Monday, April 30, 2007

Bob Nose Best

Once when I had a headache as a young boy, my mom gave me a Tylenol gelcap - you know the kind, one end is red and the other is yellow. Well, being the middle child and all, my mind started to wander somewhere between grasping the gelcap and eating it.

It ended up in my nose.

I sat in a daze, until finally I looked around to see if anyone could notice the half of a gelcap - probably the the yellow end - sticking out of my right nostril. I snorted, and the gelcap was gone.

I've thought about that gelcap many times.

For a while I thought it was still inside of me somewhere, like maybe I snorted so hard that the pill flew up into my brain and made me super-smart. I used to dream that one day I would go to the hospital for a CAT scan and the doctor would say, son, looks like you've got a Tylenol gelcap stuck in your medulla oblongata. That would really explain a lot.

I also thought that the Tylenol gelcap would stay in my body for years and leak pain-numbing, tasty acetaminophen at such a pace that I would never feel pain. I would be invincible! Unfortunately, I never tested that theory because playing video games all day isn't really dare-devil theatrics.

But now that I'm older, I realize that I probably ingested that Tylenol gelcap.

Childhood shattered!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Men are from Mars, Lightbulbs are from Mercury

A year or so ago I was on a monthly trip to Home Depot to just peruse the aisles and buy something manly. Power tools, saw dust, unfinished wood... it's like porn for handymen.

Of course, not being a handyman myself, I stood around looking at light bulbs. I picked up a light bulb that had a cool, twisty shape - because I was all about form over function in that phase of my life - and decided to buy it. Much to my surprise and joy, I was buying an energy-efficient "compact fluorescent light," or CFL.

Let me first say, I don't really believe the PR hype that I'm going to save the world, fight global warming, etc, by buying a light bulb. To me, fighting global warming is really fighting the idea of girls sunbathing in bikinis 24-7. I want it to be hot year-round. If it gets to be 135 degrees in the Summer but 98 the rest of the year, I think I can live with that. In my little world, global warming is a good thing. Personally, I think Al Gore has erectile dysfunction and he just doesn't want anyone else to be happy, otherwise he would be standing outside spraying bottles of hairspray as we speak.

So why buy the light bulb if I'm not all about joining Captain Planet's team? Well, the box said that my CFL light would have a longer life, which meant I wouldn't have to buy light bulbs as often, and also that it would reduce my energy bill each month because it uses less energy. That means I'd have more money for pizza.

This was a no-brainer.

Of course, now I find out that compact fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury. If you drop or break one of these CFLs, you could become seriously sick if you are poisoned by mercury. Worse, if you don't properly dispose of the bulbs, you can either contaminate the soil or harm garbage workers by exposing them to high levels of mercury.

But worst of all, if you do happen to break one of these CFLs, it could cost you over $2,000 to get it cleaned up.

I haven't broken a light bulb in ages, and don't regularly change my dead lights anyway, so I'm not really overly concerned about this new attack of killer light bulbs. I'm just angry that these bulbs could cost me a lot of money - the whole point of buying them was to be cheap.

But will telling the world about mercury in CFLs help? Probably not - people know that cigarettes can kill you slowly but surely, yet they still smoke. Also, everyone knows the Doodlebops are destroying our children's brains, yet no one goes into action.

So who knows what the future will bring us. Hopefully girls in bikinis, one way or the other.

Search and Destroy

I'm really good at word search puzzles. Actually, that was pretty modest. Let me rephrase: I am the GREATEST WORD SEARCH PUZZLER in the history of words, searches and/or puzzles.

And today I proved it.

There's nothing worse than an unscheduled stop to the shoe store. A scheduled stop to the shoe store is bad enough, because then you have hours or sometimes days to fret and worry over how long you'll be there, how much money your wife will spend, and how much lounging and Wii time will be lost due to women's shoes.

But an unscheduled stop gives you all of the panic, anxiety and heart palpitations of going to the shoe store and none of the time to properly prepare yourself for the onslaught of old women fighting over $5 shoes.

This is where my mad word search puzzle skillz come in.

My wife found a pair of shoes that she wanted in what I feel I should say was record time. But then, after my hopes of a quick escape were raised, she laid eyes upon another pair of shoes that she had to have instead.

All women's shoes look the same to me. I really couldn't care less which pair of shoes my wife buys - she looks good in anything. (Score one brownie point!) But if two pairs of shoes differ by one thread, you can bet a woman will spot it, and subsequent shoe testing must then occur. Let's just say that it's no coincidence that there's a store called "Shoe Carnival." (If only there were clowns, midgets or even a lion, it would all be so much more tolerable.)

My wife's first choice of shoe was no longer an option now that she had found something better. But the pair of shoes she wanted was in a size too large, and she was determined to find the right size shoe, or if that was not possible, find another shoe that was equally as enjoyable. To me, this was countless hours of more unspeakable horror at the hands of tortuous shoe demons. Doesn't anyone care that the NFL draft is on!?!

My brain kicked into high gear. My eyes started flicking back and forth. Out of reflex, my hands pushed aside an old woman as she tried to step in front of me to grab a pair of Mootsies. Spinning in circles, my mind sought out the labeled trifecta of style, color and size. It was as if Da Vinci had encoded a secret message upon several thousand shoe boxes and I was the only one who could help break the code.

Ha! I found one! It was at the top of the heap, and was hard to see because a "display shoe" was hiding the label. At this point most people would have called a store employee to grab a ladder and help grab the box from the top shelf. But as you probably already know, I'm not like most people. With one fell swoop of my New Balance, the entire pile of shoes came crashing down, and the shoe box in question floated down into my hands.

Two good things came out of this: first, we got the pair of shoes my wife wanted, and second, she's never taking me shoe shopping again. Damn I'm good.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

A Little History

Friday we went to a wedding in Convent, LA, at Saint Michael the Archangel Catholic Church. Although the couple getting married was not from Convent, the bride's ancestors were some of the first Acadian settlers in the area, and the bride's grandmother or great-grandmother got married there. There's a lot of history in Convent.

Know what else is in Convent? Crabs. (But no tools to break the claws - that's another story for another time.)

The priest was from Puerto Rico or Guatemala, or maybe from somewhere else, but I know he talked about both of those countries. He asked for 17 quarters so he could perform some kind of Guatemalan tradition. I think he really just wanted some gas money - there doesn't seem to be a lot of opportunities for a little side cash in Convent. Seriously, how old can a Central American tradition be if it relies on American currency?

The reception was at the Houmas House, which is a plantation that was built by a Revolutionary War hero from Virginny. But what the Houmas House is really known for now is its beautiful gardens. There was even a Secret Garden that we used as a make-out room.

The Houmas House, like most of the other Louisiana plantations, is apparently haunted by ghosts. These ghosts are called "the Gentlemen," but I could feel the ghosts undressing me with their eyes as I stood in line for wine. Gentlemen, indeed!

So congratulations, Daniel and Michael, and thanks for having us at your wedding. I'm sorry I streaked across the dance floor during your First Dance, but you can always edit that out of your wedding video or use it as an aphrodisiac once the Honeymoon is over.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Brain Rot and Thumb Calluses

"They" say that playing video games rots your brain. But I would argue that playing video games increases your hand-eye coordination, and with games like "Dance, Dance Revolution" and "DDR Mario Mix," your foot-eye coordination is also able to be improved as well.

So I guess it all comes down to whether you want to be a "thinking man" (or woman) or a shell of a human with cat-like reflexes.

I know what I choose.

For starters, what's there really to think about? It's pretty easy to be an "instant expert" nowadays thanks to the Intarweb.

Need an example? How about this one: "Ethanol made from corn is going to raise the price of corn and cause starvation by taking more food off the market." Wanna know how I knew that? The Intarweb. Read it right there, no lie. I didn't have to come up with that myself - somebody else did it and told everyone else. So now we know.

And I know it's true because I read it on the Internet.

So you see, nobody really needs to think. If we did, we would invest our money and energies on making sure our kids grew up learning how to think. But seeing as how we don't pay our teachers enough and our public school system is reaching the breaking point, it's clear that the nation really doesn't care if we are capable of thinking or not.

As for hand-eye coordination...

With cat-like reflexes you can do many things. You can be an athlete, and get paid $90 million in endorsements. Or you can be a ninja and attack with super-stealth speed. You could also, of course, join a video game tournament and win a million bucks. Then you can afford to pay your own scientists to conclude that thinking is for weiners.

Not to mention that "Dance, Dance Revolution" can help you lose weight. And let's face it, we all know people who are dumb as dirt but get by in life because they're hot.

So keep doing your scientific research! See where that gets you! I bet you don't make the women swoon with your opening line of, "Hi, I'm the scientist who discovered a link between the average amount of time spent playing video games and...." Snore. But show a women your billions of dollars, all thanks to video games, and you're in business.

In your face, Science!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Trained Monkey

I'm back from my training in Atlanta. Actually, it wasn't "training" - it was "New Employee Orientation." So now I'm officially oriented, although I still am directionally challenged.

We flew Air Tran, which I had never heard of until now. The flights with Air Tran are really cheap, the service was nice and friendly, and the planes were no worse than anything else I've ever ridden.

My headphones on both flights didn't work, but I did get two bags of pretzels each time so I'm not complaining. I usually read anyway. I got an aisle seat on the way home, which was nice, but I couldn't turn on my top light because the guy sitting next to me was so tall that his head reached the ceiling. He was trying to sleep, and I turned on the light to see if it this was a manageable situation and woke him up. Suck it, tall people.

The flight back was pretty funny. One of the girls in our crew has a severe fear of flying, and she was in a state of panic for the entire trip. Some guy had to hold her hand the whole trip - I don't think he minded too much. She had both flight attendants caring for her - she might have even gotten more pretzels that I did. When we landed the flight attendants gave her a pendant with wings on it.

Another girl, who happened to be sitting in front of me, coughed the entire trip. She couldn't help it. Actually, it was kinda fun - she was coughing in time to "Pour Some Sugar On Me" by Def Leppard. Cough cough coughcough cough cooouuuugh (in the name of love!).

But enough about the flights - lets talk about orientation. Let's just say that I'm really happy that I work for a home health care company.

We had about 300 people attend orientation, and maybe 5 of us were from the Information Technology department. Most of the people there were nurses, and God bless'm - we met some wonderful people who really love what they do. And loving what you do makes all the difference.

Our CEO, CIO and COO all spoke to us. Our CEO used to be a nurse, so he understands what the issues are with our company and has a clear vision of what he wants to do with it. He's not like one of the CEOs who hops from one company to the next. They all had great speeches that really put our jobs into perspective. Plus they fed us.

But the best part of my trip was just sitting back and watching TV at night. I started out with a little "Deal or No Deal," which I love but Betty never lets me watch. (I love Howie Mandel - he did Bobby's World.) Then I watched "Heroes" - the show where they say 'Save the Cheerleader, Save the World' - which was a total ripoff of X-Men and the Matrix, but even ripoffs can be tolerable. Lastly I watched "The Real Wedding Crashers," about a couple who asks people to crash their wedding with hilarious results.

All that was missing was a trip Stone Mountain. Oh well, maybe next time.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Hotlanta!

I'm leaving for training in Atlanta. I was supposed to go in my first month, but the training session was all booked up. So now I'm going to be the "old guy" at training. Great.

While I'm away, my wife has been instructed to keep the blog going. It's vital! She's supposed to talk about how much she misses me and how cute I am, etc. She's also supposed to tell you how manly and muscular I am, and that my spare tire is sexy. I won't tell you any more about what she's supposed to write because I don't want to ruin it for you.

I've only been to Atlanta once or twice. The last time I went was when LSU was playing in the SEC championship game, and I went with friends and left my wife behind. Needless to say, I'm still in the dog house for this. I'm writing this now so that she can't write about it tomorrow. I'm stealing her thunder. Or I'm re-hashing bad times - I can't remember which.

Anyway, the first time I went to Atlanta I brought a bunch of scuba gear, because I thought it was under water. I mean, it does get its name from Atlantis and all that. But alas, it was above ground, just like every other city in America. So much for diversity. The bad news was that I had to wear my full-body Speedo suit to the football game, but the good news was that I was protected from all of the LSU fans throwing their cups of beer when we beat Tennessee. Plus I look really awesome in spandex.

So goodbye, Baton Rouge, and hello, Hotlanta! You'd better have my free continental breakfast ready because this Southern boy is hungry! And if you don't, well, I've got my spandex again, and I'll make you pay!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Keeping up with the Jones

If you've been keeping up with the VT shooter story, you've probably read about Cho Seung-Hui and how he was shy, didn't speak to anybody, and was made fun of for the way he spoke in English class. And if you haven't read it, welcome to the 90's.

I'm writing today because I anticipate the billions of articles that will tell us to be nice to each other in case one of the people you make fun of is a psychopathic killer.

It's not that I don't think we should treat each other with respect - I certainly do. It's just that I don't agree with the fact that it's okay to blame a mass murderer's actions on people who laughed at him.

This is America. If you're too thin, too fat, completely average, white, black, asian, stutter, rap, the new guy in class, have an accent or in anyway do not fit in with social norms, you're going to be made fun of. At some point you just have to get over it.

Anyway, there's a similar life story of a guy who was shy, was made fun of for the way he spoke, didn't talk to people for years, told to speak in English class and yet turned his life into something beautiful. I thought today I'd talk about him, so you can see that beautiful things can come from pain.

James Earl Jones stuttered so badly that he didn't talk for eight years. He lived on a farm and made animal sounds. But he could write beautiful poetry. One day his teacher told him he had to read his own poems to the class.

James Earl Jones later went on to make movies and be the voice of Darth Vader. Think about it - a guy who didn't speak for eight years now has one of the most famous voices in the world.

Even later in life, James Earl Jones went on to be written about by the Tanory Tantrum, and that's when his career really started to shine. (This needs to be a key feature for any new biographers out there.)

So you see, just because people make fun of you or if your life is in turmoil for almost a decade, you can still do good things. James Earl Jones is my hero.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Gonzalespalooza

Happy 200th birthday, Ascension Parish! I hope you enjoyed your party - I know we sure did.

As proud Ascension Parishioners, we couldn't help but go to the Lamar-Dixon Expo center to celebrate Ascension Parish's bicentennial. A bicentennial is like two centennials, back to back. (Centennials are those long caterpillars with a hundred legs, in case you didn't know.)

When we got there, we were herded like cattle through the entryway into the main fairgrounds. I felt like I was back in New York for a minute - "DVD? DVD? DVD?" "Need a watch?" "Knock-off purse, sold in bathroom, $5!" "Feed the goat for a buck."

Our first order of business was to get a funnel cake, some coffee, sugar-coated nuts and a cheesecake. We're serious about our fair food - we don't mess around. Then we placed bets on who could eat as many of these items at the same time. Guess who won? Booyah!

Next we met up with our friends Renee and Joey to watch Better Than Ezra. They were awesome! We ended up buying their latest album, "Before the Robots." It's really good, check it out.

During the Better Than Ezra performance, the lead singer made an announcement that a 10 year-old boy was missing. The boy was eventually found and got to go on stage with the band. The moral of the story? If you get lost at a fair, you get to rock out backstage with a rock band. The lead singer also called the bicentennial fair "Gonzalespalooza," since the fair took place in Gonzales.

Right before the concert ended, a roadie threw a mesh drum cover into the crowd. The drum cover had been signed by the band, and people fought over it. Like, really, two women almost tore each other's faces off for it. These two women just happened to be standing right in front and in back of us. My friend, Renee, almost got in on the action, but then the encore started and we all turned back to the stage.

The night ended with a laser light show about the history of Ascension Parish, starting when God created the earth, going through the dinosaurs, and finally ending with a cat-fight for a Better Than Ezra drum cover and a large fireworks display.

So happy b-day, Ascension Parish! I hope you got that boat, motor and trailer I sent you.

Avoiding Email Scams

It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt.

As your resident IT nerd, it's my duty to show you a few simple tips to keep yourself safe from hackers, spammers, and other con artists. Today we'll look at how people try to "socially engineer" you (aka, con you) into giving away your online banking name and password.

Isn't it sad that now thiefs are "engineers?" What's this world coming to.

If you have a PayPal account, an Amazon account, a Bank of America account, a Yahoo Finance account, etc, then you're a prime candidate to get a deceitful email. Sometimes it's difficult to tell what's real and what's not. And it's hard to always be in the right frame of mind when you get an email saying that your account has been locked due to suspicious activity, etc.

Rule 1: Never click on the link in the email.

If you have any questions about whether or not the email is legit, the first thing to know is to never click on the link in the email. Ever. Under any circumstances. Even if the email is saying that your account is okay and they just want you to check in and update your password or whatever, NEVER CLICK ON THE LINK.

If you suspect your PayPal account (for example) has been hacked, open a new browser session and type in www.paypal.com. This way you know that you are going to the actual PayPal site, and not being redirected to a hacker's site.


Rule 2: Never trust the contents of an email.

I've had people tell me, but Bob, the "From" field on the email said it was from PayPal! Surely the "From" field wouldn't lie!

In the example below, I've highlighted a couple of different items that I want you to look at it. This is an email that "Bank of America" sent me. Or did they? The "From" field shows a Bank of America account. So how can you tell it's a fake? The short answer is, you can never really tell.

But you don't want the short answer. You need proof. I know you - that's just how you are, so here you go. You can look for tell-tale signs that an email is a fake. If you know it's fake, then you know there's no reason to worry that your online bank account has been hijacked.

You may have never noticed, but if you hover your mouse over any link on any webpage, some text should appear at the bottom left-hand side of your screen. Go ahead, try it on this link here. At the bottom of your browser, it should show "http://tanoryland.blogspot.com". This is called the Status Bar Text (b/c it's on the status bar). And yes, this is a shameless plug for my blog.

So here's the example I was talking about earlier. I've circled a few choice parts of the email. If other parts of the blog are blocking parts of the picture, click on the picture to see it in full.

Click to see picture.


Rule 3: Never trust the link text.

In the example above, you can see that the link says "www.bankofamerica.com...", but the text that appears when we hover over the link doesn't say that at all. In this case, we know the link doesn't go where it says it go.

But even when the text on the status bar matches the text in the link, that doesn't mean anything. You can put any text as the link's text. It doesn't matter. Here's an example - the link here says it's going to www.fark.com but it's really going to my blog.

http://www.fark.com

And here's a link where the status bar should show http://www.fark.com but it doesn't go to fark.com - it comes right back to the Tantrum.

http://www.fark.com


Rule 4: Never send important information over email.

Email isn't secure, so never send your SSN, date of birth, credit card number, etc, over email. Even if email was secure, you never know who is going to forward your email on to someone else.


So you see, never trust your email. And a final rule:


Rule 5: Love your friendly neighborhood IT nerd.

Everybody needs love, especially IT people. Okay, really just me.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

IgnoraMUS Rex

I'm really sick of hearing about Don Imus. First off, I didn't listen to him - I didn't even know he was still on the radio. All I knew of Don Imus was that he was a character in Howard Stern's "Private Parts." My life was perfectly fine before Imus's old, craggly face started appearing on every friggin paper in the nation.

I don't think it was right to call the Rutgers female's basketball team "nappy-headed hos." As far as I know, the women on the team were not prostitutes at all. Nor have I lovingly stroked their hair to check for nappability.

But I also think he shouldn't have been fired over it. Instead, we should embrace the fact that old people are starting to use today's slang, because once old people start to say things, they quickly go out of style. We were one step closer to paradise.

But the nation spoke. We are a democracy, after all.

Now, if you were a general of an army that told its soldiers to imagine blacks in New York during target practice, then yes, I would say to fire you. I would not be surprised if the UN wrote you an angry yet firm letter. I would also suggest that someone shove a pineapple up your ass.

Or if you were the owner of a global enterprise that prints offensive language on your labels, then obviously you need a butt-whuppin'.

The Imus scandal, being on the radio and all, has brought up the "What is art?" question concerning Rap and Hip Hop, or as I call it, Rip Rop. Personally, I think Rip Rop sucks. But my parents think Heavy Metal and Alternative music suck. And their parents thought the Golden Oldies sucked. And their parents before them thought Big Band music was from the devil. So basically, me hating Rap and Hip Hop is a normal sign of the natural progression of things.

Can't we all just hate each other without it being based on race?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I Just Sanjaya'd in my Pants

I think I just Sanjaya'd in my pants.

No seriously, this one is wearing a bandanna and singing Bonnie Raitt songs. I think I need to go to the doctor.

Even though I didn't like Sanjaya, he was really the only reason I was watching American Idol. It wasn't the hair so much as the fact that I loved to hate him. He was like a slightly more talented William Hung, but not as cool.

But give the guy a break, he's 17. I think he's carried himself well throughout all of this. He just couldn't sing well.

I really thought it was wrong for the audience to scream in delight when Sanjaya was given the boot from the show. Maybe they were just happy that Lakisha didn't get kicked off. We watched his reaction to the audience on TiVo about 10 times, and each time it was like the first time. I love TiVo.

But now I'm not sure what I'm going to do during week nights. Maybe I'll just read instead of watching American Idol. Or I'll learn to cook. Maybe yard work isn't all that bad after all - I can trim the big bush outside to look like the Indian subcontinent.

Screw it, at least we still have the beat-boxer. Later, Sanjy.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Profiling the Virginia Tech Shooter

I was shocked when I first read about the gunman shooting up a Virginia Tech classroom. It really is terrible. My sister had an internship at Virginny Tech one summer, and the whole fam packed up like the Clampetts and went up there. It's a beautiful campus. Blacksburg is a great town, too.

But I was also shocked about various other elements of this story.

For starters, the shooter, Cho Seung-Hui, was from South Korea but was studying to be an English major. Yet he shot up the Engineering building. This makes me think he probably wanted to be an Engineer but had to settle on majoring in English. I mean, come on, a South Korean majoring in English? No wonder this guy was depressed.

I'm not trying to be funny. I'm simply trying to understand why this guy would do this.

Let's be honest: at some point he must have known that English majors really can't do anything but teach, write books, go back to school or become Hippies. We can assume that he didn't like school.

And although his writings have been in the news lately, I would suggest that his writings weren't that good to begin with. This probably also added to his frustration. For example, the shooter left a note in his dorm in which he railed against “rich kids,” “debauchery” and “deceitful charlatans” on campus. Does this sound like a man ready to enter the world of Publishing? No, it does not. It sounds like an advertisement for Va Tech, actually.

Everybody knows that the best authors are those who are at odds with their homeland. Consider Khaled Hosseini, author of "The Kite Runner." This is a brilliant book, beautifully written, and most importantly, the author has a lot to say about his homeland, Afghanistan. Growing up there, seeing the dramatic changes in government... it's difficult to imagine. I mean, there was a bloody communist coup, the Soviet invasion, US forces helping the Taliban to rid Afghanistan of the Soviet Union, then the ultra-conservative aftermath of Taliban rule. Yet Hosseini was able to create something beautiful out of it.

Basically what I'm saying is, whatever was going on in Cho Seung-Hui's life, it wasn't nearly as bad as what a lot of other people are going through.

The papers are going to make a lot out of the fact that Cho Seung-Hui was on anti-depressants. These kinds of stories sell papers, so you can expect more of this. I'm just glad this guy didn't play video games, or else we would never hear the end of how video games rot your brain and are bad for you.

So dear readers, if you are feeling lonely, depressed, and/or feel the need to shoot a few rounds of bullets into random strangers, let me ask you to turn to Sally Struthers and the millions of starving Africans and realize that life could be much, much worse. Save your bullets for when some Welfare recipient who has been in and out of jail several times tries to rob your home.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Rock Out With Your Metamucil Out

There's been a lot of terrible things in the news lately - a shooter killed 32 people Virginia Tech, Imus apparently used the vernacular with some prostitutes that hadn't showered in a while, and Hillary Clinton has been answering questions about Sanjaya Malakar on the radio.

So let's talk about something happy instead. Hmm... what should we talk about? Why don't we spin the Wheel of Discourse to decide?

Click for the Wheel... if you dare!


Old people it is!

My granddad is getting older, and he's lonely, and we're scared he might fall and hurt himself with nobody around. So we keep dropping hints that it's time for him to go into a retirement home. Going into a home means he'll have to leave his alleged freedom, leave all of his stuff, his house, and his memories... so naturally he doesn't want to go.

But I think he would want to go if "retirement homes" had better marketing.

Look, old people need certain things, just like everyone else: food, water, sunlight, vitamins, and plenty of sex. Yes, you heard it here first, old people want sex. Who do you think is buying up all that Viagra? Definitely not your parents - they're still recovering from having YOU. But old people are senile and forgetful.

So why do I blame marketing for my grandfather's lack of enthusiasm towards moving into a retirement home? Because I think we took a step backwards when we renamed "nursing homes" to "retirement homes." At least with a "nursing home" there was the possibility of a hot nurse giving you a sponge bath.

What we need to do is market retirement homes to be less like sleepy communities for old people and more like a fraternity house. The fraternity could be Omega Lambda Delta, or OLD. Keg parties could be held on Friday nights. Big Band and Swing music were like rap to our grandparents, so they'd probably be bumpin' and grindin' to some Louie Armstrong or Duke Ellington. And I bet them old folks could float a keg of prune juice in no time.

And like I said before, old people love sex. I just heard a story about a manager at a retirement home who said the nurses didn't want to check on an old guy because every time they went into his room he was having sex with someone. So they settled on putting a hanger or a sock on the doorknob whenever he was getting jiggy.

That's what I'm talking about! Those are the stories we need to tell our grandparents! Go to the Omega Lambda Delta fraternity house for the elderly and party your way through your golden years! The women can take out their teeth, for crying out loud! What's not to love?

So G-dad, I'm not asking you to give up your home or your freedom. I just want what's best for you. And what's best for you is a nice, hot sponge bath administered by a hot nurse at a retirement home of your choosing. Think about it.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Taste of Victory

Everyone knows that the taste of victory is so sweet. But sometimes, just sometimes, defeat doesn't taste so bad either.

My family bets on everything, from how long the pizza dude will take, to how many correct picks we get for the Oscars. Did you see The Office this past week, where all of the Dunder Mifflin employees are constantly betting on mundane occurrences around the office? Yeah, that's my family.

The catch is that the loser has to do something for the winner. In the case of this year's Oscars, I was the loser, and my brother-in-law Danny was the big winner. His prize: I took him out for pizza. (I'm a sore loser - we still have to do what I want to do even when I lose.) So we hit up Fleur de Lis pizza, one of Baton Rouge's most famous pizzerias, in honor of Danny's victory over the entire Tanory clan.

Everybody knows that the best restaurants in Baton Rouge are the hole-in-the-wall restaurants. Ever been into George's? That place is a dump, but the food is ridiculously tasty. Fleur de Lis is one of those places that is in a pretty nice building but just tries to be a hole-in-the-wall restaurant. It's all about street cred. They don't even give you plates - you just get napkins. Not like it matters - I don't use a plate or napkins. I'm old school!

But not having new technological wonders like plates, free refills, a serviceable restroom or computers to track tables' orders is not such a bad thing. Our waitress goofed and accidentally brought us someone else's pizza, but they let us keep it plus gave us our original order. So we ended up with a massive amount of pizza. I should have gone double-or-nothing on our original Oscars bet to see who could eat the most. Dang!

So congrats again, Danny boy, for winning our Oscars bet. Can't wait for you to win again so we can go grab a slice.

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Himalayans

One of my favorite albums of all time is August and Everything After by Counting Crows.

I love this album. I love this band! For a while, I wanted to grow dreadlocks just like the lead singer Adam Duritz, be a lead singer in a band and date Jennifer Aniston and Courtney Cox (pre-David Arquette) just like Duritz did. (Baby, this was before I met you, I swear!)

And although I've had this album for over ten years, I never realized that one of my favorite songs from this album, Round Here, is a cover.

Well, kind of.

Duritz had a band before Counting Crows called The Himalayans. The Himalayans wrote and performed Round Here, but The Himalayans' album just came out (on Duritz's new label, Tyrannosaurus Records). If you like Round Here or if you like Counting Crows, check out The Himalayans' version of the song here.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Welcome to the Monkey House

I'd like to once again thank you all for reading my blog. It's a lot of fun to write, and I love getting feedback from you. Being on this side of the "publishing" world has given me a newfound respect for the people out there who have written books, short stories, etc, that have enhanced my life.

That's why I was very sad to hear that one of my favorite authors, Kurt Vonnegut, died a few days ago. So it goes.

Vonnegut is best known for Slaughterhouse-Five, which is about the firebombing of Dresden during WWII, which he witnessed firsthand as a POW after being captured in the Battle of the Bulge. But I remember him best as the first author to really get me interested in fiction.

My 10th grade English teacher, Mrs. McDonald, introduced me to Vonnegut's work when she handed me Cat's Cradle. She knew I would love it because Cat's Cradle has all of the elements that make up a great book, as well as a hefty dose of Science Fiction, Fantasy, dark humor, etc - all of the genres that I've always loved. My teacher knew me well, and knew I would like Vonnegut's work. And she was right - I went on to read all of it. It's funny how some teachers can make such a large difference in your life.

So goodbye, Kurt, and thanks for all the good times.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Keg Party!

We had some friends over for dinner, so Betty went out and fancified everything. Seriously, I love when we have friends over because my wife goes all out. She made some tasty food - chicken parm, green beans that looked but did not taste like asparagus, bread and salad, then smelted some chocolate bunnies down in a fondue pot and had fruit and cake as dippers. If anyone else wants to join us for dinner this year, just let Betty know so she can cook me something delicious!

But best of all, she went out and bought a party keg of Virgil's cream soda.

Before I tell you about Virgil's cream soda, take a look at this keg in relation to other items in our frigidaire:

(Click the pictures to see them in full.)

Party Keg pic 1

I did a cream soda keg stand for like 2 whole minutes while we were waiting for the food to finish. Finally I decided to use a cup, since I was told to be civilized in front of our guests.

Party Keg pic 2

Cream soda is a manly drink. Here you can see just how manly cream soda really is. I think our keg was just "excited" due to the festivities.

Party Keg pic 3

Our turtle, Vern, wanted in on some action, too. Either that or he was trying to escape again. Either way, here he is trying to scale the terrarium wall.

Vern hankering for some Cream Soda

Ironically, I learned of the joys of Virgil's cream soda because of a women's clothing store called The Loft. My wife loves shopping at The Loft, but I really hate women's clothing stores - there's nothing at all for a guy to do. A man can't even sit on anything in The Loft without looking like his wife wears the pants in the family. It's emasculating! Every time I'm there, I keep thinking about how great it would be if The Loft had a section dedicated only to men - we could sit around in recliners, eat pizza, drink beer and watch reruns of Super Bowls while our wives shopped. I also think the mall should have one of these men's lobbies.

Anyway, I always accompany my wife to The Loft, mainly because I'm a huge vagina, but also because right next door to The Loft is a little place called Whole Foods. And Whole Foods has, among many other things, Virgil's cream soda. I stumbled upon it while escaping one of my wife's shopping escapades, and ever since then, going to The Loft hasn't seemed so bad.

You can pick up your own keg of Virgil's cream soda at your local World Market. Or you can drop by my house and we can tap this keg together.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter Recap

I hope everyone had a great Easter. I know I did - I was just about out of ideas for the blog, but now I'm good for another couple of months! And I know that someone at my work had a great Easter, too, because he left a chocolate bunny in the middle bathroom stall.

It was our first Easter as parents to a baby turtle so I wanted to make this year special. I dressed our turtle, Vern, up in bunny ears, filled his terrarium up with lukewarm water and then threw in an Easter wreath for him to bask upon. I also turned on some Easter Carols. Then I hid colored eggs around his cage but he mostly just ignored them, except for one that he tried to make his Lady Egg. Vern is just crazy about Easter. Or maybe he's crazy because he hasn't eaten in weeks.

Holidays are great because I get to see my family. They only live an hour away but somehow it seems so much farther. In fact, it's hard to believe that the Easter Bunny is able to get to everyone's house in just one night. Just going from my house to my parents' by hopping would take at least 5 or 6 hours. I could understand if the Easter Bunny was like Santa with a sleigh, radioactive reindeer to pull it, and a Mrs. Claus at home to get back to for some North Pole snugglin', or if the Easter Bunny was like the Tooth Fairy with mystical dental powers and able to hone into your tooth hidden under the pillow.

But alas, all of this pondering may be for naught. I saw a dead bunny on the way to work today, and it looked like it was in the middle of Eastering when it got hit. So if the Easter Bunny didn't visit your house this year, it may have been because it is now roadkill on a Baton Rouge scenic byway. Or maybe it's just that the Easter Bunny hates you.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Mickey Mouse Presides Over Gay Marriage

As if exchanging wedding vows in front of Cinderella's Castle wasn't gay enough, Disney, the home to Mickey Mouse as well as Gay Day, is now allowing gay couples to exchange wedding vows in front of Cinderella's Castle.

I love Disney. I grew up on their cartoons and movies, and vacations to Disney World were always awesome. In fact, I wanted to be an Imagineer when I was young, but TV, video games and school eventually rotted my brain and destroyed all sense of desire and ambition.

I have nothing against gay marriage, either, as long as it's two hot women getting it on. I'm still not sure about two guys, though. That's just too gay for me.

But now that gays are being married at Disney, the question will once again rise to the top of every tabloid, newspaper and journal for the next year: why does Goofy wear pants but Donald doesn't?

I once read that Walt Disney seriously considered drawing pants on all of his characters. They all wear shirts, yet some don't wear pants. Minnie even shows her panties, that naughty little wench!

But eventually common sense won: ducks don't wear pants in real life and you can't see Donald's mangina anyway.

I have this same issue when I dress up as the Flashing Cow for Mardi Gras. People see cows (with no clothes on) in everyday life and there is no issue. You don't see rampant violence towards naked cows very often in the news. But when a man puts on clothes (layer 1), puts on a cow outfit (layer 2), then puts a shirt on over the cow outfit (layer 3) then flashes his awesome udders, it's like the world is coming to an end.

Anyway, I'm not overly concerned with the whole gay marriage thing at Disney World. All I ask is that the men's bathroom (aka, my favorite Disney ride) and the bush that looks like Mickey Mouse ears behind the dinosaur ride are kept free of naked men having sex with each other. Oh, and if we could not have any of the gays dress up as Tinkerbell, that would be nice, thanks.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Ghost of Tom Joad

There are certain art forms where it's flattering to copy someone. For instance, if you're a musician and you record a cover of your favorite song, you're paying homage to the original artist. You might splatter paint your walls because you're a fan of Jackson Pollock. Or you might castrate yourself and have sex with minors of the same gender because Michael Jackson is your hero.

This behavior is encouraged in some circles. For example, the judges on American Idol tell the contestants to "make the song their own."

But there are other art forms where it's downright rude to emulate someone. For instance, if you write a book that is the same or similar to someone else's, then that's plagiarism.

But that's all about to change. Today I will attempt to cover "The Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck and "make it my own." Don't worry, Steiny, I'll do you proud.


"The Grapes of Wrath" by Bobby Tanory

Once upon a time in a land far, far away, there lived a grapevine. The grapes on this particular grapevine were happy, resting in the sun and listening to Reggae. Occasionally one of the grapes would get old and turn into a raisin, and sometimes the grapes would fight and turn the losing grapes into wine.

Life was good.

One day a meteor fell from the sky, landing in the middle of the meadow and blowing a hole in the ground. Dust flew up into the air and carried particles from the meteor to and fro. Some of the dust landed on the grapes.

Little did the grapes know that the meteor was radioactive. The dust particles were also radioactive, and they started to burn their radioactivity into the grapes. Soon the grapes were mutated, and began to change form. (This is very possible - something similar happened to Spider-Man.)

The main side effect of this change was that the grapes now thirsted for blood. (ie, they were now, literally, grapes of wrath. Queue the scary music!)

The grapes detached themselves from their charred and smoldering grapevine and rolled themselves down rows of crop lines and into town. They attacked the local wine makers and wine tasters. They carjacked local celebrities and made a sex tape with Paris Hilton. Soon everyone knew of the wrath of the grapes and everyone was scared.

While this was going on, a young man by the name of Tom Joad was just being released from prison. He hadn't gotten to watch the news about the horrors of the grapes of wrath because he was too busy watching his cornhole in prison.

Late one night as Tom Joad was returning to his parents' house, the grapes attacked. But Tom had just gotten out of prison and he wasn't about to be anybody's bitch. He started dancing on the grapes and squishing them with his bare feet.

The radioactive particles from the grapes soon were absorbed into Tom's feet. He got sick, puked on some of the grapes and then died. And as the grapes of wrath gnawed at his corpse, the cells of Tom Joad's body continued to absorb the radioactive particles. Soon these cells became a mutant swarm, and the body of Tom Joad was reanimated. Now walked the ghost of Tom Joad.

Devastating grape attacks and Tom Joad sightings were common until, finally, the radioactive material decayed and the grapes and Tom Joad turned back into their normal selves. Half-lifes and chemistry lessons saved the day.

Thus ends "The Grapes of Wrath." It's easy to see why this is a classic.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Germaphobes and Crispy Honey Chicken

Wednesday we went to P.F. Chang's Chinese Bistro, or as I call it, Chang's. The fun part about Chang's is that it's always a packed house, so you're bound to sit by some crazy person who will make the time fly by.

But little did I know just how lucky we were! We had the luck of the draw: we sat by a germaphobe.

If you've been to Chang's before then you know that, after you order your food, your server brings out three types of ingredients to mix into a sauce. The sauce can be mild, medium or spicy, and goes with just about everything on Chang's menu. One ingredient is vinegar, the other is soy, and the third is chili sauce or something - I really have no idea what they are, as I never pay attention to what they're mixing for me. I'm there to eat, not be lectured in the art of Chinese saucery!

Your server will mix this sauce right in front of you. To do this, the server obviously must use his or her hands. This involves touching stuff that holds things that you may eventually eat.

This didn't go well with the germaphobe.

"Why are you touching the food!?" the crazy germaphobe yelled. "My food! Why are you touching my food!"

Shocked, the server replied, "I'm not touching the food, ma'am, I'm just mixing your sauce."

"I want to talk to your manager!" the germaphone yelled to the server. "I knew this was a bad idea! Let's leave! They're touching my food!" Her husband (or boyfriend? or crazy guy whom she met on the Intarweb?) told the server to add more chili.

The yelling continued on for some time. The crazy germaphobe lady huffed and puffed, threatened to leave, and eventually started to walked around aimlessly for a while (avoiding everything in her path). By the time she finally sat back down, their entrees had arrived.

The act of the server placing a plate down on the table obviously implies that the server must touch the plate, move the muscles in his or her arm to navigate the plate towards the table, then nimbly release the plate upon the table. But this delicate dance did not bode well with our friendly neighborhood germaphobe.

"OH MY GOD!" she yelled. "My food! Get your manager, I want to talk with your manager! You're touching my food!"

Every time we go out to eat, there seems to be a point in time, regardless of the restaurant we're eating in, that I want to turn around, look someone square in the eyes and tell them to shut the &$@# up. My wife took the brunt of the germaphobe's abuse, as my wife was closest to their table. I would have felt a lot worse for her had I not been so preoccupied with my food.

But when the wife ain't happy, nobody's happy. And just as I was about to go stick my finger in the germaphobe's food, my crispy honey chicken asked in its most formal voice to allow me to eat it. My mind wandered.

Usually I can zone out any conversation. In fact, I have practiced and perfected this technique on my wife. She thinks I don't listen to her on purpose but really I'm just practicing for these special moments in restaurants when my food needs my undivided attention. What if I started to choke? Who could I turn to? Certainly not the germaphobe. So you see, focus is required.

But the screeching and undulating cries of the germaphobe nagged at the corners of my mind. My fork stopped halfway to my mouth, giving the pork fried rice a chance to escape. I finally turned towards her to say something, when the server arrived.

"Ma'am, I've informed the manager of this situation and I wanted to let you know that your food is comped. I'm sorry for any inconvenience you feel you've had."

"The poor server!" I thought as I poked at the Great Wall of Chocolate. The germaphobe's man-friend then asked for his food to be comped as well, even though he ate every single morsel. I really felt like taking a P.F. Chang all over their plate.

Then I remembered the things that servers and cooks do to a customer's food when a server is mistreated, and suddenly the day was that much brighter.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

On the Environment

There are a lot of environmental issues to contemplate: paper vs. plastic, paper towels vs. hand dryers, hybrid cars, ethanol, the hole in the ozone layer, loss of animal habitats, and last but not least, cow farts. (Sadly, cow farts is not a punch line - it's a real environmental issue.)

But all these pale in comparison to the real environmental issue:

China.

In a nutshell, the main environmental problem that we face is overpopulation. Global warming is caused by too much carbon dioxide, and we have 7 billion people exhaling dangerous CO2 every second! China makes up almost a fourth of this, therefore must shoulder the most blame.

Need more proof? What do you get after you eat Chinese food? That's right - a fortune cookie. And what's in that cookie? Paper. PAPER! A tree died for me to add "in bed" to the end of my fortune.

And speaking of Chinese food, all those Chinese people have to eat, don't they? To feed that many people you have to rely on agriculture. To have the space for agriculture, you have to mow down some trees to make room. By making room for China to eat, we are removing trees - the very same trees whose photosynthetic processes take CARBON DIOXIDE from the air and replace it with oxygen. By removing these trees, we are not only removing the means of curbing the greenhouse effect caused by excess carbon dioxide, we are also removing our source of oxygen.

I'm having a hard time breathing already. I bet China had something to do with this! Gimme back my air, Commies!

But it's not like China gives a Siamese cat's butt about pollution. Although China is one of the oldest and most historic countries, China is a developing country, which means that they aren't affected by international pollution control standards. This means they can pollute with no consequences, kind of like the U.S.

Finally, it's been established that cities are hotter than rural areas. This effect is know as an "urban heat island." With so many people in China, it's bound to become the hottest place on Earth.

Now you might be thinking, but Bob, the U.S. consumes more food and goods than China, and pollutes more than everyone else in the world combined. Hmm... well that's a good point. But considering that China is growing at an exponential rate, by the time you're done reading this blog, China will already have 8 billion people and then all of my arguments will be factual.

So what are we to do about our China problem?

Well, if we can first convince them all to be Tanory Tantrum readers then we really don't have a problem. But if not - and let's face it, the Great Firewall of China is blocking out almost everything these days - then there's only one solution:

Find a new home.

Yeah, we've pretty much screwed this planet over. But the good news is, the Sun is going to explode in 4 billion years anyway, so it's time that we start moving out into other solar systems before we use up all of our oil. Because if alternate energy doesn't come through then we're really screwed, as we'll have no way of leaving Earth.

Way to go, China. I hope you're happy.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Joakim Noah's Arc Shot

The Florida Gators beat the Ohio State Whatevers to win the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship. All throughout the game I couldn't help but wonder one thing:

If Joakim Noah's mom is a former Miss Sweden, why is that dude so friggin ugly?

Seriously! Miss Sweden! What went wrong? You can tell the Tantrum, I won't tell anyone else.

I think I should mention that Joakim Noah is a great player. I actually only said he's a great player so he won't eat me. But he's a really good player, at least. Kind of. He is pretty ugly, though. Well he won two national championships and his mom is a former Miss Sweden so I guess he's pretty good.

I bet he only got on the team in the beginning because of his mom. The coach was like, what, your mom is a former Miss Sweden? Okay you're on the team but you need to sit the bench until I see your hot mom. Afterwards Noah's mad yet ugly skills got him into a starting position.

I seriously bet that was it. Everyone loves Sweden. They're neutral!

I bet the Ohio State players were too busy looking at his mom and thinking, what the hell? How did that come from that?

So congrats to LSU for being in the conference that eventually won the NCAA Championship. Go Tigers!

April Fool's Recap

A lot of funny and/or interesting things went on for April Fool's.

First there was the announcement of the end of the blog. Psh. As if "work" would ever get in the way of the blog. Viva la Tantrum!

Second, if you used Google or Gmail on April Fool's Day, you might have caught a glimpse of "Gmail Paper," where Gmail would send you printed copies of your email so you can file and archive them. And Google's homepage had a link for Google's TiSP, which was broadband via the toilet.

Interestingly enough, a couple of years ago there was a company that actually did run broadband cables through sewer lines. Venture Capitalists invested $35 million smackers on that idea. For realzies!

I wouldn't mind an iLoo. It is my favorite ride.

But my favorite April Fool's joke was the one that the AP pulled. In one of their stories, they said that the Supreme Court rebuked Bush on his administration's inaction on global warming. Ha, like America will ever give a crap about the rest of the world! Hahaha!

What... that one was real?

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Blades of Glory and Sugar-Free Twizzlers

Betty and I went to see Blades of Glory on Friday night. It was so funny that I wet my pants, as well as the person's pants sitting next to me. (Hey, next time don't sit right next to me when there are several other rows free of people - you know who you are.)

In preparation for the movie we stopped by our local Walgreens to stock up on candy. I'm fond of Twizzlers, so I perused my various licorice choices. One of the benefits of getting Twizzlers is that Betty doesn't like them, so I get to hog them all to myself.

That is very crappy of me, I know. Oh how I know.

I'm watching my weight so I went with the sugar free Twizzlers instead of the regular-ass Twizzlers. There were about 750 calories in the regular Twizzlers pack but only 350 in the sugar free pack, so it seemed like a no-brainer.

Now I don't know if you eat a lot of sugar free candy. I don't. I have a sweet tooth. In fact, I have about 26 sweet teeth and two sweet crowns. I could eat sugar all day long. I've been on the same diet for 8 years because every time I lose a pound I eat a gallon of ice cream. I'm like a walking yet chubby paradox.

If you do eat a lot of sugar free candy then you might know, as I did not at the time, that sugar free candies are made by replacing sugar with "sugar alcohol." It seems to me that "sugar alcohol" is made from sugar and therefore the candy is not "sugar free," but the marketing team in charge of sugar free Twizzlers disagrees with me on this point.

And according to Hershey's FAQ page, eating a crap-load of candy made with sugar alcohol "may trigger gas production or a laxative effect."

Since Betty doesn't like Twizzlers, she did not eat any. Oh, she might have had one or two before telling me how much she hates Twizzlers. But I had the remaining 3.5 servings of sugar free Twizzlers. I, therefore, took the brunt of the laxative-laden sugar free Twizzlers.

I'll forgo the bathroom humor and just put it in perspective for you. This might be a little too personal for you, but honestly I'm just trying to help you to understand what it's like to eat an entire pack of sugar free Twizzlers and then sit on the pot for 8 hours.

I have a book that I read when I go to the bathroom. I call it my "Potty Book." My current Potty Book is "The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Disorder on the Electronic Frontier" by Bruce Sterling. I've been reading this book for several months now and, before this weekend, was only 95 pages in. Like I said, I only read it when I'm in the bathroom.

But after this weekend, I am on page 154. That's right, 59 pages of this book can be written off to sugar free Twizzlers.

So Dude-who-sat-by-me-at-Blades-of-Glory-and-got-peed-on-because-I-laughed-so-hard, it could have been much worse. Consider yourself lucky.

Thank You and Goodbye

It's been real. It's been fun. And to be very honest, it's been real fun.

For every night for almost a year I've sat at my computer to write a blog post. It's become a part of my daily routine. But alas, everything must come to an end.

The demands of my new job, especially on my time, have reached the point where I need to focus all of my attention on it. The extra hour I spend every night to write this blog will now go towards sleep, which I feel I need for my health. My stress has been higher, my speech has been harder to control, and I've generally been a lot more fatigued.

I don't want to sound like I'm complaining - I'm thankful for my new job. It's fun, it's challenging, and most importantly, it's giving me plenty of opportunities to learn more about the health care industry. But if I can be a better health care software developer then hopefully I can help the nurses and doctors who do the real important work - helping the sick and dying - to do their jobs more efficiently. I owe it to those people to be at my best every day.

We have one life to live, and I'm extremely thankful that you have been a part of mine. Thank you for sharing in my life and experiences via the blog for the better part of the past year.