Several days ago I turned eight or twenty-fifteen or the square root of 1,225. Use whatever system floats your boat – it’s not that complicated. If I wanted to be truly obtuse I would insist that you calculate my “mass” by giving you my weight from the third moon of Jupiter, which, incidentally, is Ganymede – though I prefer my weight on Pluto – oooooh, or in “stones.” It’s so equalizing; I swear that everyone weighs exactly sixteen stones (or something like that). Perhaps I digress. Anyhoo, of the lovely surprises I received on that occasion (which, according to my not-so-subtle hints, everyone tried to euphemize into “your day” and “the day we like you for no apparent reason” or “your natal day – but don’t freak out about it”), two gifts REALLY stand out.

The first is valuable for so many reasons. To begin with, it was chosen especially for ME by this incredibly handsome young man.
My Nephew, Leif

Sheesh – he has such itty-bitty teeth. But I unquestionably digress. Soooooo, apparently it took him quite a while to choose just the thing; my Mom and my sister followed him all over the entire store. But he finally set eyes on the perfect item – the pièce de résistance. Then, he gift-wrapped it all by himself (with only slight assistance in that his mother pulled off pieces of tape for him); it was stunning. And what did this three-and-a-half-year-old prodigy select? The Thomas & Friends® eighteen-piece “Thomas Water & Coal Station Set: Motorized Road & Rail System” by TOMY®. And in case you think he selfishly chose it for himself, I must correct you now. He selected a motorized racing car set for my Dad’s Christmas present, and he understands completely that it belongs to Grandpa and that it lives at Grandpa’s house. Still, he’s no dummy; he gets to play with it every time he visits (though, as much as Leif likes playing with it I suspect my Dad enjoys it more).

However, not until tonight did I know what a genius my nephew is. When I tried to borrow (okay – steal) a picture of my train set from the internet, I could NOT find one. There is (and I understate it) a plethora of Thomas the Tank items on the World Wide Web. It might be more accurate to say a glut. You can see Bulgy, Boco, Mavis and Salty. You can find the “Thomas at the Timber Yard Set” – even “Cranky at the Dock.” But no one in the wide world (except the Super Walmart in Tooele) carries the Thomas & Friends® eighteen-piece “Thomas Water & Coal Station Set: Motorized Road & Rail System” by TOMY®. Even the TOMY® website didn’t have it (thus I won’t link to them – SO THERE). I did find a picture of the particular trains included in my set, but the reader must simply imagine the “realistic working water spout and coal dispenser.”
Thomas, Annie & Clarabel

What conclusion must one draw from this conundrum? Naturally, my nephew is a retail mastermind who knows a rare and valuable object at sight. Moreover, he entrusted this priceless object to a loved one who’s SLIGHTLY older, no doubt knowing I’d bequeath it to him. Following my death he can sell it and become a multimillionaire. Completely brilliant.

The second item, chosen by one of my sisters (Leif’s mother) is really… something. It’s the 1962 (some sources say 1959) cinema classic, The Brain That Wouldn’t Die.

I think I may need NEVER purchase another DVD; I should simply view this masterpiece over and over and over again. At least I imagine that’s the case; I haven’t seen it yet. It MUST be viewed at the perfect time in the appropriate setting with all the necessary accoutrements (and I haven’t ascertained what those are yet). I’m led to understand that it’s much better than Cats – that people laugh and cry – that they want to see it again and again.
The DVD Cover

Ironically, the dearth of information about the Thomas & Friends® eighteen-piece “Thomas Water & Coal Station Set: Motorized Road & Rail System” by TOMY® was contrasted with a veritable treasure trove of facts concerning The Brain That Wouldn’t Die. Here, for instance, is the movie poster:
Yup, From

And of the innumerable websites that mention the film, I insist that every self-respecting cinema aficionado visit a “The Horror Section” of ““” It’s replete with sound bytes and movie images; I found it a joy. It facilitated my decision to categorize this entry as I did. Listen to this quote and you’ll understand.