November 30, 2003

Got a dumb joke for ya:

A Russian, a Cuban, an American and a lawyer are on a train.

The Russian takes a bottle of the Stolychnaya Vodka out of his backpack; pours some into a glass, drinks it, and says: "In Russia we have the best vodka in all the world! Nowhere in the world you can find Vodka as good as that that we produce in Ukrainya. And we have so much of it, that we can just throw it away..."

With that, he opens the window and tosses the rest of the bottle out. The Cuban, American and lawyer are quite impressed.

The Cuban takes out a pack of Havanas. He grabs one of them, lights it and begins to smoke it saying to the Russian, American and lawyer: "In Cuba we have the finest cigars, and we have so much of them that we can just throw them away...".

Saying that, he opens the window and tosses the pack of Havanas through the window. Again, the others are quite impressed. Satisfied, the Russian and Cuban then look at the American.

The American shrugs his shoulders, stands up, opens the window and tosses the lawyer through it.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 11:54 PM | Comments (6)

New Blog Showcase

From The Truth Laid Bear's New Webblog Showcase:

Venturpreneur: The Fiduciary Duty of Good Faith

Yay, I voted!!

Also, Bill Whittle has had a new post up since Friday. Here's a taste:

But realize this: There is not going to be a parade when we are done with this battle. Noam Chomsky is not going to stand up and admit he was wrong. Michael Moore is not going to shave, diet and join the Screaming Eagles. The giant puppets will still be there on some new imagined outrage, because people who put “protestor” down as their occupation on their (declined!) mortgage applications are never going to be happy with anything.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 04:12 PM | Comments (1)

November 29, 2003

A Sharp Knife through Mayo

Noel over at Sharp Knife has an examination of one of the hot-button issues of our time -- nay; of all time. You go read now!!

NOTE: I can't link to the specific post, so I linked to his November archives. The post in questtion is titled "Some Things".

UPDATE: Scroll down some more on the link and read "Why Settle For Simple Justice" (posted Nov 26th). Aw, hell, just read everything!
I tried to get Noel off of BlobSnot a few months ago, but he didn't bite. Whaddaya think, guys n' gals? Should we ask him again if he wants to be a Munuvian?

Posted by Tuning Spork at 07:39 PM | Comments (3)

Class-Action suit against "Big Booze"?

Gold diggin' lawyer David Boise (remember him from Al Gore vs The Rule of Law?) and some of his little friends are seeking to bring a class action lawsuit against several alcohol distributers on the premise that they wrecklessly advertise to minors.

Maybe it's not my place to judge these assholes, but, apparently the suits that attempted to suck the tobacco companies', McDonalds' and Microsoft's customers dry weren't enough to satisfy his lust for criminalizing the marketplace.

Several members of the alcohol industry are facing a lawsuit filed last week in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia that seeks to recover "unlawful profits" these companies made by allegedly marketing and advertising their products to underage drinkers.

They profitted from advertising? I thought advertising cost money. If any minors actually bought the booze then there are some liquor stores that have committed a crime. This is like blaming the gun manufacturer for an armed robbery.

But, exactly what crimes have the alcohol distributers and advertisers committed?

According to the lawsuit, examples of this can be seen in Diageo's use of the Captain Morgan character to represent its spiced rum brand as well as Coors promotions that were tied to Scary Movie 3, a PG-13 movie. Noted also were Bacardi advertisements in magazines such as Stuff, FHM and Spin, which are read disproportionately by consumers too young to drink.

Wow. There's yer open and shut case right there! Captain Morgan, a painting of a pirate-type guy, is now some kind of fuzzy little cartoon character that entices the kiddies into washing down their Pixy Stix with some spiced rum. And they've tied a promotion to a horror movie spoof, and have even advertised in music magazines!

None of these actions have broken any laws that actually exist anywhere, of course. But I guess that doesn't mean that they shouldn't be made to defend themselves in a court of Law anywho.

If advertising the smooth rich flavor of a Coors Lite in a magazine that might be read by someone under the age of 21 is a crime (which, BTW, it is not), then Mr Boise and Co. need to announce their real intention: to criminalize the advertising of adult beverages in all magazines other than porno mags.
To do that: you take your case to the Legislative branch, not the Judicial branch.

But, then, this has nothing to do with protecting TheChildren(TM). It's all about trial lawyers who are so drunk on litigation that they see big green elephants everywhere where a profit is being made by anyone but themselves.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 07:02 PM | Comments (0)

November 28, 2003

A Post for a warm and rainy day off

Welp, had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner with the family: Gramma the Matriarch, Mom and her beau, an Aunt, an Uncle, a Cousin, a second Cousin, two Sisters, a Brother-in-Law, and one Nephew. Just 11 of us, running the age gammut from 5 to 86.

We seem to alternate each year between a big homemade Thanksgiving dinner at my sister's house, and going out the The Blue Goose for dinner. This year we went out. But, of course, we dine early (5:00 reservation) then head back to my sister's house (less than 5 minutes from the restaurant) for desserts and good times.

My nephew Jimmy (10) and his cousin Ian (5) get along great. I, for some reason, was worried that Jimmy would be too put off by having to deal with a cousin half his age. But, to my joy, Jimmy is as patient and welcoming as he is energetic and creative.
Jimmy showed Ian his roomful of toys and games and all things Jimmyworld, and also showed some video games. Ian asked a lot of questions, and Jimmy answered them without a whiff of annoyance. Maybe he was just happy to talk to someone that wants to learn something from him, rather than the other way around like when Jimmy has to hang out with nothing but us adults all evening.


My housemate, Chris, has come home...and it's after dark. That means the squirrels are back in the attic crawl space and we wont be climbing up there to seal the hole that they use to get in. We'll just have to do that tomorrow afternoon after we move the new refrigerator in and the old one out.

OH!!! If you haven't been there yet: my JenLars Interview is posted. If you haven't read it go read it! If you have read it, go read it again 'cause each time you click on the link above Jennifer gets a brand new SiteMeter hit!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 04:43 PM | Comments (1)

November 25, 2003


I work next door to a Krispy Kreme Doughnut shop. If you're unfamiliar with Krispy Kreme doughnuts, here's the dish:

These things are made by Santa's Satan's elves. They're made with lard, and come out so fluffy that they're mostly empty space. A Dunkin' Donut is like a bran muffin compared to Krispy Kremes. They're served hot (warm, anyway) and you can eat half a dozen of these and still feel like you've only smelled 'em.
The glaze is moist and sticky; like a fresh coat of paint, only a tad flakey... and made out of sugar.

So anyway, I stepped outside to grab one of the four cigarettes per day that I allow myself while working and noticed a flock of crows maniacally chasing each other above my parking lot. Several sets of 7-10 crows chasing another.
I then noticed that each of the chased crows had a piece of Krispy Kreme doughnut in it's beak.

I saw 15-20 crows perched along the edge of Krispy Kreme's dumpster; alternately jumping in and then out of it with a piece of doughnut. Another chase would ensue.

One crow took a hard evasive maneuver right near and above me, and dropped his doughnut portion on the pavement about six feet away. 10-15 crows swooped down to grab the sinfully sweet morsel. But, it being only a few feet from me, none of them dared to get quite near enough to grab it.

I backed off about three feet or so. Again they contested each other to be the one to snatch it, but, still with only less than ten feet between us, the flight impulse seemed to keep overruling the fighting spirit.

Then one brave crow descended from the opposite direction, took the confectionary treat and set off to my left. 20 crows immediately began the pursuit; swooshing right past me... some as close as three or four feet.
(When 20 crows push themselves past you that close, you can hear their feathers rustling loud and clear! Cool!!)

Then, seemingly suddenly, some crows began flying nearer to me; coming almost directly toward me only to pull up at about five or six feet away from me.
"Uh oh," I thought, "They're testing me now." My willingness to stand still while they tried to grab the piece of doughnut seemed to have emboldened them to see just how close they could get to me with impunity. If I let this go on then, surely, they'd swoop down at me -- and others -- with a brazen arrogance that they've heretofore been too afraid to dare dream possible. So, I asked myself, "What would Alfred Hitchcock do?"

Four crows began approaching from my left; I swear they were looking right at me. I waited 'til they were within ten feet or so.
"BOO!!!" I shouted, thrusting my arms in the air. Have you ever seen crows startled by something? They almost seem to fly upside-down. It's really funny.

I was able to finish my cigarette in peace as I watched the manic chases performed by these crazy birds on their sugar high. But, more than that, I'd decided that the next doughnut that one of these crows drops in front me
is mine, sucka.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 07:48 PM | Comments (4)

November 22, 2003

November 22, 1963

I was 5 months old when JFK was shot so, obviously, I have no "where were you when it happened" story to tell.

My first knowledge of John Kennedy was through family dinner conversations at my grandparents' house. Being Irish Catholic New Englanders they spoke not of "President Kennedy", or "John" or "Robert"; it was always "Jack" and "Bobby" and "Jackie" and "Teddy." I'd assumed these were all relatives of ours.

It was probably when I was about 7 or 8 or 9 that I began to realize that we and the Kennedys were not related. We had plenty o' Rileys and Sullivans, Keirnans and McDevitts, but no Kennedys ever showed up at our family picnics.

I remember the first time I saw the Zapruder film on television. In the mid-'70s they would only play it in black & white. It wasn't until 1983 -- at the 20th anniversary of the assassination -- that I found out that the film was actually shot in color, and it wasn't until I saw it in color that I realized the damage that the last bullet had done (and why they were reluctant to show it in color). In black & white, I never noticed the blood and gore of it all.

It was about that time -- say, 1976 (when I was in 7th or 8th grade) -- that I became interested in Kennedy's presidency, his speeches, and his assassination. I learned about the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missle Crisis (my mother let me stay up late to watch the TV movie "The Missiles of October" starring William Devane), the Civil Rights initiatives and his confrontation with George Wallace. And especially awesome, for me, was his speech calling for a landing on the Moon by the end of the decade. So many interesting moments in such a short presidency.

I listened to record albums of his speeches. My grandparents lent me the "In Memoriam" album (the famous one that sold millions of copies), and several other lesser known albums that came out at about the same time.
My interest in politics began with my interest in John Kennedy.
(At the time of the 1976 primary season -- when I was 12 --I made a facsimile voting lever ballot out of cardboard and thumbtacks with the penciled names of the Democrat candidates (I especially remember Bob Crane for some reason) and turned the bathroom shower stall into a make-shift voting booth.)

When I was a freshman in High School the assassination was investigated by Congress, and they'd concluded that there was something like a 90% probabilily that a fourth shot came from the "grassy knoll." I went to the library and checked out the Warren Report. While the Warren Report seemed convincing that Oswald acted alone, the U.S. Congress had just concluded that there probably was a conspiracy. Hmmm. My interest piqued.

Throughout the early-mid '80s I'd read several conspiracy books (Rush To Judgement, Six Seconds In Dallas, etc), and was in somewhat of an Oliver Stone frame of mind: "It was a giant conspiracy and everyone was involved!"

Then, in 1988, I saw an episode of NOVA, hosted by Walter Cronkite, that showed, among many other interesting things, how the "magic bullet" had injured Kennedy and Connally without making any weird turns in mid-flight. I re-read the Warren Report and, ever since, have been 100% convinced that Oswald acted alone.

I started to reread the conspiracy books; taking notes. My plan was to write a complete and flawless rebuttal of every conspiracy theory, and show how any conspiracy would neccessarily have had to involve thousands of conspirators.
Then, in 1993, Gerald Posner's book Case Closed was published. Damn! It was the book I wanted to write. Posner addressed every claim of the conspiracy theories and tore them to shreds. Every i dotted, every t crossed. Oswald acted alone; case closed. What a great book! I hate Gerald Posner.

My own interest in JFK probably stems from my childhood mis-assumption that we were related. But, I also think that Kennedy's true legacy is that he's a symbol of unfinished business. We don't remember Franklin Roosevelt as someone who died in office; he died of a brain hemorage just as his work was essentially concluded. The way Kennedy died -- young, violently, in public -- strikes even those of us too young to have lived through it at the time as, strangely, a personal tragedy.
It may be that, by keeping John Kennedy's memory alive, we are trying to remind ourselves that nothing is final; that work is never done; that closure is inherently unattainable in Life.

Well, I'm not sure I said that very well, so I'll just quote an old song lyric:

"They'll never, they'll never ever reach the Moon.
At least; not the one that we're after.
It's still floating out there on the open sea,
look out there, my friends,
and it carries no survivors.
We'll just have to leave these two lovers wondering why
they cannot have each other.
--Leonard Cohen, 1971

Posted by Tuning Spork at 06:19 PM | Comments (4)


I went to and searched "Paris Hilton Hotel Video" just to see if would show up on the list. I didn't even click on any of the links and yet, when I got back to my front page I saw that the word "Nude" my most post below was highlighted with a link to some porn site!

So I logged into the home base, and there was no html link there. So I had to delete the word "Nude."

But now I've got links on my IE browser to three (3) different Paris Hilton movie sites! I brought up my Desktop and there were several icons linking to Paris Hilton sites!! WTF?!!!!!!

So I deleted those,a nd emptied the recycle bin. Went into My Computer and deleted all my Temporary Internet Files, the Temp file (which had two files that were created today but I had no idea what they were), and two unknown Downloaded Programs.

Also, my Juno homepage has been replaced with something called I went to Control Panel and replaced it with again, but everytime I open the IE browser is back! WTF?!!!!!!

I finally got the browser to open with as the homepage, but after a few seconds I get the "This program has committed an illegal operation yadda yadda and will be shut down" window!! I can't use my Internet Explorer!!

I already did a Start-Shut Down-Restart, so I'm guessing that if I just hit the reset button everything will still be there. Does anybody know how I can return the browser/'puter to the way it was an hour ago?

Man. *sigh* WTF?!!!!!

UPDATE: I went further into the guts fo My Computer and deleted all my cookies and some other suspicious crap. Still have those Paris Hilton links on my brower, and still can't go anywhere because of the "illegal Operation" crud.
Maybe I just need to uninstall IE and then go to and download it anew.

UPDATE 2 Su-sie! Su-sie! Su-sie!
I went to the link she left in the comments and removed a couple of "dangerous programs"! One was called "Gator", and there were two others I don't remember. The Paris Hilton links are gone from Internet Explorer, and I can use it without getting the "illegal operation" shutdown!
All hail Susie; the First Lady of Munuvia! Yay!!!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 12:21 PM | Comments (8)

November 21, 2003

Google This

Here's my attempt to get myself out of Ecosystem free-fall (not that I care about such triviality....)

Anna Kournikova tight shorts ! Paris Hilton grainy video ! XXX ! Naked babe celebrities on tape ! JFK is still dead ! Madonna still can't sing ! Michael Jackson is still 12 years old ! The Reagans on Showtime ! Laci Peterson ! J-Lo and Ben are boring ! Prince Charles gay tampon Diana murdered in Paris Hilton video hotel tape ! YYY ?! Intrique ! Death and grief and sorrow and murder ! Pimpjuice ! Linkin' Park Kids On The Block ! Wesley Clark is insane ! Democrats draft Walter Mondale to run for President ! Zzz...

Let's see if this gets any google traffic. ;)

Posted by Tuning Spork at 11:03 PM | Comments (5)

November 20, 2003

You asked, Osama answers

Okay, you didn't ask, via JenLars, these questions of Osama Bin Ladin. But, through the magic of the Ouiji Board from Parker Brothers and some logistics help from Newsweek, he answered them anyway!

What were your parents smoking when they named you and where can I get some of it?

My mother and my father, being the good Shariah-abiding Muslims that they are, do not smoke cigarettes. So, the answer is, undoubtedly, pot.

Seriously, why so purple? How about a nice muted lavendar?

Now, let's get this straight: My turban is NOT purple; it's violet.
I was tired of not being able to keep the white rag clean and bright, what with all the dirt, sand and cordite around this cave, so I switched to violet. Though I am considering a move to a nice winter-sky indigo. Do you think that would clash with this yellowcake?

The Big Bang theory essentially states that the Universe came into being out of nothing. Can an effect without cause be a scientific conclusion?

Yes. Just look at the science of sociology, or abnormal psychology. The rage that sets a wealthy Saudi oil heir to murdering innocent bystanders for no reason that they, the victims, could possibly be held accountable for is a perfect example.
Of course, the "cause" of the Big Bang is Allah; the same god that has told me to kill you as soon as this interview is concluded. Why does Allah want me to kill you? Do not question Allah.

Frank J has gone on record as thinking you make up all your stories. How do you respond?

Through the use of long dormant, loosely affiliated, sleeper cells scattered throughout the sprawled limbs of the infidel beast.

If you could secretly kidnap and torture one "world leader" who would it be and what would you do to him or her? Would you leave them alive or dead?

I've always had my eye on that hussy, Queen Nor. I mean, it's bad enough that she went to school, but now she walks around and even appears on television with her face all naked and stuff. What a tramp. Dead.
Oh, and Yassir Arafat. That guy blows people up on city buses while talking about peace. Just shut up and kill infidels, you two-faced liar! And what's with that rag on his head? It looks like the tablecloth from the cover of the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook...

What is the worst thing you've ever done to someone?

I once hummed the tune to "Peace Train" in front of my mother. I made her weep. *sniff* I was such a hellion when I was a teenager.

Would you give up your penis for a Hall Of Fame baseball career?

My wives would be very disappointed if I were to play baseball. We'll just have to make due with mass murder and the accompanying erections.

If I moved to Sweden, would I still have to hear about Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez? In other words, is pop culture different there?

Maybe it wont be Ben and J-Lo, but the cancer that infects the cultural wasteland of the Satanic world would be just as destructive to your spiritual health. My best advice is that you, and all non-true-Muslims, must turn away from the decadence of pop culture and affect docile servitude to theocratic tyrany before I kill you. It's your only hope.

What's with the giant udder?

It's the result of a biological weapons experiment that went horribly wrong. Please avert your gaze and mention it to no one.

Tell us about your troubled past. Specifically that mess with Madonna and Britney. How is it that you've escaped the paparazzi on this one?

By killing them, and anyone else who knows about it.


I can wait.

What do you think about movies with intermissions in them?

So much poison that they have to give it to you in two doses... I'll have to work that into my repertoire.

What are the top 5 reasons to own a crossbow?

1) To kill infidels, 2) to kill heretics, 3) to kill secularists, 4) to kill renegades, and 5) to work on hand-eye coordination... it's a useful skill to have when you wanna kill people.

What scandalous thing that you've committed while blitzed has had the farthest-reaching repercussions?

It must be that time I humped Mulah Omar in the dark cave thinking it was one of my wives. The guys kid me about it to this day. "Hey, Osama, is that a box cutter in your pants or are you happy to see me?!" *chuckle* Oh, I'm never gonna live that one down...

Just between the two of us, Stan is jealous of you, isn't he?

Probably. But I've always encouraged him to find his niche. I've worked hard to get where I am, but we can't all be homocidal maniacs. Besides, I always remind him that envy is a mortal sin and I don't want to have to do Allah's work 24-7, y'know? So, maybe Stan should just stay away from me for a while.

Well, thank you for answering these questions, Osama. It's been very enlightening.

You're welcome. Now hold still while I set this cross-bow...

[It was at this point that I activated the site-to-site transport as perfected during the Philidelphia experiment. In a few seconds I was back in Connecticut, sitting at my computer, with no discernible side effects other than this giant udder.]

Posted by Tuning Spork at 03:38 PM | Comments (2)

November 19, 2003

Change Your Mind

I got nothin'. I mean: I got nothin'. So, I'm just gonna post a song lyric that I wrote a few years ago! Yay!!
The lyric is simple, with a simple "message," but I've always liked this one fer some reason.
The music is peppy-folky with a modulation at the end:

Please don't be sad
Things can't be so bad
'cause if you just force a laugh the whole world will laugh with you
Just a little denial
can bring back your smile
and, in a little while, you'll have a new attitude
You could if you wanted to...

Just change your mind
You're heart will follow behind
Y'know, the Truth never changes:
it's always what you believe
I think you'll find
that changing your mind
can turn you into anyone you want to be
want to be

So, you've got the blues,
feeling lower than your shoes,
y'find yourself sadder than the evening news
Well, maybe your fall
is just in your head, after all
and so you've learnt to crawl
or to lay there and lick your wounds
What else are you gonna do? Why not..

Just change your mind
and leave the trouble behind
Y'know, the Truth never changes:
it's always what you believe
I think you'll find
that changing your mind
can turn you into anyone you want to be
want to be

There isn't anyone
who doesn't like having fun
But, what's the fun in bringing down your closest friends?
You listen to your heart,
but what does It know?
The truth is the truth:
you can say it and make it so
If you think you're drowning
you'll sink in the end
so when you think it's all hopeless
just think again...

and change your mind
wont cost you a dime
The Truth never changes:
it's always what you believe, oo-oo...
I think you'll find
that changing your mind
can turn you into anyone you want to be
want to beeeee.........

When I make a decent recording of it I'll put it up for download! :)

Posted by Tuning Spork at 09:10 PM | Comments (2)

November 15, 2003

Gutter Snipe

I thought it would take about 20 minutes to clean the gutters. BWAHAHAHA!!!

Chris and I began renting this house a year and a half ago and, after having moved in, realized that it's been pretty neglected. Years ago (I'm not sure how many) the thing was moved, as a unit, about 1000 feet from where it was originally built. It now sits on the former site of a florist's greenhouse. When they demolished the greenhouse they apparantly decided to just bury the glass. Now whenever I dig up the soil to plant tomatoes, peppers and/or cukes I strike a mother lode of green glass.

The door bell had never been hooked up (until last summer, when we finally had it hooked up), and neither has the back porch light and several of the electrical outlets (mainly in the living room). One other thing we've noticed is that the gutters probably haven't been cleaned in decades. As the summer progressed the weeds in the gutters grew to heights of four feet. The house had become One with the garden.

So, at the behest of our landlady, Denise (who lives next door), Chris and I borrowed neighbor Jim's ladder and set out to clean them gutters. Piece o' cake.
It's a cape; two stories plus a crawlspace attic. There are six gutters: two at one story, two at two stories, one at a story and a half (above the front porch roof), and one at nearly three stories (eek!).

The first gutter we decided to liberate was the lowest; just above the den and at the front of the house. The ground is so uneven that it took a while just to set the ladder so that it didn't slide left and right everytime you shook it. I climbed up the rickety aluminum ladder about seven feet that felt like seventy.
"Uh..." I looked down at Chris, "You ever been this high up on a ladder before?"
"Sure," he said. "But not in years."

I climbed back down and Chris climbed up to one rung lower than I'd made it.
"uh..." he muttered, bouncing the ladder to check it's sterdiness, "I dunno about this..."
After a few starts and stops Chris finally made it to the gutter and cleaned out the left half of it. We shimmied it over and he cleaned the right side.

The next gutter was the story-and-a-half one; just above the front porch roof. You can't get to it with a ladder, which means one of us had to climb onto the roof. Since Chris cleaned the first gutter, I decided that I'd better go for it.

I climbed up a few rungs higher than I had in my previous attempts until my butt was at roof level. I leaned to my right and grabbed the peak of the overhang and pulled myself upon the roof and crawled to the center and straddled it, facing forward with the gutter above my head and my back to the wall.

"Alright!" Chris encouraged. "Now all ya gotta do it turn around."
The gutter itself being the only thing grabbable I grabbed it and struggled myself to face it; trowel in hand. This stuff was packed in there. I mean, this wasn't just spoonin' and flippin', it was a real effort to dig that crud out of there.
Landlady Denise came out of her back door and headed for her truck.
"Hi, guys!" she waved.
"Hi, Deniiise...!" we waved back with affected enthusiasm. Did I mention that we're not getting paid for this?

Cleaning the mounds of leaves-that-have-turned-to-heavy-soil out of the gutter was the easy part. Sliding back and onto the ladder was the scary part. But, with heart a thumpin' and knees a-slidin' I made it back down without falling and breaking my neck.. like Grammaw always said I would.

The next gutter was two stories up; the one above my bedroom. Chris went first and cleaned out the right side. We shimmied the ladder over and I went up for the left side. After climbing on the overhang above the porch this was gonna be a cinch.

Most of the caked in dirt was dug out pretty easily, but the stuff just in front of me was stubborn. I dug and pryed and tugged and cried; this crud wasn't budging. Finally I just put all my muster into it and extracted a three foot long body of well-rooted soil. Yep, nearly half of the gutter-crud was in one piece.
"Holy shit!" we both laughed.

We moved the ladder to the back of the house and got the next gutter -- as high as the last one -- with relative ease. We were gutter-cleaning like pros now. But the next one was the one above the crawl space.
We set the ladder until it was reasonably stable and took turns trying to climb the three stories to the gutter. Nope. The gutter's too high and the ladder's too shakey. We each tried again. And then again.

"Well," Chris suggested, "We could climb onto the roof over there (where the last gutter we cleaned was) and walk over to that gutter."
The highest gutter was at the edge of a section of roof that -- compared to the rest of it -- was relatively flat.
"The scariest part is gonna be getting onto the ladder to come back down."

"Okay, let's picture this:" I shuddered. "Even though that section of the roof is relatively "flat" compared to the rest of the roof, yer gonna hafta sit there with your feet low and your butt high and lean forward.. nay, push forward to dig out the crap in the gutter. Up there.
I'm not gonna do it... and neither are you. It's up the ladder or nothing"

It was nothing... We let that one go.

The last gutter was above the den, the same height as the first we'd cleaned. But by this time we were so used to climbing to gutteral heights that it was a piece o' cake.
Six gutters: five cleaned. If Denise wants that high gutter cleaned she can hire some illegals to do it.
And if she thinks hard enough to remember to come by to thank us for cleaning five of the gutters, well, at least the door bell works.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 11:42 PM | Comments (3)

November 14, 2003

Where The Hell Am I?

I'm right here; trying to retype a post that I spent the past hour composing and then lost for no apparent reason. (No, I did not push the Back button this time.)

"What have I been doing?" I hear no one asking...
I've been sitting here, doing crossword puzzles, mulling over the big picture. It's not that I'm on some back to basics kick or anything, but I haven't visited a blog nor turned on the TV in days. It actually feels quite liberating to know that I have no idea of what's going on with Laci Peterson., Jessica Lynch or Amy Fischer.
Now I think I know how Rachel Lucas felt about 6 months ago; when blogging starts to feel like a chore then it's probably in the wrong slot.

My favorite tech support guy/repair man, John Keach, came by this morning to assist me with an electrical problem I'd been having with one of my printing presses. The man's pushing 90 and recently had quintuple bypass heart surgery. He was tired when he showed up and I began to feel ashamed for having asked him to come by. But seeming to sense that he mentioned "If you can't leave the house then you might as well just leave."

When we were teenagers we dreamed of retirement. Man, we were stupid.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 12:28 AM | Comments (4)

November 10, 2003

I'm Still Here!

I'm not on hiatus or anything; I just haven't had anything to post.
Well, actually I did, yesterday...but the server was down. Oh well.

I think it's mainly that the Karbon Kopy Killer thang kinda drained my creative juices for a few days and only my blog sibs Susie and Ted cared enough to comment along with it. Now I know how the Bartender feels! (I know, I know, Taylor: you chimed in, too, with help*cough*ful advice... [and,sorry, I couldn't find a way to link to a particular post to yer blog...])

It's not that I'm easily drained or anything, but I think I'll just go ahead and make it an even week of slackery and post on Wednesday. Yeah, that's the ticket...

Posted by Tuning Spork at 11:43 PM | Comments (5)

November 06, 2003

The Karbon Kopy Killer, Pt 3

Part 1
Part 2

It was midnight. The street below my office window was deserted. Darla unfolded the white sequined nightgown and held it against herself as I finished reading the DNA report that I'd gotten back from the police lab.

"I don't know, Country," she muttered.

"About what?"

"Your plan seems a bit odd." She lifted the gown and stared at her left hand through the whispy garment. "And isn't this thing a bit... sheer?"

"It's the only one I could find," I lied as she folded it and returned it to the box. "Does the name 'Justin Case' mean anything to you?"

"Sure, it does." She swung her head up. "That's a guy Sadie dated."

"And Dennis Chan?"

"That's a guy Sadie dated."

"And Doug Deiper? Does the name 'Doug Deiper' ring a bell?" She twitched her face as she thought for a moment.

The door opened and Capt. Walmart poked his head in.

"We're ready, Country," he announced withdrawing his head and closing the door.
This was it. I'd put the pieces of this jigsaw puzzle together the best I could and now it was time to see if it was a picture or a Pollock. Darla picked up the box and we headed for Chan's house.

Chan was asleep, and the lock on the side door had been picked by Walmart's boys. The police van was parked at the curb and Walmart and his team were sitting inside it, each wearing a pair of headphones.

I stood outside of Chan's bedroom window as Darla stood at the side door wearing only the nightgown and a wire. For some reason I'd noticed that the slightest breeze was enough to set the calf-lengthed textile aflutter; alternately hugging and escaping her form. It was an unseasonably warm night, but I could see that she was a tad chilly.
She gazed at me worriedly. I nodded that it was time to move. She reached for the doorknob and entered the house.

I watched her enter the room and stand at the foot of Chan's bed. Through the large open undraped window the moonlight howled in the contours of her visage.

"Dennis," she said softly. Chan obviously hadn't heard her.
"Dennis..." she spoke with a slight trill. Chan popped up, startled. He stared at Darla.

"Wha... Who..." he gasped.

"Dennis, why did you kill me?" she asked sadly, staring at him as the nightgown waved like surf on a calm morning.

"Sadie?" he whimpered, "Sadie? How..? How can this be?"

"Why did you kill me, Dennis?"

"I..." he stammered, searching for words and trying to understand this. "I'm sorry. I was... I was angry."
I looked over at the van and saw Walmart and his boys heading for the side door.

"Why did you have to be with Justin?" Chan pleaded, "I wanted to give you everything you needed."
She stood there looking at him, not saying a word.

"Why did you have to go?" he cried as he crawled toward Darla. "And after we'd become so close..."

"You weren't as close to Sadie as you thought you were, Chan," Capt. Walmart snickered as he flicked on the light and his boys moved in for the grab. "You didn't even know she had a twin sister."

Chan stared at Darla in disbelief. She never flinched. "Aww, CRAP!!," he shouted, "Crap! Crap! Crap!" he repeated as he was dragged all the way to the awaiting squad car. Walmart and the others followed out as I entered the bedroom. Darla was frozen, still staring at Chan's bed.

"You were right, Country. It was Dennis who killed my sister. How did you know?"

"I didn't know until tonight," I said, "when we were in my office." I stood directly behind her. "And now the killing will stop?"

"Yes," she sighed. "The killing will stop."
I grabbed her hands together and snapped cuffs on her wrists. She swung around to face me. Frightened, she searched my eyes for something familiar, but all she found was justice. "How did you know?"

"I didn't," I said. "I tricked you. Nyah nyah!"

"Listen, Country," she pleaded, "I tried to tell you the first night I walked into your office. You don't know what it's like to lose your twin. The way we communicated was special. I could begin a sentence and she could finish it without missing a beat. Our heuristics, our trains of thought, our voices, even our menstrual cycles, dammit, all in perfect sync. Our rapport was not only empathic, it was virtually telepathic. But now I'm empty. Losing my sister was the worst thing that ever happened to me.

I've tried to cope, Country, I really have, by learning to communicate with myself. But everytime I've tried talking to myself all I do is answer back 'I know... I know... '. It's not the same.
Country," she said as she inched closer to me, "try to understand. When you hurt, don't you ever have the urge to make everyone feel your pain? Wouldn't having everyone suffer the way you do make you feel just a little bit better? Do you have any idea what I mean?"

I knew exactly what she meant, but I refused to let on.

"I've learned alot about your sister in the past few days," I began, ignoring her question, "and a lot about you, too.
Chan and Case weren't the only ones Sadie played with recently. There was Bill the telephone repairman, Scotty the bartender, Rick the auto mechanic, Jason at the brokerage firm."
She turned her face away and looked out the window.
"Sadie also had a guy in Yonkers: Vinnie, the pawn broker. There was also Fred the sidewalk vendor, and Joey the grocery delivery boy."

"Busy little beaver, wasn't she..." she said as she darted her eyes at nothing.

"Sadie had a lot o' guys mad at her, but Dennis Chan acted on that anger. He went to your apartment in a jealous rage. If he couldn't have Sadie, no one would. And he was determined to be the last to have her.
Humiliated and distraught, he went to kill Sadie. But he didn't." She snapped to attention, her face to mine. "He killed Darla, apparantly raped her afterward, and never knew it wasn't you. Isn't that right, Sadie?"

"You're letting your imagination run away with you, Country."

"Oh, really?" I said. "In all the names that I just listed, of the men in Sadie's emotionally empty and destructive romantic pursuits, there's one I left out. Doug Deiper." She looked at me quizzically. "You don't know who that is, do you?"

"No," she said softly, shaking her head slightly. "Who...?"

"Doug Deiper was Darla's boyfriend. It was his DNA, along with Chan's, that was in her when she died; and I've got the lab test results to prove it.
Yeah, I've learned alot about you and your sister the past few days. You kept your boyfriends away from each other. She never knew who you were dating, and you never knew who she was dating. When it was confirmed that Deiper was the second DNA presence, and you had no idea who he was, I knew that the dead sister was Darla. Chan being the other presence, I knew he was her killer.
So, you took the opportunity of her death to switch identities. Sadie had a lot of people mad at her, and who knew who'd be showing up next with a gun or a knife to take revenge. So, Sadie had to die, and you had to become Darla.
But changing your ways, becoming the sister you weren't wasn't easy, was it? All that energy and need for excitment and adventure coupled with the lonliness and anger had to be channeled somewhere. If you couldn't have a twin, you felt, then no one else could. You gave up tennis and took up murder."

"Country, listen to me," she pleaded. "We can run away. I don't want to be the emotional Dirt Devil that I was, just sucking the love out of every Tom, Dick and Rod I could squeeze into my To Do list. I want to be free of all that, I really do. You've got to protect me, Country, you've got to."

"Sorry, Doll Face, the shows over, the balcony's closed and the audience is on the subway and heading back to the land of swimming pools and milkmen."

She closed her eyes and inhaled the evening's perfume, "Do they still have Mister Softy Ice Cream trucks?"

"I don't know, Babe. I don't know."
With her eyes still closed, her lips slightly parted and her breath shivering, she slowly stepped forward and leaned her ghostly nightgown-draped essence against me, the sum of all her needful energy slithering upon my emptiness.
My God. She was rolling thunder; and my soul was the sky.


Capt. Walmart was at a loss to understand why the Karbon Kopy Killer had ceased to strike after Dennis Chan had been jailed the second time, unlike the first. But the fact that the killings had stopped was good enough for the City. Chan was convicted of the murder of Sadie Minx, and, for bringing him in, the City awarded Walmart a plaque, a payraise and a parking garage. He stopped wondering about the Karbon Kopy Killer years ago.

The sun's coming up and I can hear the milk bottles rattling on the porch. It's gonna be a good day for a dip in the pool, topped off with a fresh cone of Mister Softy Ice Cream.

Oh, and the Karbon Kopy Killer? She's asleep... in my bed. Me being the only one who knows her secret has been good for both of us.
To me she's Sadie Minx: a chorus of demons and angels forever shouting each other down. To the rest of the world she's Darla Rhodes... for now. She knows that the day she strays is the day she trades her bay window for prison bars.

Chan once said that Sadie could never be tamed. He just never figured out how to get her to swallow what's good for her.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 09:56 PM | Comments (4)

November 05, 2003

The Karbon Kopy Killer, pt 2

Part 1

KARBON KOPY KILLER STRIKES AGAIN Astoria Woman 19th Victim Last Night
My stack o' hotcakes and yet another cup of coffee had gone cold as I sat at the counter of the Mayflower Diner reading up on the latest news. One more victim; same M.O.. One 9mm shot to the aorta at point blank range. One more twin dead as a Dodo. I'd been interviewing friends and aquainetces of Sadie Minx for five days, following leads. I was learnin' more and more.

The media dubbed the perp "the Karbon Kopy Killer" months ago (carbon being the base element of life, twins being essentially copies of each other, killin' being how they died).
Nineteen victims in four months. Some male, some female. Some black, some white. Some young, some old. But, they did have one thing in common. Each victim and his or her twin were roommates.
I slammed my cold coffee and headed over to see Capt. Walmart.

"We got nothin', Country." he sighed, dropping the case file on his desk. "All our leads were dead ends."

"What about the bullets?" I asked. "All from the same weapon?"

"Four different guns. Whoever this is, he's got quite a collection."

"What's the break-down on the weapons?"

"Eight victims with one, seven victims with another, three with a third and one with a fourth. All 9mm."
Capt. Walmart stepped to the window and stared out at the city.
"What makes a man want to kill one half of a pair of twins?" he wondered with his back to me. "Is this someone who's afraid of twins? Or hates twins, maybe? Why? Maybe he's afraid of all this talk of cloning to the point that he sees twins as clones living among us that need to be gotten rid of. Or is this someone who is a twin himself? Maybe someone who lost his twin? Has the world gone so topsy-turvy that you can't get a decent parking space outside of your own office?"


"Look at them," he continued, "all those cars, sitting there along the curb... mocking me...while my car sits five blocks away in a parking garage that's bleeding me dry with their monsterous monthly rates. It's probably owned by some guy who got so fed up with the rates himself that he decided to just buy the damn garage. Someday I'd just like to..."

"Captain Walmart," I said as I began violating the smoking ban, "about the break-down of the guns. You said there was one victim who was shot with a unique weapon."

"Oh, right," he said as he spun around and fished through the file papers. "Four different guns; eight, seven, three and one."

"Who was the one?"

"The first victim." He'd found the page he was looking for. "Sadie Minx, killed in her Brooklyn apartment on July 4th."

"Can you tell me everything you have on the Minx case?"

"Well," he shrugged, "we got nothin'. All we ever had was DNA. At the time, before all these other killings, we considered that her killer was someone she knew. We found the DNA of two other people, uh, tryin' t'be delicate.., within her. We identified one, but not the other."

"Who was the one you identified?"

"It was a fella named, uh," he stammered as he thumbed through the papers. "Chan. Dennis Chan. Yes, I remember him; Dennis Chan the tennis man. He was the victim's tennis instructor. We brought him in for questioning. He and Minx had apparently had a thing going but then had a falling out. We saw fit to keep him overnight."


"And there were two more killings that night; identical to the Minx murder. We let him go."

I thanked Capt. Walmart and went to see this Chan fella. Something wasn't sitting right. Well, other than the hotcakes. I mean, can they make 'em any doughier? Maybe the griddle temperature needed to be raised...or they just needed to cook a little longer. I don't know.
I also didn't know where this investigation would end, but I had the sneaking suspicion that it began with Dennis Chan.

A waiter pointed him out to me. He was in the lounge of the Ragin' Racquet Tennis Club sitting at the bar nursing a Coors Lite.

"The name's Rhodes. Country Rhodes," I began,. "Don't laugh. It's just a nickname. My given name's Gravel."

"What can I do for ya, Mr. Rhodes?" he asked, never looking up from his beer.

I sized him up pretty quickly. He had an athlete's build and a poet's countenance. This was a man who'd been to Hell and Hoboken and back again. He cared about nothing, he cared about everything; all at the same time. The kind o' guy who flowed through the day like a river through the Rockies: taking the lumps and then adjusting his path accordingly, but always downhill. And it's no wonder. The hounds had been released and he was the one holding the sack o' Snausages.

"I want to talk to you about Sadie," I blurted. "When did you see her last?"

"You a cop?" he asked, running his index finger around the rim of the bottle.

"Nope," I replied, "just a friend of the family. Well, one member of the family anyway. And she's really more of a client than a friend. Maybe it'll grow to be more than that. Perhaps, if I play my cards right, ..."

"Sadie was everything to me," he began. "I met her last summer when she signed up for tennis lessons. I instantly fell for her. Hard. The way she held her racquet. The way she swayed while waiting for a serve. The way her little peach-colored tennis outfit seemed to be shrink-wrapped onto her. We hit it off immediately.
The way she talked to me at first I thought she was a bit coy. Not very playful, but still sweet. Always had an air of dignity and propriety. The kind of girl your mother would love you to bring home. You know the type: all sugar and no spice. Boy, was I wrong."

"How so?" I asked as I wiped my glasses.

"Thunder." he said as he looked me in the eye for the first time. "She was like rolling thunder and my soul was the sky. She was one of a kind. I called her my Zagatka.


"It's a Russian word. A puzzle, an enigma." Chan stared at the mirror behind the bar. "She was a tangle of poise and passion; a bridled wildfire. I had her then, but I knew she was too free to be tamed."

"Can I borrow your comb?" I asked. "I just noticed in the mirror that my part isn't quite straight."

"In June I found out that she was seeing another man," he frowned as he handed me his comb. "Justin. Justin Case."

"Was he an insurance salesman?"

"No, why?" he said confusedly.

"Do you own a gun?"

"Yeah, a 9mm." He turned to me sharply. "Lots of people own a 9mm pistol. Listen, Rhodes, I've been through this with the cops. I didn't kill Sadie, okay?"

"Sure." I said, thanking him for his time.
I felt I was close to earning my pay, but I thought I'd try to contact this Case fella, anyway. Turns out he'd left town in mid-July for Biloxi, Mississippi. He couldn't be the Karbon Kopy Killer, but I wasn't hired to find the Karbon Kopy Killer. And, at this point, I wasn't so sure that Sadie's murder even was related to the others.

I looked up Dennis Chan's home address, picked up the results of a DNA sample examination I'd dropped off the evening prior and talked again with Capt. Walmart. Then I headed back to my office and phoned Darla. She agreed to meet me that evening at my office, after which we'd head on over to Chan's.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 08:52 PM | Comments (0)

November 03, 2003

The Karbon Kopy Killer, pt 1

It was a cold and stormy night. I was going to turn on the TV, but if the TV guide was any clue, my night would only have gotten lonelier if I had.
The street below my office window was dim and deserted.

Rhodes is the name. Country Rhodes.
Don't laugh; it's a nickname. My given name is Gravel.

I'd been whiling away the hours in my office that evening by closing my eyes and seeing if I could count the seconds to sixty while matching the clock. One time I peeked at thirty seconds and was pretty close, but by 45 seconds I'd strayed by three. If I'd only slowed down around 38-41 like I knew I should've... Damn!
Maybe I should have just stared out the window some more.

Then there was a knock on the door. "Come in!" I called.
Just when it seemed that the world was fated to be awash evermore in the hopeless drizzle of shame, neglect and abject remorse, she walked into my office; heaving breathlessly, slowly panting, but still quite conscious.

"Are you Rhodes? Country Rhodes?" she asked as she shut the door behind her and felled her backside upon it. "'Cause if y'are, I've got a job for you."

She wore a pillbox hat with a veil that half-obscured her face, but I could still see a face beneath that veil that begged for sublime closure.
Dressed in neutral greys she slowly approached my desk on a pair o' gams that would have stretched onto forever were they not stopped by the floor.

"What can I do for ya, Madam?" I asked, tipping up my cap whilst attempting to conceal any evidence of the fleeting thoughts of violating any and every new P.C. city ordinance that I may or may not have contemplated violating.

"It's about my twin sister."

"Okay," I said, leaning back on my stool and falling to the floor on my shoulders.
There were two of these dames? That was the first moment I can remember that I'd wished I'd had a friend.
"I didn't catch your name."

"I never tossed it. My name's Darla. Darla Minx."

"Okay, Doll Face," I said as I grabbed a thirty year-old bottle of whiskey and two shot glasses from the bottom drawer of my desk. I poured two shots and handed one to Darla. "Have a drink and tell me your story."

She slammed the shot and poured herself another.
"Sadie was my twin sister," she began, "and she was killed on the 4th of July."

There'd been a string of "twin killings" going around. Only one of a pair of twins: off'd. Darla slammed the second shot.

"Do you suspect the 'Karbon Kopy Killer'?" I asked.

"Of course I do," she exhaled, reaching for the bottle again. "Maybe you don't know what it's like to be a twin; just as I don't know what it's like not to be one. The special connection, the unspoken understanding. The fantasy that you singulars all seem to have of talking to yourselves in a way that is both familiar and surprising is what we had, Sadie and me. Maybe if you could just imagine..."

She kept on talking but I'd stopped listening.
Maybe it was the way her lips caressed every word as if each one tasted like a different flavor of ice cream. Or maybe it was the way her eyes were tearing up as if swollen by a long-forgotten yearning that she'd only just forgotten to forget...or maybe it was the way her hips swayed in unintentional.... 42, 43, 44...

"Wont you help me, Country? Will you help to find who killed my twin sister?"

"The cops have been on the case for months," I told her. "Captain Walmart might be upset if I edge my way into a case that the Force is working on."

"The police haven't made any progress," she said worriedly. "and until whoever killed Sadie is found, one of another pair of twins will die again. And then another after that."
She slammed the third shot and poured another. "Don't you see, Country? Every day that goes by that my sister's killer is on the loose is another day that someone else may meet the same fate. You've got to join the hunt."

"Still," I told her as I leaned forward on my elbows, "I like to get involved only after the cops have come up empty."

She slithed atop my desk until her face was within inches of mine. Like a late autumn twilight she looked like dormance and smelled like passion. Her strawberry-blonde locks flowing out of her hat like Niagra after a spring thaw. Her indigo eyes gazing so deeply into mine that I was sure she could read the combination to my wall safe.
"I pay," she whispered more softly as she leaned even more closely, "cash!"

"The price is $12. Plus expenses." (I never again will forget to add expenses to the fee.)

Yeah, I took the case.
Sure, Darla played me like a harmonica, but it's been slow around here lately. She slammed a fourth shot and left my office warmer yet stormier than she found it.
Call me a sucker, but, damn, I knew I just had to try to come up a scenario in which I'd be assured of seeing this broad again.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 08:50 PM | Comments (7)

How Much Do You Really Wanna Know?

Kevin says he'd like to see a Women of the Blogosphere Playboy pictorial. Good idea? (Jennifer has refused to appear before anyone bothered to ask, though LeeAnn says she'll do it in a bared heartbeat!) :)

Kevin also supplies a link to a collection of Blog Chicks Pix. But, I dunno...

The more I think about it the more I like the mystery of not knowing what the sexiest babes in the blogosphere actually look like.

I mean, in my imagination they all look like this:

So why would I ever want to ruin it by seeing them like this?:

Am I alone on this, guys?

(My eternal thanks to the fiercely erotic, and always historically accurate, JenLars for putting the pics to the post!)

Posted by Tuning Spork at 12:02 AM | Comments (1)

November 02, 2003

Indian Summer

I must say, this has been dang nearly a perfect weekend. Though it's not sunny today like it was yesterday, and it smells like it wants to rain, it's warm enough to rake leaves in a t-shirt.

Aah, the smell of autumn, colorful leaves, pumpkins sittin' around, Indian Summer. A perfect day to whip some some Chicken Stew.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 04:00 PM | Comments (6)
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