April 30, 2005

McCain Responds to Macklin. We respond to McCain.

Stephen Macklin wrote a letter a while back to, I believe, Senators McCain, Feingold, Leiberman, Shays and Meehan. (Maybe not Meehan -- don't recall exactly.) He recieved an email from Leiberman's office a short time later and, finally, has received his second response, via snail mail, from John McCain.

Steve addressed it (at the link above). And since I just can't resist, I'm gonna add some fiskilicious points of my own.

Dear Mr. Macklin:

Thank you for contacting me regarding campaign finance reform and “527 Groups”. I appreciate you taking the time to share your views.

As Stephen noted over at Hold The Mayo, his letter to the Senators didn't mention 527s at all, which makes it clear that this is a prefab letter sent out to anyone who writes Senator McCain about BCRA. Steve critiqued the response not only for it's content, but for how it failed to address his central points. I'm just gonna concentrate on the content of McCain's letter.

As you know, after seven years of sometimes fierce and vigorous debate on the issue, President Bush signed the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA) into law on March 27, 2002. On December 10, 2003, the Supreme Court, in McConnell v. FEC, upheld the constitutionality of key provisions of BCRA dealing with soft money and electioneering communications.

As Stephen points out (yes, I've got something original to add, just gimme a minute), notice how the F for "finance" is missing from the abbreviated title. This Act's erosion of speech was never meant to be restricted merely to when financing is involved. But, we'll get to that later. McCain continues:

This legislation ended the practice of the President, party leaders, and members of Congress from soliciting huge donations from corporations, unions, and wealthy individuals. BRCA's overriding goal was to reduce the corrupting influence of unlimited soft money contributions to political parties, usually solicited by federal candidates and office holders.

I'll never be one to deny the corruptive influence of large-money donations. I mean, I voted for Ross Perot in '96. But, BC[F]RA goes a lot further than that -- effecting (or now, trying to effect) all donors, large or small.

When people complain that they can never be heard because they're "only one voice" my blood pressure rises. If you want your voice to carry then join a chorus. One singer can't sing Handel's Messiah at the Christmas pageant; s/he wont be heard in the back rows. But get a hundred singers on the platform and their strains will be heard half a mile away.

There are associations of people for nearly every imaginable interest. Some bigger than others, of course. The NRA, NAACP, AARP, ACLU, Swiftboat Vets for Truth (SVT), MoveOn.org, etc etc, all organized to spread their concerns and influence lawmakers.

But, the key to removing corruption is to remove the corruptible. Let's say you're a New Jersey Democrat and your choice boils down to a Republican or Bob Torricelli. Yer screwed. Incumbants rarely face challenges in their own party's primaries. This is a travesty. Parties don't like to have their candidates "weakened" by the challenges that neccessarily result from a primary season, so they just end up sending the same old blithering faces back to Washington without being held to any serious accountability by their own party members or their constituents.

If the choice for a New Jersey Democrat is between a Republican or a corrupt Democrat, the Democrat will usually win. Torricelli found himself in a position of being the exception, not the rule, and opted out. (While I deplored the extra-Constitutional way in which Frank Lautenburg was able to replace Torricelli on the ballot, at least all them New Jersey Democrats had a relatively clean candidate to vote for.)

Anywho, McCain continues:

There can be little doubt that this new law has improved the system. Despite predictions to the contrary, the parties have thrived, raising as much in limited donations from individuals in this cycle as they did in hard and soft money combined in 2000.

That, in and of itself, is a big plus. But, at what cost? And what more cost is Senator McCain willing to burden us lowly av-er-age bears with? Now we get to the meat of the matter:
While BRCA has proven successful, the recent growth of political committees commonly known as “527” groups, referring to their exempt-status under section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code, have emerged as a new vehicle for raising and spending illegal soft money. [Emphasis added]

McCain calls 527s "illegal". Let's look at McConnell v. FEC, shall we?

[BCRA] §323(d) prohibits national, state, and local party committees, and their agents or subsidiaries, from "solicit[ing] any funds for, or mak[ing] or direct[ing] any donations" to, any organization established under §501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code that makes expenditures in connection with an election for federal office, and any political organizations established under §527 "other than a political committee, a State, district, or local committee of a political party, or the authorized campaign committee of a candidate for State or local office." 2 U. S. C. A. §441i(d) (Supp. 2003). The District Court struck down the provision on its face. We reverse and uphold §323(d), narrowly construing the section's ban on donations to apply only to the donation of funds not raised in compliance with FECA. [Emphasis added]

In other words: So long as there is no coordination between the 527s and the political parties, or candidates themselves, the 527 exemption remains just as it was under the old 1974 FECA.

If John McCain thinks that 527s like SVT and MoveOn.org were/are illegally spending "soft money" then he is at odds with his precious McConnell v. FEC. Either that or he just likes to call what he doesn't like illegal. This isn't "straight-talk", Senator. This is, to be kind, "dissembling". 527s -- associations of interested like-minded individuals -- are perfectly legal. You haven't squashed all dissent yet and you just hate that, don't you! HA!

What's interesting to note, at this point, is that McCain's letter is arguing for the further expansion of campaign reform (notice the absence of the word "finance") to a letter-writer who'd prefer to repeal what's already been enacted. Whatever. It's a prefab form letter..

527 Groups supporting both presidential candidates raised and spent tens of millions of dollars in soft money on ads and partisan voter mobilization efforts to influence the presidential election.

THE HORROR!!! The wee folk are organizing against their overlords! [/sarcasm] Yes, Senator, some of us actually give a damn about who wins elections and want to mobilize and convince others to see the big picture and vote in their own interests, not yours. It's called "government of the People, by the People, for the People." Is "influence" a dirty word all of a sudden? Is, then, a fellow Arizonan's threat of withholding their vote for you in the next election an illegal "influence" on your re-election? How far are we going to take this nonsense? Huh?! ANSWER ME!!!

At the core of the financing for these 527 groups was a relatively small number of very wealthy individuals making very large soft money contributions. Four individuals alone gave a combined total of $78 million to these groups! The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has shamefully failed to do its job to require these obviously political groups to register as political committees, which would obligate them to comply with the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1974.

Okay, let's get something straight here. When McCain says "soft money", he isn't talking, anymore, about the money that's given to political parties (as opposed to specific candidates). He's now talking about your money. He's talking about private individuals who're spending their own money to announce their own po-lit-ic-al op-in-i-ons. Are we clear on this? John McCain equates you spending your own money, as a private and sovereign citizen, to get your message out, with **gasp!** political corruption!

"These people are talking amongst themselves! And they're talking about US! And they have opinions! THIS MUST BE STOPPED!"

F@#$%k you, John McCain. (Pardon my Freedom.)

1974 campaign finance law and the failure of the FEC to properly regulate the activities of these groups. THE BCRA reforms continue to function, despite the presence of these 527 groups. It is significant that FEC registered hard money contributions to the 2004 presidential campaign has outnumbered the 527 political groups spending by a factor of seven at last count.


If you're tauting the figure ("a factor of seven") as evidence that 527s can't compete, financially, with the party's own "hard money" as a sign that 527s are less influential than the individual contributions of supporters then I got news for ya: A $2,000 individual contributer can't get his @$$ on the news. That's why we ban together into 527s. (Can't let the big guys hog all the ink.) Can I get a Hallelujah?!

Because the FEC had failed to properly enforce federal law and require the 527 groups to register as political committees, I have introduced legislation along with Senator Feingold that would require all 527s to register as political committees unless they raise and spend money solely in connection with non-Federal candidate elections.

Can't have us talkin' about ya behind yer back, now can we...?
It is unfortunate that Congress must take legislative action requiring the FEC to properly enforce the law, but we cannot allow the obstinate acts of non-elected commissioners to obstruct the law and to dilute the influence that average American's have in determining who will lead their country.

Er... did I read that right? Hmmmm... Sadly, yes.

In case anyone is still in the dark about this, let's recap.

Remember the last election? Remember those Swiftboat Vet guys? Remember those MoveOn.org ads? Remember all that precious yammering on and on by people from Dan Ra™er to Powerline? That's what John McCain wants to squelch. If you still think that that's not what he wants then think harder. He equates debate and advocacy with... bribery. If anyone might be in danger of actually making a difference then it's, obviously, nothing more than corrupt influence peddling! No? Yeuh!

What Senator McCain wants to do away with is corruption. I get that. Unfortunately, by his chosen method of doing so, he'll only end up -- if he has his way even more than he's already had -- doing away with the very Liberty and accountability that he claims to cherish; thus only exacerbating the problem that he seeks to solve.

By "taking the money out of politics" he would gladly take the discourse out of politics. No way, no how, Senator. Dispite your worst efforts we are still free to yammer on and on as long as we like. And, yes, we'll talk about you and, fair warning, there ain't sh@#$t you'll ever be able to do about it.

Again, thank you for contacting me regarding campaign finance reform.
Please feel free to contact me on this or any other matter of concern.

(Autopen signature) John
John McCain
United States Senator

No, I will not feel free. I am free. But, thanks for the invite... bitch.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 08:02 PM | Comments (1)

April 28, 2005

Where's the Left of Me?

So, anyway, about a year ago I wrote about how I strained my left arm while digging up a garden in the backyard and it went numb. It came back to life within a week, but it's still not back to a full state of normalcy. My arm feels weak, mu left hand shakes when I try to do precision movement.

About a week and a half ago I wrote about how my left ear had closed up much as it did a while back for 4 1/2 years. It's still closed.

So, today at work, I was cutting some oversized letterhead. It's oversized because it has a three-way bleed. (Meaning: the ink runs off the edge of the paper at top, left and bottom. You can't print a bleed straight-up on 8 1/2 x 11 paper because it will build up and the blanket cylinder and cause blotching along the edge of the sheet.)

So, anyway, I put a stack into the cutting area and reached for it again to jog it (make it a nice and even stack o'paper). My left middle finger scraped what is supposed to be the clamp bar and, instead, scraped the knife.

The sharpest things we encounter in our normal daily lives are kitchen knives. The blade on a paper cutter is a bizzilion times sharper than kitchen knives.

The knife, inexplicably, was hanging below the protective clamp. I merely scraped it. It took a nice red swatch of my fingernail and a bit of the skin beneath.


Lemme tell ya, I haven't felt real physical pain since that wisdom tooth extraction where the tooth broke apart and each root had to be extracted one-by-one.

But the pain wasn't when I scraped the knife, nosirree. It was when I ran cold water over the wide-open wound.


The injury itself was actually kinda painless. Y'ever put the * node of a D battery on your tongue? That's what it felt like -- only much more intense. Definately a warning of injury, but not really what I'd describe as intense pain.

It's bandaged now, of course, thanks in large part to the efforts and concerns of new Boss and his wife. They continually asked me if I wanted to go the hospital to have it looked at. "Bah, what can they do about it that we can't?" I stubbornly resisted.

But, it took quite a while to finally stop bleeding. I mean, it's a gash of nail and skin, not a mere cut that can close by itself. The dermis is exposed. Will the skin shortly become tough? How will the fingernail grow back in over it? I think I'd like to know what to expect here.

New Boss, Minuteman Jim and I spent about an hour examining and greasing the cutter's mechanical parts. We got the blade to consistantly rest above the clamp, but the resting place was inconsistant. We also wanna know why we don't have a frickin' manual for the thing. It's a frickin' machine, dammit. It's supposed to be doing the same exact thing every time.

New Boss is probably wondering what he's gotten himself into. I'm amazed at how little I've heard the jangle of the front door opening and closing and at how silent the phones have been. And, now, an injury and an issue with the cutter. I tried to assure him that this week is not normal.

Oh, well. I redressed the finger tonight. I read the instructions on the medicated pads I wrapped it in. Boss's wife put the first dressing on backwards. **sigh**.

I've seen plenty of press repairmen, who are former operators themselves, with fingers missing down to their second knuckle. I've been doing this work for over 18 years and I'm starting to wonder if it's just a matter of time before real tragedy strikes.

Busy day on the press tomorrow. Two big jobs need to ne delivered Monday morning. Wish me luck!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 10:40 PM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2005

Star Trek is back and I almost missed it!

Vic over at screenrant.com posted THIS way back in November. I wish I'd seen it then because, apparantly, I've been missing an excellent 4th (and now final) season of Enterprise.

Berman and Braga have given the production reigns to one Manny Coto. Coto is huge fan of the orginal series, and has produced episodes that actually live up to the original concept of Enterprise. These episodes actually connect with, and expand on, the existing lore!

I caught my first episode of the season on Saturday night. It was a "Mirror, Mirror" episode (part 1) called Through a Mirror, Darkly. I'm going to watch all of the remaining episodes (finale on May 13th!) and then watch all the others in reruns throughout the summer.

It's a pity that most of the audience is already gone and, like me, has missed most of what has been, apparantly, a true Star Trek season.

If you like Star Trek -- especially TOS and TNG -- don't miss this season's episodes. Once they're gone they're gone. (They will have produced 99 episodes; one fewer than the minimum required for syndication.)

Live long and prosper.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 10:04 PM | Comments (1)

April 23, 2005

Post for a rainy day

Well, it's cool and rainy and quiet and dreary 'round these parts. Good day to get some cleaning and laundry done. And experiment in the kitchen, of course.

It's also a good day to brush up on kvetchitude. For, y'see, summer is coming and one of my favorite activities is to get together with a friend or two, sip some homemade lemonade and/or drink some beer and just sit on the porch and bitch about stuff. And now's as good a time as any to get in some spring training.

Let's see...

Why is it so dam windy in Milford? They're no closer to the water than Bridgeport is. Yet, when I take the bus from Birdgeport to Milford, I can watch the large flags that line the bus route. Here, they hang straight down. Through Stratford I can watch them begin the flutter more and more. By the time I get to Milford the flags are in full, all-out, majestic flappery*.

[* I couldn't think of an appropriate word. "Flappery" will hafta do.]

Hmm. I'm rustier than I thought. Lemme try another one...

What's up with people who want to fly those little airplanes? I flew in one once when my father was doing a little flying. It felt just like riding in an old Volkswagon Beetle. Sure the view is better. Or maybe it's just different.
The thing is: If you're driving and your engine cuts out, or you run out of gas, you can just pull over to the shoulder and flag down a passing motorist. If you're flying and your engine cuts out, or you run of gas, you can just pull your legs up passed you shoulders and kiss your ass good-bye. Nope, you'll never get ME up in one of those things again.

Hmm. A little better, but still not there yet. I'm warming up, though. Let's see....

And how come all the months of the year have 3-letter abbreviations except for September? Why is it "Sept" and not "Sep"? And if it's okay to have 4-letter abbreviations then why do we bother to abbreviate June and July? I mean, the abbreviation for June is J-u-n. You GOTTA be in a hurry.

And whose bright idea was it to turn Star Trek into a soap opera? Have you watching Enterprise? The episodes are good -- often great. But, man, they're not stand-alone episodes. I missed alot of episodes and then tried to keep with it. It's one big long plotline. I stopped watching when the re-runs kicked in during the whole Xindi saga and I couldn't tell what happened before what. One week Archer was arguing with the head mammalian, then the next week they were strangers again. No wonder the thing got cancelled.

Well, I've got ways to go before I'm in topnotch bitchin' shape. For now I'll get back to some cooking. Lobster tortallini. Cheese tortallini smothered in a lobster bisque. Yum.

Kvetch ya later, pilgrims!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 03:49 PM | Comments (3)

April 22, 2005

And in local news...

Wasn't this in a Simpson's episode?

Sorry for the lousy photo. It's an enlargement of a very small photo -- the only one provided at the Connecticut Post's website.


FAIRFIELD — A woman being transported from a minor Merritt Parkway accident Thursday allegedly suffered additional injuries when her American Medical Response ambulance suddenly flipped onto its side and crashed near a tree while rushing to a hospital.

She remained lashed to a stretcher inside the ambulance until freed by rescue workers.


The woman, Delea Delima, 34, of Shelton, was reported to be in stable condition late Thursday at St. Vincent's Medical Center in Bridgeport. State Police said she complained of neck pain after the ambulance crash.

You can't make this stuff up. Full story HERE.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 08:12 PM | Comments (0)

April 21, 2005

Aaah, A Free Day To Do Absolutely Nuthin'

I did something today that I don't think I've ever done before. At least, not in the past 15 years, or so.

I decided to take a day off from work. For no good reason. Just to, y'know, take a day off from work.

I woke up at 6:30 and didn't feel like getting up. So, I didn't. I re-awoke at 7:30 and still didn't feel like getting up. So, I didn't.

I awoke yet again at around 8:30. "If I rush out the door I can be at work around 10:30," I thought. "Nah, I'd rather take a shower, leave the house at 10:00 and -- because of the bus schedules -- be in work around noon."

But, showering and other sundry bathroom duties made it impossible to get out the door in time. The earliest I could be at work was 1:00pm. Then I thought: "There's almost nada work to do. Certainly nothing that can't wait 'til tomorrow."

So, I phone the Boss and told him that I was running late, it was a lovely spring day, there's nothing pressing at work and, what the hey, I'm just gonna take an unscheduled day off because I can.

"Well," he mused. "Okay. See ya tomorrow!"

Later on, I fired up the charcoal grill (with hardwood charcoals, not briquettes) and cooked me a 9 ounce filet mignon to go with my boiled and buttered potatoes (with a topping of onion, garlic, parsley, salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper) and butter-slathered corn on the cob. What a peeeeleasant afternoon I had.

I know exactly how my cat, little Stinky, felt as he was lazing in the sun on the cushions on the back porch all afternoon.

And, yeah, I'm looking for some inspiration for some actual meaningful content now. Slow news day week. That and the leaves are finally starting to explode out of their buds. Aaah. This is what it all about.

So, grab all ye like... smiles are on me! :)

Posted by Tuning Spork at 05:24 PM | Comments (0)

April 20, 2005

Assignment: Business Name

So, friend and former co-worker Lawruh has been doing free-lance for a few weeks. She likes that she's home for the kids now.

She went into NYC this week to make a presentation and the potential clients were mightily impressed.

"Love it! Can I have your card?" they bellowed.

"D'oh!" she thought. She ended up writing her name an email address on little post-it notes.

So, she asked me to come up with a name for her business. After long hours of searching for something that was both "cute but elegant", I came up with....[drumroll]:

Mouse Clique.

Hear me out.

I see a business card where -- in the lower left corner -- there is a congregation of three or four mice in pale trenchcoats smoking cigarettes. One is leaning on a lamppost candlestick. They are an exclusive yet wonderous clique.

MOUSE CLIQUE Design and Grqphics.

Cute, but not too cute, depending on how it's drawn. I think I like it!

Lawruh likes it to a point. Whadda ya think??

Posted by Tuning Spork at 12:34 AM | Comments (10)

April 17, 2005

Sounds like summer

Aah, what a day. Spring. Has. Arrived.

I put up the storm windows and put down the screens and left the windows open all day. Woo hoo! There are no leaves on the trees yet, but they'll be there by the end of the month, I'm sure. Sat in the yard and listened to the Beach Boys for a while.

Now I'm sitting in my room full of two pork chops, a baked potato and two ears of corn on the cob. Yummy, they was.

But, there's one problem. I wrote HERE that I was essentially deaf in my left ear for 4½ years. This morning my left ear was closed. It still is. Hope this isn't the beginning of another long bought of partial deafness as I intend to buy a new microphone and do some recording this summer. Sinus problems suck.

That's all I got for now. Hope the weather in your neck of the woods is just as pleasant. BBL!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 08:48 PM | Comments (2)

April 15, 2005


Whatever happened to Rodney Allen Rippy? Remember him? He was a little kid who gained fame in the early '70s somehow. He appeared on all kinds of TV shows and commercials. He got his big break in ads for Jack In The Box. Nowadays, I think, Jack In The Box exists only on the west coast. What was in that special "Jack Sauce" anyway?

I remember when Rodney and little Ricky Segall appeared at a podium at a Grammy Awards show with Donny Osmond and Michael Jackson. Whatever happened to Michael Jackson? Has anyone ever figured that out?

I remember when Ricky Segall was on Wonderama which, in those days, was hosted by Bob MacAllister. Ricky sang a song called "Say Hey, Willie, Wont You Hit One Out Here?". See, that was back when Willie Mays was still playing ball. He was with the Mets at the time. The Mets won the 1973 Eastern Division with a record that was only 2 games over .500. It's still hard to believe that they actually beat the Big Red Machine in the playoffs. But, that's not really part of the story.

Bob MacAllister used to end Wonderama by singing a song called "Kids Are People, Too". I never understood what that song was supposed to be about. I was a kid and I was a person. I knew that and I think everybody else did, too. In fact, to me it looked like the world was designed for kids, not adults. But, I guess I was seeing my world through my own eyes. It was just my world; a kid's world.

I remember when the Jackson 5 appeared on the show. I was a huge fan of the Jackson 5, and Michael was my idol. I wanted to sing like him, dress like him and, basically, grow up to be him. Some dreams are better left unfullfilled. But, I digress.

The thing about TV back then was that there were only about 5-8 channels that came in reasonably clear, and everyone seemed to watch all the same shows. For instance, if you watched TV in the '70s you watched Jeaque Cousteau's specials on PBS. I remember when John Denver went along on a trip, but all I remember about it was what he said after resurfacing one time: "Was THAT a BARACUDA?!". "Baracuda" was a hit single by Heart, by the way. It wasn't as big as "Magic Man", but it was more suitable to use as thumping throbbing opening number at their concerts. But, that's not really what I wanna focus on now.

John Denver, in homage to his time with Cousteau's team, wrote a song called "Calypso". Calypso was the name of Cousteau's boat, y'see. I've always wanted to own a boat. A big wooden one like Quint's Orca in JAWS. Thought I might name it Driftwood, but, that might be tempting fate.

One of my favorite lines in JAWS is when Hooper shouts "Hey, I don't need this 'working class hero' crap!". I like it because it's a moment when Stephen Speilberg admits the formulaic (though excellent) dialogue leading up to it. Even though we, the audience, would've been fine with letting Quint's character develop as a prototypical "working class hero", Speilberg skillfully injects critique, by Hooper, to keep the characters honest and grounded so as not to seem to present them as cartoons. They are, firstly and critically, people, not kinds of people.

And, in that respect, the art of good filmmaking is alot like the art of good living: "keeping it real." Well, not just real, but keeping it really worth living. And to do that we gotta keep interacting with others. I met a guy last night at the Bridgeport bus terminal. I worked late and left at 7:15. I was waiting for the 9:10 Park Avenue bus with enough cash on me to pay for tomorrow morning's bus fare and a cup of coffee. Two singles, a quarter in my watch pocket and some loose change. Ol' Howie -- a stranger to me -- walked up to me and asked me for a cigarette. I gave him one. He saw that I only had two left at the time and said "Oh, no, I don't wanna run you out..." "It's okay." I assured him. "I've got a fresh pack at home." He hung by me with, obviously, something on his mind. I had half an hour to kill.

He told me a bit of his story. He's been out of prison for three days. They put him out homeless and penniless. He seems to be in his mid-50s and has no family or friends (that he'd like to be back in touch with) to take him in. He's a former Hell's Angels club member who, he promises, wants to live it straight and right from here on out. The Office of Whatever that needs to give him an ID card is running him in circles. All he wants, he says, is to get a frickin' ID card so's he can go to ManPower™ and get a decent day's work and pay and a place to sleep at night.

As he was talking - and my bus was arriving - I surreptitiously grabbed a single from my right jeans' pocket and stuffed it into the cigarette pack in my sweater pocket. "Don't do it," I thought. "That's yer coffee money for tomorrow morning."
When I was ready to board the bus I handed him the pack. "Take my last cigarette, Dude," I said as I left. I hope he actually looked in the box and found the dollar rather than grabbed the ciggie whilst looking at the scenery.

So, I had no coffee this morning. Oh, well. It was annoying not to be sipping some joe on the long ride to Milford, but I thought about what that dollar meant to Howie today. It was doing more good in his hands then it would've done in mine. All was well.

Just after lunchtime the Boss walked up to me and handed me an envelope. I mentioned in my last post that he'd sold the business and that today was his last day as my boss. (He's working tomorrow, but I'm not.)

I opened the envelope and in it was a card thanking me for 10+ years of loyal service. "I often recount," he said, "that half of the battle of success is just showing up. Of all the pressman I've seen in this business, you're the one that always showed up."

Wow. I opened the card and found $500 in cash. Five $100 bills. Wow!

I ran into Howie again this afternoon. I was free to leave work early, YAY!

"Hey! How's it goin'?" I asked him.

"Ugh!" he cried. "I went down to get my ID card, like I told you yesterday.. 'oh we wont have it 'til Monday' they told me." Now, he got into more detail than I will now but, bottom line, he's in deep shit 'til Monday.

"I asked them to just Give! Me! Something! Anything! Y'know, I can survive for days on $5, y'know how? Little cakes. You can get a package of two for 25cents. It puts something in your stomach, y'know? That and one meal a day at the soup kitchen is enough."

I wasn't surreptitious at all this time. 5 bucks, eh? Gotta get to Monday, eh? I pulled out me billfold and gave him a $10 bill. "Eat more than just 25cent cakes this weekend, okay?" I told him. He just about shit. He leaned in and gave me a hug like I haven't felt since my grandmother's hug at grampa's funeral. $500 in my billfold (which I'm gonna use to pay up current on the bills and maybe get a few new pairs o' jeans and some shirts) and all I had to do was give up 10 bucks of it to make a real real difference to someone whose less fortunate than even frickin' me.

When you look at the news and think about the big picture it often seems like nothing's right with the world. But, I believe, if you look at the world and think about the big picture it more often seems like there's nothing right with the news. We know what's good and we know how to be good. We so-o-o-o know how to be good it's rediculous. All we gotta do and be is what we know we're s'posed to be doin' and bein'.

Blessings come to those who bless.

"Huh?" I think I hear. "But, only God can bless!" Nope, I tells ya. It is we, together, who bring the blessings. God speaks to each of us and when we obey we are angels for His blessings. And the blessings, in turn, according to my experience anyway, will come to those who bless. Anywho, I believe that right now.

This post started out as a gimmick; a stream of consciousness rambling piece of nothingness. I hope that it turned into something that makes some kinda sense to someone out there!

I go google Rodney Allen Rippy now....

Posted by Tuning Spork at 09:13 PM | Comments (7)

April 13, 2005

My Day

[Fair warning: This is a tedius post. I wrote it for my own amusement health.--TS]

I haven't used an alarm clock in about a year and a half (long story, nevermind). But, I'm usually pretty good at waking up around 6-6:30am. This morning I woke up at 8:15. Do'h! Housemate Chris was in the shower and using up all the hot water. D'oh!

I got dressed as I pondered how my commute would go this morning. I'll catch the 9:15ish Park Avenue bus and transfer to the 9:30 Coastal Link (CL2) downtown. I'll get off at Milford Green and make a bank deposit to cover my incoming rent check. Since the next CL2 leaves downtown at 9:50, so I'll have about 20 minutes to go to the bank and maybe grab a cup of coffee from Dunkin Donuts. Plenty of time. I'll get on the CL2 at about 10:30, or so, and be at work by 10:45. Late, yes. But, no biggie since we're not really busy and there's only one pressing job.

Chris fi-i-i-i-nally came out of the bathroom around 8:45 and I ran in to brush my teeth and...y'know...do some other morning stuff. Of course, it ended up taking longer than expected and had to run out the door later than usual.

To catch the 9:15ish I like to leave the house at 9:00. It's about a 7 minute walk to the bus stop and this gives me time to smoke a ciggie and arrive with plenty of time to spare. Chris left the house just before I did. I was hurrying out the door when I realized that the dog was outside and the kitchen door was left wide open. Do'h!

So I went onto the back porch and said "Tuco! Come on in, mon!" He looked at me as if to say "Huh?"
"Come in, come on, let's go!"
"But I just GOT here!"
"Aw, shoot."

He slowly ambled across the yard and up the stairs and into the house. I looked at my watch. 9:08. Do'h!

I took about a minute and a half off my walk by cutting through a neighbor's yard and then power-walked toward the bus stop. I was about thirty seconds from the corner when VVROOOOM!! the bus went whizzing by. D'OH!!!

Okay, the next one comes in half-an-hour. But, this means that not only will I obviously not make the 9:30 CL2, I'll also not make the 9:50. After that they run on the hour. (Well, there's one that leaves at 10:30, but that only goes as far as the Dock Shopping Center -- half-way to my destination.) I'll have to hang around the bus terminal for about 50 minutes. Then, after I get off at Milford Green, I'll have an hours wait for the next CL2 that'll take me close to work. I probably wont get to work 'til around 12:45-1:00. D'oh.

I arrived downtown at about 9:57 and walked to a McDonald's for a cup of coffee. I almost bought breakfast. But, I figured that I'll catch the 10:30 CL2 and get off at the Dock where there's a Stop & Shop and get a sandwich for lunch. So, I got on the 10:30 and got off at the Dock and got a sandwich and side of cole slaw for my lunch. I then called work to let the Boss know that I wouldn't be in 'til around 12:45 or 1:00 because I have to stop at the bank at Milford Green. I talked to Wendy to relayed the message to the Boss.

After I went to bank at Milford Green I decided that I didn't want to hang out at the bus stop for nearly an hour and started walking to work. I arrived, 45 minutes later, at 12:15 -- more than 3 hours after having left the house. I was tired, hungry, thirsty and having to carry my hat because the wind kept blowing it off my head.

"I was searching all over for you!" Wendy said when I walked in. When she gave the Boss my message he asked her if she'd be willing to go get me. She drove down to the Dock and asked a lady if she'd a svelt young man in a camouflage hat and olive green jacket. "Yes," she told Wendy. "He just left on the bus a few minutes ago."

Wendy said she'd followed the bus route but didn't catch up to the bus. She got to the bank and waited for a few minutes. Then she drove back to the shop, but took a different route than I did. "I came up Cherry Street," I told her. "Aah," she sighed, "I took Bridgeport Avenue to Gulf Street!"
Oh, well. I thanked her for trying to find me and headed toward the main printing press where I found two new job boxes and a note from the Boss.

Bob, I would like Dining Furniture and Hayduk finished TODAY. I need to bring DF to bindery to be #'d tomorrow morning and delivered on Friday. Bossman.

Bossman had sold the business and the closing is Friday. He wants to get all of the "big" jobs done this week so's he can get paid for them. The "little" ones can wait 'til next week when the New Boss starts making the moulah. I can't say I blame him, but the jobs he wants me to do -- and the order in which he wants me to do them -- makes my job harder because the running order is impractical. I've been washing up the press to change colors and sizes after virtually every single job for a frickin' week now. Urgh!

I had just washed up the press from black (I'd finished all the black jobs first) to go to blue in order to finish up a two color job on 11x17 stock, and then some other assorted colors. Now he wants me to run a burgandy job followed by, you guessed it, a black job. D'oh! With my lunch on hold and in the fridge, I decided to put the blue ink in and run the job I was set up for. It's 2-sided, but it's only 150 pieces. I'll run it in a jiffy and then go to burgandy and then to black. (It's the black job, of course, that posilutley has to be done today and be taken to be numbered in the morning.)

But, the registration (the closeness of the black and the blue text) is pretty tight and my press doesn't have any sort of modern fine-adjustment screw. Setting it exactly right is hit and miss. After missing for half-an-hour or so I knew that this one tiny job was going to take entirely too long. I had to wash up the press and go to burgandy. d'oh.

As I was just finishing the final wipedown of the rollers that removes enough blue ink to allow me to do a "color wash" (putting in the burgandy, letting it run with what's left of the blue, wiping it down and repeating that step as it runs until the new color is sufficiently burgandy), Bossman's voice comes from behind me and across the room, "Is that press going to run today?"

I put the cotton pad down and looked at the ductor roller. I slowly nodded my head - never turning around. He has no farkin' idea how close I came to putting down the roller, grabbing my coat and walking out the door.
Well, I was never really that close to doing that. I just wish he some inkling of what he was demanding of me and how fast I was working (building up a sweat, I tells ya), or how frustrated I was with my day thus far. He is clueless about all of that. He wants the work done yesterday so's he can get every penny he can before he finally closes his accounts. Whatever. I went on with my lunch in the fridge as he ate his salad. Him, employer. Me, employee. Nevermind that I'm the one getting the work done so's he can have his finally paydy. Nevermind that I haven't eaten anything yet today. It's my job, so I'll nevermind all that and press on.

The big burgandy job, then the big black job. Coffee got me through and all was done. All was well. It was 5:45. I logged out and scarfed down my turkey sandwich and cole slaw.

Okay. So now I need to catch a bus home. I really really really wanna catch the 6:20 so's I can be in downtown Bridgeport in time to catch the 7:10 Park Avenue bus. Otherwise I'll end up taking the #11 which will leave me with a 25 minute walk home. I rushed out the door and started heading for the Stop & Shop near the bus stop so's I can grab some soap and bananas. If I walk fast enough I can be in and out of the store and at the bus stop by 6:20.

Walking across the intersection I heard a voice calling.

"Hey! Yo, Buddy! Can you come here for a second?!" I looked back and some stranger was looking at me and waving me over. What the hell did this guy want? I figured immediately that he wanted to know where I got my hat. Every stranger who talks to me is either asking for a cigarette, spare change, or wants to know where I got my hat.

"Sorry," I called. "I gotts catch a bus!" I walked on briskly into Stop & Shop. I grabbed the soap and bananas and headed for a checkout lane. Only a few lanes were open and all of them had long lines. D'oh!

Standing in line and tapping my foot, because that would make the line move faster, a man approached me.

Hey, Buddy," he said. It was the guy who called me from the car at the intersection. WTF? I smiled to him as he walked up to me. "The reason I was calling you back there -- when you told me you were going to catch a bus -- was because the woman in front of me was stuck. I was hoping you coukld help give her a push to the side of the road."

"Oh, really?" I said. He seemed a bit annoyed at me. "I hope I can still catch it. I dunno, looks like I'll miss it," I said with my watch in hand.

"She might have paid you for your help, man," he continued. "I just want to let you know that not everyone out to hurt you, okay?" Turning away from me he said, with annoyance loud and clear, "I'm only saying it because you apparently felt threatened."

Did I mention that he was black? Of course, not, because that didn't matter until that very moment.

He thought that I felt threatened by him for talking to me on a busy street in broad daylight because he was black. So much so that he followed me into Stop & Shop just to tell me that. WTF?! Can't a guy actually be trying to catch a bus?!

I don't know if I could blame him or not. I tried to see it from his perspective; to see what he saw. I dunno. I just don't know. I do know that I felt terrible. I felt like it was my fault that he was insulted even though I really was trying to catch a frickin' bus. I feel like, through a quirk of circumstance, a black guy believes that he was "racially profiled" by a white guy. He's probably relating that story to friends and family right now. "This white guy felt threaten when I called him over because he saw that I was black," he might be saying. "When will things ever get better..." d'oh.

So, that was my day. All the tedium and the hectic sound and fury and the sinking feeling that tomorrow is another day.

When I get to work tomorrow morning I'm going to take a razorbalde, cut out April 13th and burn that little paper square.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 10:16 PM | Comments (5)

April 12, 2005

I Apologize in Advance for This Post

Promising a psyche eval, Collins asks some, er, interesting questions and writes

I invite you to answer them on your comments or on your own blogs (cuz I know you got nuthin').

Ain't that the truth.

[Main body of post deleted. It just didn't fit this blog or with it's readership. -- TS]

Posted by Tuning Spork at 11:04 PM | Comments (3)

April 10, 2005

Note to self: You are not 25 years old anymore

Wow, I must have had a great time last night because I slept 'til 4pm today. Well, except for when I got up around noon to hurl.

Other than that, today was the first truely gorgeous day of the year. Warm, sunny, buds on the trees and pizza for dinner. Mmmmm, spring.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 08:11 PM | Comments (1)

April 08, 2005

Scam Alert

Just in case you weren't aware, there are scam emails going out asking you log into your various "now frozen" accounts to confirm things like passwords and such. The PayPal one has been around for a while, but recently I've gotten 'em from "Bank of America" and some "bank" I've never even heard of.

My mother was taken in by the Paypal scam recently.

If you don't know if it's scam-mail or not, just look at the link provided. It always starts with "https://...". What the fark is that s doing there? It's telling you that it's a scam, that's what. Pass it on.

Be careful out there!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 10:50 PM | Comments (3)

What the huh...?

So anyway, I was looking through McDonald's "Full Serving Of Nutrtion Facts" pamphlet.

Reading through the ingredients of the Chicken Selects® Premium Breast Strips/Sauces section I saw this:

...,seasoning (salt, monosodium glutamate, chicken broth, natural flavor (vegetable and animal source), malodextrin, spice, autolyzed yeast, chicken fat, ploysorbate 80, gum arabic),...

Gum arabic?! Gum arabic is what I use to sensitize my metal rollers and plates.

When rollers or plates get "sensitized" they lose their natural dyne rating which makes it more difficult for them to pick up and transport water or, specifically, "fountain solution". A coating of gum arabic re-sensitizes the plate or roller and helps to maintain an optimun ink/water balance.

This seemed like an odd ingredient to put in a fried chicken seasoning mixture. So, I checked the label on my gallon jug of gum arabic.

INGESTION: Induce vomiting if victim is conscious. Obtain medical attention immediately.


Jus' throwin' that out as food for thought.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 10:38 PM | Comments (3)

Spring is here! :)

Now what...?!

Seems like yesterday that my neighbor was shouting "Global warming my ass!". Today, people were walking around in tee-shirts.

When I was about 12 or 13 years old, I watched a promo for our local news station, WTNH. Ken Vennett wondered if it'd "gone from too cold to too hot too fast." I remember that still because that's what seems to happen every frickin' year. In another three weeks we'll be complaining about the heat. Mark my words!

The trees haven't bloomed. I haven't even noticed any buds, yet. But my cracked molar tells me that -- unlike the past two summers -- we're in for a hot one. Lots of sun = good garden. I'm about ready for some plantin'!

Three summers ago we had drought warnings. But, the past two have been overcast and wet. I can fake rain with the faucet and watering can, but I can't fake sun. I'm going out a limb and gonna forecast some juicy tomatoes this season!


Yeah, that's all I got. Sad, eh?

I think I'll spice up this blog by taking a page out of Jennifer's playbook. (Hey, I'm not the only one!)
So I'm introducing a new feature: Ask Spork.

Got a question? Crave a mystery's solution but never took the time to search for it? I need a project --(all this nuthin' but work and sleep ain't cuttin' it)-- so I'm yer boy!

Leave a question in the comments and I'll decide if I want to try to answer it or not. And if I can't answer it definitively then I promise to give you an entertaining fake answer instead. Either will suffice.

Like I said: I need a project.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 12:24 AM | Comments (0)

April 06, 2005


....Do comment spammer not recognized that they are reviled?

Apparantly. I've been slam-spammed -- splammed, I tells ya -- in bursts of 19, 11, 2, 23, 7, 4, 3, 4, 2, 7, 3 and 3.

I presume that Obi Wan Pixy is using the force to combat the assaults. But, I wonder more, What in the farkin' world makes a spammer actually believe that spamming a blogger will make that blogger wanna visit his/her crappy site rather than kill him?


No, it's not okay. I got 6 more just now. That makes 90 in the past 3 hours. (Yep, I'm keepin' track)

Shiite. Don't make me figure out a way to destroy you.


Oh goody! One more!

t has been posted on your blog BLATHER REVIEW, on entry #2181 (Spork's Gravity, part 2 (foundation)). http://blog.mu.nu/cgi/splorp.cgi?entry_id=2181 IP Address: Name: Amateur Porn Email Address: meh@feh.com URL: http://young-amateur-pictures.com/amateur_porn_videos/


Great article. Not as good as amateur porn. as Not good Great article. porn. as amateur.

And four more in the past two minutes! Who is this piece of shit who has to spam blogs for his business? A soulless excrement who, no doubt, never read our disciplinarian response. [I wonder what I meant by that?--TS] Who will learn nothing.

And now two more. 92 in just about three hours.

I thought I was exempt! Everybody else had spamlanches, but not me!

Now I know how Helen feels.

RRRAARRR!!! I shrink from no battle! (Or at least I keep telling my conciliatory [sp?] self that) These fiends must be destroyed!

Any ideas? Can we send their IP a signal that'll melt their hard drive?

Posted by Tuning Spork at 01:20 AM | Comments (3)

April 03, 2005

Another Wardrobe Malfunction

In today's scum report: Brittany Spears pulls a Janet Jackson while performing in Ireland. This time, however, as this story says, it really was an accident.

View image (Not work safe, I guess. [Well, some people work in strip clubs...])

Tip o'the tam to Harvey!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 06:07 PM | Comments (2)

April 02, 2005

Pope Post

I'm not Catholic, but most of my family is. I was 15 years old when Pope Paul VI died and Pope John Paul took the reigns and died within about a month.

Respectfully, Karol took the name Pope John Paul II. He was a young man for a Pope; 58 years. I find it hard to believe that I'm old enough to have seen the youngest Pope of this century grow to be an old man of 84. But, time is what it is. Forever onward.

As an agnostic/athiest with scientific leanings, and a yearning to know the truly true truth, I've always been amazed by this man. His stubborn clinging to truths, not whim, was inspiring and, surprisingly, instructive. A teacher. A father. He believed in something bigger than mere earthly/cognitive evidence.

Whether or not he ended up as a Pope or a Mullah or a Sensei or a Dhali Lama, this man would've been righteous all the way through. He'd humbly reject that premise and the thank you's, of course. "Just doing my job", he'd say.


Posted by Tuning Spork at 08:51 PM | Comments (0)

April 01, 2005

New Hope For The Wretched

I love America. We'll tear ourselves apart debating what should be done about one hopeless, useless shell of a woman.

Our courts will spend years upon years hearing appeal after appeal even though they come to the same sad conclusions each and every time.
State and federal legislators put all of their influence to work on her behalf and find their houses divided.
State and federal chief executives do all that can, within the law, to save her.
People flock from near and far to stand vigil until she either is saved or dies.

A nation watches as her parents find yet one more reason to appeal and is, again, rebuffed. The parents are barred from her bedside, then are let back in. No last rites, no communion, then communion and last rites. Finally, she dies.

Many were calling for Governor Bush to ignore the courts' rulings and take custody of Terri by force. NewsMax and Pat Buchanan even went so far as to suggest that he do this and, if he is found guilty of violating the seperation of powers doctrine and in contempt-of-court, that he simply be pardoned by his brother, the President. But, we knew that George and Jeb Bush weren't very likely to do that. Thankfully, they didn't.

Thankfully? Yep. In America we have a rule of Law. When we don't like the law we can change it. No one is above it or below it; not Jeb Bush and not Terri Schiavo. We had to let Terri go because we have to keep our principles. Our system of justice and government (rule of Law, seperation of powers, legal jurisdiction) have to be maintained in all cases if they are to be retained at all.

Terri Schiavo is a casualty of law. Just as we know that a soldier will probably die while defending liberty, Terri Schiavo died to uphold the law. An armed abduction by Governor Bush might have saved Terri's life for a short time, but it would have killed something a whole lot bigger: our way of life.

So, with the passing of Terri Schiavo, I think not only of what was lost but what was preserved. A constitutional crisis could have let her live, but she died to save us from it.

Americans looked at what was happening. Many found it difficult to accept that a woman who seemed awake and responsive to her family and friends could be, in fact, not there at all - as doctors had testified. But, through many years, judges and courts, this was said to be so.

We saw what we saw and came to our conclusions. In the courts, in the legislatures, in the executive mansions, in the newsrooms, the talk shows, the blogosphere and at our dinner tables. The lines of debate were drawn, the battle was engaged and we fought it like champions. Some for Terri's life, some for her release, but always within the law and proper procedure.

Now another debate begins: What if this ever happens again? Bills will be drafted and rewritten and voted on, up or down, so that the results of this precedent are never repeated. Depending on which side you were on you'll believe that, either, the law failed Terri, or it rescued her. New laws will be coming because it'd be nice not to have to wonder which is the case. That's what we should do and, so, that's what we'll do.

God, I love America!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 10:21 PM | Comments (8)
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