Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Ok, so it's Halloween again.
Maybe it's because I'm working seven day's a week and I'm too fucking tired to come up with anything right now or I'm just lazy.
Here's a funny Halloween story I posted last year:
Copyright 2006 Thomas J Wolfenden

Monday, October 30, 2006

Intellectual Dildo Award

It's been a while since I've handed out one of my prestigious awards, so here it goes.
Once again, the Philadelphia Museum of Art has turned down Sylvester Stallone's donation of the 8 1/2 foot statue of Rocky Balboa and have it placed permanently in at the top of the stairs in front of the museum.
Those of you who remember the original movie "Rocky" will remember that the film immortalizes the museum and especially those stairs. I can't tell you how many times in all my years living in the City Of Brotherly Love when I've seen tourists in ones and twos, and even whole groups running up those stairs in imitation of Rocky...
And how many of those tourists have gone on to pay admission and tour your museum, Mr. Philadelphia Art commission?
"It's not art, it's a prop!" Insists commission member Moe Brooker.
Of course it isn't art in what in your narrow minded view of the word is... But it is an attraction and a Philadelphia icon that's brought your stuffy and anal retentive bunch of sniveling, superior snobs there lots of coinage over the last two decades you dickhead.
And "Moe" Wasn't an affectionado of art, he was a stoodge.
And because of this decision, I bestow my Ranger Tom's Intellectual Dildo Award to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Copyright 2006 Thomas J Wolfenden

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Couldn't have said it better myself

This was forwarded to me by a good friend the today. I'm going to re-post it here, but won't reveal the author until later this week because many of my readers, once learning of the author's identity, would dismiss this as propaganda.
Which it isn't.
But I couldn't have said it better myself.
"I think the vast differences in compensation between victims of the September 11 casualty and those who die serving our country in Uniform are profound. No one is really talking about it either, because you just don't criticize anything having to do with September 11. Well, I can't let the numbers pass by because it says something really disturbing about the entitlement mentality of this country. If you lost a family member in the September 11 attack, you're going to get an average of $1,185,000. The range is a minimum guarantee of $250,000, all the way up to $4.7 million.
If you are a surviving family member of an American soldier killed in action, the first check you get is a $6,000 direct death benefit, half of which is taxable.
Next, you get $1,750 for burial costs. If you are the surviving spouse, you get $833 a month until you remarry. And there's a payment of $211 per month for each child under 18. When the child hits 18, those payments come to a screeching halt.
Keep in mind that some of the people who are getting an average of $1.185 million up to $4.7 million are complaining that it's not enough. Their deaths were tragic, but for most, they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Soldiers put themselves in harms way FOR ALL OF US, and they and their families know the dangers.
We also learned over the weekend that some of the victims from the Oklahoma City bombing have started an organization asking for the same deal that the September 11 families are getting. In addition to that, some of the families of those bombed in the embassies are now asking for compensation as well.
You see where this is going, don't you? Folks, this is part and parcel of over 50 years of entitlement politics in this country. It's just really sad. Every time a pay raise comes up for the military, they usually receive next to nothing of a raise. Now the green machine is in combat in the Middle East while their families have to survive on food stamps and live in low-rent housing. Make sense?
However, our own U.S. Congress voted themselves a raise. Many of you don't know that they only have to be in Congress one time to receive a pension that is more than $15,000 per month.
And most are now equal to being millionaires plus. They do not receive Social Security on retirement because they didn't have to pay into the system. If some of the military people stay in for 20 years and get out as an E-7, they may receive a pension of $1,000 per month, and the very people who placed them in harm's way receives a pension of $15,000 per month.
I would like to see our elected officials pick up a weapon and join ranks before they start cutting out benefits and lowering pay for our sons and daughters who are now fighting.
When do we finally do something about this?"
Nuff said?
These are my brothers and sisters in the sandbox. Let's take care of them and their families.
I'll let you know who said this later this week.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The hazards of being a railroader in Florida

So railroading can be a very dangerous profession as I was telling you the other day... Getting coupled together between rail cars and being hit or run over by a train being a few. Also add hungry alligators hanging around the switchstands and panthers in the cane fields...
Add to that list mosquitoes.
To say the avian insects here in the Everglades are endemic is an understatement. The official cologne of the US Sugar Railroad is Cutter's with 44% Deet.
So every night before I start my shift I liberally douse myself with what we lovingly called Bug Fuck in the Army. But I can't get it everywhere and most nights I'll have to re-apply it halfway through the shift because of me sweating it off.
But again, I reiterate... I can't get it everywhere.
Several days ago I got off my locomotive at a switchstand to make a backwards shove with a cut of twenty five cars into a cane loading elevator. It was very dark and the coffee I had just finished was going right through me. So me being a guy, I did what any guy would do in my position.
I unzipped and began to void...
And one of the little fuckers landed right on my Johnson and did his dirty work...
I've had insect bites just about everywhere before, but I've never, ever had one on my dick.
Not fun.
So, railroading in Florida is dangerous to one's joint.
Copyright 2006 Thomas J Wolfenden

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Ranger Tom Cooks, Redux

I know I posted this recipe a while ago, but now with the modern miracle of digital photography and my spiffy new kitchen with the stove and range top you almost need an advanced degree in electrical engineering to master, I decided to repost it...
Original post:
Not only am I going to break the mold, I'm going to completely shatter it right now. I'm a single (divorced) white male in my late thirties who actually can cook and is not a homosexual. Not only can I cook, I actually enjoy cooking. Here's one of my favorites. Not only is it easy, it's very tasty... It brings me back to my old neighborhood in Philadelphia when the aroma of my cooking it wafts through my apartment.
RT's Hot Italian Sausage Melt
5 hot or mild Italian sausages (If you cant get fresh made, Johnsonville makes a good substitute)2 Small cans of tomato sauce (8 oz, 227g)
Sliced Provalone cheese
Crushed red pepper
Brown sausages in a large skillet over a medium flame to taste & brownness. (see top photo)

In a separate small saucepan, put the tomato sauce and season to taste (I like it hot, so I use a lot of red pepper) with the above seasonings and simmer over a low flame till hot.

Place cooked sausage on an oven & microwave-safe dish. Pour the hot seasoned sauce over the sausages completely covering them.

Cover the whole thing with one layer of sliced provalone cheese. Place the dish on the highest shelf in a oven pre-heated to 300 F (or 30 to 40 seconds in a microwave)

Just long enough to melt the cheese.

This should serve two bulimia-free adults with a normal appetite. Another suggestion is try it as a hot sandwich on an Italian hoagie roll. If you are in the Philadelphia/South New Jersey area this should be no problem as Amoroso's brand rolls (the best in the world) are readily available. If you are in the Northeast Philly area, look up and see if DePalma's bakery is still open. They used to make the rolls fresh every morning in coal-fired ovens. They were just off Frankford Avenue in the Mayfair section on the city. If anything else, a decent 8" French roll will do. Again, I hope you try this tasty little treat. I'll post other recipes from time to time if you like this one!

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Saturday, October 21, 2006

A shitty end

To a shitty week.
This past Sunday night the crop started... I won't have a day off now until April. But that's not what I'm really in a pissy mood about.
You see, for years upon uncounted years, the railroad I work for wasn't considered a railroad at all by the company, just another department. And in being such, it was treated just like any other department in a big agro-manufacturing plant. Unlike every railroad I've worked on so far, CSX, Norfolk~Southern, West Virginia Central uses big, thick safety rule books that everyone has to follow. So this non-railroad didn't have one and last year there was a fatality on the very job I'm working on... The same shift, the same yard and the same job. In essence the guy I replaced was killed. He was coupled together between two cars.
So at the end of the last crop they hired a new Railroad Operations Manager... One that came from a "real" railroad and he came in an implemented a whole new slew of rules, too many to list here, but what I was used to working under...
I like being safe.
Safe = Good
Coupled together between two freight cars = Ungood
so now we have all these rules that everyone is supposed to work under and live by... But the "Old Heads", the guys who have been here since before I was born ( I shit you not, one guy I work with started a month before I was born) are fighting it tooth and nail... Only after a week I already wish I had a nickel for ever time I've heard; "We've never done it this way before... This isn't going to work..."
So not only do I have to keep watching over my shoulder I have a shift Yardmaster who most definitely has a major case of the ass for me... Apparently since the computer system we have on the train to inventory our loads inbound and outbound I can figure out... It does have some glitches, but it's not all that hard to figure out... He is having major problems with it and so every time he fucks it up it's somehow my fault.
I'm a man and I can take the blame for my own fuckups of which I have plenty... But I'm not going to put up with his bullshit for too much longer.
It's going to be a long crop.

My engineer... 40-year Illinois Central Railroad and Amtrak engineer... Good guy, but another one of those who keep repeating that tired old mantra...

"This ain't going to work..."

Loading raw sugar cane into one of the hundreds of railcars I move every night... At a loading elevator about 20 miles from the yard and alligator and mosquito central.

It's got to get better... Because it can't get much worse.

Copyright 2006 Thomas J Wolfenden

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Important message... Please read

Due to several things including an almost unbearable amount of spam and "lost in wv" outliving it's name I'm changing my email address and going private all together which means I won't have an email published here on my profile.
Several of my readers comment to me in emails only, and that's great... But after this week you'll need my new one.
If any of you still wish to correspond with me via email, send me an email to my current address:
So I can add you to my address list and send you my new email.
RT out.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

High weirdness at my condo

I wrote about the petrified frog I found in my kitchen last month and now this morning when I got home from work I'm sitting in my living room watching TV and I notice something on the floor next to my TV...
I saw it was a gecko, like the thousands I see every day, but on closer inspection I notice something really strange about this lizard. It wasn't moving at all. I got closer and found that this little fucker was completely mummified. This was really strange considering I was sitting in the same spot the night before watching TV before work and I'm sure this little guy wasn't there.
It's almost as if it appeared all by it self over night while I was at work, like my condo is some sacred place where reptiles got to die... Like the fabled elephant graveyard of yore...
On to other strangeness... Last night at work I'm hauling about 60 loaded cane cars along the tracks and we're tooling along the main line at speed. I'm sitting in the conductor's seat in the cab of the locomotive looking out ahead of my train and I notice an alligator on the tracks. I mention it to my engineer and he laughed... "We get them on the tracks all the time... See ya, gator!"
Crunch one gator.
Later on in the evening I got a little surprise. I was standing at a switch stand giving the engineer signals to back up because we were spotting several empty cane cars onto a siding and I hear a loud hiss... I shine my lantern out in the direction of the sound and see a six foot gator looking back at me about ten yards away... I just did what I remembered from Panama with the caymans... Don't fuck with them and they won't fuck with you. I made the move with my train and from now on I'll be a tad bit more aware of my surroundings when getting off my locomotive in the middle of the night.
I kind of like my position on the food chain... The top.
Last item of note. As I said before I'm new here in Florida and am still learning about the wildlife here... I've noticed in the past few weeks several turtle shells inside the tracks while I was working... Meaning dead turtles. Large ones, some about a foot and a half in diameter. I brought this up in conversation at work and discovered that this also happens all the time. I'm not sure if it's funny or sad... Maybe funny in an ironic sort of way. Seems the turtles, when crossing the tracks, figure out how to get over one rail, but when they get between the tracks can't figure out how to get over the second rail and die there. Hence all the turtle shells on the tracks. So Florida is not only filled with mummified reptiles, it's full of stupid turtles.
Copyright 2006 Thomas J Wolfenden

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A little surprise...

So, as I said yesterday, I had spent several wonderful days in Alaska last week... Someplace I'm definitely going back to soon. Beautiful scenery, even more beautiful tourguide... I really didn't want to leave, but it's always those little pesky things in life that get in the way of fun like food, shelter and other things like that.
So after a wonderful time I had an extremely long flight back to Florida and by the time I got back to town after spending over twelve hours in aircraft and airport terminals across the entire North American continent all I wanted to do was take a long hot shower and crawl into bed but I had a little surprise waiting for me upon my arrival home...

This is what my condo should look like outside. A really nice screened-in patio that keeps the mosquitoes at bay... nice roof to keep the afternoon rains out, a really nice place where I can drink my morning coffee and have a smoke before work... A place where I can BBQ without fear of being eaten alive by massive swarms of carnivorous mossies... But as I parked my truck in the carport and walked around the corner of my building I had a little present waiting for me.
Lovely, isn't it? Apparently, the condo association decided that since one of the screens in another unit in my building were destroyed by hurricane Wilma last year, they were having all of the units' screens and roofs replaced to bring it up to Florida code... Without any notice at all. What pisses me off more than the no notice is that the workmen who apparently did the demolition on my unit left a total mess and didn't even bother cleaning any of their shit up.
Not only did they leave their shit laying around, apparently they didn't bring all the materials they'll need to complete the job so will be back to finish later next week... After I start work on the midnight shift... So they'll be banging and drilling away when I'll be in bed.

Ranger Tom is not happy about this clusterfuck one little bit.

Can you say "What the fuck?"

Anyway, to see more pictures of my trip to Alaska scroll down to yesterday's post. I'll be posting more later on in the week. Seems the pictures of the moose I took down the street from my beautiful tourguide's house are too dark... They came out on her camera though and she's going to be emailing them to me later this week so I'll post them then.

Copyright 2006 Thomas J Wolfenden

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Where did he go?

After all was said and done and my training was done, I had a few days to myself before work actually started so I took a small trip slightly north west of Clewiston, Florida... I had a week off and had a fabulous tourguide to show me around Alaska so I hopped a flight to go someplace I've never been...
The weather wasn't completely cooperative, but I made do...
Maybe someday I'll be operating this locomotive...
My lovely and attentive tourguide took me to the Kenai peninsula and we spent the night in Seward, Alaska where the weather was slightly damp and moist... Here, pictured above is a slightly rainy day in Portage, Alaska... Fortunately we left early enough Sunday morning to escape the deluge... Go here for that story: http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/kenai/story/8288801p-8185319c.html
The view from my hotel in Anchorage... Just a slight bit cooler than Clewiston. Amazing view in the mornings!
Speaking of my hotel room, they had 1 liter bottles of water provided... But the marketing could use a little fine tuning... What this shows, at least to me is: "Here, drink this special water where carabou have pissed and shit into..."

Last but not least, seen on the University of Alaska, Anchorage library parking lot, where my beautiful tourguide works and goes to school...

I've got to get me one of those! All I need is the malt vinegar!

Copyright 2006 Thomas J Wolfenden 2006

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I'm baffled

Ok, if Vodka is made with potatoes, and Irish whiskey is made with rye...

Why the fuck didn't the Irish come up with vodka first?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Friday follow-up

As a followup to last Friday's post, pictured above is an GP-38 locomotive owned by US Sugar Corporation's short line railroad, the South Central Florida Express Railroad. They're also centered here in Clewiston, FL and haul our refined product to customers throughout Florida and to other railroads like CSX and Norfolk~Southern for shipment across the country.
As I said, this is a follow-up... So if you can tell me what is it that I find so funny about this photo?
And now a moron report...
Friday JP and I went to a local restaurant for lunch and this is a conversation I overheard from a couple in the booth behind me, discussing an article in the newspaper.
Man: "Says here the Russian troops in Georgia are on higher alert..."
Woman: "Russians? In Georgia? That's a little close to here isn't it? I didn't know there were Russians in Georgia!"
I almost choked on my coffee.
Remind me again how advanced we've come as a civilization, please?
I keep forgetting.
Copyright 2006 Thomas J Wolfenden