Sunday, March 27, 2011


This week's challenge in the writing contest I'm in was to write about a super hero with a "power" that isn't particularly useful. This was my entry (the judges didn't like it): 

Years of counseling and studying human greatness had taught Loki that being different could be seen as a good thing. But though he could pay lip service to that idea, in the corners of his soul that he never shared he simply felt odd, even diseased. 

His name alone, which his mother, a mythology professor, had demanded he be given- against his father’s fevered objections- had led to months of counseling.  Loki burned in the womb (was an only child because of it) and his mother would not be moved on this- he would be named after the Norse god of Fire.   That his mother had chosen to make it impossible for him to survive something as simple as roll call without hearing giggles was something Loki hadn’t been able to forgive yet, and doubted he ever could. 

Today, as he sat in the plane and waited for take-off, he allowed himself a moment of joy.  Loki longed to feel optimistic that this was going to be his moment, but he had felt that way before, and that feeling’s high had always been followed by a devastating low.  Still, though, this really felt right; the feeling that his odd “gift” may serve humanity, and soon, was building in him and soon would be impossible to contain.

Loki had only recently learned how to control his “oven”, as he called his condition on good days (“hell” the rest of the time), enough to fly; until a month ago his heat would’ve been too intense to sit so closely to so many people for anything more than a few minutes. Last month, after a rather intense round of taunting, his co-workers had locked him in the walk-in freezer, to “cool him off.”  Loki had known, of course, that he wouldn’t cool off, would instead thaw the freezer.  For the first time in his life he had willed himself to cool his oven; so desperate was he to avoid the scene that a thawed freezer would have caused, he cooled down and allowed his teasers the satisfaction of bullying.  In the days since he spent most waking moments learning to harness what he was now allowing himself to believe may soon be considered a gift.

Staying cool still took a lot of mental effort, though, and Loki was not pleased that the man to his left was a chatter.

“You headed to Chicago or Points East, as they say?” he asked almost as he sat down.

“New York,” Loki responded quietly, in a voice he hoped would discourage further questioning.

“Ah, yes. New York, New York.  The City So Nice They Named it Twice!”


“Business or pleasure?”

This caused him to think a bit. He felt himself warming. “Both, I guess.”  I hope.

“Gotcha.  Hey, I just read that David Blaine is doing something out there! God I love that guy! Yeah, he’s in Central Park, frozen inside a block of ice! Ha ha ha ha. Amazing! You gonna go see him while you’re out in the ol’ Big Apple?”

This answer came without thought, “Actually, yes. Seeing him is the very reason for my trip.”

Thursday, March 17, 2011

An Email From Smitty

As you know, Smitty is working on a book. Unfortunately he is not so busy that he doesn't have time to harass me. He sent me an email today which took me a while to make sense of.  It was a picture of a naked man, his privates covered by a wine bottle; which is to say that his penis was actually in the bottle.  As I say, I didn't immediately get the joke. Then I read Smitty's caption, which read:  In vino veritas!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Doctor GNC

I'm limping back to Mayo Clinic this week, in quite a bit of pain, and I'm expecting the same good news/bad news I got about a year ago:  What's left of my pancreas looks healthy-ish and shouldn't hurt. Whatever relief I feel knowing that my half-pancreas looks healthy-ish disappears when I realize that now the doctor doubts my pain.  Having someone doubt one's pain is demoralizing, causes self-doubt (Am I being a wimp?) and is maddening.  Last year, when the doctor sent me home with nothing more than instructions to take anti-oxidant vitamins, I obeyed like a patient who knows his place.  This year, if he again tells me to take vitamins, I'm going to reply, "You first. Oh, by the way, 'Vitamins' is my name for my fists!"  POW, POW.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

That's Enough, Charlie

Well, Charlie Sheen has done it- he's gone too far with this one. He is taking his show on the road. "Fine, it's a free country," I thought when I read the news. Then I read his tour's title:  Charlie Sheen Live:  My Violent Torpedo of Truth.

Sorry, Charlie. No one, and I mean no one, torpedos the Truth.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Fools Vote, But Don't Let Them Inform Yours

An honest exchange of ideas is essential to maintain a healthy nation.  Spend any time on Facebook and you’ll know that we have the exchange of ideas part down. But the honesty bit is sorely lacking. 

I leave a good online debate feeling energized, optimistic even. Good debates are rare, though. Last week I decided to quit “debating” people who make no effort to base their arguments on reality. But I don’t ignore them either; I ridicule their logic. Does it do any good? Not much. But if each of us reasonable citizens looked at the lunatics and said, “Shut the hell up. You’re not helping,” I think we’d get somewhere.

This is a pretty accurate paraphrasing of a discussion I just had on Facebook. The last sentence is an exact quote:

Random Ass Face:  Clinton started us on a path to financial ruin and Obama is following it. Our only hope is more Republican ass kicking in 2012. 

Me:  Well you make a compelling point, tough to argue with to be sure.  But I’ll try. First though I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that you made a silly mistake:  You forgot about the President between those two. And moreover, you seem to have missed that it was on his watch that the actual meltdown occurred.

RAF:  Tom-You can’t blame Bush without citing a reason!

Me:  Silly, Ass Face, you blamed Clinton and Obama without citing reasons and they weren’t even in charge when it happened!  But, okay, I’ll bite. How about two wars that he didn’t pay for? Lowering taxes during time of war?  An impotent SEC while Wall Street banks created mortgage-backed bonds that drove up demand for sub-prime mortgages?

RAF:  Sub-prime mortgages were Clinton’s fault!  In the mid-90s he directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to demand that banks make bad loans.  By the way, calling me “Ass Face” makes you sound really deep.

Me:  I’m plenty deep. It’s just that I haven’t needed to leave the kiddie pool. I’d love to, believe me.   Probe my depths, I dare you!  Anyhoo, let’s try this:  Can we agree that the real estate bubble burst around 2007?

RAF:  The bad loans were Clinton’s fault!

Me:  For the sake of argument, I’ll agree Clinton asked banks to make loans if you’ll agree that Wall Street’s invention of mortgage-backed bonds fueled a need for sub-prime mortgages, that companies whose sole purpose was to originate loans and sell them to Wall Street sprang up in the 2000s and that the bubble burst in 2007. Okay?

RAF:  My frontal lobe hurts.

Me:  I know but bear with me, I’m almost done with you.  We have agreed that Clinton asked banks to make loans in, say, 1996; that Wall Street demanded to buy bad loans from originators as late as 2006; and that loans began defaulting at an alarming rate by the end of that year, causing the real estate market to crash.  You admit then that Clinton’s loans would have necessarily lasted about 10 years before defaulting if they were the cause of the 2006 meltdown and that Wall Street’s lasted, sometimes, no more than one.  So here’s your logic:  “Clinton’s loans”, kept current for 10 years, were obviously stupid loans to have made, and ruined the economy; lending institution’s loans, which defaulted by the millions months after being issued, are so insignificant that you ignore them.   Eat shit. 


Maybe after reading the way I publicly castrated Mr. Face you don’t believe my assertion that I respect all reality-based opinions. I promise I do. Look, I’ll even debate myself:

Conservative:  Tom - I know this is hard for you to accept, but you are funny, smart, handsome, kind, patient…

Me:  Please stop—

Conservative:  wonderful, sexy—

Me:  Stop.  I insist.

Conservative:  If I must. Also, I don’t think government should be involved in any way with loans made between banks and individuals. And people shouldn’t take out loans they can’t afford. It’s not our job to protect people from themselves.

Me:  I agree that people shouldn’t take out loans they can’t afford.  But neither should lending institutions lend money to people they know can’t afford them. Lending institutions invented adjustable rate mortgages with artificially low introductory rates so that home owners could afford them for a couple years, knowing that they, the lending institutions, would package and sell the loans before said loans defaulted. And the Wall Street banks that bought them invented bonds they then filled with all the bad loans they bought, foolishly thinking they had spread the risk.  There is no conspiracy in one family taking out a stupid loan, there is a conspiracy in one bank buying millions of bad loans, piling them up in bonds that even they don’t fully understand, and selling the bonds.

Conservative:  You had me at “Hello”.

Me:  I’m getting uncomfortable here. I didn’t even say, “Hello” did I?

Conservative:  Who can say? I am mesmerized by your deep hazel eyes and—

Me:  STOP!

Conservative:  Sorry. Where were we?

Me:  We just agreed that individuals shouldn’t take out loans they can’t afford and that lending institutions who give out millions of loans they know will never be repaid are lying, stinking, scumbag criminals who should pay dearly for the devastation they wrought on this great country.

Conservative:  That doesn’t sound quite right. You sure we agreed on all that?

Me:  Look into my deep hazel eyes. Are these a liar’s eyes?

Conservative:  No. And what’s more—

Me:  Okay, okay.  We agreed that a lot of people made bad/reckless/unlucky/ill-informed decisions and that several Wall Street banks conspired to loot the system.

Conservative:  So what do we do?

Me:  I was hoping you knew. 

Conservative:  Get drunk and watch NASCAR?

Me:  Ugh…Typical Conservative!  Get high and listen to the Dixie Chicks?

Conservative:   Typical Liberal.

Me:  (since it’s my blog, I’ll take the last word).  We must quit operating with socialism for Wall Street and capitalism for everyone else.  We should regulate Wall Street banks, preventing them from crashing the system again. And we should investigate the madness that caused the collapse with the same rigor we investigate Presidential blowjobs.  

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sorry Grandpa Sausijord

I'm not going to lie to you; I'm a bit worried about my one year-old son, Half Truth. He may not be the smartest baby around. Just this morning I caught him drinking from the toilet.


I know what you're thinking:  "Tom, you are so normal!"  True. But I do have a few quirks. For example, I am highly suspicious of anyone with a nicer basement T.V. than mine. I'm not going to name names; you know who you are.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Oh, Geez, I'm Fine.

My middle name is Edmund, after my father’s maternal grandfather, Edmund Edmundson. If his name sounds contrived it’s because it is- it was the name the boys at Ellis Island gave him because they couldn’t handle his real name, Amund Sausijord. This last bit of information comes from my aunt, whose research just unearthed his given name. Now I know why people in my family don’t complain about themselves much.  Descendents of a man named “Amund Sausijord” have coded into their DNA a constitutional opposition to complaining about aches and pains. 

“How am I?  Oh, yah, I’m fine thanks. But enough about me.”

Monday, March 7, 2011

Prospective Employers Looking For Writing Samples

Dear Prospective Employers Directed Here By My Resume,

Now trained in the vital difference between a passive writing voice and an active writing voice, I am ready for a job.  Old posts show you what I can do, this one shows what I will do.

Thank you.

True Story

This is an almost exact quote from me to my wife the day after the 2000 elections:

"You know, it's one thing that we are surrounded by people with no respect for government. It's another thing completely when those people are running the government. God help us."

Maybe if I wasn't so wise, I wouldn't be so goddamned depressed.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hey Now!

My daughter had a few questions for me this morning about the Princesses.  The last one was, "How does Jasmine rub the lamp?"
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. What have you heard?"
"Jasmine loves to rub the lamp."
"I'm sure she does, but that doesn't mean I let her."