being in the air studio, watching the announcer play songs and talk on the radio.  The second coolest visit on their tour was my production studio.  I’d show them some horribly complex promo or commercial I was working on, then I’d line them up and record their eager young voices.  A couple button clicks and knob twists, and they were amazed to hear their voices come out sounding like elves or demons, or be flanged to hell and back, or echo like they were in a cave.  Plus, I had a really kick-ass sound effects library.  A few minutes of helicopters and jet planes impressed.  Then I brought out the farts, pukes, and belches, and I was a hit.  The engineers always did okay with all of their equipment and widgetry, and the promotions people were popular, because they passed out prizes.  The sales people were the ones who fared the least well.  How many 12 year-olds have ever listened to the radio and thought, “Damn! Somebody sold a hell of a big schedule there, plus they made their client the title sponsor of the weather forecast, and managed to get half the client’s money for the market, despite only ranking 6th in the target demographic.”

The sales staff are rarely the ones the kids talk about on the bus ride home, but that’s where all the money is.  

So tonight, I was watching a documentary on the Siberian Apocalypse.  A comet or meteor or asteroid or alien spacecraft blew up in 1908 over Siberia, completely destroying 1000 square miles of forest and causing effects all over Eurasia.  Blah, cubed.

One of the gentlemen interviewed had just an amazing job title: Chief Scientist of Jet Propulsion Labs.

This cat is not only a rocket scientist for the rocket science supergroup.  He’s the Chief Rocket Scientist.

Yeah, but did he have a really amazing vomit sound effect at his disposal?

After the exploding comet show was a show about snakes.  I really liked Steve Irwin, the late Crocodile Hunter.  He had a genuine love and respect for animals, and a laudable enthusiasm for all God’s creatures, no matter how ugly or deadly they may be.  When Steve Irwin found a snake, he’d get giddy, gushing, “What a beautiful rattlesnake.  C’mon sweetheart, you are a beauty…” He talked to the snake, and he pointed out all the groovy reptilian accoutrements: “Now look at this stripe going half-way down her back.  And here! This is the Buick Le Viper, so she has exhaust ports along each side.  She reproduces by…”

Steve Irwin would’ve been a great guest at Career Day.  He and the Chief Rocket Scientist, both. The sad truth, though, is that very few of us have jobs like Über Rocket Scientist, or Crocodile Hunter.  We have bills to pay and kids to feed and raise.  We have car payments and insurance bills and our toothbrushes wear out and need to be replaced.

I’ve been in the hospital now for five weeks.  I’ve had some very skilled doctors work on me.  They’ve read my x-rays, kept me alive through anesthesia, battled my infections, and performed surgery on me.  Any of them would be great guests at Career Day.  For example, it would’ve been a hell of a field trip to watch the urologist carve me up and save my life.  Of the entire time I’ve spent, those two one-hour surgeries would be the most exciting.

It would be less interesting to watch the truest heroes work.  They’re the ones who deliver food trays, wipe butts, turn patients, hang IV’s, give shots, clean up puke, and actually take the time to get to know us.  They’re nurses, techs, physical therapists, custodians, x-ray paparazzi, social workers.  They might not have a title like “Chief Scientist at JPL,” but they’ve been priceless to me.  Many of them come from foreign lands–The Philippines, Jamaica, Russia, Kentucky—but they work hard, love their jobs, and make this place survivable.  Thanks Tamee #1, Kyla, Terri, Jennifer, Rachel the Drug Girl, Jason and Janine (married Philippine couple), OT Bruce, Jazzman Bruce, Colleen, Vladimir, Gwen, Gladys, Tavarick, Rick the Intern, Respiratory Maggie, the Lunch Lady (thanks for the pinto beans and collards (and simethecone)), Paul, Tessa and Tammy #2 (the Wound Care Ladies (y’all should have your own sitcom, and I’d happily play a supporting role)), Elaine from Maine (I hope your tooth extraction went well today, and thanks for bringing me Cheetos that one night), Nancy, and Valerie, aka Punkin the Aide.  Pattie the Nurse Practitioner was here every morning at 0540, whether I was awake or not, and Helene the Case Worker is to insurance questions what…well, what Steve Irwin was to wrangling reptiles (and sometimes, insurance adjusters and reptiles are more similar than we’d like to believe).  And my biggest thanks to Debra and her crew (Eric and Tyrell, “The Twin Towers”) for keeping after me twice a day till I could dress myself  this afternoon, then walk down the hall without so much as a limp.  

For the last two days, half the cable channels have been covering Heath Ledger’s death almost constantly.  I’m sorry he died.

But I’ve never seen a Heath Ledger movie.  I probably never will.  The people who work here, and their counterparts at St Anthony’s, have touched my life in ways no movie or actor could.  

Tomorrow after lunch, I’ll leave here and return to my home after five weeks.  The next morning, there will be another guest in this room, and the staff here will treat that person with the same care, respect, and kindness that they showed me.  

In the Career Day sitcom plot, the kid always comes to realize that his parent is just as heroic as the rocket scientist or the fireman.  As geeked as I’d be to have business cards that read “Tom, Chief Scientist, Jet Propulsion Labs,” my definition of hero has changed during this ordeal.  What difference does it make whether the 1908 Siberian explosion was a comet or an asteroid? One of my new heroes just brought me my evening meds and a cup of ice.  She asked how I was feeling, then ran off to care for one of her other seven charges, a ventilator-bound patient down the hall.  

And neither TMZ nor Access Hollywood took any note.  I guess Nurse Terri needs a new publicist.  Thanks, folks.  I’ll never forget you.  ts

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Terrible, just terrible

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on January 22, 2008 by tom

My brother Mark (Vox name: 2e) sent me this list.  I find these things to be just horribly distasteful and uncultured, and I present them only so that you may be equally offended. (yeah, right.  I laughed.  I admit it.)  Hope your Tuesday is going just swimmingly.  t

The Top Ten Sexually Suggestive Lines
in the Star Wars Trilogy

Star Wars
10. "Get in there you big furry oaf, I don't care what you smell!"
9. "Luke, at that speed do you think you'll be able to pull out in time?"
8. "Put that thing away before you get us all killed."
7. "You've got something jammed in here real good."
6. "Aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?"
5. "You came in that thing? You're braver than I thought."
4. "Sorry about the mess…"
3. "Look at the size of that thing!"
2. "Curse my metal body, I wasn't fast enough!"
1. "She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, kid."

The Empire Strikes Back
10. "I thought that hairy beast would be the end of me."
9. "Size matters not. Judge me by my size, do you?"
8. "There's an awful lot of moisture in here."
7. "But now we must eat. Come, good food, come…"
6. "That's okay, I'd like to keep it on manual control for a while."
5. "Control, control! You must learn control!"
4. "Hurry up, golden-rod…"
3. "I must've hit it pretty close to the mark to get her all riled up like that, huh kid?"
2. "Possible he came in through the south entrance."
1. "And I thought they smelled bad on the outside!"

Return of the Jedi
10. "Hey, point that thing someplace else."
9. "I look forward to completing your training. In time you will call me master."
8. "I never knew I had it in me."
7. "There is good in him, I've felt it."
6. "Grab me, Chewie. I'm slipping — hold on. Grab it, almost… you almost got it. Gently now, all right, easy, easy, hold me Chewie."
5. "Hey, Luke, thanks for coming after me — now I owe you one."
4. "Back door, huh? Good idea!"
3. "She's gonna blow!"
2. "I think you'll fit in nicely."
1. "Rise, my friend."

Is this the best of them all?…
"Wedge! Pull out! You're not doing any good back there!"

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