Archive for August, 2009

‘Bye, Teddy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on August 27, 2009 by tom

I flew with Ted Kennedy once.  It was a Delta shuttle between Washington, DC (National), and Boston.  I was going up to spend a week with my friend Dave, and The Senator was probably going home for the weekend.  There we were, the man some people call the most powerful Senator ever and little old nobody me, sitting in the same Boeing 727. 

That's it.  That's all the story.  He was in first class, of course, and I was back in steerage.  The curtain was drawn between the two cabins, and I never even saw him.  I did snap this picture, though, before we left DCA:

(I hope you appreciate this: it was a bitch to run and jump back on the plane before it took off)

I always felt sorry for Ted Kennedy, inasmuch as it's possible to feel sorry for somebody hugely rich and powerful.  He was the youngest son of a man who was truly a bastard, Joe Kennedy.  Joe was ambitious, strict, corrupt, amoral, emotionally distant and all about image.  When Joe, Jr, was killed during WW2, Joe Sr made the family go sailing to keep up appearances.  "Kennedys don't cry" was a motto of his.

Joe, Jr, was the golden boy, the one who was going to be President.  After he died, it fell to JFK.  Joe Sr pulled strings and spent money, and his efforts were rewarded: JFK became president.  Then was killed.  Then RFK stepped up to run, and was killed.  Between Joe, Jr, and JFK, Kathleen Kennedy, in many ways the spirit of the family, was killed in Europe.

After Bobby's death, Joe Kennedy, Sr, was feeble.  He was barely functioning, and had to be fed.  When Teddy went in and explained Chappaquiddick to him, Joe stopped eating.   He died shortly thereafter.

I can't imagine living knowing that I'd broken my father's heart, and my father isn't a bastard like his. 

I've read a lot of articles and essays on Edward Moore Kennedy today, and I wish him well in the afterlife.  There are those who hate the Kennedys, and there are those who adore them.  I take them individually on their merits.  I think JFK did some great things as president, but he was Bill Clinton with class, charisma, and a press corps who happily looked the other way at his indiscretions.  I don't know if he would have been a great President had he served two full terms.  We will never know. 

Bobby was genuinely empathetic with minorities and the poor.  He wanted the Vietnam War to end.  Would he have been a great president? I don't know.  I honestly don't know whether he'd have beaten Nixon in the general election. 

Jack and Bobby had the good fortune to be gunned down young, before they got white-haired and bloated, before the gin blossoms erupted on their noses.  They died as legends, young and heroic. 

Ted was different.  He lacked JFK's charisma and RFK's fire.  He worked hard in the Senate, and was instrumental in passing some huge legislation during his career.  Most of it was geared toward helping the poor, not people like his father.  I got laid-off a few years ago, and I thank God for COBRA, which enabled me to keep my health insurance.  My little bout of Fournier's cost well over a quarter million dollars, and I was covered.  Teddy passed the COBRA plan that saved my insurance.  Without it, I'd probably never have been able to pay off my bills. 

Senator Kennedy worked on education, health care, and against war.  He was one of the few in Congress who voted against the Iraq War, saying (quite presciently, in my opinion), "There was no imminent threat. This was made up in Texas, announced in January to the Republican leadership that war was going to take place and was going to be good politically. This whole thing was a fraud." (source: The Washington Post

People always talk about Chappaquiddick and booze with Ted Kennedy.  Chappaquiddick was a fiasco, to be sure.  I'll never know why he waited nine hours to report the accident.  If he'd gone straight to the police, even if Mary Jo Kopechne still died, he would have survived politically.  He didn't.

Ted was graceless that way.  JFK and RFK had their faults and foibles as well, but they still smelled roselike.  Ted couldn't catch a break.  I think about how horrible it would be to have bad rhythm, and have Gregory and Maurice Hines as your big brothers.  They're grace incarnate, and you trip walking to the bathroom. 

That was Ted.

I don't think he really wanted to be President.  Maybe he ran in 1980 to appease his father's ghost.  Maybe he felt he had to carry forward his brothers' legacy.  Maybe he was drunk.  Either way, his campaign was a disaster.  It did lead up to his shining moment, though.  His powerful speech at the 1980 Democratic National Convention was amazing.

Teddy had a great voice, deep and sonorous, without the nasal bray his brothers had. 

Maybe he did drink too much.  I did too, and I didn't have half the pressures he did.  I didn't cause my father to give up on living, nor was I left to carry-on a legend at 35 years old.  I wasn't married to an alcoholic–Teddy's first wife has had well-publicized alcohol battles–and I wasn't patriarch to a family rife with misfits and criminals (William Kennedy Smith, anyone?).  Ted's son, Patrick, lost a leg to cancer at age 12.  That would add to your stress level.

Plus, if they tossed out every drunk in the Senate, they wouldn't have a quorum.

Ted Kennedy wasn't Jimmy Stewart–a beloved symbol of American values and bona fide war hero.  To his family, though, he became paterfamilia, because it was his duty.  He was there for JFK, Jr, and Caroline, and for Bobby's 427 kids.  Even though they never wanted for money, he was their emotional center, the one who attended graduations, gave advice as best he could, and loved them no matter how much they screwed-up. 

Ted Kennedy also spent 47 years in the US Senate, and worked hard to benefit people his robber baron father wouldn't have let trim his hedges.  He buried both his parents and his beloved sister-in-law.  Two of his siblings were killed in plane crashes.  Two more were murdered, and his father had one sister lobotomized to control her better.  The man had material blessings out the ass, but he suffered more than his fair share of tragedies.  What I'll remember is that he worked past his shortcomings, and did what he had to do for his family, and what he felt was right for his country. 

Teddy? I didn't always agree with you, but I think your heart was in the right place.  You didn't need to be President to make your mark.  I'm sure your father never told you this, so I will: you did good, kid.  And, from the white-knuckled Cracker back in coach, "requiescat in pace."  (Ask Bobby; I'm sure he'll know what it means)

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QotD: What Makes You Feel Sexy?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on August 26, 2009 by tom

What makes you feel sexy?
Sponsored by Body by Victoria® from Victoria's Secret.


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Things on Tuesday

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on August 25, 2009 by tom

Random, non-judgmental thought prelude:

  • The 7-Eleven had Corn Nuts buy one get one free.  Tasty snack, but somewhere, I imagine there are some pretty pissed-off, castrato ears of corn gingerly walking around.
  • I’ve checked—my voice hasn’t grown any deeper.
  • I’ve noticed the following safety hazard: I’ve nearly fallen to my face-planted death more from the “CAUTION! WET FLOOR!” sign than from the actual wet floor.  If the cleaning crew wouldn’t put the damn sign in the middle of the floor, where it impedes my size 15 feet, visiting the facilities would be a far safer experience.
  • Memo to the drunk guy in the 7-Eleven last night: as gaggingly dense as your trailing cloud of Canoe was, the Bourbon was still plainly obvious on your breath.  It’s the 7-Eleven, for crying out loud: nobody expects you to be sober at 0130.  They get it.
  • Memo to the other drunk guy: the County has determined that no beer can be sold after midnight.  No, this is not just on Fridays.  The County doesn’t have a different cut-off time for each day of the week.  Thank you, btw, for turning south out of the parking lot, and not north, where I was going.
  • I watched three films over the weekend, JFK, Capote, and Wag the Dog.  Most films have decent acting, but these three? Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s performance as Truman Capote is one of the best I’ve ever seen.  He deserves his Oscar and every other award he won.  JFK had a stellar cast.  Kevin Costner was good as Jim Garrison, but everyone else just killed: Jack Lemmon, Joe Pesci, Walter Matthau, Kevin Bacon, Michael Rooker, John Candy, Sissy Spacek, and a zillion others.  Wag the Dog put Dustin Hoffman and Robert DeNiro together—both in top form—and added Anne Heche, who was surprisingly good.  Woody Harrelson has a funny extended cameo, and Willie Nelson and Denis Leary kick ass.
  • I’ve always kind of had a crush on Sissy Spacek.
  • We had a thunderstorm Friday that blew a giant air conditioner off the roof of my building. Nobody was maimed or crushed, thank God, but it left a giant hole in the roof.
  • If we get a hurricane and they want me to work? They can kiss my ass.

Things on Tuesday:


  • Two of my friends have lost loved ones this past week.  The situations are very different, but the end result is the same: death sucks for those left behind.  I just hate that I can't say the perfect sentence to assuage their pain.  (I'm usually pretty good, but this is impossible)
  • We have to move at work.  I love where I sit right now–I have my Punkin to my left, and work-wife Aimee behind me–but we have to move (we're getting more people, so our area's moving). 


  • I'm weird, but I like summer in Florida.  I'll be sick of it by October, but the heat and perpetual moistness? I kinda like that.
  • I have a job I like, and the people I'll be sitting with are awesome–not Punkin and Work-Wife awesome, but awesome enough.
  • Corn Nuts for breakfast! (Who knew you could consume these things without beer?)
  • There's gas in the USS Nimitz, my bills are paid, and I have enough Meow Mix brand cat fuel that Ana-Sofia Vargas and Wind won't be killing and eating me anytime soon.
  • Stacey reports ten fingers (although one is sprained and splinted at the moment), ten toes, one belly button, and  a steady pulse.  I'm at 10-10-1-and steady as well
  • Have a great week.

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The Tom Zone Mailbag

Posted in Uncategorized on August 19, 2009 by tom

Once again, it's time to respond to a few letters from the voluminous Tom Zone Mailbag. 

Dear Tom,

I was just curious: are you Catholic? If not, I might have to change careers, which is hard to do at my age.


Pope Benedict

Dear Pope Benedict,

No, I'm not Catholic, although I had a strange dream last night that I am actually a lapsed Catholic.  Either way, I don't think you can count me among your flock.  I do respect some of the things you do.  And your namesake eggs are spectacular, with or without a hangover.  Still, let women be priests if they want to, and lay off on the birth control ban.  Also, I think Target's hiring old guys.




Les Paul's passing was truly sad.  Are there any other guitarists whose passing would truly sadden you?

Still mourning,

Johnny Guitar


I really want Keith Richards to live forever.  Really.   The man's been a cautionary tale for decades, and yet he still keeps going, like the Energizer Bunny, if the Energizer Bunny ran on Rebel Yell and ginger ale and snorted his own father's ashes.  The day he goes will absolutely suck-ass.

Did you know you're named after a weird Joan Crawford film? Just checking.



We love your "Ten fingers, ten toes, one belly button, and a steady pulse" updates in Things on Tuesday.  But you haven't posted ToT in a couple weeks.  Did you grow an extra belly button? Lose toes? What about Stacey?

What  gives?


Nothing Better to Worry About

Dear NB,

Yes, I'm sorry I haven't posted my Things on Tuesday recently. Tuesdays typically find me very busy sleeping all day.  Happily, it's still the one belly button, and ten fingers and toes.  Pulse? Steady.  Stacey reports the proper number of digits and navels, although her brakes are shot on the Urban Assault Vehicle, so her pulse races when somebody stops short in front of her.  It probably stops briefly when this happens in the rain.



With your weird-ass dreams and jovial madness, you're my personal bellwether for oddities.  What's the oddest thing you've seen recently?

Just curious,


Dear Nutter,

Glad you asked.  There was a thunderstorm earlier, and I went out on my balcony to enjoy the rain falling on Lake Tom.  The rain abated, and there was a person walking on the sidewalk.  I couldn't tell if it was a woman in a black and gray halter top, or a hirsute shirtless guy with man-titties.  The person kept walking closer, and I switched back and forth.  Finally, the person turned to go toward the mailboxes.  It was a middle-aged guy with man-titties.  And a hairy back. 

At least, I'm 85% certain.  Either way, it was odd, and I really should wear my glasses more often.  (then again, not).

Hope that helps,



HELP! I'm being eaten alive by small brownish mosquitoes every morning! Where do they come from? Hell itself? And what kind are they?


Bloodless in Largo


Do you have bromeliads?



YES! However did you know?

Bloodless, but Impressed in Largo


You have Wyeomyia vanduzeei breeding in your bromeliads.  They're harmless, but they are annoying.  Just flush your bromeliads' water cones regularly, or maybe put a drop of malathion in there.  Better yet, try not passing out on the front lawn every night.



I'm scared.  The guy on the radio says President Obama wasn't born in the US.  What does that mean?

Terrified in Ruskin

Dear Dumbass,

It means you're drinking paint.  Please stop. 

He was born in Hawaii, which was a U.S. state at the time.  (It still is, btw, despite my odd sentence structure)  This means that Barack Obama is an actual American.  With all the lunatic assaults from the Birthers, I'm starting to wonder if he doesn't secretly wish he had been born someplace else, like Iceland. 

Either way, I look at it this way: he has the keys to both the nukes and Air Force One, and those are the only two reasons to be President. .  It's his gig.



What's the weirdest compliment you've gotten recently? I like to keep track of these things.


A Fan

Dear Stalker,

An old HS friend and I chatted for a few hours online.  She told me she was going to bed about four times before she finally did.  I mocked her for this, of course.  Her response?

"You're addictive."

I love that.   Soon I'll be punitively taxed and banned in restaurants, like cigarettes or lapdances.


That's it from here.  Happy Wednesday. 

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Goodnight, Lester: Thursday Night Mental Chex Mix

Posted in Uncategorized on August 14, 2009 by tom
  • First off, RIP Les Paul.  Les Paul didn’t invent rock & roll, but many of his innovations made it possible.  He invented multi-track recording and distortion, and perfected the solid-body electric guitar.  Look him up on YouTube, and check out his playing.  He was lightning fast and clean, and way ahead of his time.  He still played live well into his 90’s.  He was one of the greats, and he will be missed.
  • Les Paul will be like Chuck Taylor, in that future generations will only know him for his namesake product; the Gibson Les Paul guitar.
  • The irony is that lots of rock guitarists even today play Les Pauls while wearing Chuck Taylors.
  • In my life, I’ve owned two Gibson Les Pauls: a 1976 Artisan (3 pickups, gold hardware, walnut finish, and an ebony fingerboard with mother-of-pearl inlays).  A few owners before me really annoyed his girlfriend.  Said girlfriend attacked this noble, lovely instrument with a screwdriver, gouging the crap out of it.  I could have forgiven her gouging her boyfriend with the screwdriver, but not this beautiful instrument.  My other was a 2005 Gibson Les Paul Studio, in the matte finish mahogany.  It had Gibson Burst-Bucker pickups.  Sadly, I ended up selling both of these so that I could pay bills.  Stoopid bills.
  • In my life, I’ve only owned one pair of Converse Chuck Taylors (white with white laces).  I stopped wearing them because they were too narrow for my foot, which is roughly the size of New Mexico. 
  • My Gibson Les Paul Artisan was a heavy beast, weighing in at 11.2 lbs.
  • My Converse Chuck Taylors were decidedly lighter at 2.3 lbs.
  • New Mexico weighs in at a chunky 3,673,764,000,000,000,000,000 kg, more when it’s on its period and retains water.
  • For some reason, August has been Interweb Music Meme Month on Facebook.  I’ve had a few interesting ones, the latest of which was “The 15 Albums that Changed My Life.” At the conclusion of that one, I smugly noted that although I would likely think of some I’d have added to my honorable mention list, I was quite locked into my 15.
  • I’d like to apologize to Rickie Lee Jones, whose eponymous debut clearly belonged on that list.  I bought it shortly before I left for college, and I eased into it.  Some albums, you buy and devour, like a stoned person wolfing down a bag of Krystals (or White Castles, depending on your region).  Others you savor, like a Werther’s Original Candy or vegemite (depending on your region).  Rickie Lee Jones’ world is the latter.  Her first album is rich with street images and poetry.  Yeah, her enunciation is frequently slurred, but so you’d expect from somebody singing “Now it’s J&B and me…”  I’ve been there; it’s a true dark night of the soul.  There are  dynamic images of being young and wild on the streets (“City will make you dirty, but you look alright, and you feel real pretty when he’s holding you tight”).  There’s love, and that aching void after separation (“When I reach across galaxies, I will miss your company.”).  And the title of the album’s final song rings so true to me: “After Hours (Twelve Bars Past Goodnight).” It’s a sad feeling, when the bar’s closing, and you’re finishing up that last drink, as the bartenders clean up, and the busboys put the chairs up on the tables.  You look back on your night, and there were other people and drinks and sharing and maybe laughter, but at the end, it’s just J&B and you.  You sip the watery dregs of your last drink, and walk out into the night.  Alone.
  • The world in Rickie Lee Jones’ first album isn’t necessarily a happy one.  When I was a college freshman, I could relate to some of the happy images; the sadness and longing were blissfully unknown.  As my life has gone forward, I’ve met those images, some moreso than others.  It’s a beautiful album, phenomenally written and performed, with an all-star cast of musicians.  I still listen to it frequently, even when I’m happy. 
  • Which I am today, mostly.  I’ve gone through a kind of funk recently, mainly because things are going well.  As counterintuitive as this sounds, it makes sense in Tomworld. When you’re used to battling, a peaceful lull can shock the system.  Life is good, and I’m grateful.  Ten fingers, ten toes, one belly button, and a steady pulse. 
  • But I remember those nights, the long-ago dreary nights coming home from a bar, twelve bars past goodnight.  I’d walk into my apartment, feed the cat, mix a drink, and sit down in my favorite chair.
  • On quite a few of those nights, I kicked off my Chuck Taylors, picked up my beat-up Les Paul Artisan, and played me some blues.
  • Have a great weekend (and I’m sorry Rickie Lee).

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Hellos and Goodbyes

Posted in Uncategorized on August 6, 2009 by tom

I just rewatched one of my favorite films, "Love, Actually."  The movie starts and ends London's Heathrow airport, showing actual footage of actual families and friends reuniting at the gate.  It's indescribable the joy on their faces, a glowing blend of "it's great to see you again" and "thank God and physics you made it here alive."

Each of these reunions is a big deal, a seminal moment in the participants' relationship.  What I thought of was how different life would be if it were always like that when somebody important enters our life. 

(As Rickie Lee Jones sang, "You never know when you're making a memory."  Big truth from the Duchess of Coolsville)

I've met literally tons of people, and it's rare that there's an instant epiphany: This person will become VERY important in my life!

My friend Abby was like that.  She was just the part-timer who came in at midnight, relieving me after my show three nights a week.  She was nice and all, but I got along with almost all the part-timers.  A couple years later, I performed her wedding.  She came to see me in the hospital when I was sick, even though I didn't remember the visit (thanks Dilaudid, bock-bock), and we still talk regularly.  She and her husband came to my birthday dinner this year, and I'm sure they'll be at Thanksgiving Dinner as well, same as every year.

It just seems to me that our initial meeting should've been bigger, more of an event. 

Even more important, though, are the goodbyes.  I wish I knew how many times I've ended a conversation with "I'll talk to you later," and meant it, even though that would be the last time I'd talk to that person.  Sometimes, it's no big deal: we'll reconnect later on Facebook or via e-mail, and we'll reassure each other that the last however many years haven't dampened our mutual affection.  Other times, that's it.  "I'll talk to you later" or "I'll see you later" is our friendship's valedictory.  "I'll see you later" turns into a year or two or three, and then POUF, that person dies.  I'm not saying I'd change anything–if it's your time to go, it's your time to go–but if I had that foreknowledge, maybe I'd say something a little more meaningful.  "I hope to see you again soon, but since that might not happen, I want to thank you for being my friend, and wish you much happiness during your remaining days."

A common Filipino birthday wish is "Nawa'y pagpalain ka ng Diyos ng marami pang kaarawan," or "May God bless you with many more birthdays to come." It's a pretty big wish, really.  I wish I'd said that to some friends whose last birthdays I celebrated.  Or forgot, for that matter.

I've seen the same thing here in Voxland.  What started out as a single comment on a single post has turned into a beautiful friendship.  This has happened multiple times, and I'm grateful.  Who knows when that one "[this is good]" will plant a rich relationship?

I understand that life isn't like that.  We can't see the playbook.  We're driving without road maps.  We meet people without having any idea how that relationship will play out.  If we could see the future, maybe we wouldn't worry so much about some things; maybe we'd pay more attention to others. 

Surprisingly, I'm not melancholy or anything.  I've been in a good mood the past few days, and I still am.  (Long weekends have that effect on me)  Just seeing the absolute joy in those little airport reunions made me wish every meeting could be like that.  It makes it special. 

But it would cease to be special if it were commonplace.  Over the past four years, I've learned not to take the people in my life for granted. I'm pretty good about that, even if I don't stand there holding up signs with their names on them.  I guess my regret is for those I've missed, those friends and family who have slipped away quietly.  It would be cool if I could go back and give them a big international departures gate-type send-off.  And maybe I'd wish them that God would bless them with many more birthdays to come. 

Happy Thursday, my friend.  May you have years and years of happy Thursdays to come.

There.  I said it. 

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Proust Questionaire August 2009

Posted in Uncategorized on August 3, 2009 by tom

The Proust Questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature. Here is the basic Proust Questionnaire.

1.What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Continuity–that things remain fairly constant.  Last year, I saw too many friends die, and I nearly joined them.  I saw too many friends lose jobs, move away, or otherwise change status.  A life with some continuity sounds like bliss.

2.What is your greatest fear?
Irrelevance and boredom, especially if I somehow end up mentally debilitated.

3.What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Fear and laziness–they go hand in hand with me.  I'm better at both of them than I used to be, but they are still big-time Tom bugaboos.

4.What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Arrogance, and the vile mistreatment thereby.

5.Which living person do you most admire?
My parents, the two most patient, kindest, least pretentious people I've ever known.

6.What is your greatest extravagance?
Eating out.  Again, I'm getting better–lack of funds helps this endeavor–but I still need to cook more at home (Shockingly, the bachelor batcave actually has a full kitchen!).

7. What is your current state of mind?
Contentedly pensive.

8.What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Popularity.  I admire people who are true to themselves, whether or not anyone else likes them (unless they're arrogant jackasses, of course).

9.On what occasion do you lie?
I really don't lie very often.

10.What do you most dislike about your appearance?
My general Hagrid size, and the fact that my head is the size of Saturn.

11.Which living person do you most despise?
I don't really despise anyone.  Beneath our skin, each of us has a small, hard-working pancreas.  I couldn't hate someone who has a pancreas, just unjudgmentally smoothing things along.  That said, some people deserve to be hit with baseball bats. 

12.What is the quality you most like in a man?
Humility–not being overly macho or aggressive. 

13.What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Confidence and sense of humor–being happy in her own skin, and able to laugh.

14.Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Sadly, I use "like" far too frequently.  Nothing mars eloquence as egregiously as "like."  Well, or "shitfuck."

15.What or who is the greatest love of your life?
I don't think there is one greatest love of a life.  Each of my loves has been great in her own way.

16.When and where were you happiest?
Probably when I was 16 or 17.  Life was great, and I knew it: I enjoyed school, had lots of friends, lived in a nice house, played golf four times a week (and played well), and I was a decent guitarist.  I'm also happy today.  I had a decade or so where I despaired constantly, so I enjoy every day now.  It would be nice to be 17 again, though, and hit a straight 3-wood 340 yards.

17.Which talent would you most like to have?
I wish I could play piano.  I know music, but I am not a musician, and I damn sure can't play piano well.

18.If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My shyness.

19.What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Surviving the last five years.

20.If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
A coral reef: just hang out beneath the water, and watch the fishies swim by.  That, or I'd like to be one of those angels in "Wings of Desire," watching and listening to the still living, helping them perhaps with my unseen presence.

21.Where would you most like to live?
In a rainforest, or–more likely–somewhere within 15 miles of where I currently live.

22.What is your most treasured possession?
I don't have a lot of possessions.  If this place caught fire, I'd grab the cats and my Power Book.  That would be it.  Well, and I'd probably put on some pants.

23.What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
For me, it was five years ago, when my first thought upon awakening each day was, "Oh, shit. Not again!" My spirit was dead, but the flesh didn't follow.  So I got my spirit back.  Even when the flesh was dying the previous Christmas, it was 1000% better than when my spirit was dead.  Physical death would have been tolerable with a happy soul. 

24.What is your favorite occupation?
I would like to have been a newspaper columnist, in the mold of a Mike Royko, Russell Baker, etc. Those days are past, though, but I think it would have been rewarding: slinging words, being professionally erudite, making people laugh or cry, but always think.

25.What is your most marked characteristic?
I can read people, and I can usually talk to virtually anyone on their level. 

26.What do you most value in your friends?
Tolerance.  I'm not always easy to get close to, and I can be broody and cynical.  I love my friends, though.

27.Who are your favorite writers?
Graham Greene, Thomas Wolfe, P.J. O'Rourke, John Irving, Tom Robbins

28.Who is your hero of fiction?
Rick Blaine

29.Which historical figure do you most identify with?
I always felt kind of bad for Pontius Pilate.  He listened to the crowd, made a bad decision, and now certain religions have bad-mouthed him for 2000 years.  That's something that would happen to me.

30.Who are your heroes in real life?
Nurses and single moms.

31.What are your favorite names?
Bingo Pajama  (the jasmine dealer in "Jitterbug Perfume")
Bonanza Jellybean (cowgirl from "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues")
Urban Shocker (former major league pitcher)
Dick Butkus (you just know not to mess with him)

I typically like Samanthas, Kellys, Stacys, Heathers, Annies (but not always Anns), and most Jennifers.  I've had very good luck with them. 

Weird question.  Anyway.  That's it. 

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