Monday, February 27, 2023


I apologize.  February has always been a bad month for me and this was one of the worst.  You just have to check out the previous blog entry to see why….

With the February inductions, we honor Black History Month… even now, with only the one day left to do so.

As for our honoree this month….


From Wikipedia:
Sam Hanna (portrayed by LL Cool J) is a fictional character in the show NCIS: Los Angeles. He is a former U.S. Navy SEAL and a Senior NCIS Special Agent. He first appeared in the NCIS season six episode "Legend (Part I)".

The son of Marine Colonel Raymond Hanna, Osama "Sam" Hanna attended a military school and excelled in football, playing wide receiver. Like the actor, Hanna is a native of New York City.

Outside his job, Hanna has a varied range of interests, including boxing, origami, acting, vinyl records, and antique cars. He also tends to follow the latest health food and fitness fads. He suffers from coulrophobia (fear of clowns) and has a fear of maggots.

Prior to joining NCIS, Hanna served in the U.S. Navy, from which he retired with the rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer (E-8), although this contradicts his service record as shown in the episode "Betrayal" which states that he left as a Chief Petty officer (E-7). When in uniform in the 20th episode of season 4, he is seen wearing the rank of a Senior Chief. He was a member of the Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU) (formerly "Team Six") based in Dam Neck in Virginia.

Despite his inability to swim when he first enlisted, he went on to have a distinguished career as a SEAL and various characters have referenced his "legendary" status within the SEAL community. Much of his career is vague due to the highly classified nature of most of his missions, although it has been mentioned that he served in Bosnia (Yugoslav Wars), Chad (Pan Sahel Initiative), Iraq and Afghanistan and was stationed at the Naval Special Warfare Center in Coronado at some point.

His area of expertise is the Middle East and he reads and speaks Arabic fluently and has an encyclopedic knowledge of the Qur'an. He is also multilingual, having a working knowledge of Japanese, Persian, Danish, Hebrew, Korean, and Spanish. Due to his background in the SEALs, he is able to withstand torture due to SERE training required for all special forces operators and detach himself emotionally during investigations.

Although usually reticent about his service, Sam has hinted several times about how his experiences overseas has affected him: he mentions about getting help in "Field of Fire" when interviewing a homeless veteran who was distrustful of him and admits to Nate Getz in the episode "Impact" of his worries that he would one day lose himself.

Hanna has a strong sense of duty and becomes particularly indignant when the criminal is from a military background. In the episode "Vengeance", he was forced to interrogate a group of SEALs about their involvement in the death of a Navy officer suspected of leaking classified information and was visibly affected, leading Hetty to observe that she felt like she was "making him interrogate his family".

In the final episode of season 11, "Code of Conduct", when investigating claims that a SEAL chief petty officer has murdered an unarmed prisoner, it is revealed that Sam is widely known and respected long after his service ended, with multiple SEALs willing to defy their chief's orders after he reveals his presence.

In the two-part crossover episode with 'Hawaii Five-0' it is revealed that he is friends with head of the Five-0 Task Force and former SEAL Lieutenant Commander Steve McGarrett, although the story of how they met has yet to be addressed.

O'BSERVATION: With the remake of 'Hawaii Five-0' cancelled, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for it.

From NCIS Fandom Database:
Samuel "Sam" Hanna is an NCIS Senior Special Agent and former Navy SEAL. He’s also a member of the OSP in LA, which is Run by Operations Manager Hetty Lange. He is partnered to his good friend, Grisha “G.“ Callen.

He is the husband/widower of Michelle Hanna, and the father of Aiden Hanna and Kamran Hanna.

He was born in the 70s. As a child, he was sent to Military Academy by his father Colonel Hanna who served in the Marines. He disciplined Sam very hard and was disappointed when Sam joined the Navy instead of the Marines.

After finishing the Academy, Sam achieved his dream of becoming a SEAL and becoming a part of SEAL Team 6. During his time as a SEAL, Sam served in Bosnia, Afghanistan, Chad and Iraq. While on a mission in Bosnia, Sam along with another member of his unit, Bryan Dickerson were captured and tortured before being buried alive. [Dickerson, who had been shot, died of his wounds before the rest of the unit rescued them.]

Here are the shows which qualify Sam Hanna to be inducted into the TVXOHOF….



[1] Gibbs and company start looking into the murder of a Marine. Gibbs and McGee go to Los Angeles for a joint gig with the NCIS Office of Special Projects in LA due to a suspected link. The investigation continues on both coasts.

Gibbs and McGee continue with the OSP in LA. Rifkin shows up and interferes with the NCIS investigation. Two sleepers in a terrorist cell die, but OSP agents swarm a shop and grab others. Gibbs intercepts Rifkin and tells him to go home.

317 episodes (2009–2023)

This year, the NCIS corner of the TV Universe had a three-way crossover in one night.  These were the episodes in broadcast order:

Three - Three! - Shows In One!


The entire NCISverse are in Washington D.C. to celebrate the retirement of their former professor. However, their worlds intertwine when the NCIS agents are forced to investigate the same professor's suicide.

DEEP FAKE (2023)

In Washington D.C. to celebrate the retirement of a former professor. NCIS agents are forced to investigate the professor's suicide. Tennant, Jimmy Palmer and Sam Hanna are kidnapped, and it all ties into the mysterious suicide.


In Washington D.C. to celebrate the retirement of a former professor. The NCIS agents are forced to investigate the professor's suicide. Each member learns a hitman is out to kill each and every one of them - with $200,000 bounties on them.

Sam Hanna is a multidimensional in the TV Universe.  These are his appearances – so far – in other TV dimensions….

TOOBWORLD2 (Earth Prime-Time & Again)


From the NCIS Database Wiki: At some Point, Sam met and befriended fellow SEAL LCDR Steve McGarrett, who promised him a steak dinner. Sam is also a good friend of fellow SEAL Tom Olsen.

That fact applies only to the Sam Hanna in an alternate Toobworld.  This would not hold true for the Sam Hanna of Earth Prime-Time as that Steve McGarrett was of an earlier generation.



I have not seen this episode, but it sounds like this was a "Not Quite Zonk", in that NCIS: Los Angeles is a TV show and doesn't exist as "reality" in the Tooniverse. LL Cool J and Chris O'Donnell provided the voices, so if they are ever considered for membership as themselves, this cameo would count.

This trivia note in the IMDb makes me question LL Cool J's listing as “Sam Hanna”:

NCIS: Los Angeles (TV Series 2009–2023)
Roger mentions he got a role on the show.

All episode summaries are from the IMDb.

At any rate, Sam Hanna’s appearances on the three series anchored in the Main Toobworld guaranteed him a place in the Hall.

Welcome, Mr. Hanna.  Thanks to that three-way crossover, you’ll be seeing more members of the various NCIS teams joining you one day.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023



There are about 5,000 tigers left in the wild on this planet and last week we lost another one….

As the oldest of the O’Brien Siblings I have always felt that I should have been the first to shuffle off.  But since when did Timmy ever listen to me?  (Besides, I think the Celestial Repo Men are planning to take me away on the “un-installment plan” one piece at a time; that “mortal coil” will be the last part to be towed away…..)

There are people who engage in extreme sports.  For Timmy, it was Extreme Life.  For good or ill, he tested the limits of what he could do and what he could get away with.  Eventually, and unfortunately, some of that led to the rest of us losing him altogether too soon.  It weakened his heart, which was already working overtime with the love he shared with just about everyone.

And as much Love as he showed towards his very extended family and his even larger network of friends in a variety of special interest groups – fellow postal warriors, snowmobile adventurers, VW Bug aficionados, water skiers, SJS 73 classmates, ELP lovers, and Broncos fanatics – he had an inexhaustible wellspring of affection for the four-footed furries of the world.  (Sorry, fishies.  You got the hook.)

Over the years he had his special furever friends – the first Jackie, later his own Jackie, his cats Tarkus and Karn Evil 9 first, and then Eddie whom he rescued when Eddie wandered into his yard and liked that tiger enough to stay.  Then Timmy took in an elderly “puppy” whose past human had passed.  He gave Zina the chance to enjoy the same planet he did for the time she had left.  As it turned out, Zina led the way for Timmy, crossing over just a week or so before he joined her and his other “puppies” Out There.

“Puppies”….  It didn’t matter what species an animal was; he always addresses them as “My Puppy.”  I’m sure if you search the videos on his Facebook page, you’ll probably find the horse who was also “My Puppy” in Timmy’s eyes.

With Grammy O'Brien

When it comes to the Legend of “Timothy Ticklepepper” (our Grammy O’Brien’s nickname for him, much to his embarrassment), here’s the one I hope will be lasting – Timmy’s love of animals manifesting in all of those puppies who lived on his mail route.  There are plenty of pictures of him on the job, making friends with so many of those dogs and putting the lie to that old story that dogs hate the mailman.  At least in Timmy’s case, making those puppies “Mailman’s Best Friends” came easily… and not just because his mail truck was full of dog biscuits.

What he considered his greatest accomplishment in his 42 years as a letter carrier was that the people on his route weren’t his customers; they became his friends.  There are some who finally moved away to other states, but whenever they returned, they made it a point to go back to their old neighborhood to see Timmy.

Dad with Tim outside the old cottage

Mom with all of us inside the new cottage

I belong to a Facebook group centered around the band known as The Adam Ezra Group.  One day, the thread of a conversation – because of its prominence in one of Adam’s songs – was “Patchouli”.  A few days later, Tim shared a picture of himself in uniform, holding and hugging the latest puppy on his route.  Her name was Patchouli.

I thought my fellow Gatherlings (technically we’re “Gatherers” as a collective noun) would find it an interesting addendum to that Patchouli thread, so I posted the picture to the group.  Not long after, I got a comment on that post: “Your brother’s name wouldn’t happen to be Tim, would it?”

Uh-oh….  “Why?” I thought.  “Does Tim owe this guy money?”

Turns out Mark and Cindy were on that mail route and had a great fondness for that Tiger.  Mark not only had Timmy as his mailman, but they saw each other at the gym.  AND he also worked for a time in connection with Tim’s oldest son, Neil!  

Since then, I count Mark and Cindy among my friends, as well as their daughter Robyn, who works for the band. I’ve met their son Ryan, who’s making a name for himself in the movie biz.  And Timmy provided a most unique beginning for all of that.

Tim and his boys,
Neil & Ian

I’ve got two stories about Timmy I’d like to share.  The first, in a way, shares something in common with the aforementioned Ryan, who produces horror movies, including the continuation of the “Halloween” franchise.

I had come home from Manhattan in the late 70s, and Timmy and I went up to the Lake cottage for the weekend.  Nobody else in the family was there yet.

It was a very warm night and we were lying on the dock, staring up at the starry sky, unbothered by mosquitoes, thanks to the bats feasting on them.  Somehow, the conversation turned to the property next door, which had become a jungle. (That was because the old man who owned it let it lapse after his wife died.)  And because it was popular in the theaters the previous autumn, we started joking around that at any minute, Michael Myers would come out of those woods, brandishing his huge knife.

I think we were somewhat… “enhanced”.  We began laughing at the absurdity of that idea….

And then a twig snapped.

We couldn’t get inside that old blue cottage fast enough (as if that could ever protect us from Michael Meyers!)  I apologize in advance for the terminology, but we were scared shitless… not the condition to be in when the only bathroom is back outside, the outhouse known as “HERE”.

The other story took place a few years earlier when I still lived at home and was still in high school.  Tim and I used to share a makeshift bedroom down in the basement.  One Friday night, I really needed my sleep because I had to start extra early Saturday morning at my job in the Meriden Square.  Tim, being fortunate enough to be four years younger than me, could look forward to sleeping late.  So he was in no hurry to fall asleep.  Instead, he lay there in the dark… whistling.

I told him to shut up; he kept on whistling.  (He was probably whistling ELP songs.)  Despite my entreaties, he kept on whistling.

I finally couldn’t take it any longer.  I jumped out of my bed and began beating him with my pillow there in the dark.  Finally spent, I crawled back into bed.

Suddenly, I heard Timmy spit “Phffft!”  And then again – “Fffpt!” “Pfffth!”  That’s when I found myself doing the same – “Pfpht!”  “Sfffthp!”

The light got turned on and we discovered the room was filled with downy feathers from my now split pillow, floating down on us.  We spent at least the next hour cleaning up.

I thought about that night as we sat vigil by Tim’s bedside that last night because he looked like he was sleeping.  Not only sleeping, but snoring away with a fierce determination.  It still doesn’t feel possible that it was a sleep from which he didn’t emerge.  I can’t fathom that my brother, who held two key positions in the order of the siblings – first as the “baby” for nine years and then as the middle child, the fulcrum between the two sets of siblings – is gone.

Tim with four of his cultural heroes:
Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, Carl Palmer, & John Elway

But he is out of pain now; all of that Life in the Extreme culminated in unbearable back problems which was making the possibility for him to enjoy such passions as hitting the trails on his snowmobile untenable.  We’re going to be sorry later this year when we’ll need the water that we had no significant snowfall this season.  But lack of snow kept Timmy sidelined from the sport so who knows?  That might have kept him with us for just a little while longer.

I may not be the most religious person around….  Okay, I’m not; I have my Faith if not the religion.  But I’ve also liked the concept of an afterlife; it just doesn’t feel right that this could be all that there is.  (I love a good story about the vision of heaven – there are some good jokes about that.  Ask me sometime, I’ll tell you a few.)  And it seems only fitting that there really could be a Rainbow Bridge where Timmy could reunite with his three dogs and three cats and all the other beasties he befriended.

But most of all, it’s a comfort to think he’s reunited with Mom and Dad, Grammy and Nana, maybe even our grandfathers.  Plus his beloved Auntie Anne and the cousins who went before to check the place out – Linda, Norman, Peter Ernest, and David, and while we didn’t have much interaction due to distance and the Internet not being invented yet, there would be Cousin Cindy as well.  All of them rebels in their own ways.

And right by Timmy’s side, as he was in Life, would be Joey Gradz, "Brothers In All But Blood"….

It’s a nice dream, and it brings me some measure of comfort.  Maybe it’s true; I can’t say for certain.  And it’s not likely Timmy will be able to come back to confirm that, not that I wouldn’t put it past him to give it a try.

But that’s what Faith is all about.  As a character in one of Timmy’s favorite TV series (perhaps his absolute favorite) once said,

"All faith must have a little doubt mixed in.
Otherwise, it's just flabby sentimentality."

So I hope I do get the chance to see Timmy again.  And I hope you all find comfort in the possibility of seeing that Tiger also.

My favorite picture of Timmy
With me and Billy

Except for the addition of Andrew & Leah,
not much really changed.
Tim still had that ebullient spirit.

Timmy always had an expression whenever we parted ways; I bet he shared it with you as well.  I’d like to change it up a bit and send it back to him “Out There, Somewhere” as another one of his favorites, Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues, wrote:

“Remember, Tim….  God, Jesus, and Toby O’Brien love you.”  (In response to his version, I would also add, “And not necessarily in that order.”)

Just one last thing.  I was supposed to be the one who was to serve as the bad example for the next generations in the family, but he trumped me again.  Still, learn from his life.  As it has been said in the public service announcement, “If you smoke, stop.  If you don’t smoke, don’t start.”

Don’t do it for Timmy; do it for yourself and for those who love you.  On second thought, that does include Timmy because he loved you all.

Toby O'B

BCnU, Brothermine....
Put in a good word for me.