Monday, October 31, 2005


I don't have any recent Halloween stories to relate today. There was some frat parties over the weekend and I saw some, shall we say interesting and unique costumes here in town, but really nothing to write about.

This happened quite a few years ago, I'm guessing around 1991 or 92'. I was still dating that nurse at the U of P hospital and Halloween weekend was just another weekend for us, or so I thought. I picked her up at her place for our usual Saturday date when she dropped the bomb on me.

"We've got to go the the ER's Halloween party tonight!"


"Yeah, I thought I told you!"

"No, you never said anything to me. How long have you known about it?"

"About a month."

Wonderful. She's known about this party that we just HAVE to go to a month and springs it on me an hour before it's supposed to start.

"Is it a costume party?"

"Of course it it, silly, it's Halloween!"

"Do you have a costume?

"No, you were supposed to come up with the idea for costumes..."

I'm not in the mood for an argument, but how the fuck was I supposed to come up with ideas for costumes when she never fucking told me about the party in the first place? And now somehow it's my fault and I must now come up with the prize-winning costume in sixty minutes. I work well under pressure so the idea came quick and hit me like a bolt from the blue. I make a quick U-turn and head back to my apartment. I still had a whole lot of shit from the army still laying around and if I could find all the things I needed in my old duffle bag my idea would be a hoot. We might not win any prizes, but we'll definitely get a laugh or two. Especially with a bunch of doctors and nurses.

We get to my place and we rush up stairs. I pull the old duffle out of the closet and dump the contents out on the bed. I start digging and in a few minutes I have all the parts to make it come together... I gave her a woodland cammo BDU top and my old 'boonie' hat, I don a plain white t-shirt, woodland cammo BDU pants and combat boots which I promptly bloused airborne fashion. We jump back into my Bronco and head to the party, which was at some doctor's house out on the Main Line somewhere...

I'm going "Uptown" for this little shindig.

I find the house off of Cheltenham Avenue and find a parking space. My 1987' Ford Bronco, only four years old still definitely looks out of place among all the brand new BMW's, Mecedes and lexus'... We walk in and are an immediate hit.

What were we?
Are you ready?

"Upper and Lower GI"...

Happy Halloween!

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Daylight Wasting Time

Here we are again, that time of year where we turn the clocks back and hour allegedly "gaining" an hour so sleep in.


I didn't gain anything. I got to work an extra hour this morning and won't get paid for it. So I just fucked off in the office for an hour writing this little diatribe on the company computer. It's where I usually write my rants, but since my employer not only doesn't have direct deposit he apparently doesn't trust the internet either so I write my stuff there but have to bring it home on a 3.5 disk to post. I felt since I won't be paid for the 'extra' hour we all gained I might as well do some shit for myself.

And this changing the clocks thing got me thinking. I grew up doing it and just took it for granted that that's what everybody did. Then I moved to Arizona, and lo-and-behold! They don't do it there! What a unique concept...

You just leave your clocks set at the same time all year!

I know why and how it started so I won't go into it in great detail. Apparently it was to give farmers more daylight in the summer months in temperate climates. But why now? It's not like there's too many farms around anymore. All the farms that I remember growing up (yes, there actually were farms still in Philly and Bucks County when I was a kid and I'm a city kid who actually knows that 'cow tipping' is NOT leaving a bad tip for a mean and ugly waitress) are all strip malls, tract-homes and auto dealerships.

I learned from my time in Arizona the time change just wasn't necessary or wanted. I liked it that way. So, about the only thing I miss about Arizona apart from a precocious eighteen year-old Airforce Academy freshman is the time staying the same.

So, if you want the time to stay the same you either have to move to Arizona (which I really don't recommend) Hawaii (which sounds good until you start to look at the cost of living there) or some parts of Indiana.

Let's end the madness now, ok?

Or at least pay me for the extra hour...
As a side note, I've added a music video at the very bottom of the page for your viewing and listening pleasure. I tried to insert it into the sidebar but it kept fucking up the template so the bottom was the only other place I could insert the HTML code without making a total clusterfuck out of the whole thing. I'm undecided if I'll leave it up. I might change the song weekly if I decide keep it. Let me know what you think.

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Saturday, October 29, 2005

More senseless bullshit

That I have to endure.
Where I'm employed now is the first place I've ever worked that doesn't have direct-deposit payroll. From the time I entered the army in 1983 I've always had my pay directly deposited into either a credit union or checking account. It's so damn easy and convenient. Payday rolls around, bingo, one minute after midnight your money is in your account. No driving to the bank, standing in lines... Can write checks for shit and not have to worry about them bouncing...
But not where I work now. Not only do I have to go to the office to pick it up in person (which isn't a big deal since the office is literally 150 yards from my front door) but I can't get it until after 2 PM on payday Fridays and of course my bank branch doesn't have extended hours on Fridays like most places. This being the case, I have a very narrow window of time to do my banking.
But what makes this such a huge pain in the ass is the time I have to pick up my pay.
You guys who work normal hours are now saying to yourselves, "What's the big deal Tom? 2 PM seems like a reasonable time to get paid." Well, normally it would be a reasonable time, but I work nights. What the coal miners call the "Hoot Owl" shift and what we called on the PD "Last Out". I go to work at 10 PM and end my shift at 6 AM.
I'll give you an example. Go to work at your normal time. Get home, do your normal evening stuff, eat supper... Go to bed around 10 or 10:30 PM. Set your alarm for 1 AM, get out of bed, got to your place of employment get your check, go to the bank, go back home and then try to get a few more hours of sleep before you have to get back up for work in the morning.
You'd be pretty pissed, wouldn't you?
That's what most people don't understand about us folks who work overnight. Our body clocks are reversed. I don't want an omelet and coffee when I get home. I may want a damn beer and a cheeseburger, but do you think I can get either at 6 AM?
So yesterday I do my usual bi-weekly little half-awake trip to the bank, and guess what now? My pay check is dated for today, Saturday. What the fuck is up with that? The teller at the bank gives me a smarmy little face and tells me I can't cash it, I have to deposit it because it's dated the 29th not the 28th. Well no shit. I was depositing it in the first place nimrod, hence the deposit slip I handed you along with the check. She sees that but adds that the money won't be available now until after 2 PM Tuesday...
Great. Now I'm almost broke until next week, my rent is due and I dare not send the checks I've written against the money I still don't have...
It's a good thing I've stockpiled Ramen noodles...
What the fuck!
Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Friday, October 28, 2005


An I ar a produck uv tha Merikan publick ejukayshun sistum...

Another installment of "Funny Foto Friday"!

Have a swell weekend guys!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Cranial Vomit

I took a "Mental Health" day Tuesday night. I got up with the alarm at 8:30 PM, stumbled to the bathroom, looked in the mirror and said fuck it, I'm not going in tonight. I need a night off just to sleep. So I crawled back into bed and slept another ten hours. God that felt good!

Luckily I pretty much make my own hours, and as long as I have the weekends covered my boss is ok with it. It had been one of those weeks where I was just mentally drained and the weather didn't help any either. It went from being in the high 70's on Friday to below freezing and snowing from Monday into yesterday. I wasn't ready for it so I just burrowed down into bed and shut it out for a day. In essence, the weather was a mirror to my mood.

Wednesday was fairly productive though and I did manage to get some things done. It was still pretty miserable in the morning and stumbling around my kitchen making a pot of coffee I decided I was going to make a big batch of chili and cornbread for dinner. I had all the fixings except for enough ground beef, so a trip to the Allen's in Princeton was on the agenda. Kat had given me her recipe for chili which sounded good, but couldn't find where I had put it so I resorted to the pre-packaged Carroll Shelby mix I had bought a few months ago. I might as well use it lest it rot on my shelf. It turned out pretty good anyway, but I'm going to have to get Kat to give the recipe to me again. I'd prefer home-made opposed to pre-packaged any day.

But first I did some housekeeping, vacuumed, did the dishes and went to the laundromat with a few loads of wash. I'm still wishing for a washer/dryer combo... I'd kill for those. I absolutely hate going to the laundromat. It never fails, every time I go to the one here in town, some college kid has every damn machine taken up with his entire wardrobe... Either I have to wait for a washer or wait for a dryer. I have two damn loads, one whites, one colors... And YES, I do separate them. I'm very domesticated. I'm Tommy-Fucking- Homemaker with a Goddamn attitude. So here I am at the laundromat and this kid has just about moved in to the place. He's even got the one folding table taken up with looks to be about a year's worth of homework... I ask him politely if he would mind giving up a three foot section so I can fold my wash... I get the sigh and the rolling eyes... I could have gladly throttled him then. Fucking little jerkoff. I'm so fucking sorry, I didn't realize it was your day to use these machines... If you wouldn't wait until every last stich of fucking clothing you own is dirty before washing them, maybe you wouldn't need the whole Goddamn place!


So, anyway...

I get that done, all my other chores are done... And I'm in kind of a bluesy and nostalgic mood so I set up a playlist on my Realplayer with some old Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Who, BB King and Robin Trower and get to cookin'! Soon my place is smelling pretty good... (not that it smelled bad to begin with) Chili simmering in the pot, cornbread in the oven... I really enjoy to cook... It's relaxing, just sucks sometimes not being able to share it...

So I'm doing my thing in the kitchen, Mick is singing that they'll never make a Saint of Him... I'm contemplating going back to the laundromat to kick the living shit out of a little college punk... Everything is right in RT's world. Just as my supper is just about done I hear a knock on my door, it's my buddy from the FD. So I invite him in and tell him to pull up a chair for dinner. We nosh and bullshit and generally have a good time swapping stories, discuss Thursday's meeting at the FD, shit like that. He then brings up that Wednesday nights at the Holiday Inn in Bluefield is comedy night and that some night a bunch of us from the FD might make a night of it. Sounds good, count me in. He also tells me they have an "open mike" session before the regular stand-ups start...


That got me thinking.

Open mike time. Where any aspiring stand up comic can do his shtick. I know this might come as a surprise to a lot of you, but four years straight I was voted "Class Clown" in school. Really! And I can't count how many people have told me in the past I should get into stand up comedy. Lord knows I've got enough material. I'm still not sure though. Even though all those years of testifying in court I still hate public speaking. I had a real bad stuttering problem as a child and it comes out even now when I'm upset or nervous, so I may have to think about it a while longer. Who knows? I might wind up being the next Denis Leary. Obviously I can't demonstrate here but I also can do accents really good. My British, Irish and German accents are perfect, and I have most US dialects down pretty good, but my Scottish accent leaves a lot to be desired.

Oh, and I did go between my trips to Allen's and the laundromat to the hospital in Princeton to talk to a social worker about the thing on my arm and they sent me to Mercer Health Right in Green Valley. It's free clinic for those who don't have insurance. I went there and had to fill out reams of paperwork and set an appointment for the doctor. I've got one next Thursday, so I will have it seen to next week. Only time will tell there also.

One last thing, looking at the clock and seeing it's after midnight and officially the 27th of October... In exactly two months I'll be hitting THE BIG FOUR-OH... Yes, I'll be forty... I don't have any plans, I'll probably spend it alone like I did last year...
I know, I lead such a terribly interesting life.


Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

What if

I will have you know, I did NOT write this. I wish I had.

What if today's media covered the D-Day Invasion in 1944?

June 6, 1944- Normandy, France- Tragic French Offensive Stalled on Beaches- Pandemonium, shock and sheer terror predominate today's events in Europe.

In an as yet unfolding apparent fiasco, Supreme Allied Commander, Gen. Dwight David Eisenhower's troops got a rude awakening this morning at Omaha Beach here in Normandy.

Three hundred French civilians were killed and thousands more wounded today in the first hours of America's invasion of continental Europe. Casualties were heaviest among women and children. Most of the French casualties were the result of artillery fire from American ships attempting to knock out German fortifications prior to the landing of hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops. Reports from a makeshift hospital in the French town of St. Mere Eglise said the carnage was far worse than the French had anticipated and reaction against the American invasion was running high. "We are dying for no reason," said a Frenchman speaking on condition of anonymity. "Americans can't even shoot straight. I never thought I'd say this, but life was better under Adolph Hitler."

Due to insufficient planning and lack of a workable entrance strategy, soldiers of the 1st and 29th Infantry as well as Army Rangers are now bogged down and sustaining heavy casualties inflicted on them by dug-in insurgent positions located 170 feet above them on cliffs overlooking the beaches, which now resemble blood soaked killing fields at the time of this mid-morning filing.

Bodies, parts of bodies, and blood are the order of the day here, the screams of the dying and the stillness of the dead mingle in testament to this terrible event.

Morale can only be described as extremely poor--in some companies all the officers have been either killed or incapacitated, leaving only poorly trained privates to fend for themselves.

Things appear to be going so poorly that Lt. General Omar Bradley has been rumored to be considering breaking off the attack entirely. As we go to press embattled U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's spokesman has not made himself available for comment at all, fueling fires that something has gone disastrously awry.

The invasion also caused severe environmental damage also. American troops, tanks, trucks and machinery destroyed miles of pristine shoreline and thousands of acres of ecologically sensitive wetlands. It was believed that the habitat of the spineless channel crab was completely wiped out, threatening the species with extinction. A representative of Greenpeace said his organization, which had tried to stall the invasion for over a year, was appalled at the destruction, but not surprised. "This is just another example of how the military destroys the environment without a second thought, " said an unnamed source. "And it's all about corporate greed." Contacted at his Manhattan condo, a member of the French government-in-exile who abandoned Paris when Hitler came to power in France said the invasion was based solely on American financial interests. "Everyone knows the President Roosevelt has ties to big beer.""Once the German beer industry is conquered, Roosevelt's beer cronies will control the world market and make a fortune."

The government at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is in a distinct lock-down mode and the Vice President's location is presently and officially undisclosed. Whether the second in command should have gone into hiding during such a crisis will have to be answered at some future time, but many agree it does not send a good signal.

Miles behind the beaches and adding to the chaos, U.S. Naval gunships have inflicted many friendly fire casualties, as huge high explosive projectiles rain death and destruction on unsuspecting Allied positions. The lack of training of naval gunners has been called into question numerous times before and today's demonstration seems to underlie those concerns.

At Utah Beach the situation is also grim, elements of the 82nd and 101st Airborne seemed to be in disarray as they missed their primary drop zones behind the area believed to comprise the militant's front lines. Errant paratroopers have been hung up in trees, breaking arms and legs, rendering themselves easy targets for those defending this territory.

On the beach front itself the landing area was missed, catapulting U.S. forces nearly 2,000 yards South of the intended coordinates, thus placing them that much farther away from the German insurgents and unable to direct covering fire or materially add to the operation. Casualties at day's end are nothing short of horrific; at least 8,000 and possibly as many as 9,000 were wounded in the haphazardly coordinated attack, which seems to have no unifying purpose or intent. Of this number at least 3,000 have been estimated as having been killed, making June 6th by far, the worst single day of the war which has dragged on now--with no exit strategy in sight--as the American economy still struggles to recover from Herbert Hoover's depression and its 25% unemployment. Military spending has skyrocketed the national debt into uncharted regions, lending another cause for concern. When and if the current hostilities finally end it may take generations for the huge debt to be repaid.

Administration supporters said America's aggressive actions were based in part on the assertions of controversial scientist Albert Einstein, who sent a letter to Roosevelt speculating that the Germans were developing a secret weapon, a so-called "atomic bomb." Such a weapon could produce casualties on a scale never seen before and cause environmental damage that could last for thousands of years. Hitler has denied having such a weapon, and international inspectors were unable to locate such weapons even after spending two long weekends in Germany.

On the planning end of things, experts wonder privately if enough troops were committed to the initial offensive and whether at least another 100,000 troops should have been added to the force structure before such an audacious undertaking. Communication problems also have made their presence felt making that an area for further investigation by the appropriate governmental committees. On the home front, questions and concern have been voiced. A telephone poll has shown dwindling support for the wheel-chair bound Commander In Chief, which might indicate a further erosion of support for his now three year-old global war.

Of course, the President's precarious health has always been a question. He has just recently recovered from pneumonia and speculation persists whether or not he has sufficient stamina to properly sustain the war effort. This remains a topic of furious discussion among those questioning his competency. Today's costly and chaotic landing compounds the President's already large credibility problem. More darkly, this phase of the war, commencing less than six months before the next general election, gives some the impression that Roosevelt may be using this offensive simply as a means to secure the election in the fall.

Underlining the less than effective Allied attack, German casualties--most of them innocent and hapless conscripts--seem not to be as severe as would be imagined. A German minister who requested anonymity stated categorically that "the aggressors were being driven back into the sea amidst heavy casualties, the German people seek no wider war."

"The news couldn't be better," Adolph Hitler, the lawfully elected leader of Germany, said when he was first informed of the D-Day assault earlier this afternoon.

"As long as they were in Britain we couldn't get at them. Now we have them where we can destroy them."

German minister Goebbels had been told of the Allied airborne landings at 0400 hours. "Thank God, at last," he said. "This is the final round."

-Author unknown

Kind of makes you think, doesn't it?

And here's another website I found. Be warned, have tissues ready and speakers on:

Have a swell day!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Brain damage

Or just gross stupidity?

In my ongoing quest for finding this incredibly stupid shit and bringing it to you...

When you decide to rip off a bunch of cops, don't be surprised if they actually come after you. What were you thinking? I read this little nugget in the paper this morning...

Last October the Kanawah County, WV Sheriff's Office hired Joseph Mandeville to take portraits of it's deputies. Several deputies ordered packages of these portraits totaling up to several hundred dollars.

Mr. Mandeville never delivered the prints but kept the money... He's also charged with the same thing involving wedding photographs in another incident.

He is now staying at the Cross-Bars Hotel as a guest of the County.

You fucking dolt. Again, what the fuck were you thinking?

It doesn't surprise me anymore how stupid people are. I was walking a foot beat at a Grateful Dead concert several years ago. I was in the stadium parking lot when I was approached by a fan of the band.

"Hey man! I got some good acid! Wanna score some?"

I should tell you I was in full uniform at the time...

"Sure dude! Love some! Got any weed?"

"Far out man! Got some great herb too!"

"Cool! Let's go over to my camper..."

A short walk away was the Mobile Police HQ Unit, a converted Winnebago (we nicknamed Willie's mobile whorehouse ) used for events like this. I opened the door and poked my head inside...

"Hey sarge, got a guy with me says he's got some bitchin' acid and primo weed..."

"No shit! Bring him on in!"

After we placed him under arrest, he still didn't believe we were to cops... Methinks he was sampling to much of his product.

Can we begin culling the herd now?

And last but not least, a word from my favorite fucked-up squirrel... The new Foamy is out!

Go here:

If you haven't experienced Foamy yet, you won't be disappointed!

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Monday, October 24, 2005

Gallows Humor

I've always been able to find humor in anything and those of you who are long-time readers here know that. It's a defense mechanism of sorts, looking death in the face and laughing about it.

You have to laugh at it or it will consume you, especially when you see so much of the shitty side of life, day in, day out. Stabbings, shootings, rapes, homicides... Scraping people off the pavement... So many innocent people hurt... And the kids. Seeing hurt kids has got to be the worst. Adults at least have some idea that something bad can happen to them but children are innocent. It's one thing to watch it detached from it on the evening news, but when you're asshole deep in it every day for the better part of ten years it gets to you.

You look at this on a daily basis and your own mortality is rudely thrown back into your face and you have to laugh or you'll go insane. I only know one other person besides my old partner who really understands it. I know my ex-wife never did.

You get to the point where you laugh at it almost instinctively. I had written about cracking jokes when I was a pall-bearer at my father's funeral several years ago. It wasn't meant in any way to be disrespectful and I'm pretty sure my old man was laughing his ass off in heaven. My dad died at home in bed of a massive heart attack. I helped the undertaker put him in the body bag and carry him out of the house and put him in the hearse. I had done it so many times on the job it was like second nature to me. The jokes and wise-ass comments during the funeral were a shield I put up to protect my sanity.

But one's own mortality still has a nasty way of letting you know none of us gets out of this alive.

Another example. A good friend of mine in the neighborhood the same age as me was diagnosed with testicular cancer shortly after my father's death in 1992. He had one of his testicles removed and that seemed to get rid of it. I understand he's now a father for the fifth time... But shortly after that diagnosis he was then known around the neighborhood as "The Chinaman"... You know, "One Hung Lo". But even as we laughed about it, him included, we knew deep down that if it could happen to him, sure as shit it could happen to one of us.

So getting back to where I was heading with this. For about four months now I've had this thing on the back of my arm, right on the tricep about the size of a pencil eraser. It itches from time to time and sometimes bleeds a little, and because of it's location I really haven't been able to get a good look at it.

So last night as usually I meet up with my buddy the paramedic on the FD. After telling jokes for a while and drinking a few cup of coffee I just came out and asked him to take a look at it.

"Hey Tommy. I think you should have this looked at..."

Words I was really dreading because I knew deep down what the answer was going to be.

"It looks like a small melanoma..."

Melanoma. The word burned in my ear...

Skin Cancer.

And there again was my mortality staring right back at me. The old fears coming back to the surface, of dying alone... Never having accomplished the things I truly want to do... Driving a locomotive, seeing the Australian Outback, seeing Europe again, owning another house, having someone to hold on lonely nights and to wake up to in the morning again...

Maybe it's not my mortality or dying that frightens me so much. It's dying and knowing nobody cares. That all I've done in my life meant nothing.

The most ironic thing about it is that from the times when I was a kid making my own little improved expedient munitions, to the when I joined the army, doing some really stupid shit with real high explosives, jumping out of perfectly good aircraft, combat in Grenada, to Central America, ghetto punks and gangbangers, being given "frequent flyer" miles at some local emergency rooms at the hospitals in Philly, times when I, in all actuality, should be dead already. The one thing that's scaring the shit of me the most is this little two-centimeter thing on my left arm.

And you know what? I can't think of a single thing funny about it...

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Sunday, October 23, 2005


I have said in a few other posts about my desire to at least try to fit in where ever I may find myself living and for the most part I've been fairly successful in that endeavor. But I had no idea how much and to what extent I had been accepted until last night at work.

I do have to tell you how amazing this has been for me, as I had just rolled into town this time last year from Arizona. I had worked up in and around Beckley for the previous several months on the railroad but I only knew one person there, but this was different. I picked up and moved 2000 miles into a town where I had no job, no friends and really nothing more than a desire to get on with the railroad full-time.

But in the last twelve months or so I had made friends, been accepted in town... Good enough friends that they actively recruited me to join the Volunteer FD.

Not bad for one of those "Damn Yankees"...

So last night around 11PM my work cell phone rings. I answer and it's one of the guys from the fire department.

"Tom, can you come over to the station? We need your help.."

"Yeah, sure. Give me a minute or two."

I wondered what they wanted. I got there and two of my buddies were there and told me what they needed...

I had to laugh. I'm not even a full member yet, a 'probie' and they're already including me in on a practical joke on another new guy. I'm just as new as the other guy and I really was expecting a joke played on me... But to be included in their plans! Wow... So I spent the better part of an hour with them at the station in the midst of a really big thunderstorm setting up the gag, even throwing in some modifications of my own to better help it along.

The gag isn't planned for another week so I won't give it away but if it goes off the way it should, it's going to be a scream... I'll tell you about it when it goes off.

It's really nice to feel wanted for the first time in a long time.

I'm sporting a really big grin this morning...

Oh, and an update on Ethan:

Lets all keep him in our prayers!

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Saturday, October 22, 2005

More senseless shit...

...I will never, ever understand.

Yesterday the Beckley, WV police department was called to the scene of a woman laying unconscious at the entrance to the West Virginia Turnpike at Harper Rd. In Beckley.

Apparently, this woman was in an earlier altercation with two other people at a nearby clinic, the argument continued into a car chase with words flying between both cars, and eventually coming to a head at the highway entrance leading to the beating and hitting and running over the woman with a car. As of yesterday there was no further information on the incident.

This morning I get the paper as usual, and there it was on the front page, the full story and the pictures of the two suspects.

Here's the story:

Anyway, along with the story is the mugshots of the suspects. The first one didn't surprise me at all. White male, early 20's, shaved head and goatee... Sneering at the photographer. Just by looking at him you just know this wasn't his first time, nor will it be his last.

A human piece of shit.

Second mugshot is of his girlfriend and accomplice, 18 years old and looks scared shitless in the pic. To look at her she could have been the highschool homecoming queen, not sitting in jail as an accomplice to attempted homicide.

What the fuck do women see in these piece of shit "bad boys"?

It brought me back several years. Back when I was still in highschool myself. I had a very good friend, Carol. We always ate lunch together, talked and joked and even went to the movies a few times together, but we were never really dating. She was the head cheerleader and she was dating a jock and quarterback of the school football team. I guess I could say I was in love with her to an extent a seventeen year old knows about being in love. I told her once how I felt, but she laughed it off... You see, her and the jock had big plans, getting married right after graduation...


Then she started getting "clumsy"... Bruises, black eye a time or two... A broken arm and dislocated jaw right before the prom...

"I'm ok Tommy, I just fell..."


It wasn't long after I went into the army and lost touch with my old crew. I came home on leave around 1985 and looked up some old friends. I had been gone two years and wanted to catch up.

"Hey, did you hear about Carol?"

"No, what?"

"She got married to Steve, and he wound up beating her to death last Christmas..."

It was like I was shot right between the eyes. I was speechless. You could have told me my house was on fire and it wouldn't have hurt more. I still sometimes think of Carol, who was a very sweet girl who deserved far better. Probably even better that what I could have given her, but she deserved more.

I just didn't understand it then, and almost twenty years later I'm no closer to understanding why it still goes on. I saw it far to often on the PD after I got out, not just beatings but mental abuse too. I was a victim of that little insipid demon myself, so guys aren't immune to it and I understand how that creeps up on you without you realizing it. I should have gotten out of my relationship with my ex years ago. But to see and know this guy (or girl) is a piece of shit and still do it anyway...

I talk a good tough-guy routine, but in all actuality I'm a sentimental softy deep down. I'd never dream of treating a woman the way these assholes do.

Maybe I'm just too nice for my own good.

Momma told her baby, girl take it real slow
Girl told her momma hey I really gotta go
He’s waitin’ in the car
Momma said girl you won’t get far
Thus are the dreams of an average jane
Ninety miles an hour down a lovers lane
On a tank of dreams
Oh if she could’ve only seen
But fate’s got cards that it don’t want to show

And that boy’s just
A walkaway joe
Born to be a leaver
Tell you from the word go,
destined to deceive her
He’s a wrong kinda paradise
She’s gonna know it in a matter of time
That boy’s just a walkaway joe

Now just a little while into Abilene
Pulls into a station and he robs it clean
She’s waitin’ in the carUnderneath the Texaco star
She only wanted love didn’t bargain for this
She can’t help but love him for the way he is
She’s only seventeen
And there ain’t no reasoning
So she’ll ride this ride as far as it can go

Cause that boy’s just
A walkaway joe
Born to be a leaver
Tell you from the word go,
destined to deceive her
He’s a wrong kinda paradise
She’s gonna know it in a matter of time
That boy’s just a walkaway joe

Somewhere in a roadside motel room
Alone in the silence she wakes up too soon
And reaches for his arm
But she’ll just keep reachin’ on
For the cold hard truth revealed what it had known

That boy’s just
A walkaway joe
Born to be a leaver
Tell you from the word go,
destined to deceive her
He’s a wrong kinda paradise
She’s gonna know it in a matter of time
That boy’s just a walkaway joe

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden
"Walkaway Joe" Copyright 1996 Trisha Yearwood

Friday, October 21, 2005

Funny Foto Friday...

Jon Bon Jovi, where are you?

Ok, ok. I can see the woman and the guy... It was the 80's...

But to do that to your kid? What the fuck were you smoking?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

A Hero

I normally don't make two posts a day, but something happend last night I just have to tell you all about. Well I won't tell you, I'll let the newspaper do that.

Go here for the story:

I was rightly corrected that there was a whole team of people working to save this child's life, and that there is no "I" in Team and I really understand that. But I don't know anyone else on the team, only you... So I'm proud of you for doing your part. It's like a person who knows someone on a sports team who wins the big championship... Of course it took the whole team to win it, but since you only know that one person personally, you say "Hey! You're great for winning the game!" You say it to your friend like he was the only person there, but you really know deep down inside it took the whole team.

You're still a hero in my eyes...

The Beeper Gag

Time for a few laughs as I think some of my readers might need to laugh a bit today.

I told you all about my terminally flatulent partner and in spite of his constant ass-busting, he was a great partner and fantastic cop. I was glad to have him as my partner. We worked so good together it was almost like we could read eachother's minds sometime.

But we were dangerous together...

Very dangerous.

Not in the way one would think though, not like two early-twenty somethings with guns... We were constant practical jokers. We loved getting laughs out of the other guys on our squad. Looking back on it it's a wonder we got any real police work done... It wasn't "Let's stop crime" when we got in the patrol car at the beginning of our shift, it was "Who can we fuck with tonight?"

So we would spend half our shift between handling jobs fucking with the others in the squad. One night we were coming back from central lockup after dropping off some prisoners where we saw a fellow officer's car parked at a Dunkin' Donuts (no cop-donut jokes, I've heard them all and to be frank, they're not that funny after about five million times...) and he and I had an epiphany. It was a gag so simple as to be genius.

"Hey, isn't that Harry getting lunch?"


The plan came together rapidly as I dropped my partner off and drove the wagon around the corner.

I have to set this up a little now. "Harry" was another cop on our squad. We called him Dirty Harry, not for his resemblance to the famous movie character, but his language. "Fuck" was his most commonly used word in his vocabulary. He would use it anywhere at any time. In front of school kids, nuns, rabbis, priests, judges... And he wouldn't change. I use it a lot, but nowhere near as much as Harry did. I know when and where to turn it off, but that little switch was missing in Harry's brain. He was also nosy as hell, and would go through your shit right in from of you. I really didn't think he knew he was doing it, but that little habit was useful in our plot. He was also paranoid, seeing black helicopters everywhere, that sort of paranoia. And lastly he was married, but not to his first wife. His current spouse and himself met and began dating while they were still married to other people...

So that should tell you in a nutshell his mental state... Ripe for plucking.

My partner walks into the store and sits down next to Harry and orders up a cup of coffee while I go across the street to a phone booth. (This was the early 90's when nobody had cell phones yet)

"Hey Harry, how's it going?"

"Yo Jim, what's up?"

"Nothing much. Had a great night the other night."

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah, I met up with this chick at the Acme, and she was an animal..." (Harry's wife worked at the Acme)


Bait it offered...

"Yeah, oh man! She couldn't get enough! She wanted it over an over, then had me call a few of my friends over... She wanted to pull the train!"

Hook set...

"No shit, a real fuckslut, huh?"

"You aint kiddin' man. God, I was wore out for three days."

"How many buds you have over?"

"There was ten of us... Got she tore up my apartment!"

Time to reel in the sucker...

"But man, I made a mistake and gave her my pager number... Now she keeps paging me wanting me to bring more friends next time!"

At this point Harry is almost salvating... My partner rearranged his gunbelt and takes his pager off, laying it on the counter withing easy reach of Harry's greasy fingers... I can see from my vantage point across the street the 'go' sign. The eight-point "Bus Driver Hat" came off, so I drop a dime and dial the pager number... When cued I enter the number...

Back inside the store, the pager goes off...

"Ah, shit! There she is again! This is about the twentieth time she's paged tonight!"

And Harry does what we just knew he would do. He picks up the pager and looks at the display number...

Harry's face turns a lovely shade of magenta and starts to shake... He looks at my partner...

"That's my fucking home fucking phone number! What the fuck is MY HOME FUCKING PHONE NUMBER DOING IN YOUR FUCKING BEEPER?"

I won't go into the whole diatribe, but it's safe to say it was very colorful... And LOUD. I could hear him screaming from across the street, through the plate-glass windows and traffic on the boulevard... Finally Harry needed to be calmed down when he unstrapped his holster and the Korean owner came running out screaming "You fluckin cops are all clazy!" It was time to de-escalate things... If Harry didn't shoot both of us, he most probably would have had a massive stroke soon if we didn't chill out.

"Harry, Harry... Calm down!"

"Calm down! I'll fucking kill you you fucking little jit!"

"Harry, Gotcha!"

"What do you mean 'gotcha'?"

"Where's Tom?"


My partner pointed through the window at me doubled over, laughing so hard I'm crying and still holding the receiver to the payphone...

"You motherfuckers! I'll fucking get you back for this you little fucks!"

Ah, the beeper gag. Looking back on it now, knowing Harry's unstable mental condition we're both lucky he didn't drill us right there on the spot... But at that point of our lives we were used to putting it on the line everyday anyway, what was one more risk, especially for a laugh?

Besides, it was funnier than hell. My partner said he'd never forget the look on Harry's face when he saw his home number in his pager... He said he'd take that image to the grave it was so precious.

Hindsight being 20/20 I realise now it was wrong. But hell, you put two 20-something military veterans in a car for up to twelve hours a day, they tend to get a little goofy.

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

RT, Firefighter?

I had been wanting for some time to get a little more active in the community since moving to Athens. Several months ago I attempted to re-enlist into the West Virginia Army National Guard and I thought that was going to work out ok, but I failed a second, more intensive physical because of my knees, so that idea was dead in the water.

There's a volunteer fire department, and it's almost directly across the street from my apartment. In the year I've been here I've met and have become friends with most of the members and on my nights at work and sometimes my off time I can be found at the firehouse shooting the shit with my friends. One has been after me to join up for a while now and I would always find an excuse not to. To tell you the truth, I really don't dig the idea of running into burning buildings, and really don't handle ladders all that well.

But last night after a long bullshit session at the station and many cups of coffee, my friends there finally got me to agree to fill out an application and at least come to a few meetings. They are a bunch of great guys really, and my friend did say "Hey, you're here all the time anyway..."

Well, we'll see how this goes. My maternal grandfather was the Fire Chief of Camden, New Jersey a long time ago and I remember as a child getting the toy fire trucks and shit like that for Christmas and Birthdays. You'd think he wanted me to become a firefighter or something... I was a cop for a while, why not a firefighter? It's not like they get a whole lot of tall buildings burning fully involved a lot.

But I'll tell you what is nice, moving here only a year ago and making enough friends that actually go out of their way to get me into their organization and treat me like I've been here all my life.

It's really nice to feel welcomed and at home, something I never felt in the nine years I was in Arizona.

Go here:

A few other notes I'll mention now. Starting Friday, I'm going to start something new, "Funny Foto Friday". I'll be posting a funny picture every week. Sometimes I'll comment, sometimes I'll just leave the picture speak for itself. You won't be disappointed!

Also, I might have found a new place. There's a small cottage halfway between the office and my apartment that has been sitting empty since last year when I moved into town. I found out last night it's been for sale for over five years but apparently somebody died in it, and now nobody wants anything to do with the place. That doesn't bother me so I'm going to see if I can get to look at it later this week. It's small, but it's just me and I really don't need much. I'm just sick of apartment living. Once you've owned your own home, it's hard going back to living in an apartment.

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Lawsuits "R" Us...

Since litigation has surpassed baseball as the Great American Pass-time I thought I'd give you a few I've been collecting from newspapers and the web for a while.

While I do understand that sometimes people get injured due to other people's negligence and the tort system is needed to protect us from some people who just don't give a shit, these below are just ridiculous. What still amazes me apart from the stupidness of the claims, is that some lawyer actually had the balls to file them, and more importantly, a judge who actually agreed to hear these cases.

If I was the judge I'd have thrown them out before they even went to trial.

And here we are, RT's List of Ridiculous Lawsuits:

A guy sued Anheuser-Busch for emotional distress after drinking the company's beer without later having "success with women."

Instant asshole, just ad beer...

A minister and his wife sued a guide-dog school when a blind man stepped on the wife's toes in a shopping mall.

Nice to know that there are still people of God out there willing to turn the other cheek...

A San Diego man sued the city for emotional trauma during a concert when he saw women using the men's rest room.

Only in California...

In December 1996, a New York jury awarded $5.3 million to a secretary who claimed she was injured by a Digital Equipment Corporations keyboard. Rather than asserting that keyboards were defective, her lawyers contended that Digital neglected to warn its users about the dangers of typing.

Just goes to show you that juries are made up of twelve people to stupid to get out of jury duty...

And my all-time favorite:

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - A woman is suing the pharmacy that sold her a popular contraceptive jelly - because she ate the stuff on toast and got pregnant anyway.

And, incredibly, many legal experts are saying she's got an excellent chance of collecting!

"The woman is a complete idiot," said one attorney who asked that we not use his name. "How bright can you be if you think eating a vaginal gel will prevent conception?"

But certain aspects of the case involve truth in labeling and false advertising issues. She may not collect but she'll make a lot of noise and trouble. People are down on lawyers anyway. They think we waste time and money on frivolous lawsuits. This isn't going to help public relations any.

A spokesman for the unnamed mom-and-pop drugstore says he's shocked and angry that such a case could ever be taken seriously. "All she has to do is open the box and read the directions," says the spokesman. "Next thing you know someone will come after us because they couldn't stick things together with their toothpaste.
"I can just imagine some moron saying: 'It's paste, isn't it? Why can't I glue these papers onto my bulletin board?'"

But attorneys for Mrs. Chyton say she was swindled and lied to by implication and they intend to make the pharmacy pay $500,000 for the hardship the woman will have to endure.

"It says right on it 'jelly'" says Mrs. Chyton, a former model who was once a cheerleader for a popular professional basketball team.

"And they kept it on the shelf just two aisles from the food section. I know, now, that the directions say it should be used vaginally with a condom."

"But who has time to sit around reading directions these days - especially when you're sexually aroused?
"The company should call it something else and the pharmacy shouldn't sell it without telling each and every customer who buys it that eating it won't prevent you from getting pregnant."

As bizarre as it sounds, the pharmacy could wind up losing the lawsuit.

"It's hard for businesses to avoid troublesome lawsuits" said another attorney "With the courts bending over backwards to please consumer groups, the temper of the times is perfect for these crackpots to bring legal action against businesses - even a moronic legal action like this."

Maybe she was going to give him a blowjob and didn't want to get pregnant?

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Monday, October 17, 2005

You have the right to remain silent...

We've all heard those words before. Most of us thankfully, have only heard them watching TV. They're part of the Miranda Warning, which every prisoner must understand before questioning. That means the cops who initially put the stainless steel bracelets on you don't have to give you your rights. They can, and a lot of police departments do this, but it's not required unless they start questioning you. My department didn't so this. Also, people mistakenly refer to it as the "Miranda Act", and that's a misnomer. It was never an "Act" just a ruling by the Supreme Court that mandates all prisoners must be informed of their legal rights before questioning.

Miranda Warning

"You have the right to remain silent. If you give up that right, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney and to have an attorney present during questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided to you at no cost. During any questioning, you may decide at any time to exercise these rights, not answer any questions or make any statements at that time"

I'd get this all the time, so much in fact that I really got sick of trying to explain it to the mental midgets I was arresting.

I'd put the cuffs on, and the first thing I'd here...

"Hey, you gotta read Mr my rights!"

"No I don't."

"Yeah you do, man! I'll sue!"

"Fine. Go ahead and sue me..."

"You gotta read me my rights, pig!"

"Ok, you have the right to remain silent, now shut the fuck up!"

What most of these boneheads don't realize is that the Miranda Warning is only used when being questioned.

"Am I asking you any questions?"


"Well then I don't have to read you your rights!"

Too much TV... CHiPs and TJ Hooker fucked it up in the 70's & 80's I think.

Miranda in a nutshell:

Miranda vs. Arizona

The case that brought about the eventual Miranda rights ruling, involved Ernesto Miranda of Phoenix, Arizona. In 1963, Miranda was arrested for the armed robbery of a bank worker. While in custody of police, Miranda, who had a record for armed robbery, attempted rape, assault and burglary,signed a written confession to the armed robbery. He also confessed to kidnapping and raping an 18-year-old girl 11 days prior to the robbery. Miranda was convicted of the armed robbery, but his attorneys appealed the case on the grounds that Miranda did not understand that he had the right against self-incrimination.

Pretty simple. But there's an ironic twist to this story...

When the Supreme Court made its Miranda ruling in 1966, Ernesto Miranda's conviction was overturned. Prosecutors later retried the case, using evidence other than his confession, and he was convicted again. Miranda served 11 years in prison and was paroled in 1972. At age 34, Ernesto Miranda was stabbed and killed in a 1976 bar fight. A suspect was arrested in Miranda's stabbing, but exercised his right to remain silent. He was released without being charged. I love irony.

So, if you are ever arrested, and I really hope none of you are, they don't have to read you your rights until they begin questioning you...

here's a version we used to bandy about the department, and one guy on my squad actually went out and had it printed up on business cards...

Revised Miranda Warning

You have the right to remain silent. You also have the right to swing first. If you should choose the right to swing first, any move you make can and will be used as an excuse to beat the living shit out of you.

You have the right to have a doctor and priest, rabbi, imam or shaman present, along with transport to the closest medical facility. If you cannot afford or have no medical insurance, this will be provided for you.

Do you understand your rights as explained, Asshole?

Oh, and Wasn't Miranda such a swell guy, too? A real pillar of the community if you ask me.

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Sunday, October 16, 2005

I should have known

It was nearing a full moon.

And I was going to have an interesting night. First off I cut myself shaving, not once, not twice but three times last night before work, all on my upper lip... George Carlin had a funny saying about that... "You know those two lines that run up your face...?" And I rarely cut myself shaving. Then, getting out of the shower I stub the smallest two toes on my left foot on the bathroom door... It hurt so bad tears came to my eyes and I couldn't think straight for about ten minutes. I think they're broken, because right now they're both swollen and an ugly blue-black and hurt to move...

In spite of that, everything was going smoothly until around 2 AM. I was doing my checks and as I pull up to the Deli Mart there's a group of four people standing outside arguing, two women and two men.

Great. The place is closed, so I can shoo them off to somewhere else. I hate dealing with domestics, and since there were four of them and only one of me I was especially on edge. It's not in my damn job description anymore either. My boss doesn't pay me nowhere near enough to put up with that kind of shit. I just wanted them away from the big plate-glass window of the store...

So I pull up and in my best cop voice ask what was going on as I separate the two warring parties. I'm not going to go into the whole dialog because it was disjointed and kind of nutty, but what I ascertained from both parties was this:

Male "A" (husband) was angry at female "B" (wife) because she was with female "D"... Male "A" further stated that it was all well and good if female "A" could go out and play with female "D", but it wasn't ok for him to go out and play with male "C"... All he wanted was for her to see it was a two-way street...

Are you following this?

So male "A" wanted to play hide the salami with male "C", but female "B" didn't like that at all, but it was ok for her (female "B") to go and carpet-munch with female "D"...


Things that happen in tiny college towns during a full moon.

I was successful in calming down all four parties enough to send them off on their merry little bisexual ways, and amazingly I realized that no mind-altering substances were involved at all.

That was a first in itself. All four were sober as the day is long.

I'm not going to even try to describe what I said or what I did, because I'm not even sure how I did it. Male "C" did squeal with delight when I did suggest they all get a room together... Both males definitely were effeminate, and female "D" had more testosterone coursing through her veins than I'll ever have. The only normal looking one was female "B"... But just the thought made me ill.

And my skin crawled...

As an aside, male "C" did resemble the naked guy I had seen walking down the middle of State St. about two months ago, and for a second I though about asking him if it was him but the moment passed and I just wanted their little freakfest as far away from me as possible, Hinton maybe. Canada would be even better.

Then, to end my shift in a fantastic way, I killed an owl. Not just any owl, a Great Horned Owl. I was driving south on Rt. 20, and the bastard just flew out and did a nose-dive into my windshield. Luckily he hit it in such a way that he didn't go right through, killing me. I did have to wash off the blood though.

Me, trucks and wildlife don't seem to mix well lately.

Butchered upper lip, broken toes, bisexual cat-fight and a kamakazi owl. Some days it's not even worth getting out of bed, and the full moon is still two days away...

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Why I Blog

Last night while getting ready for work I took a look at my hit counter and I was pleasantly surprised. From the End of January to last night I've had almost 12,000 hits. That's not even a full year, just shy of ten months. Pretty impressive. I know businesses who wish they had that kind of hitrate on their website.

But it really got me thinking. Why do I do it? Well, I'm not going to get into specifics, but the beginning of this years wasn't the best in my life. In fact, it was worse that the previous January when my wife left me. I'm not going to get into it because they're far to personal and still hurt quite a bit so I'll leave it at that.

I found blogspot by accident. Just was surfing around and found a blog and started reading. The one fantastic thing about the internet and blogging in particular is that anyone with access to a computer now has a voice.

I used to feel for so long I was just an insignificant little spot on earth and no one gave a shit about what I had to say, no matter how inane and stupid I sounded.

Blogging changed all that.

I was no longer a faceless number. I had an outlet for all my little bitches in life. I really didn't care one way or another if I had any readership. I wasn't, and I'm still not searching for fame. I did it for a release, a vent to relieve some pain in my life and as usual, I did it with my off the wall humor and I had an outlet so I wouldn't get sucked down into a bottomless pit of dispair. Or worse, crawl into the bottle like some other friends and family of mine, never to see the light of day again.

I've had some pretty fucked up things happen to me in my life, but I get through them now by laughing at myself and pointing out the absurdities in my life. I'm glad most of you get that. Some still don't though, and that's alright too. I do look at the positive things too, but not too often because, to be honest, they're not as fucking funny.

And if there's one thing in the world I like to do is I like to laugh.

I do sometimes talk about serious things, and I'm not asking anyone to agree with me on any one of them. The only thing I ask is for you to at least try to see my side of it. I'll most definitely listen to your point of view, but I'm not asking anyone to always see eye to eye with me. We can agree to disagree on a lot of things. Because if we all agreed on everything, wouldn't the world be a really boring place? And I'll also give you a clue, I'm a registered "R" but I'm nowhere near as far right as some people think...

What I write here is just my opinion. Opinions are like assholes, every one has one and sometimes I can be one gigantic asshole myself. All of my readers understand that I hope and although we don't agree on everything we can have a shitload of fun doing it.

It started out slow, Becky in Roanoke, Divine Ms. N and her Fiance Kev in New Jersey, Kat... And it sort of snowballed from there. I have readers in Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, Germany, Holland, Canada... Here in the states, from Georgia, New York ,Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado, Alabama, Mississippi and Ohio. I really want to thank each and every one of you for helping me get through some really dark days and now, because of all of you, I have a better outlook on life. Some of you comment, some just send me emails, but all of you help to contribute a little something every day. In helping me realize I wasn't just a faceless, insignificant number in the world, I've also learned to let go of some of my apathy and cynicism towards mankind. Not all mind you... I'm a work in progress!

What started out as a vent and self-therapy has turned into something I'm not sure what it is or where it's heading, but I can promise you this, you won't ever be bored! I'm not perfect either. Far from it, and it shows here. I'm about as flawed as the next guy, but what I think separates me from the rest is the fact that I know I'm not perfect. So cut me some slack, ok?

So my little blog has turned into something, I'm not sure yet... But I know I couldn't do it every day without you guys, my readers! We don't always agree, but we do have some fun disagreeing, don't we? So that's why I do it. For me to save my sanity in this nutty world, and for you guys to make you laugh. And if I can just make one person laugh a day, I think the world is a better place for it.

You guys will never know how much you all mean to me!


Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Friday, October 14, 2005

Over Where?

There's a new show this season on FX network called "Over There" and it's supposed to give the viewer an idea what it's really like in Iraq, from the soldiers perspective and also some insight on what it's like for those left behind on the homefront.

A pretty good concept, if you ask me. So I began to watch it, and with every new episode I began to seethe just a little bit more. I've made a few friends here in West Virginia, and several of them are in the West Virginia National Guard and just came home from Iraq. From what they tell me, this show is so far from reality you really begin to wonder what kind of dope the writers are smoking.

I tend to pick apart TV shows and movies, mostly cop & army shows. It was a habit that used to drive my ex nuts, but I still can't help myself. Especially when I see a glaring mistake. And this show is chock full of them.

I've been out of the army for going on eighteen years but still retain a lot of the stuff that was crammed into my head, and also I have a pretty good memory when it comes to the five years I spent in boots. A lot of it is so fresh in my gray matter it's like it happened yesterday, and I don't think those memories will fade anytime too soon.

Ok, so I start watching this show in great anticipation. The first episode starts off with with a group of soldiers from the 3rd ID (Infantry Division) getting shipped out from their base in California to head to Iraq. First mistake. The 3rd ID is based out of Ft. Stewart, Georgia. I know this because I was stationed there for two years. Audie Murphy must be spinning in his grave.

Ok, ok. I give them the benefit of the doubt, so I watch on. It's pretty accurate in the weapons and uniforms, vehicles and such. But that's where it ends. Second mistake I see is one of the main characters "Sgt Scream" is a sergeant First Class, who's in charge of a rifle squad. Another mistake. A SFC would not be in charge of a rifle squad, that'd be a SGT, E-5 or maybe a corporal. A SFC would be a Platoon sergeant... And the size of the squad is in question also. I know I've been out of the army for some time, but a rifle squad in an infantry platoon would be twelve-man strong, not four.

Then comes the next episode where a two-star general comes and gives the sergeant orders for a mission. Let me tell you this. In the five years I was in the army, the highest ranking officer I ever spoke to let alone received orders from was a Captain, several grades below a Major General. This would never happen in war or in peacetime.

Another word on officers here. The platoon leader, a Second Lieutenant portrayed in the show is way too old for his rank. The guy in the show playing the lieutenant is around my age, pushing forty. The oldest 2nd Lt. I ever saw was around twenty-three. Either this guy had a really rough paper route growing up or they've badly miscast him. They did get it right that he's a complete fucking moron though, but that's another bitch.

Several other boners there too. The characters keep on referring to "Getting thrown in the Brig".

Brig? Since when the hell did the army get a brig? Unless the army has a ship out in the middle of the desert somewhere, the closest "brig" would be on one of the US Navy ships in the Persian Gulf. The army has the "Stockade" or "CCF" (Confined corrections Facility) Never a fucking brig.

I could really go nuts about the mistakes in infantry tactics shown, but they're far to many to list. I'll just say that if I ever did any of the dumb mistakes shown on the show in real life I'd be very, very dead in short order.

Then we go to the scenery. I never knew Iraq had Mesquite and Juniper trees. Looks like Southern California or Arizona to me.

Then we have the characters. And boy are they. A grenadier with no grenades, a SAW (squad automatic weapon) gunner who wields his M-243 like a cowboy who hasn't clue what he's doing, A blonde female truck driver from West Virginia (I wonder where they got that fucking idea from? How Goddamn original!) and of course the token Arab-American who just so happens to speak fluent Farsi.

All in all this show insults me on several different levels.

It shows the army and it's soldiers in the worst light, making everything we've accomplished there worth nothing. Shows the the basic infantry soldier as a knuckle-dragging, trigger happy idiot who doesn't give a shit about anyone but himself and all the loved ones he or she has left behind as drunk assholes who are fucking everything that moves when their spouses are away fighting the war. It also shows that we're not doing anything good there at all, and that's so far removed from the veterans I've spoken to at great length. They tell me of so many good things they've done. How every day Iraqis would come up to them and thank them daily for getting rid of Saddam and how much they're appreciated there.

This show has great potential. It's up to the writers, producers and military advisors to get it right. Of course there's going to be some ugly things. It's a war for Christ's sake. Nothing is ever surgical or clear-cut in a war. But let's start telling the truth and getting the facts straight. 100% of the soldiers there right now are volunteers. Many are on their second and third tours, not because they were told to, but volunteers to go back, because like the way I was instructed as a young soldier, get the job done. Never give up until the job is done. When it's done, then come home.

"Charlie Mike!" Continue mission.

We now have the best trained, best equipped army in the world. Don't let shows like this one dishonor them and especially those who've given their lives so that we can live free of terrorism, and also to let the Iraqis live without fear either. Oh, and if Cindy Sheehan is reading... I'm truly sorry for your son's loss, but he volunteered, not once, but twice to go to Iraq... So in saying the shit you've been spewing lately you are pissing on his grave. You care nothing about him, only you're own search for the limelight. You are not worthy enough to carry your son's boots.

As an army veteran this show insults me. It insults me as an American. It insults my intelligence and in essence, shits on every grave of every American soldier who ever fought and died for this country.

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Thursday, October 13, 2005

All in a name

Last year when I was still working on the railroad I spent a lot of time in airports going from one city to another. Pretty ironic in a way, but that's another story.

So I was sitting one time in the terminal at the airport in Atlanta waiting on my connecting flight. I had a few hours to kill and I was enjoying the people-watching. One family in particular drew my attention because of a name.

A little girl around five or six was running around the waiting area and the mother was getting quite perturbed. Finally the mother yelled out;

"Allegra! Sit yo ass down over here!"



Who the hell would name their child after a allergy medication? I've heard some strange names in my time, but Allegra? I can just picture the family reunion...

"That little girl over there with the runny nose? That's my daughter Allegra, and that tall, erect boy with the excellent posture? Well that's my boy, Viagra..."

Who else?

"Well, that cheerful child over their is my nephew Percocet, and the man next to him eating the chili dog is his father, Zantac. The twins over under the tree are Prozac and Lithium. They're always sleeping for some reason. "

I just would really like to know if it's just better living through chemistry, or these people in a desire to be different just think these off the wall names for laughs, never thinking that it really could be harmful to the child later in life. Or are they just taking a cue from the not-so-bright stars in Hollywierd? Here's a few from tinsletown:

Frank & Gail Zappa: Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet Emuukha Rodan and Diva Muffin

Paula Yates & Bob Geldof: Fifi Trixibelle, Peaches Honeyblossom and Little Pixie

Julia & Jamie Oliver: Daisy Boo and Poppy Honey

Arlyn & John Phoenix: River Jude, Rainbow Joan of Arc, Leaf Joaquin, Liberty Mariposa, Summer Joy

Helen Baxendale & David Eliot: Nell Marmalade

Angie & David Bowie: Zowie

Shannyn Sossamon: Audio Science

Rob Morrow: Tu (Pronounced "Tomorrow", get it?)

Sylvester Stallone: Sage Moon Blood

What the fuck are these people thinking? Don't make it hard on them. My oldest sister at one point joked about nameing her first born "Egg Foo" ( her married name is Young) but she only was joking. You want your child to have a unique and different name? Leave them alone, because I'll tell you this much, fucked up name or no fucked up name, sometime between the 4th and 8th grade, a kid a lot like I was in school will dub them with a really unique nickname that you would have never even thought about in your wildest dreams that fits them better than any fucked up name you can come up with... An sometimes it'll stick with them the rest of their life. Isn't that right, Sasquatch, Chewbacca, Squirrel & Pugsley?

And my friends laughed at me for naming my dog Fred...

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Land of the Free?

I'm old enough to remember the Cold War. I was in Europe when there was still two Germany's. I was there when tensions were high and you never knew when and if the balloon was going to go up, bringing forth the entire Red Army screaming through the Fulda Gap.

I've seen the Berlin wall. I've been on patrols at night along the inner German border... Looked at humorless Soviet and East German troops through binoculars, who were in turn looking at me. Both sides thumbing the safeties of our rifles all the time... I was right on the front line, and if the balloon did go up, myself and the men I was with there would have been nothing more than speed-bumps to the thousands of Soviet T-80 tanks that would roll over us.

Freaky times.

Now I read and hear about this, and I find it deeply troubling. A group of people want to build a fence along the 2000 or so miles from the Pacific Ocean in California to the Gulf of Mexico in Texas to stem the tide of illegal immigrants. Where I do feel there's a real problem with illegals crossing the border and at first thought a fence does sound like a pretty good idea. But when you read the website dedicated to this fence it's a little unnerving. I read the description and it sent chills down my spine.

The concrete wall portion of the barrier is roughly four percent of its overall length. Most of it is a fifty yard wide multi-layered composite obstacle comprised of several elements:

A ditch
Coils of barbed wire
Two tall, sturdy wire fences, with sensors to warn of any incursion.
A patrol path for vehicles between the fences
A smoothed strip of sand that runs parallel to the fence, to detect footprints.
Closed circuit TV cameras and motion detectors

All that's missing is the minefields, anti-tank obstacles and the guard towers with machineguns with interlocking fields of fire to match the "defenses" of the DDR I saw when I was in Germany.

A concrete wall? Who would the contractor be, the Stazi? They were pretty good at it, as far as I can remember.

They say it's to control illegal immigration. But once up, who's to stop a later group to reverse it? To keep people in? Things are already getting out of hand if you ask me, from the Right we have the "Patriot Act" which scares the shit out of me... And from the Left we have folks who want to take my guns away and issue national ID cards.

Go too far Right and we have Fascisism, to far Left and we have Communism. Both scare the shit out of me, and we're just blindly following along like lemmings over the cliff.

I agree we have a problem with illegal immigration and I've been accused in the past for being anti-immigrant. That couldn't be further from the truth. We're a nation of immigrants. All our families, at some point have come from somewhere else, excluding the Native Americans.

We have to do something about the illegals, but this is certainly not the way to do it.

One of the great founding fathers of our Republic, Benjamin Franklin once said:

"Those of you who would give up freedoms for temporary safety deserve neither..."

He also wrote a treatise entitled "Fart Proudly" by the way...

Anyway, his words are still as crystal clear today as there were 230 years ago. An Iron Curtain to our south? Not if I can help it.

Go here to read more:

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A tale of two pigs

My boss and I are both hunters. Now when I say my boss, I mean the owner of the company I work for, not the guy who I bitch about frequently here.

So we're both hunters, but that's about where the similarities end.

I'm the type of hunter who gets together once a year with a few friends, drives four hours to an out of the way cabin somewhere deep in the woods of Appalachia, usually after Thanksgiving day. It is where myself and these friends would spend the better part of the week drinking copious amounts of beer, playing cards and telling huge lies about the deer that got away the last year. We might get some time out in the woods doing some actual hunting, but not much. It's more like a male ritual, an annual male bonding trip than an actual hunting expedition. I've been doing it since I was thirteen, and even now althought it's been several years since I've been out in the woods hunting, I still get that familiar itch about this time every year.

But it's usually a pretty low-budget affair. Chip in for the food and beer and you have a bunk for the week.

My boss on the other hand is a Hunter. The Fly-Into-The-Outback-Of-British-Columbia-And-Come-Out-With-A-Trophy-At-All-Costs Hunter...

My boss just came back from a four week African Safari... Showed me pictures and everything. Guides, gun bearers, the works. If the pictures had been in black and white, you could have easily imagined a safari from a hundred years ago at the height of the British rule in the Dark Continent. I've always dreamed of one day fishing for steelhead in Alaska, or taking a bull elk in Canada, but those would be once in a lifetime trips for me, if ever. This guys goes on these things six or seven times a year... Somehow I find that a little bit obscene.

So last night I get to the office and see the owner's vehicle parked in the lot. I let myself into the building and see him lovingly taking care of all his animals, dusting them and cleaning them. He does this about once a month. He has over nineteen full mounts... A full mount, for those of you who don't know, is the WHOLE animal, not just the head. And these aren't little guys either. His largest mount is a Kodiak Grizzly... And to give you some idea on how much a full mound costs, a standard whitetail deer head will run somewhere around $500 to $700 depending on the taxidermist. A full mount of a grizzly costs somewhere around in the general neighborhood of $30,000.

And that's not the total cost of the thing when you look deeper into it. There's airfare, lodgings, the hunting guide, the out of state licenses and sometimes customs fees... Thousands of dollars.

So he's got nineteen of these things just at the office, no telling what he's got at his house. There's several Rocky Mountain goats, Mule Deer, Elk, Bison... And Javalina.

He was cleaning the mount of a Javalina when I came in. A Javalina looks somewhat like a wild pig, but it's really a big rodent. It's naturally found in the American Southwest from New Mexico to California down into Mexico. When I was living in Arizona I saw them almost daily, and they were just what the were... A 80 pound rat. They are North America's largest rodent.

"Hey, nice looking Javalina."

"Thanks, got him on a hunting trip to Sonora, Mexico a few years back..."

Sort of a smallish Javalina, and I almost said so. In fact, I had hit one with my truck on my way to work one day a few years ago that was easily twice that size, but I kept my mouth shut. He was proud of it but it got me thinking.

His Javalina:

Airfare to Mexico (First Class, round trip): $2000.00
Two weeks' accommodations at a four-star hunting lodge including guide: $5000.00
Licenses & fees: $1500.00 ~ $2000.00
Taxidermy and shipping of the mount: $12,000.00

Total cost: $21,000.00

My Javalina:

Cost of the .45 round to end the animal's suffering: .32 cents
Self-serve car wash to get the blood off the front bumper: $1.50
Docked fifteen minutes on my time card for being late for work $4.50

Total cost: $6.32

But what would really have been priceless would have been the look on his face had I had the cojones to tell him about my Javalina...

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Monday, October 10, 2005

A few words on methane

I had a conversation last week with a friend about farts.

Being a guy, I believe farts are rather funny. But there's a really fine line between humor and torture. One or two farts once in a while are funny, especially when you set a methane detector off at a coal mine, or you let one rip next to the octogenarian in the supermarket, or the old "Pull my finger" gag on my niece.

But the time when you cross that line it's not funny anymore. Like if you've got a two hour dive to Charleston and your passenger is ripping them out so bad your child who is clogged up with a nasal infection asleep on the back seat of the car is awakened by the stench...

I've only known two people in my life like that. The first one was my partner on the PD, who could drink a glass of water and get the nastiest smelling farts ever and my ex-wife, who I swear would fart to put to shame most guys... And LOUD... Her farts would trigger seismographs half-way around the world. The cats would run away not to be seen for days and the dogs would beg to go outside in a blizzard. I swear it was like something crawled up inside them and died. I never knew such noxious and poisonous vapors could emanate from one's ass in such a copious and endless amounts. But in spite of that fact, I still rode around eight to ten hours a day in a patrol car with him, and against my better judgment still married her.

It was that bad. Making your eyes water and the paint peel off the walls bad. I was trying to come up with ways to bottle that stench and sell it to the military, but I dropped the idea because I was afraid of being arrested by the International Court and being tried for crimes against humanity.

My partner would pull this shit on me for laughs. He thought it was funnier that hell. He'd stand next to me at roll call and whisper in my ear...

"Guess what I had for lunch today... I went to Taco Bell... I love those double bean burritos..."


One night we're cruising up the avenue. It's in the middle of February and it's cold... Really cold. All the windows rolled up and the heater set on "Broil" cold...

I hear a low, almost silent "Prweeet" and my partner giggling...

This green mist envelops the car... I lock up the brakes and as I'm leaning out the open driver's side door dry-heaving in the middle of an intersection, I hear my partner pissing himself laughing.

We'd go into Denny's for lunch. What would he order?

"I'll have the Tuna Melt Supreme and coffee.."

What the fuck! Are you trying to kill me? I actually gave him a econo-sized bottle of Beano one year for Christmas. This went on for the eight years he was my partner. It was even worse when he'd been drinking. I almost started to carry a gas mask with me on patrol.

At least I didn't have to sleep with him. My ex on the other hand felt that was the best time to torture me. Either in bed or some other place I couldn't escape from readily, like the shower or other small enclosed areas in the house where I'd happen to be. And she was proud of them.

So farts can be funny or they can be a torture device. They can be embarrassing too... I was trying to be romantic one night... Kissing goodnight and holding a lady friend after a nice evening, the moonlight shimmering off her golden hair, that little sparkle in her deep blue eyes...

Then, out of the blue...


"Oh, gee Tom. That's romantic..."

A perfect moment ruined by uncontrolled flatulence.

So they can be a double-edged sword. On one hand a source or mirth, and on the other a deadly toxin in the form of methane gas sure to singe eyebrows, destroy delicate mucus membranes... Cause global warming and an irreversible greenhouse effect...

That I'm positive that both my ex-wife and partner are both responsible for. All the cars and other polluters in the world won't even come close to the toxic vapors I inhaled over the course of the last twenty or so years that emanated from their bowels. Both their asses should be EPA Superfund sites. The Kyoto Protocol should be renamed the "Two Asses Treaty" on greenhouse gases in honor of those two.

I fart. Everyone farts. It's just that some people's farts smell worse that some others.

And of course we all know my shit doesn't stink... Now where did I put those pickled eggs and beer?

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Uncle Harvey, I presume?

I'd like to take this time to admit I believe in ghosts.

Around the time I was about twelve or thirteen, strange things started to occur in the Wolfenden abode. Lights would come on or go off on their own, footsteps in the attic, dishes flying out of the cupboard... Stuff like that. Sometimes you could feel a sudden change in the air where you happened to be. It would get ice cold and you could actually see your breath sometimes.

My brother had once walked into an invisible ice-cold wall one night in the living room.

Things would happen with such regularity that we began taking them in stride because nothing was really happening with what any of us felt was malignancy, just simply mischief... We even named him.

Strange things would happen and guest would ask "What on earth was that?"

"Oh, that's just Uncle Harvey..."

Classic Poltergeist stuff.

Actually it was kind of cool to have a house that was haunted.

Shortly after my youngest sister hit seventeen or so it stopped abruptly. I never saw any of his later highjinx because I was away in the Army, but he was becoming more creative with his games, hiding my sister's school books, my mother's reading glasses. Things like that.

I hadn't thought about any of that stuff for years until yesterday. I think he's come back to pay me a little visit.

I went to bed around 10:30 yesterday morning. I set my alarm clock for 8:00 PM, shut down my computer, turned all the lights off and crawled into bed.

Then my alarm woke me and I hit snooze and dozed back off. When it went off the second time I noticed it was still light out and looked over at the clock. It read 1:00 PM.

What the fuck.

It was then I noticed that the light was on in my kitchen and bathroom, and my computer was on.

I know I turned them all off... I go up and checked the door to make sure no one had waltzed into my place, but it was locked.

I double-checked the alarm and sure enough, it was still set for 8:00 PM.

I guess Uncle Harvey thought I was a little lonely and decided to drop in for a visit. To tell you the truth, I really don't mind. I could use the conversation.

Welcome back, Uncle Harvey!

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Only in America

First came the drive-through hamburgers, then it was drive-up ATM's, drive-through pharmacies and dry cleaners. You can even get married in drive-up wedding chapels and divorced by drive-through lawyers in Las Vegas.

But only in American would you find the two things that should never, ever be put together into a drive through, or any store for that matter. Guns and booze NEVER mix...

Pictured here is a drive through combination gun shop & liquor store in Williams, Arizona. I shit you not. I took the picture, it's really there. Look it up. You can hardly see it in this picture I took, but the letters in the window advertise "Booze, bows and bullets!"

I can see the franchise opportunities now...

"Welcome to McRambo's, may I take your order?"

"Yeah, I'll have a number three with Quervo Gold."

"Will that be the .38 Special or the Magnum?"

"Eh, the magnum."

"Hollow point or round-nosed lead?"

"Hollow point."

"Anything else this morning sir?"

"Yeah, I'll have a fifth of Jack Daniels and some 12 gauge buckshot."

"Ok sir, your total is $37.93, please drive around to the second window..."

What the fuck...

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Friday, October 07, 2005

Plan "B"

Lack of sleep does catch up with you... I laid down for a "nap" yesterday around noon... Just coming out of the coma a while ago at 1AM... First Monday and Tuesday with the long sleeps, now today. My whole body hurts now. I hate that.

Anyway, right after my "A beautiful evening" post where I intimated that I had another interview to go to with Norfolk~Southern, I've gotten a lot of emails asking "How'd it go?"


Like I said, a few weeks ago I went to yet another "Hiring Session" with Norfolk~Southern railroad for a conductor's position. The railroad doesn't have firemen or brakemen anymore, so it's just the conductor and engineer in the cab of the locomotive and the conductor is the next step in becoming an engineer. My boyhood dream.

This one will make the 5th I've been to since January, and it is getting a bit frustrating.

How it works is, you go to a local hotel's conference room and sit there with about 300 other people who want the same job. Most times there is only a few positions open for thee location, this time it was three conductor's slots, and with 300 guys in one room, it can be really competitive.

So, now you are there first thing in the morning and the first thing that happens is a person from the HR department gives you the Company Line on how great N&S is, blah, blah, blah. The the local supervisor gets up and tells all about the job in question, pay, work hours, conditions, shit like that. Then they hand out applications, which you fill out and turn back in. They then give you a ten minute smoke break and during that time they go through the pile of applications. It's there they make the first cut.

This time, as opposed to the last few times, I didn't even make it through the first cut but the nimrod sitting next to me did. I actually saw him scribble out his name three times... How can this guy get held for further testing and he couldn't even spell his own Goddamn name?


After you make the first cut, they'll give you a Hogan Personality test and an aptitude test. The last session I was to in Roanoke I passed both and was held over for the final part in the afternoon. Yes, it is an all-day affair.

So, the last time out of approximately 400 people there, it was weeded down to eight of us for four positions. Great I thought. I've got a 50/50 chance on getting hired, and after I thought about it, I had more than enough qualifications. I have a solid work history (Only four jobs, long-term in the past 18 years, the longest, the PD was 10 years) Have worked on the railroad as a contractor, know the signals and CFR rules, have a current certified on-track worker's card, am single with no dependents and can travel anywhere I chose and not have any responsibilities other than to work.

So I get called for the oral interview.

First question to me: "Well, by your application, it doesn't look like you've had much outside work..."

What? Who's application are you reading? It certainly isn't mine. How the fuck do you not consider ten years as a cop not "outside work"? Especially since the first two years I was a beat cop... And the ten months last year working on a track gang?

So right then and there I knew I wasn't going to get called. Then this last time I wasn't even held over for the second half of the session. It's beginning to seem to me that they've already made up their minds on who they're going to hire before the day is even started. I'm not being paranoid at all when I say I'm beginning to suspect this whole system is rigged.

Those of you who have been long-time readers here know why I left the PD and why I want to become a railroad engineer so I won't rehash it right now. But I will say it's what I've always wanted to do. I want it so bad I can taste it.


But I've got to start looking at the realities of life. Starting right now, I'm giving myself another year to get hired. Twelve more months only. I've set a deadline. I'm not going to beat a dead horse and I'm going to use the experience in what I know to my advantage if I can even make that work.

I have a BS degree in criminal justice. Between the Army, Police and private security work I've done, I have about 22 years experience.

I'm just now starting to do some research on starting my own security consulting firm. Not providing security but doing audits on companies and letting them know what they're doing right and what they're doing wrong, training security staff, stuff like that.

I'm not tied down to here in West Virginia either. There's nothing really permanent here to keep me. I really wish there was, but there isn't. If there was something to keep me here I'd stay in a heartbeat. I was born and raised in Philadelphia, lived in Georgia, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Arizona and overseas. So I could go anywhere in the country and make it work, it doesn't have to be here. I know the nuts and bolts of it inside and out, but I'm clueless on the business and marketing side. So I've got a shitload of research yet to do.

So, a year from now I'll either be a railroad conductor on my way to becoming and engineer, or I'll be in business for myself.

Only time will tell... But either way I will make it happen.

As an aside, and I couldn't help to see the irony in it, back in early August I had an interview with a large department store chain for a loss-prevention manager's position. I won't say which one it was, but it's the second largest in the US and Martha Stewart is THE major stockholder... The interview went smashingly well, and the guy who interviewed me was going to call me for a second one with the regional manager. He was falling all over himself trying to sweet-talk me. He gave me the impression that the job was mine if I wanted it.

Did I want it? Shit yes! It was DOUBLE what I was making now, Monday through Friday daywork with weekends off. Plus a shitload of other perks.

So, did he ever call me back?

Fuck no.

But who do I see at the last railroad hiring session?

You guessed it. And funny, he wouldn't look at me for some strange reason... I knew he recognized me.

He didn't get called either. Who says there's no God?

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden