October 31, 2004

Osama speaks, I fisk

I haven't been doing much web surfing recently and, I presume, Osama's latest speech has probably been fisked to death. But I just read it today and thought I'd throw in my 3 cents.
So here we go........

To begin: Peace be upon he who follow the Guidance.

Hmmm. He forgot to mention "and death to infidels." I guess he's trying to show us a kinder gentler madman.
People of United States, this talk of mine is for you and concerns the ideal way to prevent another Manhattan and deals with the war and its causes and results..

Bring. It. On!
Before I begin, I say to you that security is an indispensable pillar in human life and that free men do not forfeit their security contrary to Bush's claims that we hate freedom.
If so, then let him explain why did not strike - for example - Sweden..

Trying real hard to decifer that passage. He's obviously trying to say that he is fighting for freedom and against oppression. Too bad that the facts seem to indicate that he is fighting freedom by terrorising free people's personal security in the name of a religious tyranny. But it gets interesting on that subject shortly...
And we know that freedom haters do not possess defiant spirits like those of the 19 may Allah have mercy on them..

Killing thousands of innocent people for getting up in the morning and going to work is not fighting for freedom, it's assaulting it. But, as Osama points out later, they were not innocent, they were Americans. .
No, we fight because we are free men who do not sleep under oppression.
We want to restore freedom to our Nation and just as you lay waste to our Nation so shall we lay waste to yours..

And we were laying waste to your "Nation" exactly how again? Oh, right! We support the existence of a democracy in the middle of a "Nation" of oppressive 14th century tyrants who teach their children to hate Jews before they teach them to read or write..
But I am amazed at you. Even though we are in the fourth year after the events of September 11, Bush is still engaged in distortion, deception and hiding from you the real cause and thus the reasons are still there for a repeat of what occurred..

Actually, he's adressing them directly by helping to establish a free nation in the center of greater Fantatistan.
So I shall talk to you about the story behind those events and I shall tell you truthfully about the moments in which the decision was taken for you to consider..

I'm listening. er... reading.
I say to you Allah knows that it had never occurred to us to strike towers.
But after it became unbearable and we witnessed the oppression and tyranny of the America/Israeli coalition against our people in Palestine and Lebanon, it came to my mind..

If by "tyranny" you mean "self-defense" then we need to agree on a set of definitions.
tyranny: n. attacking the liberties of free people [see al Qaida]
self-defense: n. attacking those who attack the liberties of free people [see Israel]
The events that affected my soul in a difficult way started in 1982 when America permitted the Israelis to invade Lebanon and the American 6th fleet helped them in that.
And the whole world saw and heard but did not respond..

Israel invaded Lebanon in order to get the PLO terrorists who were killing Israelis. If you love freedom from the oppression of tyrants, Osama, then you should get down on your knees to what Israel represents -- not to mention how it got there in the first place.
But, of course, it's not a love of freedom that motivates you at all; it's the preservation/creation of a theocratic "Nation". If you honestly believe that you're a freedom fighter than you honestly have no idea what Freedom is. Dumb-ass.
In those difficult moments many hard to describe ideas bubbled in my soul but in the end they produced intense feelings of rejection of tyranny and gave birth to a strong resolve to punish the oppressors.

One man's self-defense looks a lot like tyranny if you're the tyrant having to defend himself against it. I guess that might be the entire crux of the problem, eh? Just a matter of perspective?
You claim a freedom of the "Nation" to oppress the freedoms of women and children and "infidels", while we see the freedoms of individuals to go about their business as they see fit and without fear of persecution or terrorism. Yep, just a matter of perspective.
And as I looked at those demolished towers in Lebanon it entered my mind that we should punish the oppressors in kind and that we destroy towers in America in order that they taste some of what we tasted and so that they be deterred from killing our women and children..

First of all, America didn't destroy any towers in Lenanon. But we did lose over 200 US Marine would-be peacekeepers in a terrorist carbomb explosion. So, as a very great man once said; kiss my royal Irish ass.
We have not found it difficult to deal with the Bush administration in light of the resemblance it bears to the regimes in our countries, half of which are ruled by the military and the other half of which are ruled by the sons of kings and presidents.
Our experience with them is lengthy and both types are replete with those who are characterised by pride, arrogance, greed and misappropriation of wealth..

Blah blah Bush is a tyrant yadda yadda just like all of the middle eastern tyrants blahbiddy blah.
This resemblance began after the visits of Bush Senior to the region at a time when some of our compatriots were dazzled by America and hoping that these visits would have an effect on our countries. All of a sudden he was affected by these monarchies and military regimes and became jealous of their remaining decades in their position to embezzle the public wealth of the Nation without supervision or accounting..

So, Bush Senior was a liberator until he realized that *gasp* he could-a been a tyrant, too! That's when the plan took shape...
So he took dictatorship and suppression of freedoms to his son and they named it the Patriot Act under the pretences of fighting terrorism..

You've been reading DemocraticUnderground.com again, haven't you...?
In addition, Bush sanctioned the installing of sons as state governors and did not forget to import expertise in election fraud from the regions presidents to Florida to be made use of in moments of difficulty..

Oh, I see, George W and Jeb weren't elected Governors by the people of Texas and Florida, they were installed by Bush Senior! I think this statement just jumped the shark.
All that we have mentioned has made it easy for us to provoke and bait this administration.
And for the record, we had agreed with the Commander-General Muhammad Ataa, Allah have mercy on him, that all the operations should be carried out within 20 minutes before Bush and his administration notice..

Thanks for clearing the record.
It never occurred to us that the Commander in Chief of the armed forces would abandon 50,000 of his citizens in the twin towers to face those great horrors alone at a time when they most needed him.

He didn't abandon them to face those horrors, you did you fucktard bastard future splattering of carbon dust on the walls of a daisycutter's crater...
But because it seemed to him that occupying himself by talking to the little girl about the goat and its butting was more important than occupying himself with the planes and their butting of the skyscrapers we were given three times the period required to execute the operations.

Yep, that's right, Osama. Our first responders, the FAA and the military had no clue about emergency management and just waited and waited and did nothing until the President told them what to do.
You think like a tyrant.
All praise is due to Allah..

Posted by Tuning Spork at 05:35 PM | Comments (0)

October 30, 2004

The Holy month of Hiatus

I think I'm gonna take a month off from the Blogosphere. See ya bright and early on December 1st!

Fair warning: I might post something tomorrow (but don't count on it).
This isn't Beal, it's worse. It's frickin' indifference.

Three days before Election Day and I have no desire whatsoever in watching the news, following politics, voting, blathering or being here. Go figure.
Just let me take a long bike ride on a warm October afternoon and I'm set for the day! Today, anyway...
And a beeeautiful day for a bike ride it was!

Ran into my friend Norm at the nearest Stop & Shop. Cool.
He was filling a prescription that'll help him deal with his flu synptoms. I was meandering through the aisles looking for anything that I might want to stuff into my bike pack. Mmmm, yams.

I just feel like I haven't written more funny or interesting than I can coumt on one hand in nearly a year. So, here goes: the first official Blather Review hiatus.

Don't know if this announcement will hold, of course. I may post tomorrow just because I want to. But right now I just don't see being inspired to post anything worth reading in the very near future.
I haven't watched the news in weeks now. I haven't been interested in thinking about anything but lucid dreaming and the Sex Pistols' Anarchy In The UK in days. I'm gonna get out of the house and away from the internet for a while and hopefully come back refreshed.

Unless I change my mind... ;)

Posted by Tuning Spork at 09:42 PM | Comments (4)

October 27, 2004

Caroline Kennedy nails Bush with well-reasoned thoughtful thesis

Perturbed, apparantly, that President Bush has invoked the name of John F Kennedy on recent stops on the campaign trail, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg has issued a statement.
I've always had nothing but respect for Caroline and her immediate family, but this brief and somewhat silly statement is in deesperate need of a fisking.

So, he-e-e-e-e-re we go...!

"It's hard for me to listen to President Bush invoking my father's memory to attack John Kerry."

Well, ooookay.
" Senator Kerry has demonstrated his courage and commitment to a stronger America throughout his entire career."

Uh... No he hasn't.
"President Kennedy inspired and united the country and so will John Kerry."

No he wont.
"President Bush is doing just the opposite."

No he isn't. Partisan pablum pukers like Uncle Teddy are.
"All of us who revere the strength and resolve of President Kennedy will be supporting John Kerry on Election Day."

No we wont!

And "strength and resolve"? Puh-leeze! If I thought that John Kerry had just 44/100ths of John Kennedy's strength and resolve then maybe I might've considered thinking about voting for him.

So, that's it, Carrie? That's the entire statement?


Back to the World Series.....

Posted by Tuning Spork at 09:38 PM | Comments (0)

October 26, 2004

The Boston Red Sox, 2004!

They're gonna lose.

I don't know how, yet. Or when. But, they're gonna lose.

Sure, they're up 2 games to none. But they won them at home. 'member 1986? They were up 2 games to none while on the road.

They're gonna lose.

They were down 3 games to none (0) against the Yankees and came back to win it and that gave you a thrill, eh? Yeah?!
Seemed so darned improbable that ye allowed yer blessed little hearts to finally feel that destiny just might be on yer side?!


They're gonna lose.
I'm not sure how or exactly when, but, rest assured, they're gonna lose.

Just watch.

UPDATE: Whoops.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 03:21 AM | Comments (0)

October 25, 2004

**the sound of crickets chirping**

Wow, I haven't posted anything in a week.

I had jury duty last tuesday and every night last week I just stared my monitor screen desperately wanting to write about what I thought of our verdict. I put the whole thing together -- over and over -- and ended up never bothering to type it up.
And now I don't ever want to think about it again.

But, just to get back into blogging mode, I'll tell ya a little story about moi that I bet I've never mentioned here before:

I was essentially deaf in my left ear for 4 1/2 years:

It all started in the spring of 1993. My left ear would "close up" every now and then, sometimes lasting for a couple of days at a stretch. I vcleaned my ears with some stuff I got at a pharmacy, but it kept happening. My boss's wife (at the time) told me that it was probably a sinus problem. Dang.

For a year I went from Stereophonic to monophonic hearing. Then, in the spring of '94, my left ear closed up for good.
I kept waiting for it to open up again, but it wouldn't. Not for any meaningful length of time, anyway.

It opened up when I was at the beach for the July '94 fireworks, and when I went to Jones Beach with my friend Dave to see Elvis Costello.
At Jones Beach my ear opened up just as we took our seat high up in the stands overlooking the shoreline and stayed open throughout the show. Yay!
But, after climbing down again and driving further from the beach, that ear just sealed right back up. D'oh!

Only when I was at a beach or at a high altitude did I ever regain hearing in that ear. And there I was trying to mix my homemade music tapes into fake stereo while listening in mono.

Then, in September of '98, we had a downpour that lasted for two days. It was the kind of downpour that makes the once humid and heavy air crisp and cool and clear.
Toward the end of the first day my left ear opened up! Woo Hoo! As the first day turned into a second day of deluge, I could still hear in stereo. Please don't ever let this rain stop! As soon as it stops I'll be half-deaf again!

But, the rain did stop, and my ear stayed open. A few days more and I knew it was over. 4 1/2 years of having to cock my head at weird angles just to hear what someone to my left was trying to tell me were finally gone! Six years on and I've never had a relapse.

Now if I could only find my glasses I could see who was saying all those nasty things to me.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 09:52 PM | Comments (3)

October 18, 2004

Protocol and Other Sundry Life Enhancers

So anyway, I was standing in line at Dunkin' Donuts a few years ago just cuz' I wanted a cup of coffee to wake me up after my long morning drive to work.

There was one line and one cashier/hostess/coffee server behind the counter. The lady first in line paid for her coffee and bagel and left, and the guy in front moved to the counter whipping out a long list of items to prattle off.
"Okay, I need..... uh..." he began.

This was no short list either. He wasn't ordering for 3 or 4, he was ordering for 12-15. My instinct to deal with this calmly suddenly gave way to an exasperated exhale of "Keeeeee-reist."

He turned to me defensively and visually sized me up. I had about a foot on 'im, but he was a stalky young man. Maybe somebody cut me off on the highway earlier and I was already looking for a face I didn't like, but my well-honed ability to let adversary roll off my back was being tested.
"I just want a cup of coffee," I said nearly appologetically.

"Sorry, buddy, but I was here first" he blurted at me.

That tore it.

"Dude," I began (I always call guys that I think are assholes "Dude",)
"If I were you, and had a list like that in my hand and knew that there was one guy guy in line behind me... I'd have turned and asked him if he "was just getting a cup of coffee and a donut, 'cause if you are you can go ahead of me 'cuz I (holding up phantom sheet of paper 'tween my thumb and middle finger) have a long list here."
I shrugged and walked toward the side door.

"Sir...?" I heard the coffee-maid chirp.

"T'sokay," I said, turning back and pointing over my shoulder with my thumb at the gas station next door, "There's coffee over there."
Looking at the patron with The List I muttered: "You just keep doing it as you see fit..."

He didn't say anything else to me, but I could just make out his reflection in the door as I sauntered out. He never took his eyes off me 'till I'd gone through the door.
He was either contemplating what I had said, wondering if he'd just learned something about common courtesy, or he was contemplating beating the crap out of me.

I got a better (and cheaper) cup of coffee at the gas station. Green Mountain: Our Blend. Not a bad cup o' joe.

What in the world made me remember that? Oh yeah! Kirsten has a post about protocol; what it's come to mean in her daily comings and goings, and what she feels about that. She wonders if she needs to get back to where she once belonged -- at least a little bit.

I dunno, though. I think that when you're young you tend to want to either ignore social protocol or deliberately taunt those who employ it. But, the older we get the more we realize that common social protocol is there for very satisfying reasons, and that being a young punk in somebody's face is more more fun than having a young punk in yer face.

Anyway, the Link Of The Day Month goes to the Mermaid. Enjoy!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 10:11 PM | Comments (2)

October 16, 2004


Every six months or so my friend Lawruh and I get together to prepare an experimental dinner for her family and ourselves.

It is time.

Tomorrow we'll be caged in her kitchen making up stuff as we go along. Well, it wont really be so haphazzard; we've got a basic menu planned. We're going with a harvest theme this time.

What delicious dishes Lawruh will be whipping up:

Roasted Roots
(White potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, parsnips, onions and one or two others I've forgotten, tossed in a garlic, parsley, fennel and olive oil coating... until she decides to change something. And there'll be ceyenne ovcer half of it for those of us who like it spicy!)
Butternut Squash Couscous
(She's good at making the couscous.)
Corn Chowder
(She says she's not sure if she's gonna do this one, but she can't stop talking about it so we'll likely be eatin' corn cowder tomorrow.)
Cranberry-Corn Relish
(Boiled in apple juice, not water, then chilled to be a topping for...)

What delicious dishes Tuning Spork will be whipping up:

Grill-Roasted Turkey Breast
(With a dry rub of paprika, cayenne, garlic, onion, black pepper, red pepper and whatever else I wanna throw in; slow-roasted over water in the charcoal grill for 2 hours.)
Whole Wheat Raisin Bread with a Plum Sauce Swirl
(I've never attempted this before, but it should turn out pretty good if my theory is correct. [If all goes well, recipe will be posted.])
Peas and Pearl Onions in a Lemon/Pepper/Butter Glaze/Sauce
(Lawruh has her doubts about the lemon-on-peas motif. I'll show 'er...)
Twice-Baked Apples for desert
(I've already posted that recipe. This time I'll be making it for 7.)

The specialest thing about this particular cook-off of ours is that it'll be videotaped. We're gonna present a frickin' cooking show! :D

Just hope the kids and dog can get in and out of the kitchen without tripping the tripod...

Posted by Tuning Spork at 09:33 PM | Comments (3)

October 15, 2004

Jury Duty

Yep, I'll finally be serving jury duty for the first time.

I've been called many times in the past umpteen years but have either been told the night before not to show up, or sat and sat and was never called on.

This time I was called in the fourth group. Trial will last one day and concerns liablity for injuries resulting from a traffic accident on Boston Avenue on October 13th, 2000.

Nabisco is involved for some reason (probably the plaintiff's employer who doesn't want to pay workman's comp). I'll find out more on Tuesday.

I've been given several pieces of advice over the past few days about how to get out of jury duty. ("Just tell them that you think we live in an overly litigeous society".)

There's an old joke that we rely on juries made up of people not smart enough to get out of jury duty.
But, if I ever needed a jury, I'd want a jury made up of people who are smart enough to get out of it but don't.
Dagnabbit, I'm no arm-chair American!

I'll be happy to serve. I think it'll be a good experience for me, as well as a needed service to the parties to the case.

Just another note: I'll be watching Fahrenheit 9-11 this evening. Pray for me.
I may have a review of it to post tonight if I'm not successfully brainwashed by then...

Posted by Tuning Spork at 05:41 PM | Comments (2)

Just talkin' Heroes again...

You don't wanna hear me rant about my day.

Trust me.

But I'll just say: Note to a certain bus driver: Set yer watch to Eastern Daylight Time. You've cost me 2 hours and 20 minutes today...

Other than that, I wanna sing this old song out loud. If you know the tune to this old song then do yourself a favor and learn it...!

A world without Heroes is like world without sun. You can't look up to anyone without Heroes. A world without Heroes is like a never-ending race; It's like a time without a place: a pointless thing devoid of grace

where you don't know what you're after --
or if something's after you --
and you don't know why you don't know..
...in a world without Heroes.

In a world without Dreams
things are no more than they seem.

A world without Heroes is like a bird without wings,
or a bell that never rings.
Just a sad and useless thing

where you don't know what you're after
or if something's after you.
And you don't know why you don't know.

In a world without Heroes
there's nothing to be.
That's no place for me.

-- Gene Simmons (1981)

Posted by Tuning Spork at 12:27 AM | Comments (0)

October 12, 2004

Dog Story

Newest Munuvian Loren Bliss has a POST about having dogs around and his unfortunate current lack of such. All ye dog-lovers should give it a read.
Rachel, I'm looking in your direction...

Which reminds me of what's probably my only interesting dog story.

It was the summer of '86. Ronald Reagan was mid-way through his second term; the Mets were kickin' National League ass; Bridgeport Jai Alai was in full-form; Ferris Beuller's Day Off was in the theaters; The Cosby Show and Married... With Children were showing to sides of a demented coin; Milli Vanilli was still three years away.

I was 23 years old, just out of the Air Force, and working at the local Roy Rogers Restaurant. I was closing, so I usually left work at about 1:00am.

Whilst stolling leasurely down Boston Avenue in the middle of the night a dog started barking at me from behind.
I stopped and turned. He was a golden-furred doggie of unknown (to me) pedigree, had his right front paw lifted off the ground, and barked at me from a good 20 feet away.

I didn't have a whole lot of experience with dogs at that time, so I wasn't sure what to make of it. Was he warning me off? He was clearly not attacking me.
I turned to walk on and he barked some more.
I turned to him and saw that he'd run up a little closer, but was still keeping his distance. Paw up and barking.

Hmm. Maybe he wants me to follow him! I had no idea if those Lassie-type stories of dogs going to "find help" were true or not. Me? Dogs? Never met before.

So, I took a few steps toward the dog he immediately turned away and began to lope back down the street.
Still unsure of what was going on I stopped. Was he running away from me?

He looked back and saw that I'd stopped. He stopped and turned and barked again.
Okay, now I'm sure. He wants me to follow him. Maybe there's a kid dying on the side of the road. Or trapped in an old refrigerator. Or fell down a well, I dunno. But I guess it was up to me and my stinging tired eyes to find out.

After jogging behind the dog for about a block and a half I stopped for some reason. I guess the doubt about this 1:30am chase through the deserted side-streets of the neighborhood felt a little weird. But as soon as I stopped the dog turned and barked again -- still keeping that 20-foot distance.

I jogged on until he ran into the front yard of a house and barked at it's front door. He'd look at and bark at the door, then turn to me.
Crikey. He's locked out and wants me to let him in?!

I learned that you just can't tell a dog that not all humans carry the same keychain.

It was only after a few minutes that a car pulled into the driveway. The car stopped (to my right) and the driver stared at me. His wife leaned forward and stared at me. The look on their faces was classic. There's a strange young man in our walkway and our dog is on the front porch. What the...?

The dog ran up the car as the driver got out.

"Is that yer dog?" I asked calmly.

"He is," he said as he squatted to pet him.

"He found me on Boston Avenue," I explained, hoping to wipe that suspicious look off his face.

"The door!" his wife exclaimed as she got out of the car and went into the house.

After a few minutes I "decided" that the dog had gotten out threw a side basement door left ajar and didn't know how to get back in and that he wanted me to let him back into the house.

Like I said: You can't explain to a dog that not all us humans have the same set of keys.

I thought that he must have thought I was an idiot for not understanding that he brought me all the way home to let him inside.

Of course, what was really going on in that house I'll never know.

Ah, well. At least I got to find out why people love dogs and that Timmy wasn't trapped in the well again.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 09:36 PM | Comments (1)

Just some filler while I'm away...:

Some quotes curtousy of Don via Best of the Web via John Kerry's own silly mouth:

* "I'll never give a veto to any country over our security. But..."

* "I believe in being strong and resolute and determined. And I will hunt down and kill the terrorists, wherever they are. But..."

* "We have to be steadfast and resolved, and I am. And I will succeed for those troops, now that we're there. We have to succeed. We can't leave a failed Iraq. But..."

* "I believe that we have to win this. The president and I have always agreed on that. And from the beginning, I did vote to give the authority, because I thought Saddam Hussein was a threat, and I did accept that intelligence. But..."

* "I have nothing but respect for the British, Tony Blair, and for what they've been willing to do. But..."

* "What I want to do is change the dynamics on the ground. And you have to do that by beginning to not back off of the Fallujahs and other places, and send the wrong message to the terrorists. You have to close the borders. You've got to show you're serious in that regard. But..."

* "I couldn't agree more that the Iraqis want to be free and that they could be free. But..."

* "No president, through all of American history, has ever ceded, and nor would I, the right to pre-empt in any way necessary to protect the United States of America. But..."

*"I've never wavered in my life. I know exactly what we need to do in Iraq, and my position has been consistent: Saddam Hussein is a threat. He needed to be disarmed. We needed to go to the U.N. The president needed the authority to use force in order to be able to get him to do something, because he never did it without the threat of force. But..."

-- John Kerry

Seymore Butts! Hey, I wan' a Seymore Butts, here...!

Why you little...
-- Moe Sizlak

Posted by Tuning Spork at 01:15 AM | Comments (1)

October 11, 2004

Lame-ass Post #386

We all know that John Kerry has been running for president since about 1967, right?
Well, surprise! His lust for the oval office goes back even farther than that.

While just a toddler at the time, the super-intelligent Kerry was already well-heeled in the nuanced arts.
Check out this recently unearthed transcript of a speech he gave in October of '44 whilst practicing and honing his campaigning style:

"Back on 12/7 '41 we were, as the President said, attacked by air and navel forces of the Empire of Japan. And yet, nearly three years later, we are no closer to capturing Hirohito then we were then.

Instead, the President has purposely distracted our attention to the war in Europe.
He claims that Adolph Hitler is a threat to America despite the fact that Adolph has no means of attacking our shores.

Four months after that horrific disaster known as D-Day Hitler is STILL in power, and Americans are dying everyday in Europe.
He took our eyes off the ball and we now find ourselves in a quagmire in Western Europe and a seemingly never-ending and unprogressive chase through the South Pacific.

The Germans hate us; the Japanese hate us; the Italians hate us. And how, in our president's mind, can we hope to win the peace without the support of the Germans and Italians? What kind of an "alliance" is that?!"

This president has f**ked up this war from the very beginning all because he has no plan -- set out for all to see and judge -- to win the peace.

And so I say, Mr. President, that I only have one question: How can you ahsk someone to be the last man to die for this mistake?

Hmm. Li'l Johnny hasn't changed a bit.

Hey, I warned ya that this was a lame-ass post! Sorry. Watching baseball... :o

Posted by Tuning Spork at 09:23 PM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2004

Just tying up a loose end...

Another perfect day. Went for a long walk, sat in the yard with the dog and cats for a while, made some brown sugar glazed carrots with raisons (I'm on a raison kick all of a sudden), and, for dinner, whipped up some chicken, mushrooms and corn on the cob. Mmmm.

Neighbor Jim never showed up to help me get the squirrels out of the attic, though. He volunteered to help as I'm too nervous about making that transition from ladder to roof. Never did it before; never want to try it.
Around 4:00 I could hear the squirrels making their way back into the roof. Aah, well. Next weekend I may have to smoke 'em out with a Black Flag fogger, or something.

Now the sun has set and I can relax as I wait for the Simpsons to come on.
[UPDATE: The Simpsons have been pre-empted in favor of the Cardinals-Dodgers game. Aah, well. An evening of baseball is good, too!]

Oh, the loose end.

Michele was kind enough to post a beauty of a photo for me here. She's an Asian cutie, for sure! Thanks, Michele!

But, just to put this whole thing behind me, I'm going to go ahead and post the two jpegs that I have that are the closest to what I was looking for last week.




And there we have it. Finis. Ain't she the ginchiest?
Gaze into her eyes, dosey doe. Once you've got 'er, let 'er go.

bbl :)

Posted by Tuning Spork at 07:04 PM | Comments (0)

October 09, 2004

Twice Baked Apples

Well, thankfully my long week of hell at work is done and I can relax and actually have some time to read some blogs and come up with a post.

This a yummy treat that I thought up on Wednesday afternoon.
I told my co-worker, Lawruh, that I was planning on making some apple sauce and we got into a debate about recipes.

I said that I was going to use cinnamon and nutmeg to spice it up, but that I was also going to try, for the first time, raisons.
She then suggested adding some brown sugar and suddenly I realized that those would be all the usual ingredients of a baked apple.

Then it hit me. Twice-Baked Apples!

I finally got around to making two of 'em this afternoon and have just finished chowing one of 'em. Mmmmmmm.
I'll probably wait a while to eat the other one; probably for desert in about an hour or so.
Aw, hell, where's that spoon...!

Wanna try it? Here's what t' do!

For 2 apples you'll need:

3 large Cortland apples (should weigh in at about two pounds total)
tbsp brown sugar
a few dashes of cinnamon
a dash or two of nutmeg
about 1/3 cup of raisons

(I specify Cortland apples because that's what I use. The only other baking apple I've tried was Rome Beauty and they, in my experience, have always been too soft and tend to collapse under their own weight if ya look at 'em sideways after baking.
I hear Granny Smiths are good, too, but I think a baked apple should be red, not green. Or yellow. But, that's just me, I guess.)

Preheat the oven to 350o.

Peel and core 1 of the 3 apples and cut it into large chunks. (I cut it into wedges and then just cut the wedges in half.) Toss 'em into a medium-sized saucepan. Also, cut away any good apple from the core and add it to the pan.

Cut of the crowns of the two remaining apples. Peel and save the good apple from the crowns. Add it to the saucepant. (I also threw in some pieces of apple peel for good measure.)

Peel off the top 1/4" of the apple shells.

Using a melon baller or teaspoon or grapefruit spoon, carefully dig out the guts of the two apples leaving a 1/4" wall.
Be careful not to use the apple's shell for leverage while you dig; we don't wanna end up makin' twice-cracked apples here!
The Cortlands are pretty soft and you should be able to empty the shell pretty easily if you do it slowly and carefully.

Toss all of the good apple that you dug out of the shells into the pot and discard the pieces from the core.

Add just a little bit water -- 1/8 cup or so -- to the pot and turn it up to medium-high heat. Once the apples start to simmer lower the heat until you get a nice consistent simmer going.

After about 5-10 minutes of simmering the apple sauce, put the apple shells into the 350o oven and bake for 20 minutes. The apple sauce will be done at the same time as the shells.

Add the dashes of nutmeg and cinnamon and the tablespoon of brown sugar to the applesauce and stir. Stir the sauce every few minutes as the apple chucks soften.

5 minutes before the shells are done (15 minutes after they'd gone in) add the raisons to the sauce and stir 'em in there. The kitchen oughta be smellin' real good about now.

Grab a potato masher and mash the apple chucks a little bit or a lot, depending on how you like it. I like it half saucy and half chunky. The chunks are soft and will fall apart very easily, so I just do about 5 or 6 mashes and it's perfect.

When the shells are done take 'em out of the oven and turn off the oven and range top and turn on the broiler.

Scoop the applesauce into the shells. You wont have any apple sauce left over; the shells will be just slightly heaping with the apple sauce.

Sprinkle some sugar over the top of each stuffed apple and broil for about 3 minutes to caramelize the sugars on the surface.

Remove from broiler.
Turn off broiler.
Let 'em cool for a few minutes.
Put on It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.
Grab a teaspoon (or two) and eat 'em up!

(Okay, so these aren't technically "twice baked". I just thought it was catchier than "half-simmered, half-baked, once-broiled".)

Posted by Tuning Spork at 06:30 PM | Comments (3)

October 06, 2004

Fine dining on a thin budget

Boston Post Road
Milford, CT 06460


In my many years of Restaurantouring I've come across many surprising and exotic dishes. But, rarely have I come across an establishment with a menu that seemed so familiar and, yet, surprised me by the uniqueness of the fare.

Such was the case with my sampling of the entres and side dishes at one McDonald's Restaurant.
It is located in Milford, CT, but word has it that there may be several other locations as well.

As I like to try several dishes over a few days or weeks to get an overall sense of the eatery, I returned several times over a two week period, ordering a different assortment of courses each time. Or, at least I tried to. But, more on that later.

I presume that the proprietor -- a Mr.Ronald McDonald -- is of either Irish or Scottish descent, and the menu reflects that heritage very well. Though my attempts to speak with Mr. McDonald were to no avail. When I asked employees if I could speak to Ronald McDonald I was consistently met with a blank stare followed by an exasperated "Sir, he's just a clown."
I came to presume that his employees wished to protect him from being bothered with questions from a restaurant critic because he may be an excentric personality. That would also go some way in explaining much of his food.

Let me begin with the breakfast menu.

There is a menu item that Mr. McDonald has dubbed the "Egg McMuffin." What this is is a fried egg, Canadian-style bacon and cheese served on an English muffin. It is essentially an Eggs Benedict without the Hollandaise sauce, and served as a sandwich rather than open-faced.

The egg is fried and the yolk unbroken, yet, cooked; not runny. The most interesting feature is that the egg is perfectly flat and round, as if cooked in a shallow round tin. I've never seen anything like it. It also seems to be seasoned with salt. (Not for nothing, but I like to add my own salt to my eggs.)
All in all, it's not a bad item. But there are better and more interesting concoctions to choose from.

The sandwich is served (if you wish to pay for an "extra-value meal") with a side of hash browns. These are like no hash browns I've ever encountered before.
The taste is familiar enough, but the oddest thing is that they are carefully shaped and set into a sturdy flat oval shaped patty. The breakfast chefs must spend a considerable amount of care while grilling the finely-diced potatoes in order to get them to hold their shape.

I'm not sure that such aesthetic creativity is worthy of a simple side of hash browns. But, I must admit it had me somewhat impressed.

Another breakfast item that I sampled is called "The Big Breakfast". The only thing is: it's not particularly big.
It consists of what seems to be approximately 1 1/2 scrambled eggs, a sausage patty, a bisquit and the ever-present side of hash browns.

The scrambled eggs were tasty enough after I sprinkled some black pepper over them. But, they had an almost stale quality to them. Not outright rubbery, but close enough that I began to wonder if they had been cooked much earlier and then simply reheated when I had placed the order.
But, that would just be silly, wouldn't it? Why in the world would anyone pre-cook something that takes only about a minute to prepare?

The sausage patty was pretty standard fare. It had a nice spicy zing to it that was improved by a sprinking of black pepper.
It, like the fried egg in the aforementioned "Egg McMuffin", was perfectly flat and round. Perhaps the chef is pounding the sausage material into a flat plank and using something akin to a circular cookie cutter to achieve such a consistency of size and shape.

On one occassion I attempted to pay my compliments to the chef on his remarkable ingenuity in implimenting such unusual means of producing a sausage patty, but was unable to get past the language barrier. He didn't speak English and I don't speak what I presume was Gaelic. He was a kind gentleman, though unusually dark-featured for an Irishman.

The bisquit, however, was not so impressive. My advice to Mr. McDonald is to hire a new pastry chef.

The bisquit was not at all light and fluffy. It was, rather, heavy and somewhat greasy. The grape jam that I added made it a bit more palatable. But, after having eaten about half of it, I set it aside.

The third, and last, breakfast meal that I sampled is a strange sandwich called a "Bacon, Egg and Cheese McGriddle".
The egg is of yet another uniquely McDonaldian variety. It is a scrambled egg that is folded over thrice into the shape of a perfect square. I tell ya, my fellow connoisuers, these chefs must be very well compensated to bear with the exacting standards that Mr. McDonald has laid down for his restaurant's culinary offerings.

I was also very impressed with the bacon. It wasn't too rare and neither was it overdone. The grill chef has a mighty fine feel for his craft. My compliments again.

But, the most astounding pieces of this parquetresque puzzle were the handles of the sandwich. They are akin neither to an English muffin, a bisquit or a bagel; they are more like two pancakes. The most original aspect of the taste is that they seem to have maple syrup cooked within the pancake batter!
A more unique combination of tastes I have never endured than I did with each bite of this masterpiece.

Another strange feature of the pancakes was that they each had a stylized "M" seemingly branded into them. Yet another indication that Mr. McDonald spares no expense nor effort to make sure that his selection is unlike any other dishes that could be found in any other fine restaurant.

I've also sampled several items from the lunch and dinner menu. Yes, singular; menu. They are identical, and I have no words of recommendation for any of the dining options.

But, that's for another column.

So, 'til next time,
Bon apetit!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 09:32 PM | Comments (3)

October 04, 2004

Time flies when you're in a funk

Getting home at 8:30 in the evening leaves little time for blogging. Between doing a load of laundry, preparing dinner and trying to do a little reading, there's so little time left to form a post.

I got the idea today to research Kabbalah for some reason. I wanted to find out what exactly it was and then maybe give y'all an idea of it -- in case you, like I, had no idea what it was all about but might be interested in some basics.

The above link gives a very basic outline of what Kabbalah is all about. I don't have any more time tonight to delve into it and then to write a meaningful post about it, but I'll just give ya an idea of what I'm thinking so far.

Kabbalah (the "religion"/movement/trendy excercize in spirituality, not the actual word) is a combination of the study of the Torah and Talmud with a Buddhist-like focus on mystical laws. The revealed, written "body" of the Torah (the Law) must be balanced and united with a pursuit of understanding the unrevealed, unwritten "spirit" of the Torah (the Kabbalah). The purpose is to achieve a oneness with God and the Law -- or, what the Buddhists call Enlightenment.

The Nicheren Buddhist chant, "Nam myoho renge kyo", loosely tranlates to "Praise be to the mystical law of cause and effect through sound". The idea is that focussing your mind and body -- and all of it's senses -- on the ritual of the pursuit of Enlightenment will help you to eventually become enlightened about the linear nature of cause and effect in the personal and spiritual world just as we've become "enlightened" about cause and effect in the mechanical world that we experience.

Kabbalah, however, seems to have no ritualistic practice. It's a call to focus on understanding the unwritten "spirit" of the Torah. If we endeavor to understand the Truth and beauty behind the Law, they seem to be saying, then we'll be closer to a personal union with God. Okay, sound good to me.

The thing about it though is that, since there's no practice or ritual involved, the focus on understanding the "spirit" is really no more than the introspection that we naturally apply when we seek an understanding of the Law.
In short: Aren't we doing this anyway? Seems to me that anyone who'd get involved with "Kabbalah" is already, by definition, living it's "teachings".

My under-educated guess is that those who tell us that they're into Kabbalah are either; a: looking for like-minded Enlightenment seekers just to know that they're not alone; b: looking for something to believe in that wont take up too much of their layin'-around time, or; c: trend-seeking poseurs.

Maybe I'm being too harsh, suspicious, and/or too quick to draw (wouldn't be the first time). But it just seems to me that to give something so basal as the search for the ultimate Truth a proper name smacks of shallow, unenlightened tribalism.

I'm just sayin' is all... Have a happy! ;P

Posted by Tuning Spork at 11:28 PM | Comments (2)

October 03, 2004

Ooops, I did it again.

Yep, went looking for a photo again, caught a virus within minutes, had to reformat.

Why is it so frickin' hard to find a simple picture of a beautiful Japanese woman fully clothed in a pretty floral pattern dress and with a mysterious farawy look in her eye?! Why oh why?!

Then, I really thought I had the answer: Search in google, but only click on the Cashed page. If I'm not sure if it's a porn site then I can safely surf it! And if I find what I want - and it's not a porn site - I can just Back into google and hit the active link. That'd protect my harddrive from the insidious talons of spambots, eh?

No-o-o-o-o! Turns out that Google's "archived" cashed pages still bring in those page's automated crapola. Cra-a-a-a-p!!

Anywho, I've finally given up on finding an appropriate photo to accompany my crappy poem. You'll just have to picture her in yer head like I do.
Sorry. I'd just love love love to put up a pretty picture but, y'know, I'm kinda sick and tired of reformatting my whole frickin' harddrive in such an obviously abject search.

But lemme give it one more try...

[time elapsed: 12 minutes]

...ooooo-kay, went looking for a fully-clothed Asian angel to show ya and all I came with was this:


I hereby surrender to the gods of Propriety and Caution. I will go no further in my quest for just one stinkin' jpeg of a classy Japanese woman in a flowing floral robe.

Crikey. Ted, help me out here! I don't want girls in bikinis, I want women in splendorous dresses! My kingdom for a back-lit beauty in a red patterned evening gown that's as light as the breeze and as graceful as a clock.

Don't send me URLs, guys and gals. If ya can, send me a jpeg!!!!!!

(BTW, my REAL post for tonight -- on the American Dream and exactly it is -- was erased by a two-hour blackout caused by lord knows what. Maybe I'll try re-writing it tomorrow...]

Posted by Tuning Spork at 10:20 PM | Comments (4)
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