October 31, 2003

Spooky Story

Okay, I don't usually write too much about that'll reveal intimate details about me. But, since this is Halloween and people are eager for creepy stories, here's one from the life and times of Tuning Spork:

About nine years ago I drove from Tonopah, Nevada to Bradford, Vermont. I had been living and working in Tonopah for about two years. Why would a Connecticut Yankee move to Nevada? Bees. There aren't any in Nevada, the ground is too dry for them to breed, and I am deathly allergic to bee stings. (There are, happily, also no mosquitoes out there.) Working shirtless outside without having to keep an eye out for those little buzzing angels of Satan was pure joy.

I had just gotten into Bradford at about noon on a Friday to visit my father. I hadn't seen him since I left for Nevada two years earlier. He worked in the small town of Bradford, but he lived nearby in an even smaller town called Corinth. He was the last "back east" person I saw before I left, and the first I wanted to see when I got back.

The first person I met in Bradford that I knew was Corinth's own Hank the Postman. Of course, there are no letter carriers in Corinth. Hank runs the small post office in downtown Corinth; which consists of the Post Office, a gas station and a general store. Hank was sitting at the counter at Covey's Luncheonette.

"Hank!" I said, "How ya been?!" Hank looked at me with a somewhat puzzled face. There was no way that he didn't recognize me. I mean, I even dated his daughter during Sophomore year in high school.

Eventually he shook my hand and said "Bob, I...I thought you were in Nevada...", still looking at me as if I were a ghost. Oddly, like he was very concerned about something. "What are doing in Vermont?"

"I came to say hi to my Dad," I said. "I wanted to drop by before heading down to Connecticut."
(Bridgeport, Connecticut was where I had a condominium. My tenants had moved out a few weeks earlier and it was ready for my move back in.)

Then Hank asked me with a nervous stare; "Does Brian know you're coming?" Now, Brian is my younger brother. Why Brian would need to know if I was coming to visit Dad didn't make any sense.

"No," I said, "No one does. Just thought I'd pop in and surprise them!"
As this conversation was awkward -- and at the time it never occurred to me to wonder why -- I gave Hank my best, got back into the truck and headed to my father's house in Corinth.
I drove the twists and turns past rivers and ridges and sprawling farms, up Jones Hill Road (named for my grandfather), and up the steep and twisted unpaved driveway that leads to Dad's house.
There were two cars there, obviously he had company. I knocked on the door, and my sister, Jennifer, answered.

"Surprise!" I said grinning. The weird thing was, she didn't look all that surprised. But she welcomed me back, invited me in, and led me to the kitchen where I found my brother Brian.

"So, how was Nevada?" was the first thing he said, but the look on his face was serious; he had something on his mind other than smalltalk.
After some starts and stops, Brian and Jennifer finally got around to telling me that Dad had died.

This was horrible news, of course. Dad and I were very close. Dad and Jennifer were sorta close, too, but she was more of a priss; definately Mom's girl.
If I may be so bold to say: There was no sibling rivalry between Brian and me. Brian was a trouble-maker. He and Dad never got along. When Dad wanted to fish, shop for wood for -- and wanted help -- building a deck or shed, it was me he'd ask; and I loved doing that stuff.
The real kicker wasn't even that Dad died, though. It was that he died nearly two years ago.

Now, granted, living thousands of miles away in a town in Nevada that isn't even on most maps without a phone is asking for trouble when it comes to family news. But I never even wrote a stinking letter in all that time. If I had, maybe it just would have been returned. But I doubt it, if the house is still in the family (and especially if Hank is routing the mail), someone would have taken the time to send a letter back with the news of my father's death. I suck so much sometimes.

Over the course of the afternoon and evening I learned that the house was now owned by Brian. He'd bought Jennifer's share, as well as mine in absentia. Bastard. I spent the late-afternoon and evening, slathered in bug repellent, mostly relaxing on the deck and looking at the mountains in the distance, and after dark, just watching bats flying overhead in the moonlight. I longer I stared into the hills and forest of Vermont, the more the wide-open spaces of Nevada seemed like just a dream I'd had.

Early the next morning I went to Dad's gravesite in Bradford. There I saw, carved into the stone, the date of his death: November 15th, 1992. That was the day after I left for Tonopah. I wondered if I was the last person he ever spoke to.
But then I remembered something. Brian was there, too. He and I had been fighting that day, same as we always did. I was the one who always yelled at him for being a useless lying piece of shit...worse than Dad ever did. We were brothers, but we were never friends. As I stood at my father's grave my mind began to wander, and soon I was suspecting all kinds of horrible things.

That afternoon I drove into Bradford to see who I could talk to. I found Mrs. Keirnan, an old friend of my grandparents, having lunch at Covey's. She was definately surprised to see me, but seemed just a bit off-put. I eventually got around to asking her questions about my father's death, and she answered some of my questions "yes" or "no", but she didn't volunteer much.
But she did tell me that if I wanted to learn more about my father's death that I could drive across the river into Lebanon, New Hampshire and look at newspaper obits.

I went to the public Library in Lebanon and began searching for the obit, found it, and it didn't tell me anything. Just the most basal facts; date, place, wake and funeral times, yadda yadda. But then I looked for news items for November 15-20. Ho-ly shit!
That's when I learned that my father was actually strangled in a ski-lodge at Mount Snow; cabin 12-C. I made some photo-copies and headed back to Corinth.

"Why didn't you tell me any of this?!" I shouted at Brian.

"Bob," Jennifer said trying to calm me down, "We weren't sure if you were ready to hear it."
WHAT?! I am the eldest here! Don't tell me what I'm ready or not ready to hear!"

From there the argument, especially with Brian, degraded into a shouting match. The more we argued the more I learned. Dad went skiing. He was found strangled dead in his cabin. Brian told the lawyers/court that I was "unreachable." Brian was awarded my share of the property.
I eventually flat-out asked Brian if he had killed Dad because he (Brian) was a dead-ender malcontent thief maggot who wanted Dad's house because he couldn't get a thing for himself any other way. Jennifer tried to calm me down, but I would have none of it. Maybe I was being unreasonable, but I was furious. At about 5pm I stormed out, got into my truck, and headed for Mount Snow just because I thought I might find at least some sense of closure there.

I reached Mount Snow after dark, at about 6:30, and met with the desk clerk. I asked him if he'd been working here more than two years, and he said he had. I said "Does 'Cabin 12-C' mean anything to you?"
Startled, the fella said "What do you mean?"
"Man strangled? Cabin 12-C?"
"Oh, yeah!" he said, and I began up the stairs as I swear I heard him say "yeah, strangled.. rumor had it that a son of his did it.."
Confident that no one was in the room this early in the season I opened the door and walked into the room.

It was a very large room, as you'd expect. I walked over to the fireplace and sat down. This is where my father died. Okay, maybe he died over there, or there, or in the bathroom or the bedroom. But I felt that it happened here, near the fireplace.

It seemed like hours, but it was only after about 45 minutes that I heard "Bob?"
I turned toward the door and there was my sister, Jennifer. She walked over and kneeled behind me, resting on my back.
"You were awfully harsh with Brian," she said. "But, just between you and me, I can understand why."

"This is where Dad died," I said.
"Yes," she answered.
"Do you know who did it?"
"Yes," she said and she leaned harder.
"Was it Brian?"
"No. No it wasn't Brian," she said.
"Who killed him?" I said, bracing myself.
"You did, Bob." As soon as she said it I knew she was right.

"But, Jen, I was away at the time." I protested without conviction. "I was in Tonopah, Nevada on November 15th, 1992."

"You've never been to Nevada," she said as she combed my hair with her fingers. "You were in a hospital in Massachusetts. You wanted to believe that you were out on the open range in Nevada, just like we pretended when we were kids, and we let you believe that."
Then she asked, "What do you remember about Tonopah?"

I tried and thought as hard as I could to remember.

"Nothing." I could remember nothing about Nevada. I was never there. But, after nearly two years away, I had finally returned.

P.S. None of this is true. Don't hate me, blame Jim!
Happy Halloween! :)

Posted by Tuning Spork at 09:12 PM | Comments (7)

October 30, 2003

May 8th, 1981

Looking through my old stuff again.

English was always my favorite subject, but I always scored poorly in it. I was more interested in reading and writing what I wanted to, rather than reading and writing about what I was assigned to.

Here's the text of a paper I wrote senior year in High School.

Here I am in room E-109 on the 8th of May, 1981. 2nd Period. It is Friday, and 9:23 at this moment.

I am supposed to be writing a summary of the short story "Bella Flease Gave A Party" which I did not read. I did however read "Widow's Son" and "Miss Brill" for a quiz I missed yesterday for being absent. But I just discovered that there was no quiz given yesterday. Oh brother!

I've just been returned two older quizzes, and I got a "60" on each of them.

I suppose Mr. Varga thinks I am writing a summary right now. He just glanced at my paper from half-way across the room and seems to believe I really understand the story.

Well, I shall be graduating from this place in a little over a month from now. I could wait. I can't see the point in spending a fortune on the senior prom. How rediculous!

Well now I am at the bottom of the first page and Varga must think I'm brilliant. I can't wait 'til he sees me not hand this in. Maybe I'll hand it in anyway. Why not?

It is now 9:33 and ten minutes have passed since I began writing this nonsense. I should learn to budget my time more efficiently. I could have been reading the story in this time!
Silly me.


P.S. If I should hand this in, then don't judge me too harshly. I am young and inexperienced in the wasting of time (although, I must admit, I am good at it!).

The reason I kept this was because I actually did hand it in. I got it back the next Monday and Mr. Varga wrote:
And talent! Read the story tonight and I'll quiz you tomorrow.

I read and took the quiz (wrote the summary) and scored a 95. "Bella Flease Gave A Party" was one of the few stories I actually read that year, and that grade was one of my proudest moments.

I hope Mr. Varga is still teaching.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 10:57 PM | Comments (1)

Dear Tuning Spork

And, now: a blast from my past!

Welp, once again I got nothin'. So what I've done is gone back through a collection of old stuff I wrote in High School.
For my Creative Writing class's yearbook I did an advice Column called "Dear Malcolm." (Malcolm was a pen name I gave myself back then. Why Malcolm? Because I'd seen A Clockwork Orange a bazillion times!)

Anyway, here's one entry from that column (and you'll herein discover that my occassional, yet well-placed, use of foul language in my writing is long-standing). The questions for the column were submitted by my Creative Writing classmates.

Dear Malcolm,

I have a little doggie who used to sit and beg. My doggie tumbled down the stairs and broke his little leg.
Now my doggie will be walking funny permanently and I don't think I want him anymore. Help me.

Dear Crap,

What the hell is wrong with you?! Have you no heart nor soul?! You must be a really shallow and selfish excuse for a human being!
Don't you love your doggie?! Apparently not! You didn't even mention his name!!
There are plenty of nice people out there who would love to give that poor doggie a home!
Imagine; not wanting your dog simply because he broke his leg. Jeeze, you probably pushed him! Asshole.

Heh. :)

Posted by Tuning Spork at 09:51 PM | Comments (3)

October 29, 2003


Pardon my Freedom:

FoxNews has obtained a videotape of just a few of the torture and mutilation methods gleefully employed by Saddam's regime. Back beatings; shoulder whippings; fingers, legs, heads being chopped off by machete by the Saddam Feyedeen; men bound and then dropped from sixth story rooftops for their crimes of disobeying an order...all done publically -- in front of civilian men, women and children -- in order to instill the fear in them of daring to speak freely against their ruler and his psychotic (now ground temperature) sons.
As if we didn't know it already: the real weapon of mass destruction in Iraq was/is Saddam.
Tell me again, U.N./E.U./D.N.C.(and anyone else who hates Bush more than they love Liberty), why you think it was a good idea not to put an end to that. I fuckin' dare ya.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 10:19 PM | Comments (4)

October 27, 2003

Principled Boycots

There are two things that I've never done, and will never do:
1) eat a Burger King Whopper; and
2) watch a Super Bowl game.

I might have been willing to try a Whopper up 'til the mid-late '80's when B.K. ran those damm "Herb" commercials.

Herb: supposedly the only man in America who'd never tried a Whopper.
Huh? I never tried one either, and I was in my 20's then. So, Burger King thought that their precious Whopper deserved elevation to a primary status in Americana that it was unthinkable that a viewer of their ad campaign would accept that no one but one man had tried their greaseburger?! BAH!
I was offended and insulted by that; so much so that I vowed never ever EVER to eat their cheesy Whopper!

As for the Super Bowl,
It was in January of 1980, I was in High School, and we'd just found a bassist to complete our band's line-up. Her name was Karen.
We'd scheduled our third practice session as a full band for Sunday.

Karen: Oh, I can't make it for this Sunday.
Me: Oh, okay. Something came up?
Karen: Well, I'll be watching the Super Bowl.
Me: Oh, I didn't know you were a Football fan..
Karen: Well, I'm not. But....it's the Super Bowl!
Me: Yeah, I know. It's a Football game...
Karen: But....it's the Super Bowl!

This was the first time I began to realize that the Super Bowl was becoming something other than a Football game, and I wasn't liking it.
We lost a weekend's practice because Karen felt compelled to watch a Football game when she wasn't even a Football fan?! WTF?!!!!

Over the next few years the Super Bowl got higher and higher ratings. Suddenly seven of the top-ten most watched TV shows of all-time were Super Bowl games. Sports are s'posed to be watched by sports fans, dammit! But there are people who watch one (1) Football game a year: the friggin' Super friggin' Bowl.

If you ever see me eating a Whopper while watching the Super Bowl: shoot me.

Anybody else got any principled boycots? I'd love to know what they are and why!!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 11:00 PM | Comments (15)

Joke of the Day

DOCTOR: Well, the results of your complete physical exam are in, and I'm afraid I've got two pieces of bad news for you.

PATIENT: Doc, don't sugar-coat it for me, just give it to me straight.

DOCTOR: All right. The first bit of bad news is: you've got cancer.

PATIENT: Oh my, cancer. That's awful. All right, what's the second?

DOCTOR: Secondly, I'm afraid; you've got Alzheimer's.

PATIENT: Ooh, Alzheimer's, that's awful. Oh well... at least I don't have cancer!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 10:34 PM | Comments (1)

jus' Kickin' back

When The Bartender asks you what drink you are: you tells 'im!!

Going for the classic choice, none can go wrong with a classy Long Islander!
Going for the classic choice, none can go wrong with a classy Long Islander!
Congratulations! You're a Long Island Iced Tea!

What Drink Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by Tuning Spork at 07:33 PM | Comments (0)

October 26, 2003

New Blog Showcase

[cue music]

Here I come
typing in my screen
it's got the funniest look of
any screen I've seen

But hey, hey, it's the Showcase
of new bloggers bloggin' around
but I'm too busy squinting
to read what they've written down

I'm not bein' unfriendly
it's just that my monitor stinks
But I'll vote for Irreconcilable Musings
because Susie's been promising links!

Plus, we gotta out-vote the League of Losers!! Keep on it!!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 03:06 PM | Comments (3)

October 25, 2003


Dang! I really wanted to be Riff Raff.

Which Rocky character are you?

Thanks to LeeAnn for the heads-up (even though this was one of the crappier quizzes).

Posted by Tuning Spork at 10:52 PM | Comments (5)

The Reagans at issue

The final script for the upcoming CBS mini-series The Reagans has been obtained by the New York TImes (since when is a two-part TV movie a "mini-series"?), and there seems to be a firestorm a-brewing.

I've read a few articles that point out some of the more controversial scenes and dialogue and heard lots of discussion on TV and radio about them. As I am, in many regards, a Reagan fan, I think I'll go right on ahead and toss in my 2 cents.
Here are the key points of controversy as detailed by Matt Drudge and others:

Insinuations that Nancy pill-popped are scattered throughout the story.

This was first asserted by Ron and Nancy's daughter Patti Davis in her 1992 book The Way I See It. Patti, to my best recollection, was writing about the period when her father was Governor of California, and before she left for college in about 1971.
Ron and Nancy both denied the allegation but, and even though Patti and Nancy are on much better terms these days, to my knowledge Patti has never retracted it.
There are repeated allegations that Ronald Reagan was homophobic.

I seriously doubt that Reagan was "homophobic," he was a very hate the sin but love the sinner kinda guy. Having spent a long career in Hollywood, the Reagans, I've read, had many friends who were homosexuals. I suspect that the allegations stem from a leftist view that since Reagan was a Christian and a Conservative that he must be a hateful, intolerant, fundamentalist whacko.

If there's an agenda behind this it might be to discredit Conservatism by discreditting popular and effective Conservatives. It might, of course, merely be that the producers and writers believe that the allegation is true, but I've seen no evidence that it is.

Reagan was suffering from Alzheimer's disease as early as 1984. [Nancy rushes to a doctor to warn that her husband is forgetting things.]

This and similar claims have repeatedly been denied by many members of the Reagan Administrations, but here's my thought -- as an interested outsider -- on this:

After the first televised debate with Walter Mondale during his re-election campaign in 1984, in which he appeared illprepared, and occassionally disoriented, searching his mind for answers and coming up empty, talk of Reagan's deminishing faculties (though the issue was addressed very carefully) started to be taken somewhat seriously.

In the second debate Reagan performed much better. He had energy, was more aggressively and enthusiastically answering questions and, of course, famously made a joke about his age. The issue had been put to rest for many viewers, but here's the curious thing (for me anyway):

At the conclusion of the debate Mondale gave his closing remarks, and then Reagan gave his. His remarks were extemporaneous, not prepared; he wasn't reading them off of a teleprompter or anything. Seemingly going back into "searching and coming up empty" mode, Reagan couldn't come up with anything fresh to say, and he ended up essentially repeating the off-the-cuff speech he delivered at the close of the Republican Convention in 1976; the one about the time capsule.
This doesn't mean neccessarily that Alzheimers had begun to take root, but it certainly showed me that Reagan's mind in 1984 wasn't quite as quickly creative as it was in 1976, or even in 1980.
Or maybe he was just tired.

Nancy Reagan's characterization employs a generous helping of wild mood swings, dramatic lighting, and tart-mouth insults that are hysterically delivered by actress Judy Davis.

I heard some audio clips of some of the dialogue from the movie on the radio, and, yeah, it sure sounded like Judy Davis was playing Hillary Clinton rather than Nancy Reagan.
Nancy makes the case to Ron that "Ketchup is a vegetable! It is not a meat, right? So IT IS a vegetable."

As I recall, the controversy about someone suggesting that ketchup be classified as a vegetable with regard to school lunch programs, wasn't so much that ketchup isn't, in reality, just a spiced up tomato sauce, but centered rather on the fact that even a generous helping of the tasty condiment would never approach anything remotely like the serving-size of a vegetable.
So, I'm not sure I understand the point of this dialogue (that probably never occurred), unless it's just to insinuate that Nancy supported the idea of classifying ketchup as a vegetable in school lunches.
One scene shows Nancy and Ron both standing nude [wrapped in towels] when they first learn from NBC's John Chancellor they have won the election.

This account comes from Ronald Reagan himself. I'm not exactly certain, but I believe he told the story as part of the Morning In America short film that was played at the 1984 Republican Convention.
It'll be interesting to see how the scene is played. Will it be treated in folksy and amusing way, as Reagan told it? Or, will it be used to symbolically infer that he was unready for the job at the moment that he "won" it. (Maybe they'll have Nancy quip; "oh look, the new emperor has no clothes..heehee..")
A FILM CREW is swarming all over the living room, setting up lights, cameras, etc. Reagan sits in the middle, putting on his own make-up. Nancy arguing with Patti, (age 5), who won't come down.
NANCY: Come on, Patti. They're all set to go.
PATTI: No. I won't. I want to stay up here and play.
Nancy grits her teeth, and takes Patti by the wrist.
NANCY: No arguing. We're going down, right now.
PATTI: No! No! No! No! NO! NO!
Nancy reaches out, and slaps Patti. Patti reels, holding her cheek. Nancy freezes.

This, too, is based on Patti Davis' book, The Way I See It, in which she claims that she suffered physical abuse at the hand of Nancy from about the time she was 8 to the time she left for college.
Ronald and Nancy have both denied Patti's allegations, and Patti once responded that "denial is a primary characteristic of our family." To my knowledge, Patti has never retracted the allegation, and, as it's Patti's word against Nancy's, I'll just reserve judgement on it (though I strongly suspect that it may just be a difference of opinion between them about what constitutes discipline and what constitutes abuse).

What's interesting, though, is that, in the film, Patti is struck by Nancy at the age of 5. Patti never claimed that she was struck at such a young age, and Patti being 5 years old would put the scene in about 1958. I have no idea what the context of the scene is, but the only reason I can think of for making Patti only 5 would be to highten the horror quotient of the scene at the cost of historical accuracy. Hollywood...

NANCY'S STEP-FATHER: Nancy, I don't know what you see in Hollywood. As far as I can tell, it's nothing but Communists and drug addicts.
NANCY: It didn't used to be this bad -- did it, Mother?
NANCY'S MOTHER, EDITH: Hell, no. When I was here, it was just wall-to-wall Jews and queers.

Wow. I have no idea what this is based on, but Nancy has always spoken glowingly her step-father. My guess is that this may be to impune Nancy via her parents. If this is made up out of nothing than this is slander in the first degree. Mo' info is needed...
During a scene in the film which his wife pleads with him to help people battling AIDS, Reagan says resolutely, "They that live in sin shall die in sin" and refuses to discuss the issue further.

This strikes me as complete rot; it doesn't sound like anything that would ever come out of Reagan's mouth. Pat Robertson, maybe...

Edmund Morris wrote in Dutch, Reagan's authorized -- though fictionalized -- biography, that Reagan once wondered of AIDS, "Maybe the Lord brought down this plague," because "illicit sex is against the Ten Commandments."

This question is bound to cross the mind of anyone who considers the idea that maybe things like deseases and natural disasters happen because G-d planned them, and Reagan certainly doesn't sound like he came to any conclusion on the matter. (Also, he said "illicit sex," not exclusively homosexual sex.)

It comes down to how you think about what G-d is, and how/if G-d operates in the material world. For instance, if you cheat on your wife then you're going to meet up with some trouble. You incur the wrath of a woman scorned, perhaps destroy your family, and be riddled with guilt even if the secret is never revealed. That cause and effect in our relationships is as natural as the cause and effect of mechanics.
If G-d created the laws of physics then you can argue that G-d created the laws of relationships. But, even if we think of G-d working in our lives in that way, it strikes me that the idea that the two can be connected -- personal sins (adultery, sodomy) produce external consequences (floods, plagues) -- is backed up by scripture.

As an athiest arm-chair theologian this stuff can give me a headache after awhile. Anyway, I don't believe for a second that Reagan would ever have said something so cold and bombastic as "they that live in sin shall die in sin.".

Reagan is showed repeatedly taking the Lord's name in vain, saying "g-ddamn this..." and "g-ddamn that..."

Even though the complaint about this comes from Reagan's son, Michael, I'll take issue with it. Reagan did say "dammit" a lot according to Reagan biographer Lou Cannon in his 1983(?) book Reagan. It was one of the things that struck me most about him (as evidenced by the fact that still remember that 20 years after reading about it).

As for "g-ddamn," I have a video cassette of bloopers from old black-and-white movies and TV shows, and Reagan is featured several times, including a scene where he had to pull up and belt his trousers and kept fumbling it, and, yeah, at least when he was on the movie set in the '40s, Reagan said "g-ddamn" an awful lot.

While the script portrays Mrs. Reagan as a loyal and protective wife, it also shows her as a control addict, who set the president's schedule based on her astrologer's advice and who had significant influence over White House personnel and policy decisions.

As far as I know this is all true, but only to a certain degree. The only member of the Administration that made a claim that Nancy was too influencial was Donald Regan. But the rap on Regan was he was a control freak himself who, as Chief of Staff, kept himself between the President and his advisors and Cabinet members. Nancy's role in Regan's ouster is well-known, and it was done to the delight of the rest of the Administration, so the film's portrayal of Nancy as a control addict is probably grossly overstated.

My understanding is that the astrologer was used by Nancy solely for advice on the scheduling of Reagan's travel. It grew out of her fears following the assassination attempt in 1981. No one has ever suggested that it caused any problems with the President's business, and it gave Nancy some comfort for some reason. All-in-all, who cares? If Shirley MacLaine can channel aliens then Nancy Reagan can consult an astrologer.

In one early scene Reagan's talent agent, Lew Wasserman, tells him that his anti-communist activism is hurting his career. "People know you're an informer for the blacklist," Wasserman says. Reagan replies, "I've never called anybody a commie who wasn't a commie."

Sounds like this line was lifted from an early draft of Citizen Cohn.
Again, Reagan didn't talk that way, and I think that what this line seeks to do is paint him as un-civil and probably paranoid.

Reagan, in the '50s, was suspected by many of supplying names for the Hollywood "blacklist," but has always steadfastly denied it. FBI records do show, however, that he cooperated with agents investigating the Soviet-backed communist influence in Hollywood, but there's so firm indication that his assistance was of any real significance.

Another likely controversial moment in the television movie comes in a scene that implies strongly that Reagan's inspiration for the Star Wars [sic] space-based system was a 1940 movie in which he starred, "Murder in the Air." Some experts have said that the film may have influenced Reagan's decision to sign off on the program. Others have dismissed such claims as overemphasized by liberals.

That a visionary proposal such as SDI was first planted in Reagan's mind by a work of science fiction makes perfect sense. Making any kind of "issue" out of it is silly, and probably only stems from the old and rediculous agenda of presenting Reagan as someone who lived in some bizarre Hollywood unreality.
Ironic, in't it? ;)
The final shooting script heavily implies that Mrs. Reagan, in agitating for the resignation of Alexander M. Haig Jr., Reagan's first secretary of state, went so far as to write his resignation letter. But no account holds that Mrs. Reagan wrote such a letter. After a consultation in response to a reporter's question, the filmmakers decided last week to remove that scene from the film, saying they would have deleted it in any case.

'nuff said.

Even though most of the basic plot-lines seem to be (in varying degrees of reliability) fact-based in the strictest sense, the biggest problem I have with this (especially when I heard the audio clips) is the over-the-top tone and the insinuations. It seems to be designed to impune the character and motivations of the subjects very personally. But why?
I think that the attitude of the producers, director and actors can be made clearest by this quote from Nancy portrayer Judy Davis:

"With the climate that has been in America since Sept. 11, it appears, from the outside anyway, to not be quite as open a society as it used to be. By open, I mean as free in terms of a critical atmosphere, and that sort of ugly specter of patriotism."

Aah, yes, that dreaded ugly specter of patriotism. Y'know, that can-do freedom-loving spirit that delivered us from the malaise-ridden Carter years. Maybe if we can destroy Ronald Reagan's reputation then we can finally surrender our sovereignty to the tyrants that infest the U.N. and the E.U and the Middle East and China and North Korea.

If history is rewritten then our lessons from that history will have to alter with it, and the makers of The Reagans know that. Make no mistake, folks, this movie isn't about the past, it's about the future.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 08:12 PM | Comments (1)

October 23, 2003

Another Congressional Payraise

U.S. Constitution, Amendment XXVII

No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.

When this Amendment was ratified in 1992 it looked like any pay raise would have to wait for an election to take place, and that a pay raise couldn't possibly happen any more frequently than every two years.
But, lo and behold, the bums were ready to put THAT silly idea to rest!.

Once again -- and for the fifth year in a row -- the Senate and House has voted themselves a pay raise that goes into effect when the next session starts in January. How can this be? Because immediately after the 27th Amendment was ratified they wrote a law that automatically gives them a "cost of living" (COLA) increase unless they specifically vote it down.
In the past five years they've not unvoted themselves an additional $21,000 a year. (That's over 9 million of our tax dollars every year, and it'll go up again next year.)

Uuuuh, forgive me, but I don't believe that the cost of freakin' LIVING has gone up for Senator Graftcat by almost what I make in a year.

Unless, of course, the price of the Congressman's food, mortgage, electricity, cable TV, gasoline, telephone and heating oil has gone up 6 or 7 times what mine has. I haven't gotten a raise in two or three years, and many people have lost their income altogether, but our esteemed "leaders" get a COLA increase on their entire income, most of which -- if we accept a strict definition of a Cost of Frickin' Living -- is discretionary.

Oh, goody! Congressman Backscratch gets to buy three new Armani suits and hire another maid next spring.

So with respect to the 27th Amendment, they get a pay raise but it's not a new law.
'm guessing that the language of the Amendment was deliberately worded to allow this rot.

Grrrr, I've got more to say on this but Kristine Vander Hauvel is on Chris Mathews torguing me off because she has no understanding of the history of Vietnam nor, obviously, the current situation in Iraq.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 07:51 PM | Comments (0)

Baseball's greatest: final installment

Here are my picks for the greatest at each position for the period from the late '80's to the present.
As I haven't paid as close attention in the past decade as I did previously I may be clueless about some great ones, especially American Leaguers. That said, here we go!

1B Frank Thomas
2B Roberto Alomar
SS Derek Jeter
3B no clue
C Mike Piazza
LF Barry Bonds
CF Ken Griffey Jr
RF Tony Gwynn
RHP Greg Maddux
LHP Randy Johnson

As I'm deliberately not doing any research -- just trying to trust my gut, here -- I have no idea to put as the best Third Baseman. The only worthwhile candidate I can think of off the top of my head is Ventura, but there MUST be better. Suggestions anyone?

Posted by Tuning Spork at 07:04 PM | Comments (10)

October 22, 2003

and still more of Baseball's greatest!

Here are my picks for the best of the best from the mid-70's (when my baseball passion was at it's peak) to the dawn of the 90's (when I stopped being so interested in the Who's Who of it all).

1B Keith Hernandez
2B Ryne Sandberg
SS Ozzie Smith
3B Mike Schmidt
C Gary Carter
LF Rickey Henderson
CF Kirby Puckett
RF Dave Winfield
RHP Nolan Ryan
LHP Steve Carlton

I'm sure the Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken fans have something to say!!

P.S. My hero Tom Seaver seems to have gotten lost in the mix between my arbitrarily personally defined eras, so a very special Honorable Mention is hereby awarded. Yay Tom! :)

Posted by Tuning Spork at 07:23 PM | Comments (6)

more Baseball's greatest!!

Here are my picks for the greatest ballplayers of the 60's to the mid-70's.
This was when I first became aware of MLB, and there are players who were in their waning years, and some in their prime.

1B Al Kaline
2B Joe Morgan
SS Luis Aparicio
3B Brooks Robinson
C Johnny Bench
LF Frank Robinson
CF Willie Mays
RF Roberto Clemente
RHP Bob Gibson
LHP Sam McDowell

Lots to debate here, I'll bet!! I'm sure I must be forgetting a better candidate for LHP, so I'm open to suggestions!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 07:05 PM | Comments (3)

October 21, 2003

LANGUAGE ALERT!! (Hide the kids and pets)

Pardon my fucking French but may I vent? Of course I may.

I just spent 45 fucking minutes composing a requiem for rachellucas.com. It was a beautiful and heart-felt expression of my appreciation for what the blog-goddess has meant to so many of us.

I was introduced to the blogosphere by my friend; Freedom's Slave. And for the first six months of my blog-awareness Rachel was toppermost of the bloggermost. Sassy and smart, thoughtful and fun, and now she's essentially calling it quits.

What a post I wrote!!

And then when I went to post it I discovered that I'd been knocked off-line already.
I read "Access of the fucking website you thought you were logged onto is not available" or some such thing.

Here's the fucking killer: You can't "Back" into a site that you're not connected to. The entire post was gone vanished kaput erased from existence in that blink of an eye. FFFFFuuuuuuuccckkkkk!!!!!!!!!!!!

When will I finally fucking learn to post in Word and then copy/paste it to the blog? When?! ANSWER ME!!!

Okay, bottom line: Rachel Lucas is moving on and I'm hating my computer and my fingers and my blog sucks ass. Other than that, there ain't much happenin'.

UPDATE: Wow! I was really p.o.'d last night, eh? Heh heh, I was so young and stupid then...

Posted by Tuning Spork at 11:37 PM | Comments (2)

Baseball's Greatest Players

I was going to post a line-up of the greatest ballplayers by decade and post them nightly as the World Series progressed. But, instead, I'm gonna just do them by eras. I mean, who knows how long this series is going to last anyways?

So, here are the first installments:

First up: The best players of the 'tween-the-World-Wars era! (Basically the 20's and 30's.)

1B Lou Gehrig
2B Rogers Hornsby
SS Joe Cronin
3B Pie Traynor
C Mickey Cochrane
LF Mel Ott
CF Ty Cobb
RF Babe Ruth
RHP Walter Johnson
LHP Lefty Grove

Second at bat: The War era through the expansion year of 1962:

1B Gil Hodges
2B Luke Appling
SS Ernie Banks
3B Eddie Mathews
C Yogi Berra
LF Ted Williams
CF Stan Musial
RF Johnny Mize
RHP Whitey Ford
LHP Warren Spahn

Debate is encouraged!!
Tomorrow: the 60's to mid-70's!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 09:13 PM | Comments (3)

October 20, 2003


It's 11:08pm EDT, I was working on a cool post, and was three paragraphs into it, when it disappeared.

Just. F^#%@&*ng. Disappeared.


Posted by Tuning Spork at 11:03 PM | Comments (6)

October 19, 2003

I'm Still Here

Yay! A post!

I know, my blog has been sucking rocks for a few weeks now. I haven't even bothered with blogging in 4 days and I don't know what's wrong with me. Oh, wait! Yes I do.
In no particular order:

A friend of mine got sick and checked himself into a crappy hospital. The so-called doctors at this crappy hospital convinced him that he was dying. He started to sell-off the entire inventory of his used record and collectibles store.
After a few weeks he got suspicious and checked himself into a real hospital. He's fine now, perfectly healthy, but his business is shot. Now he's gonna salvage what he can and contunue to sell on-line.

Incidentally, what made him suspicious and check-out was the day a guy got hit by a car just outside the hospital and they couldn't treat him.
Sounds like a job for Jacoby and Meyers.

I hate the Marlins for the way they dismantled their team after winning the World Series in '97, but I can't root for the Yankees either (what with them being an American League team and me being a Mets fan). I have no one to root for here. Dang! A Cubs-Red Sox series was so close I could smell it.

Joe Buck seems like a nice enough and well-informed guy, but jeeze, how 'bout some energy?! Bring back Al Michaels. At least McCarver doesn't seem to be talking ad nauseum lately about things like how the top spin of the grounder made it scoot toward the palm side of the infielder's glove, or why the 2-1 count was the perfect time for the pitcher to look sideways at the sprinkler system.

I'm smoking again, but it's different now. Spookily different.
Whereas I was smoking two packs a day, now I can open a pack on Wednesday afternoon and not finish it 'til Friday morning. I think my subconscious finally got the message.
The pack I had when I got up this morning had 5 cigarettes in it, and I'm -- let's see -- 4 cigarettes into the next one. 9 coughin' nails in 15 hours! Good; not great.

I don't smoke at work anymore, and even yesterday (Saturday) I went without until about 5pm. As long as I'm active I'm fine, but I just can't relax, say, at the computer, and not crave a ciggie. Small steps, Sporky, small steps....

My monitor hasn't seen fit to fix itself yet so alot of websites and blogs are unreadable to me. Tiny dark text on a bright white background is a no-no!
I haven't been able to read IMAO or the Emporer in weeks, and even many mu.nu blogs are too hard on the eyes to get through.

Caught In The X Fire is fine since it -- like this -- has a dark background and light text. And I can get through Susie, Jennifer and Rocket with some relative ease. The more dark colors there are on the screen the better. Too many brights bleach out the text, and enlarging the font actually makes it harder to read. The broken/bleached letters just look biggerly broken and bleached-outier.

Oh well. The Yankees won and have evened up the series, so it ain't any closer to being overwith.
Wow, I seem to be in a bad and/or lethargic mood lately. If the news doesn't pick up I'll just have to start posting my friends' darkest secrets or something. mweheheheh.

UPDATE: Sorry, couldn't provide any links. My 'puter seems to want to freeze everytime I try to clickity in a URL.
Now where's that sledgehammer....

Posted by Tuning Spork at 11:46 PM | Comments (5)

October 15, 2003

What sucks?

It sucks to be a Cubs fan. Sucks! Suck suck suckitty sucks!!

Glad I'm a Mets fan!! errrr......

Posted by Tuning Spork at 11:37 PM | Comments (4)

October 14, 2003


Why was Mark Prior pitching in the 8th? Huh? Why, Dusty? Answer me!!!!!

He looked determined enough, but by then he was obviously exhausted and putting everything he had into every pitch.

Dusty...DUDE!...take him out already! Crap!

Cubs lose. CRAP!!


And the Red Sox are down 3-2 and heading back to Yankee Stadium.


Posted by Tuning Spork at 11:07 PM | Comments (3)

October 13, 2003

Trolls suck, I know...but jeeze..

Remember Abner Lewima? That guy that got a plunger shoved up his sphincter by Justin Volpe, et al? You do? Good!

For the longest time I called Bullshit on Lewima's story. I couldn't believe an NYPD officer would do such a thing. When Abner's story - as reported in the media - started to show signs of tweaking I thought "aha! it's all crap!". I knew it!

Then Volpe confessed! Con-f@#$%-fessed! WTF?!!!

That's when I gave up on my quest to understand people.
Mine and your understanding of life isn't the only understanding there is out there. People in strange situations think thoughts we never even knew could be thunk. Hell, even people in normal situations think thoughts we never knew could be thunk.

Which brings me to the strange case of S-Train. As Susie said: What's wrong with people?!
S-Train has quit blogging because some have questioned the validity of his story. In fact, some (Andrew H, I'm looking in your direction) have gone out of their way to haphazzardly "fact-check" his story. I just gotta say
Get over it, S-Train.

I think it's probably easier for you to understand Andrew's skeptism than it is for Andrew to understand your immediate reality/predicament.
But never mind that. The thing is: WTF? You didn't want critical feedback? No challenging retort? No persistant demons? Gimme a break!
Bogging is a commitment...even if you have two readers (yer mom and yer best friend)...and you gotta be willing to take some Comments if you presume to post yer own.

So, what's it gonna be?
Blog to yer silly friends, or blog to the world? What's it gonna be, Train?
What's it gonna be?

Posted by Tuning Spork at 08:42 PM | Comments (6)

What a Georgeous Day!

Whew! The leaves are turning and it smells like autumn, but the sun is shining and it's about 75 degrees!
I spent the past few hours sitting in the backyard doing a crossword puzzle and suckin' down the grapefruit juice. The dog and cats were just lazin' in the sun. Hard to believe it's a Monday.

Uuuuh... I'm goin' back outside now! bbl :)

Posted by Tuning Spork at 03:56 PM | Comments (2)

October 12, 2003

quick note

I'm well into my second day without a cigarette.
Man, I sure could use a beer.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 06:07 PM | Comments (9)

October 09, 2003

Sox lose


The Cubs-Red Sox World Series will end at Game 7. It'll go 28 innings and the Red Sox will have used all of their players. An injury will force the Sox to forfiet the game to the Cubs at 3:17 am.

Not that that will happen, of course. I'm just sayin' is all...

Posted by Tuning Spork at 11:44 PM | Comments (1)

October 08, 2003

ol' Carmine must be mad at me

Carmine is my Chevy Blazer, named for it's color: Carmine Red.

Carmine has some kind of electrical problem that's been making it hard to start it's engine. I have to turn it over and over and over until the battery begins to wear down. When it turns slowly enough it ignites, as if it needs a choking or something.

Anyway, I drained the battery this morning, until Carmine wouldn't even turn over, and the engine never ignited. Luckily I got a ride to work, as it takes a while to get there by bus (12 miles, 2 transfers).
Getting home was the fun part.

I left work at 5:35 and walked to the Mall to catch the bus back to Bridgeport ('tis about a 15 minute walk). The 5:50 bus never showed up, so I waited for the 6:20.

These new buses have a new way of issuing transfers: by spitting them out of a doohickey by the fare box. They're time-stamped and expire 70 minutes after being issued.
Used t'be that you got a transfer and it was good all day. Not for the next 70 minutes. ALL FRICKIN' DAY!

Checking the bus schedule that I grabbed as I got on, I saw that it takes 50 minutes to get to the hub in Bridgeport where I'll catch the #4 Park Avenue bus. My 20 minute window was cut to 10 minutes when the bus just sat there at the Mall for 10 minutes before driving on. Crud!

So I got the idea to get off at the Milford train station and catch the train to Bridgeport. The train station in B-port is across the street from the bus hub. Cool! That'll cost me an extra $2, but it might save me as much as half an hour! Woo hoo!!

So I got to the train station at 6:40 and looked for the schedule. The previous train left for Bridgeport at 6:09; next one will arrive at 7:09. Dang!!
Of course the train arrived at 7:18, and I'll arrive at the hub in Bridgeport at the exact same time as the bus I'd just gotten off of!! Crappity crap crap!!!

The ticket-taker-guy came by. I said "Bridgeport," and handed him a $5 bill. He put it in his pocket, punched a ticket thingy, handed it to me and began to walk away.

"Uh," I muttered, "it's $5 to get to Bridgeport?!"
"Ho-ly shit."
"Well, on the train it is," he said, "but it's $2 if you get a ticket from the machine."
"Yes, the big ticket dispenser on the platform. You put in $2 and get a ticket. But if you pay on the train it's $5."
"Well that would've been nice to know."
"Well, it's been there for over a year," he concluded as he walked away.
Well, a belated "happy anniversary" to ya then.

I haven't ridden the train in over a year. I always got on the train and paid the $2. Not five. TWO!! Stinkin' railway robbery, I tells ya.

So I arrived at the bus hub in Bridgeport at 7:35. By now my transfer was no good so I'd be paying another bus fare, but all I had was a $10 bill, and the bus requires exact change ($1.25). So I walked a block to a downtown liquor store to get change, walked back and checked the schedules to see when the next #4 bus would arrive.
The previous one left at 7:10; next one will arrive at 8:10. D'oh!
Another half-hour of sittin' on my ass with bums and losers asking me for a cigarette every five friggin' minutes. The bus was late.

So I left work at 5:35 and finally walked through my front door at 8:45. Three hours and ten minutes to travel twelve stinkin' miles. I could've jogged home faster!

My friend Chris came out to give me a jump to see if I could get Carmine's engine going. Before hooking up the cables, and just out of curiosity (what with having drained the battery this morning), I turned the key in the ignition.
Started right up!!

Note to G-d: Hey, G-d, I'm an athiest...I don't believe in Y-u...so, please, stop testing me awready!!!!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 10:56 PM | Comments (5)

Now that Collins has been found...

...maybe we should send out a search party for two others:

Tim the Michigander
missing since Sept 28th, 2003

The Lemon
missing since Sept 21st, 2003

Oh, and my monitor's still screwy. Pages with dark backgrounds and light text (like this one, or Andrew Sullivan) are easy to read. But pages with light backgrounds wash out the text, and bright white backgrounds are blinding! Argh!
I try to read all the mu.nu blogs every day, but some are just too straining on the eyes right now; and I haven't been able to read IMAO or the Emperor in days. *sigh*

Posted by Tuning Spork at 10:18 PM | Comments (1)

October 07, 2003

Cubbie Quickie

Okay, we're going to the tenth.
No matter how this game ends, I can't believe how hard Sammy hit that ball.

Down two runs with two out Sosa comes up, and I notice how fidgetty he is. Tuggin' at his sleeves, swingin' his bat, his eyes seemingly glazed and staring at nothing in particular.
"Sosa has yet to hit a post-season home run," the announcer says.
"Sammy doesn't know how to bat under pressure," I thought.

That first pitch was on the outside corner, yet Sammy swung and missed. He's too far off the plate! What's he thinking?!
He takes the second pitch and backs off, nervously fidgetting and adjusting in a seemingly manic search for context. The pitcher is calm and focused. "Sammy's lost," I thought.

The pitch lays in with all of the pitcher's confidence that Sosa can't see past his own self-doubt.

Sammy swings -- hard -- and the ball leaves the bat, the park and the doubt in 3 seconds flat!!

That's why he's Sammy Sosa and I'm me.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 11:39 PM | Comments (0)

Homer MacCauliff, Chairman: DNC.

There's a Simpson's reference for every occassion!

I've been trying to come up with an analogy for the MacCauliff-Clinton-Daschel approach to politics. They see their house is on fire and think "Hey! gasoline is wet! Let's throw some of THAT on it!"

Ever since Al Gore started the War in the Courts in 2000 we've had non-stop sophistry from the Demagogic Party. Blather and Brimstone. No ideas, just a reactionary game of Sit n' Spin.

They were on the ropes in the '02 mid-terms, and threw gasoline on the fire at the Senator Wellstone memorial service. They went into free-fall and lost big.

They've been trying to regain some of the lost support by becoming increasingly shrill and hostile, and then wonder why they're about to lose the biggest Democratic stronghold in the nation: California.

If all indications are correct then there are about to be a slough of lawsuits aimed at negating the recall vote and, in the process, disgust Americans even further. More gasoline on the fire.

Oh, The Simpsons!
Here's the life lesson reference:

It's the episode that begins with Homer and Bart using explosives to fix everyday problems around the house. That end-table's drawer is stuck, "No problem!" says Homer as he stuffs an M-80 into the drawer. "BOOM!!" and the drawer flies open, but destroys the end table. "Can't argue with results," chimes Marge!

There's a problem to be solved in Lisa's room (I forget exactly what), and Homer and Bart end up charring the bedroom.
"Hmmm," mutters Homer thoughtfully, "It's gonna take a lot of explosives to clean up this mess."

Unless the Dems get rid of the attitude of MacCauliff-Clinton-Daschel and everything they really stand for, the Democratic Party, sooner rather than later, may suddenly find themselves extinct.


Posted by Tuning Spork at 10:31 PM | Comments (0)

Random IMAO Quote of the Day

"What's the difference between a vegetarian burger and a regular beef burger? Both are just processed vegetables, the former had the processing done by machines and the latter done naturally by a cow. And which one tastes better? Nature's way of course. When a cow eats vegetables, it has this almost magical ability to sort out only the tasty parts of vegetables and then repackage it in the form of yummy meat. But those nature-hating vegetarians think they can outdo God's way and thus are arrogant and evil."

Heh. I'm not gonna go quotin' FrankJ everyday or nothin', I just thought that this particular randomly generated quote was too yummy not to be shared twice. :)

Posted by Tuning Spork at 12:04 PM | Comments (0)

October 06, 2003

A century in the making!

Red Sox win!
We're one step closer to my dream of a Cubs - Red Sox World Series!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 11:28 PM | Comments (0)

Tomacco Field on my Desk

First my keyboard, now my monitor.
The post below, O Happy Monday, is a draft that I haven't fleshed out yet (i.e. added the laffs!), but I posted it because I can barely see what I'm typing on my monitor.

I went to Munuvia to see if I could find a way to have smilies and frownies in the post, and clicked on Pixy Misa's big batch of smilies. Granted, he wrote "Warning: this may set your screen on fire" or something, but I went ahead and clicked anyway.

After a few minutes of waiting for it to load I noticed at the bottom: "2384 items remaining." Aaaah! Get me outta here!! I couldn't click "stop" or "back", and suddenly the screen lit up with this greenish goldish nuclear glow. Oddly beautiful, but I think it's a radiation hazzard.

I shut down and re-booted twice, and it's still f'd up. I don't know if the smilies link is the cause or if it's just coincidence, but, dang it, I'm typing semi-blinded here!!

At least this -- unlike the keyboard problem -- wont affect things on your end! :)

Posted by Tuning Spork at 09:58 PM | Comments (2)

O, Happy Monday

So anyway, I arrive at the shop this morning. I ran out of metal plates last week and my local printing supplies supplier didn't have any in stock, so they're back-ordered. Since they wont be arriving 'til later in the afternoon I decide to run some envelopes using paper plates.
(Y'see, I can't use paper plates on two-color jobs; they dry out too fast.)

So anyway, the boss comes in and says "Roberta needs her letterhead right away. Can we get it run today?"
"Sure," I said. "As soon as the metal plates arrive."

So I called the local supplier to see if UPS had arrived yet. "Oh, honey, let me have a look," Vikki said as she put me on hold.
"They haven't arrived yet. Let me call UPS and see where they are and I'll get right back to you, okay Sweetie?"
"Okay, Vikki. Thanks!"
I put the envelopes on hold and started warm-up the Multi 1360.
Vikki called back.

"I just talked to the shipper and the plates wont arrive until Wednesday or Thursday."
"Oh, fercryin'outloud," I muttered.
"It seems everything backed up because of the Hurricane, and deliveries from Florida are taking 7 shipping days," she informed.

So anyways, I made a few phone calls to other print shops in the area. Couldn't find anyone else who uses the same kind/size plates that I do.
Vikki called back again.

"I have a sample pack of three plates," she said excitedly. "If you can pick them up you can have them!"
So I hopped into the truck and hit the highway to go the four exits west on I-95 to the supplier, picked up the plates, and headed back to the shop.

I grabbed the negatives for Roberta's letterhead from the file box and burned the black plate (it's a two-color letterhead; black and burgandy).
I applied the developer chemical and began to wipe away the non-image coating.
But it left a haze left on the plate; it wasn't clean. So I rubbed a little harder, and the image started to fade.
D'OH!! This plate requires a different chemical than my regular plates!
I called Vikki again.

"I can't use the Graphline chemicals on the BGI plates," I said.
"Oh, let me see what I have, honey. Hold on!"
I held.
"Okay, I have some BGI developer and fixer," she gloated. "Come and get it, it's yours!"

So I hopped into the truck and trekked on over and then back with the developer.
Burned another plate. Applied the developer. It didn't even fade the coating! I may as well have been using water!
I called Vikki again.

"This chemical is for BGI N-2000 plates," I had read off the bottle. "The plates are BGI NA-812."
"Oh, honey, let me look around and see what I can do!"
"Okay, thanks!!"
Vikki called me back.

"Okay, Mary said she has ten or eleven Graphline plates," she said. "Come and get them and they're yours!"
I hopped into the truck and... you know.

So, I've finally got the right plates and the right chemicals and I burned the plates. I needed to check and make sure what the burgandy shade was, as there seemed to be a dispute about it. I opened the job box and what do I find inside? Two new negatives! The dang thing had been redesigned and nobody warned me!! Argh!!

So anyway, I masked and stripped the new negatives and made two new plates. Next thing was to mix the ink.
PMS 222: 16 parts Rubine Red, 4 parts Black. Grabbed the black and...rubine...rubine.. Where's my Rubine Red? I have no Rubine Red!!
I called Vikki again.

"We have none in stock," she told me after I'd been on hold for a few minutes, "But I can order some!"

But, hold on a sec; I have Bourdeax Red, and that's close to PMS 221. It's not an exact match, but close enough for my printer's ink guide to suggest it as a substitute. So all I gotta do is add some black to the Bourdeax; it's okay!

The press is well-moistened, inked and ready to go!

If you've never had to set a hairline registration on an offset press lemme tell ya: it can be pretty tedious. There aren't adjustments fine enough on this press to make lining up the colors quick or easy, and this is one of those jobs where some of the words have the first letter in burgandy and the remainder of the word in black. When you gotta line this stuff up at the top and bottom of the sheet, it can be a long process of hit and miss until you magically get it right.

After about forty-five minutes of getting the two colors in perfect straightness and registration I noticed that the ghostly fleur de Lis (a shadowy screen of the company's logo in the center of the page) was missing.
"Huh?" I said, "I know I unmasked it!"
Checking the new image against a sample of the old one, it's clear that the new negatives were made with the wrong screen! We gotta get new negs!!

So anyway, it was now 5:00. I went home. Roberta can have her stinkin' letterhead tomorrow.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 09:29 PM | Comments (6)

October 05, 2003

Aaaah, the Beauty of a Banner


Thanks the Baroness of Banners I've finally got a decent header! It went from idea to reality in under an hour. Whaddaya think?

Thanks Jen!!

(Now if I can just think of something other than breakfast to blog about.)

Posted by Tuning Spork at 08:57 PM | Comments (2)

October 04, 2003

Strange Rain

The frog eggs, my friend,
are blowin' in the wind.
The frog eggs are blowin' in the wind.

(This was just too interesting not to pass on. Link is courtesy of Drudge.)

Posted by Tuning Spork at 06:28 PM | Comments (2)

October 02, 2003

Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Idiot

Okay, Rush, you're not so big and fat anymore, but you're an idiot.

Why? Because you know that "it's not the evidence of the crime; it's the seriousness of the charge" that sticks. How many times have you said that? How many times while driving to the Burger Barrel to pick up the lunch of the damned have I heard you warn us about the lib/Dem/leftist tactic of shouting foul accusations without merit in the interest of muddying the proverbial waters of political discourse?

You speak extemporaneously for a living and, by now, must have become accustomed to a rapid-fire honing of your thought-to-mouth process. Or have you?

You didn't make a racist comment; you were accusing the media of having a racist motivation, to build up the reputation of Donovan McNabb beyond it's just dimensions. "The reputation of McNabb in the media differs from his reputation on the field" you said. I don't know if that's true or not, I'm not a football fan. But what I do know is that you can't say that (emphasis on "you").

Bill Safire, Dusty Baker, Ward Connerly or even Mike Lupica or Bob Costas could have said the same thing -- in their own way -- and either been taken seriously or dismissed out-of-hand. But you can't. Why? Because you're Rush frickin' Limbaugh, that's why!

You're the perceived "voice of conservatism" (at least by the left), and the Dems want nothing more than to discredit you. Whether or not you made a racist remark doesn't matter to them. If they can somehow paint it to appear that you had then they'll consider it a score in the War on Bush. 'So what' if your target was the media; they can say it was McNabb and get away with it because it feeds on the stereotype of you that they've spent so much energy fashioning.

The infuriating and weird part is that you know all this already! And yet you still went ahead and provided the sophist demagogues with blanks that they could convince the under-informed legions are meaningful ordnance.

Anyone who cares enough to want to learn the truth will learn it, but you live in a world where persuasion is mannah. You know that you're a target and have to be careful about the issues you address and how you address them. Maybe it's not fair, but the truth is: that's your lot in life. Don't forget it.
The wolves were tensed; and you sheepishly slacked. Now you're no longer a part of that ESPN show that you loved being a part of for no reason other than your careless lapse of clarity.


Posted by Tuning Spork at 10:16 PM | Comments (4)

October 01, 2003

I'll give you a topic:

Peanuts are neither peas nor nuts. Discuss...

Posted by Tuning Spork at 11:26 PM | Comments (6)
Site Meter