December 31, 2005

Blather Review: The Year In Review

So anyway, I've gone through my archives of the past year and selected one post from each month to represent Blather Review's Year In Review. I tried to stick to posts that reflect the basic premise of this site ( i.e. reviewing blather), but a few other goodies slipped in.

I don't expect anyone to actually follow these links, but it was fun fer me to go back and see whatall I actually did here for the past twelve months. Now, on with the rehash!

Democratic Underground just can't deal with the success of the Iraqi election of January 30th. I look at one post titled "The Iraq Vote Is Making Me Sick This Morning" and some of its comments in Democratic Undergroundmine Bemoans Freedom.

War and/or peace at what price is the theme of Peace On Earth, pt 1.

Sample: The problem with sending someone like Jimmy Carter to negotiate an arms agreement is that he is the kind of man who believes in the inate goodness and fairness and trustworthiness of all men. In short: He is a fool.

Apple Computers' argument against a blogger who publicized protected data is the springboard for a larger debate about Shield Laws in Free To Blog?

Sample: What is the purpose of freedom of the press if not to protect exactly what bloggers do? ...... Bloggers are protected by the Shield Law precisely because we perform an investigative reporting function in the manner of a legitimate news outlet.

I couldn't decide which of three April posts to select, so I'm including them all. First there's a wordy but thorough fisking of a letter of response send to Stephen Macklin from Senator John McCain in McCain Responds to Macklin; We Respond to McCain.

Sample: If John McCain thinks that 527s like SVT and 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.

A post that started out as a fun rambling free association rap that actually ended up somewhere is Whatever...?, and my final Terri Schaivo post looks to the future with New Hope For The Wretched.

Sample: 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.

Again, three posts. First, a glance at Newsweek's wanting self-examination after their unconfirmed reporting of Koran abuse in Checks? Balances? Beuller?, and a longer look at the shocking anti-America tripe put out by Newsweek in their International Edition in Dream On, Newsweak, Pt 1. (They'd never print that stuff in their domestic editions because someone might actually question their patriotism.)

Finally, one of my all-time favorites: A group of three robots with artificial intelligence try to understand a baseball game in Aaaah, Baseball!.

A thorough thrashing of Frank Rich and his whacky assertions about the Downing Street Memo in Bush=HitlerNixon.

Sample: Frank impunes Roger Ailes as a "former Nixon media maven", thereby implying that Ailes=Colson. This isn't honest opinion journalism, it's a neo-McCarthyism and Frank Rich knows it. You just can't construct an argument like this without knowing that you're tortured spin is intended to dizzy the reader into submission.

A non-political post yet still in the blather review mode is my wading through the lyric of Toto's "Africa" in Blessing the Rains Down In Africa?.

A look back at some history on the 15th anniversary of Saddam's invasion of Kuwait with And So It Began. I include one of the most overlooked quotes from Saddam, threatening to use terrorism:

"If you use pressure, we will deploy pressure and force. We know that you can harm us although we do not threaten you. But we too can harm you. Everyone can cause harm according to their ability and their size. We cannot come all the way to you in the United States, but individual Arabs may reach you."
--Saddam Hussein to U.S. Ambassador April Glaspie, 25 July, 1990

Trying to decifer the motivations of a local school teacher when It's Constitution Day... And One "Teacher" Ain't Too Happy About It.

This one is a personal post; reflections on my grandfather in Post For A Rainy Day.

Gotta include three again! First and second are two fiskings of Babs with Barbra Sreisand: Childless Mother Superior and Mem'ries Light The Corners of my Fisking, meticulously sourced for added flavor.
Then I did some quick research to present The Strange Case of Doug Thompson.

On a sentimental note, Santa Claus responds to New Jersy substitute teacher Theresa Farrisi after she tells a class of children that he doesn't exist, with a reworking of Yes, Virgina, There Is A Santa Claus in Point / Counterpoint.
Sample: How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as a world without children.

And, with that, Blather Review 2005 comes to a close. Here's hoping that it only gets better!

Happy New Year, one and all!

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December 29, 2005

When Painkillers Kill

According to this article, acetaminophen poisoning is on the rise.

Acetaminophen bottles currently recommend that adults take no more than 4,000 milligrams a day, or eight extra-strength pills.

Just a doubling of the maximum daily dose can be enough to kill, warns Dr. Anne Larson of the University of Washington Medical Center.


The Food and Drug Administration has long wrestled with the liver risk, warning two years ago that more than 56,000 emergency-room visits a year are due to acetaminophen overdoses and that 100 people die annually from unintentionally taking too much.

About eight years ago I had a wicked toothache that caused so much pain that I was popping Tylenol ever couple of hours. After I vomited and made it to my dentist I told him that I'd had about 14 Tylenol in the past 24 hours. I believe that that's about 7,000 mg -- nearly twice the recommended maximum.

"Don't take anymore," my dentist said. "I can't even give you lanicain right now or you'll start vomiting. I had to wait 'til the next day to have the work done, all the while suffering through the excruciating agony. I'm just glad a puked before I took anymore Tylenol.

So be careful out there, folks. Overdosing acetaminophen can cause sudden liver failure which, in a short time, can kill you. If you have a severe toothache, don;t overdue the meds. Better to just smash your kneecaps to take your mind off the pain in your mouth.

And don't forget to wash metal cans before you pop them open or open them with a can opener. Rats sometime urinate on them in warehouses and rat urine is poisonous.

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December 28, 2005

In Lieu of a post, here's this:

Top Ten Concerts I've Ever Seen


11) Black 47 Harbor Yard Bridgeport, CT
Okay, this is a bonus. I didn't know any of Black 47's music when I went to the show at the invitation of my friend Norm. But it was a great show. This was an "Irish Night" program that featured quite a few bands. Crossroads -- a four-piece band of guitar, bass, drums and cello -- had a great set, too. But I've yet to see them perform anywhere else since.

10) Cheap Trick New Haven Collosium New Haven, CT
This was in 1979 at the recently defunct New Haven Collosium. Saw it with my ol' pals Freedom's Slave and Tex Kaliber. This makes the list primarily because it was one of the first concerts I'd ever been too (Ted Nugent -- also at the NHC -- was the first). I didn't take in many "big arena rock" show for years after that because I thought they sounded like shit. It was only years later that I realized that it was the New Haven Collousium that sounded like shit.

9) The Dead Boys Town Hall NYC, NY
The Dead Boys were only the headliner, but I include this because the entire program was pretty good. This was in the late winter of early 1980 at a record convention slash music festival. Saw this with Freedom's Slave and Stac Pinque.
The Troggs were supoposed to headline, but word had it that they'd gotten stopped at the airport in Britain by Imigration for some reason. Imagine that

8) Marillion Toad's Place New Haven, CT
I only knew a handful of songs by them when I saw them with Norm and Ellen some nearly eight or nine years ago, but it was a great show.
While I enjoy their music when I hear it, Marillion is one of those bands that I just can't get into beyond a cursory appreciation of their greatness. They're sort of Yes-meets/plays-Neil Young. Kinda like Radiohead for the old Jethro Tull crowd...?

7) Bob Dylan Oakdale (or was it Pinecrest?) somewhere in CT
This was the most polished of the four Dylan shows I've seen. The first time I saw was with Sister the Younger at Lake Compounce Amusement Park back in '91 or '92 or so. It was raining and he sang a lot of "rain songs". All-in-all, a pretty dismal performance.
The second time I saw him was with Sister the Elder in Manchester, New Hampshire 'round 1992 or so. A much better show by far. "But," I thought, "if this is as good as he gets than I'll never pay to see him perform again".
Like I said: This show was the fourth time I'd seen him -- which means that the third time I'd seem must've been pretty good. But moron that later...!

6) The B-52s The Agora New Haven, CT
This was back in college; circa 1983. While the music must've been great, what I remember most is the colors. The gals had bright tutu dresses and the guys were all sorts'a decked out in neon-like suits. The sound -- for such a small venue -- was so rich, clear and punchy. Lotsa bottom.
I saw X there, as well and, while they were fun, a band like X can get pretty dull after an hour of nothing but. But I digress...

5) Melissa Etheridge Hartford Civic Center Hartford, CT
This was in either late '94 or early '95, just after her big breakthrough with Yes, I Am. Going into the show with Ellen, Jean and Jim I knew prolly three of her songs -- and only one of 'em (Come To My Window) well.
But, oh my.
Tex (who'd seen her show before and encouraged me to go see it even though I protested that it was a sight unseen) called me after the show, knowing that I had very little knowledge of Melissa's music. "So," he said, "Wasn't that the most....." he giggled..."YES!" I burst! "I have had. The Melissa. Experience!"

4) Boh Dylan Danbury High School Danbury, CT
This was prolly sometime in '95. As I said before, Dylan's previous live performances that I'd seen left something to be desired, and that the fourth time I'd seen him was a damn goodt show. But this one -- with Patti Smith as the opening act -- was the Dylan show I was waiting for. The band was tight but loose if ya know what I mean. If an artist feeds off the audience then this was one time when Dylan was a glutton. The crowd was raucus, the band was on fire and, that night, Bob Dylan Wrote. The. Book.
The only reason I took a third chance on Dylan was because Patti Smith was opening. Patti had a good show, but it was a meager setting and her old band -- newly reformed -- seeemed a little un/comfortable with the whole thing.
Little did I know what was yet to come...

3) Elvis Costello Jones Beach Long Island, NY
Saw this with Freedom's Slave. I'd seen Elvis before back in 1983 on his Punch The Clocktour. But this was great show. The first time I'd seen him he seemed to be entering a career mid-life crisis of sorts. The band was great an' all, but the entire show seemed devoid of energy. He was experimenting with horns and off-beats, yet hadn't figured out what to do with them yet. All-in all, an un-even show.
But, at in 1994 on the Brutal Youth tour, Look out!
The sound was awesome for an outdoor, beach-side theater.
He played everything from the well-known Allison to the everlasting Oliver's Army to the obscure-to-all-but-us-afficioinados Shot With His Own Gun. Even the new songs -- which I hadn't heard yet -- sounded great.
Of course, he closed with Pump It Up.

2) Patti Smith Toad's Place New Haven, CT
When I saw her open for Bob Dylan a few years earlier, she had only a band, a stage and an attitude. This time was different.
She wailed away on Ask The Angels like she'd listened to it a million times over and was hearing it for the first time and then then pulled out a scroll to recite the lyric to Byrdland. Okay,. it was just a notebook, not a scroll but, still..
And when she started sing "and the bells in my heart go ding dong ding ding dong..." I swear she saw me in the back -- by the bar -- pounding my chest just as she did on SNL in '76 and started doing the same.
Yes, friends. I am sure that she made eye-contact with my fist that night.

And the Number One concert that I have seen is..... **drumroll crash**

1) Brian Wilson: Pet Sounds tour Mohegan Sun, CT -- circa 1999

Need I say more?

Unless you've ever slow-danced to Please Let Me Wonder played at full volume in the room while it's being played by the guy who wrote it, you have no idea what true love can mean to you.
No, seriously. I promise.
Oh, sure, you think you knpw. "I don't need Brian Wilson to tell me what love is" and all. Trust me. You haven't been in love until you've held her at a Brian Wilson concert. I'm just sayin'...


So, there ya have it. What were yer first slash most memorable concerts?

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December 27, 2005

A few days late in linking but that's okay

re: "Merry Christmas" vs "Happy Holidays, etal", Serenity puts it all in perspective.

A taste:

So I have a plan. From now on, you all wear your religion and anything else about you on a sign around your neck, allow me the time to read it as I pass you on the street so that I know what the hell I can say to you and what I can’t say to you without you pissing and crying about it.

Heh. Indeed.

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December 26, 2005


Christmas present.
Hand-held game.
Eyes glazing over.
Can't put down Tetris.

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December 25, 2005

Well, they say Life is in the journey, not the arrival...

My plan was simple: Hop on the Park Avenue bus at around 12:45, catch the Coastal Link at 1:00, grab some stuff and money at Stop & Shop at about 1:20 (they're open 'til 2:00), be at my sister's house at around 1:45 and head on over to Gramma's at around 2:30-3:00.

So, I left the house at 12:30 and got to the bus stop at 12:35 -- about 8-to-10 minutes before the bus would arrive. I waited. And waited. And waited some more. No bus.

At 1:10 the bus passed heading north. Now, according to the Sunday/Holiday schedule, it's 'sposed to leave downtown heading north on the hour, and to leave Trumbull Shopping Park heading south on the half-hour. There's no way that driver left downtown ten minutes before he drove by me. Was my watch all f'koktah?

Knowing that he would leave the mall at 1:30, I expected him to be at my stop between 1:42 and 1:47. At 1:31 -- 55 minutes after I'd gotten to the bus stop -- he came rolling up.

I got on the bus, paid my fare and got a time-stamped transfer. "1:31pm".

I said to the driver, "Do you know that you're running 10-to-15 minutes ahead of schedule?"

"Yes," he replied. "The mall is closed today, I am just making the rounds, I am way ahead of schedule, I know."

I just kinda stared at him for a few moments, then took my seat.

After about 30 seconds I got up and walked up to him again. "Um, WHY are you ahead of schedule?".

"Yes, I am ahead of schedule," he nonchallantly explained in his thick Jamaican accent. "About 10 minutes."

**blank stare**

"Why?" I asked with some exasperation.

"Trumbull Mall is closed today," he smiled, "I cannot park in front of somebody's house, so I am making the round trip. Do you see?"

"U-u-u-u-h...." I stammered. "It's just some people are trying to catch the bus, y'know?"

"Yes," he laughed, "I know."

I got on the 2:00 Coastal Link which left at 2:12 and arrived at Stop & Shop at 2:30 -- half an hour after it closed. I couldn't get any food, money or, worst of all, cigarettes! I had three cigarettes left and I nursed them for the next five hours. Luckily my cousin smokes and he gave me two throughout the evening at Gramma's.

Luckily one of my gifts included cash and I was able to get some smokes on the way home, otherwise I wouldn't have had any 'til sometime tomorrow afternoon. Also, my aforementioned cousin bought me a pack as a Christmas gift. Heh. Thanks, Bri!!!

Oh, Christmas! We had a wonderful time over at Gramma's. She laughed when I told her that I received her Christmas card in the mail and it was signed Aunt Kay rather than Grandma. I told that one of her nephews must've gotten a card from "Grandma".

But, later I asked Sister the Younger if she'd gotten a card from Gramma in the mail. She said "Yes". I asked her she signed it "Grandma". She said "No, she signed it 'Aunt Kay'." Hmmm.

Hope everybody had very merry Christmas!

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December 24, 2005

Out of the mouth of Babs

I've had fun fisking Barbra Streisand's posts before and so I thought I'd check in to see if there was anything new and found this. She's made some outrageous statements in the past but, oh man, this takes the cake! Read this if you dare:

Posted on December 22, 2005

I will be taking a break from posting any new statements until after the New Year. Have a happy holiday!

Did she really say THAT?! I mean, New Year's Day is 10 days away and she's announcing a "break from posting"?! Let's look at the frequency of her posting since September, shall we?
New Statements Posted -

Bush's Lies

A Letter To The L.A. Times

The Plan To Invade Iraq Before 9/11

If Not Now... When?

Does This Smell Familiar?

Clinton Global Initiative

Another Massive Failure of Leadership

Not counting the "break" announcement. that's seven posts in two and a half months -- an average of one every 14.7 days. This is kinda like Glenn Reynolds announcing a 20-minute hiatus because he'll be in the shower!

Oh but she gets me steamed sometimes.

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December 23, 2005

Point / Counterpoint


Hello. I'm Theresa Farrisi, a substitute teacher in Lickdale, Pennsylvania. I would just like to say that I don't believe in Santa Claus, and I don't think anyone else should, either. I made my feelings clear to a classroom full of 5-, 6- and 7-year-olds.

While some of them went home crying, I cannot stress enough that if I had simply sat back and allowed a lie to be perpetuated in my presence, I would have had a hard time sleeping that night. I had considered approaching the school’s administration with my concerns about how to handle Santa Claus in class. Instead, I decided to add a disclaimer to my lesson.

One of the 5-year-olds in the music class that I was substitute teaching in was reading A Visit From Saint Nicholas. Just as she had gotten to the part about the arrival of the little sleigh and 8 tiny reindeer, I interupted the reading to point out to the little children that this was all bullshit. I mean, how could I not?! Those same children are going to know someday that what their parents taught them is false; there is no Santa Claus.

While the poem has great literary value, it goes against my conscience to teach something which I know to be false to children, who are impressionable. It’s a story. I taught it as a story. There’s no real person called Santa Claus living at the North Pole and it is my duty as a teacher to teach only the truth no matter how much it stings, torments and confuses the kiddies.

Now, some of the children -- through their beautiful tears of newfound enlightenment -- asked their parents why they weren't told that Santa Claus was dead. I did not tell the students Santa Claus was dead. I said there was a man named Nickolas of Myrna who died in 343 A.D., upon whom the Santa Claus myth is based, and that the children's parents buy the presents, not Santa.

Was I wrong? Humbug! Their parents are lying to them! Why wait for them to figure out the truth as they mature when I can tell them the truth now? How could I live with myself if I didn't spoil their innocent illusions?

If the children are heartbroken they have only their parents to blame. I told them the truth and, yes, I am very proud of myself.


Theresa, you ignorant Ho, Ho, Ho! Allow me to counter your point by paraphrasing something that was written many, many years ago to a young child; a child much like the children whose faith you have cynically attempted to shatter.

Theresa, you are wrong!

You have been infected by the skepticism of a sceptical age. You do not believe in anything except for what you can see, touch, smell, taste, hear or otherwise measure. You believe that nothing can be which is not comprehensible to your own mind. But all minds, Theresa, whether they be men's or children's, are little. And, when we limit our faith to accept only what we can meaaure, sadly we fail to notice what is immeasurable, what is magical, what is beautiful.

Yes, Theresa, there is a Santa Claus, just as there is music in the silent vibrations of the air when a piano is played. Play a recorded symphony in a room without listeners and there is no music -- only a disturbance of the air. But walk into that room and there is music. But only for those who have the ears to listen!

Santa Claus exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound. They give your life its highest beauty and joy. How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as a world without children.

There would be no childlike faith then. No poetry, faith, romance, beauty or wonder to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment except in mere sense and sight. The magic and wonder of the external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Nobody sees Santa Claus. But that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Have you ever seen the wind? Have you ever heard a headache, tasted a sorrow, touched a suspicion or smelled a word of encouragement? Of course not. But that's no proof that they are not there. We know that they are are there from what follows from them. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are, unseen and unseeable, in the world that is our experience of it.

You can tear apart a baby's rattle to see what makes the noise inside. But there is a veil covering the unseen world that is the confluence of the toy and the baby which neither the strongest man nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and allow a view of the supernal beauty within.

Is it all real? Ah, Theresa, in all this life there is nothing else more real and abiding.

No Santa Claus? He lives and lives forever! A thousand years from now, Theresa, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make joyful the very heart of childhood.

Merry Christmas! :)

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December 21, 2005

Busy Doin' Nothin'

Ugh. Got home late. No time to eat real meal. Must go to sleep and get up early to finish job from hell. Four day weekend coming up fer me. :)

Seeing as my new glasses aren't ready yet, I've just been squinting at a few blogs. Alls I gotta say that if you're interested in the legality of the NSA surveilence kerfuffle, Powerline is all over it like egg on Jonathan Alter, who, by the way, still sucks at his job.

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December 19, 2005

Western music banned in Iran again


From Brietbart:

Hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has banned Western music from Iran's radio and TV stations, reviving one of the harshest cultural decrees from the early days of 1979 Islamic Revolution. Songs such as George Michael's "Careless Whisper," Eric Clapton's "Rush" and the Eagles' "Hotel California" have regularly accompanied Iranian broadcasts, as do tunes by saxophonist Kenny G.

There's only one thing to do: Pump up the Clash!!!

Now the king told the boogie men: "You have to let that raga drop!
The oil down the desert way has been shakin’ to the top!"
The sheik, he drove his cadillac. He went a-cruisin’ down the ville.
The muezzin was a-standing on the radiator grille...

Shareef don’t like it
Rockin’ the casbah! Rock the casbah!
Shareef don’t like it
Rockin’ the casbah! Rock the casbah!

"By order of the prophet we gotta ban that boogie sound.
Degenerate the faithful with that crazy casbah sound."
But the bedouin, they brought out the electric camel drum.
The local guitar picker got his guitar picking thumb.
As soon as the shareef had cleared the square
they began to wai-ai-ai-ail.....

Shareef don’t like it
Rockin’ the casbah! Rock the casbah!
Shareef don’t like it
Rockin’ the casbah! Rock the casbah!

Now over at the temple oh, they really pack ’em in.
The in crowd say it’s cool to dig this chanting thing.
But as the wind changed direction the temple band took five
and the crowd caught a wiff of that crazy casbah ji-i-i-i-ve....!

Shareef don’t like it
Rockin’ the casbah! Rock the casbah!
Shareef don’t like it
Rockin’ the casbah! Rock the casbah!

The king called up his jet fighters.
He said "You better earn your pay!
Drop your bombs between the minarets down the casbah way!"
But as soon as the shareef was chauffeured outta there
the jet pilots tuned to the cockpit radio blare.
As soon as the shareef was outta their hair
the jet pilots wai-ai-ai-ai-ailed....!

Shareef don’t like it
Rockin’ the casbah! Rock the casbah!
Shareef don’t like it
Rockin’ the casbah! Rock the casbah!

Shareef don't like it...
He thinks it’s not kosher!
Rock the casbah! Rock the casbah!
Shareef don't like it...
Fundamentally, he can’t take it!
Rock the casbah! Rock the casbah!

Shareef don't like it...
You know he really hates it!
Rock the casbah! Rock the casbah!
Shareef don't like it...
He really really hates it!
Rock the casbah! Rock the casbah....!

--The Clash, 1982


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December 16, 2005

Oh, Great...

...My landldy's new live-in boyfriend is a convicted sex offender. Guilty of "risk of injury" and "corrupting the morals of a minor".

We all got the anonymous letter in the mail yesterday -- prolly sent to us all by her brother -- inparting this happy news.

Yes, Denise, your boy is scum.

She came by today to ask why Housemate Chris was parking his truck up the road.a bit. He didn't wanna tell her that it was because child molesters are not easy to be associated with. He just said "because I parked it there" or something.

She seems to be insisting that it was all a misunderstanding. She believes him. Mind you, she asked her pastor, beforehand, if it was okay for her to take him into her home. I have no idea how THAT conversation went. She's blinded by Love or something that feels like it...

The reason Chris parked his truck up the road is that he doesn't want rocks being thrown through it's windows. Neighbors have a way of not tollerating predators, y'know.


Well................... Maybe she was 15 but looked 19 and said she was 21. But he was 31 when convicted, which means that he was well aware of their difference in age and -- even if he wasn't thinking too hard -- might've wondered a bit longer about that than he did. I dunno.

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December 13, 2005

@#$%! I'm blind again

I, um, seemed to have lost my glasses. Okay, I know that they were on the window sill when I got up this morning and that I took them into bathroom with me for my shower. I remember putting them in my shirt pocket, but when I reached for them at work, they were gone.

My best working theory right now is that theu dlipped out of my shirt pocket when I grabbed my cigarettes either at the Perk Avenue bus stop, at the bus terminal, or where I get off the bus in Milford. If that happened then they would have fallen in between my shirt and sweater, and then would have slipped out and fallen to the ground somewhere. Grrrrrr.

I'll have to call the bus company's Lost & Found iffice in the morning and/or retrace my steps from this morning in hopes that they're lying somewhere where I can see them. Hopefully they'll be neither broken nor scratched up.

I wont be doin' too much reading tonight. :(

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December 12, 2005

Sneaky sneaky: the AP does it again

Tip o'the tam to His Rottiness for pointing to an Associated Press article at SeeBS"news".com.

Integrity seems to have been the "word of the year" over at Marriam~Webster's online dictionary. But that's not what's interesting about the AP Article. Not by a longshot.

Some of the other Top 10 most looked-up words in 2005 were tsunami, fillibuster and levee.

"Filibuster" gained in popularity as Democrats threatened to use it to block federal judicial nominees, and "contempt" drew plenty of attention when former New York Times reporter Judith Miller was jailed for refusing to reveal a source in the CIA leak case.

The election of a new pope following the death of John Paul II left thousands wondering exactly what a conclave is, and news about the spread of infectious diseases brought up the term "pandemic."

While those are perfectly understandable, one word that made the Top 10 was insipid. Why?
Immediately after Simon Cowell, the acid-tongued host of the popular television show "American Idol," called one aspiring singer "insipid," Merriam-Webster noticed a dramatic spike in the number of lookups for the word, which the dictionary defines as "lacking in qualities that interest, stimulate or challenge: dull, flat."

"This guy hit exactly the right word for the performance and it resonated," Morse said. "People engaged the word, but they asked themselves `what does it exactly mean?"'

Okay, fine. But what about the word inept coming in at #10? Seems likely that that'd be yet another Simon Cowell-inspired look-see? But, according to AP, as slipped into the middle of the article:
No. 10 on the list is "inept," a word that Morse said was getting a lot of attention in the days after President Bush delivered a live prime time news conference that came to an awkward end when some television networks cut him off to return to their regularly scheduled programs.

Ummm... huh? What's the connection? Would people watching the President's press conference -- and even caring that it was interupted -- wonder what the word inept means?

Not bloody likely. This was most likely, imo, A) another American Idol Simon smackdown moment that sent a bunch of curious teenagers, et al, in search of it's precise meaning and B) a sly and cynical attempt to connect the words Bush and inept in an otherwise innocuous piece about peeple looking up wurdz.

I mean, the President gets bumped and people rush to look up inept? Rediculous.

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December 11, 2005

I Link Therefore I Am

Had too much fun at Jessica's surprise party yesterday. I didn't get out of bed until after 3:00pm today. Oy. Recovery. Why am I so frickin' c-c-cold all the time lately?

Anyway, in lieu of a proper post I'll just pass on that Hold The Mayo's Stephen Macklin's 2nd Podcast is up. Give it a listen!

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Congratulations to FrankJ and SarahK on their marriage!


May their future together be full of laughter, prosperity and target practice.

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December 09, 2005

Point / Counterpoint


I have cancelled my subscription to the LA Times, and here is the reason why:

The greater Southern California community is one that not only proudly embraces its diversity but demands diversity. Their publisher's decision to fire Robert Scheer is a great disservice to the spirit of our community.

Many of their loyal readers feel that the LA Times' new leadership, especially that of Jeff Johnson, is entirely out of touch with them and their desire to be exposed to views that stretch them beyond their own paradigms.
So although the number of contributors to their op-ed pages may have increased, in firing Robert Sheer and putting Jonah Goldberg in his place, the gamut of voices has undeniably been diluted, and I suspect this may ultimately decrease the number of readers of those same pages who, like me, do not want conservative opinions infiltrating the once diverse spectrum of opinions published in the LA Times.

In light of the obvious step away from the principals of journalistic integrity, which would dictate that journalists be journalists, editors be editors, accountants be accountants and entertainers be entertainers, I am now forced to carefully reconsider which sources can be trusted to provide me with accurate, unbiased news and forthright opinions that I agree with. Their new columnist, Jonah Goldberg, will not be one of those sources, as I feel that there is no room for such diversity within the op-ed pages of the LA Times.

Robert Scheer was once nominated by his employer -- the aforementioned LA Times -- for a Pulitzer Prize. Does that fact not speak to the greatness of his obviously a first-rate, unbiased journalistic prowess?!

My greatest fear is that the underlying reason for Mr. Scheer's termination is part of a larger trend toward the corporatization of our media, a trend that we, as American citizens, must fervently battle for the sake of our swiftly diminishing free press. I mean, if an unbiased truth alerter like Bob Scheer can be let go so unceremoniously, are any of our liberties safe?


Irony is a difficult concept.

Throughout my extistence I have endeavored to become more human. But there are many aspects of human psychology that I do not, as of yet, understand. How adding a conservative columnist to the historically liberal-laced op-ed pages of the LA Times results in a lesser diversity within the pool of opinion seems to me to be a less than logical conclusion.

While I have come to expect humans to think, occassionally, in supralogical terms, I have never known them to be completely devoid of reason. At least, not without requiring remedial medication.

Since the points offered for counterpoint have come from a well-respected member of the human popular culture, it would appear now that my efforts to become more human have been misquided, and my loyalties misplaced. The expense afforded to my positronic neural net thought that I have discarded years in an abject pursuit of cultivating Doctor Soong's gift of my potential humanity just makes me want to deactivate myself.

Fortunately, I do recognize a "joke" -- even when I do not "get it". So, and while some say that sarcasm is the lowest form of humor, let me say "congratulations" to Barbra Streisand for her successful exercise in satirical, ironic humor. Even if I don't "get it".

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Weatherblogging again...

A few inches of snow fell overnight and it was still snowing when I left the house for the bus stop. The absence of the kids waiting for their school buses was a tell-tale sign that school had been cancelled today.

Cars were moving slowly as the streets were only semi-plowed. By that I mean that thwy were plowed earlier, but plenty of new snow filled the voids. One very long pick-up truck tried to make a clean U-turn on Park Avenue and spun it's wheels a bit. Even though the bus was moving slower than normal it still arrived on time on account of there was hardly anybody on it. But, off to work I go.

After a few slips and slides the Coastal Link dropped me off in Milford for my ten-minute walk through the blizardy bluster. I stopped off at McDonald's to pick up breakfast. The lack of traffic and patrons was a bit eerie. The falling snow made everything pretty quiet even though a wind was blowing. The parking lot of the strip mall where I work was empty nut for a few cars and a snow plow. So why the hell am I going to work when everybody else is home and comfy? Rhetorical question, that. I got a little late: 9:45am.

Of course, Bossman hadn't yet picked up the paper and envelopes that I needed for the morning's jobs. I spent some time doing bindery work -- which was just fine with me. I wasn't exactly in a "press on" mood. In fact, I was surprissed that he didn't just call it a day and send us home. There was already 3 - 4 inches on the ground and more coming down with a vengeance.

After a couple hours I called Bossman on his cellphone. "How are the roads?" I asked him. "Oh, well the highway's alright but the roads are bit iffy." I told him that I thought I might want to bug out soon. My bus was sliding around on the way in and it looks like there'll be no let-up soon. Maybe I should play safe and leave now. I'd gotten done what needed to get done and he said "Fine". So, at 11:45, I headed for the bus stop. I knew I'd never make the 11:50, but I'd make the 12:10.

Turns out that there is no 12:10. They run once an hour at that time. So I waited. I threw snowballs at a No Tresspassing sign and pretended it a strike zone. Got the third out with the bases loaded to get out of a jam without giving up a run. I'm out of practice.

Note to snow plowers: When scraping along the side of the road, lift the plow when you pass a bystander. Twice in about five minutes I was pummelled by a wall of dirty street slush. Yecch!

Anywho, while it still pretty cold, the wind had died down and I noticed the incoming sky was clear and blue. At 12:44pm the sun emerged from the last remnants of the storm cloud. The ambient temperature rose about ten degrees in as many seconds. The snowfall was over and by the time the bus arrived there was no a cloud in the sky. Not even a wisp.

Should I head back to work?

I was cold and wet. My jeans, longjohns, socks, hat and gloves were soaking. I got on the bus.

I walked through my front door at 2:40pm while dreams hot showers danced in my head. When I got to the bathroom I'd discovered that my housemate had just taken a shower -- which means no hot water to shower in. Brrrr. Grrrrr. Brrrrrr.

Well, it's now 5:30 and I've accomplished nothing. Except that I ate some english muffin pizzas. And read a few blogs. My jeans are still damp and I'm heading for the shower. Then I'll have some tea. Hot. With milk and honey.

File under: Lame post #328.

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December 08, 2005

Oh, I am sooooo kumfterbul now

Long story short: The bus I waiting on was half-an-hour late and I ended up standing in the f-f-freezing cold for about 45 minutes. This driver's usually late but not THIS late. Some of us started to wonder if there'd been an accident. One gal told me that she'd been standing around for nearly hour. Something was up.

When the bus finally arrived there was a platformful of people wanting to know why this guy was so @#$% late. Pretty much all he offered to one irate passenger was "no disrespect, but I had a situation". One angry gal took her seat muttering "'situation' my ass...".

So the 6:10 started rolling at about 6:45 while some people were murmuring about what this guy might've really been up to. I buried my head in my sudoku puzzle book. (It's addictive, I tells ya.)

When I stepped off the bus my feet suddenly felt like thawed-out previously frozen bologna or something. Cold, tired, achy and ready to get my weight off of them and into a hot bath. Oooo, a hot bath, I thought! I haven't had one of them in nearly two years.

Cousin B, who is between abodes and staying with us this week, was in the kitchen mopping the floor. "Just earning my keep," he said. I was surprised to see him home so early. He usually get home about two hours after I do.

"What time did you get out of work?" I asked. "1:00; I took in a movie," he said. I then told him about the bus being late.

Turns out, he was on the 5:10 -- the one just before mine. That bus left on time. But, at the intersection of Park and Capitol, a car had swerved in front of the bus and our driver hit the brakes and off the car sped. While, according Cousin B, the jolt surprised everyone, everybody was fine except for one particular woman who fell forward out of her seat and onto the floor. Cousin B says the stop was sudden but not inordinately so.

"She was maybe late 40s, early 50s," he mused. "She was a strong woman," he said shaking his head. "She was fine."

But she sat on the floor and moaned a little; complained a little. Our driver asked Floor Woman if she needed medical attention. She moaned "Yeeeeaaaahhhh...." She then said that wanted to speak to the head of the bus company or something. Since no one on the bus believed that she could've been really injured, the discussion turned sour. According to Cousin B, as 5 minutes turned into 10 and 10 turbed into half-an-hour, the driver was about ready to throw her lying ass out onto the curb. B got off the bus and walked the rest of the way home.

So anyway, a few hours later I felt bone-chillingly cold again. I just got out of a hot bath. Core temperature up; soft glow of the monitor; tea, hot with milk and honey. Oh, man, this is sweet.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 11:10 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 07, 2005

Point / Counterpoint


Hello, Tuning Spork here. For tonight's lame post (and while I wait for my breadcrumb-caked pork chops and potato to bake) I'd like to try out a new feature: Point / Counterpoint. Tonight's topic is Pulling our Troops out of Iraq: When and Why? The first argument will be presented by the Congressional Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi. Ms Pelosi?


Thank you, TS.

The status quo is not working. The 'Plan for Victory' backdrop against which the President appeared at the Naval Academy two weeks ago was no more accurate than the 'Mission Accomplished' backdrop he used over two and a half years ago on the USS Abraham Lincoln. The President did not have a plan for victory when he went into his war in Iraq, and he does not have a plan for victory today.

What the American people want from the President is some evidence that he has heard their concerns. Clearly, the President fails to understand that a new course is needed in Iraq. The President has dug us into a deep hole in Iraq; it is time for him to stop digging.

He offers a status quo plan that would not accelerate the training of Iraqi security forces, would not motivate Iraqis to assume security responsibilities more quickly and bring American troops home. Instead, he suggests that we send more troops and spend more money in Iraq. That is not what the American people want.

The President says that the security situation in Iraq is getting better. But just because the President says it, does not make it so. 226 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq in just the last three months. The Generals have told us that the presence of large numbers of U.S. forces in Iraq encourages the insurgents. The President provided no specifics on how, or when, the number of troops will be reduced.

With more than 2,100 American soldiers killed, thousands more wounded grievously, and hundreds of billions of dollars spent, the President owes the American people more than he has provided. We should follow the lead of Congressman John Murtha, who has put forth a plan to make America safer, to make our military stronger, and to make Iraq more stable. That is what the American people and our troops deserve.


Nancy, you under-educated shill. The President is defending the mission in Iraq because he believed in it then and he believes in it now -- unlike some who shall remain nameless. So, what do you expect him to do, Dum-Dum?

The 'Mission Accomplished' sign was put up by the crew of the USS Abraham Lincoln because they were coming home and their mission was, thus, accomplished, which is painfully obvious to anyone who isn't frothing at the mouth with an abject fear of success.

The plan for victory is victory and will be measured -- as in all conflicts -- by milestones not timetables, Dum-Dum. No matter how quickly the Iraqis make their amazing transformation from living in fear and insecurity to living in freedom and security, it will never happen fast enough for you, will it, you fair weather freedom fighter you?

You mouth-breathed that just because the President says that the security situation is getting better doesn't make it so. Is everything that you hope isn't true a lie? Oh, heaven forefend good news. That would be such a Party pooper, I know, I know. On my planet we call that sarcasm, by the way...

So, large numbers of U.S. forces in Iraq encourages the insurgents? As an old aquaintence of mine once said: Yabba Dabba Doo. That's when they get all active and such and our troops know where their oily orbs are converging. Ice, meet fire. Y'see, that saves time and we can get our troops home sooner, Dum-Dum.

But, I suppose that actually accomplishing the mission in Iraq is less important to mal-learned hussies like you than accomplishing your own mission at home: to convince us that -- the defeat of our troops being a defeat for Bush -- we need to cut and run within six months instead ofwell, immediately, regardless of whether or not Iraq has stabilized.

You voted for the Iraq war and you recently voted against an immediate withdrawal. I just hope that you'll keep in mind that -- unlike some well-read Iraqi prude during Saddam's reign -- no one put a gun to your head, Dum-Dum.

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December 06, 2005

Hey! Jennifer's giving away prizes!

To find out what and why, click here.

You heard me. Cli-i-i-ck i-i-i-it...**shakes fist**

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December 05, 2005

Link of the day

Here's a link that Ted, especially, might like: Have a Stupid Movie Night!

And instead of a simple tip o'tam to Edith I offer her **drumroll** carnations! :)


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December 04, 2005

The Connecticut Brigade of Munuvia has grown

I finally updated my blogrolls today and found that, as far as I know, there are now 5 of us: me, Stephen Macklin, RP, Gary and now Pam M. Are there any I missed?

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og Alert***New Blog Allert***New Blog Alert***New Bl

Hey, I just found out that Tammy Bruce has a blog. Look out, MSM, Bruce is on the loose!

Tip o'the tam to Attila Girl.

UPDATE: Well, it's new to me, anyway. Seems she started back on September 28th. Whatever.

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chilly sunday

And the snow has arrived. It's not much right now, but we're supposed to get some more very soon. 'Tis a nice day to huddle with a hot mug of tea as I anticipate the arrival of my cousin who'll be staying here for a week. He's moving out of the house he's been in 'cuz it's "full of old alcholics". Not a healthy environment, he says.

I don't know how healthy this environment will be for the next day or two. We still don't have oil in the furnace and the downstairs is pretty darn cold. Hope he has lots of blankets. And I forgot to mention to him that he'll be sharing the living room with a dog.

And on another note, don't miss the first Hold The Mayo podcast!

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December 03, 2005

Life and Times and Stuff

So anyway, Old Boss came by Friday to pick up some letterhead. He may be retired but he's still involved in things like the Boy Scouts and the Sons of the American Revolution.

"So, how are ya doing, Bob?" he asked.

"Oh, fine. How are YOU?" I asked right back at him.

"Great! You can't beat doin' nothin'!

"Yeah?" I challenged. "Yer not bored stiff yet?"

He looked away with a grin, searching for a response. It seemed t'me that I'd either hit him where it hurt or made him realized something that he already knew.

"Oh, I came close a couple of times," he smiled. "I'm finally taking on a few projects that I'd been putting off for years. And every morning, before she goes to work, Liz leaves me a little 'To Do' list..."

Ol' Maurice (who is not 'Old Boss') was an octogenerian who worked in the Caldor mailroom until some 14 years ago. All of us younger guys assumed that he did it 'cuz needed the money. After he died we read his obituary. He was a freakin' millionaire who, among other things, owned a newspaper in (I believe) Puerto Rico. He wasn't working because he needed the money, he was working to keep busy; to still be a part of this old world of his.

It's nice to sleep in every morning. It's even nicer to have a reason to get up in the morning.

I have a dear friend from my college days who, due to a mental/emotion disability can't hold a job. She goes to sleep at dawn and gets up in the late afternoon. Other than her therapist appointments she has no reason to get up every day. I've tried to tell her to find a hobby that drags her out of the house -- preferably at an early hour -- so that she wont forget what sunlight is. She can't do it and that's probably the biggest reason why I haven't spoken to her in over two years.

Then there's my grandmother. She'll be 89 years old this spring and she still finds ways to keep busy. Whether it's writing online or teaching Sunday School, she refuses to do nothing. However, occassionally, she says things like "I'm ready to go at any time" and "well, my life doesn't have the meaning that it pnce did...". But she's still alive and so she makes every day a day worth living.

Retirement? Bah! Oh, from the daily grind? Yeah, sure. But from the wild whacky world of busy living? Never!

Old Boss will be back for envelopes some day soon because, if for no other reason, it'll keep him busy. Yay!

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December 02, 2005

Seen At the Bus Terminal on Platform A

I got into downtown Bridgeport at 6:00 -- ten minutes before my connection was scheduled to arrive. We had a pretty warm November, but it's starting to reeeeeally get cold now. I set down my small bag of groceries and lit up a smoke.

After about a minute I turned to my right and noticed a woman who was smoking a cigarette. The reason I noticed her was that she would take a drag, put her hand down in front of her, exhale the smoke, lift her arm, take a drag, lower her arm, exhale, lift her arm, drag, etc etc. She stared blankly at the ground about ten feet in front of her.

She looked to be about 60-65 years old and (just my impression, mind you) seemed to be mildly retarded. She had the same expression I'd seen on a hundred homeless woman -- vacant, defeated, too lost for too long to worry about where she's going.

In the icy breeze that smelled like snow she stood there smoking that cigarette with her hood down and her coat wide open. Why was her coat wide open in this weather? Um... She was pregnant. And not just a little bit; she was very very pregnant.

I was near the curb and she was about twenty feet away and nearer to the building, so I moved to reposition myself so that I didn't have to look to the side and back. I just had to study her some more.

While there were plenty of people there milling around she may have noticed my movements because when I leaned on the trashcan and looked at her again she was looking directly at me. I looked away, into the bus station, as if I was looking for someone. I slowly turned toward her again and, while I didn't make eye contact, could tell that she was still looking at me. I looked away again.

After about 30 seconds I looked at the people standing nearest to her. The closest was a woman about my age who was about five feet from her. The pregnant smoker was back to looking at the ground, but this younger gal was looking straight at me. I wondered how many people on the platform thought that this odd sight was as interesting as I did. I looked at the younger woman to see if I could tell why she was looking at me. Did she want to non-verbally communicate something like "Isn't she wierd"? Did she want to communicate "Don't stare at her, she's just waiting for a bus"? I got nothing so I looked at the elderly pregnant smoker some more in all her boxy, frumpy glory.

I mean, she's got to be 15 years past menopause. Is she a surrogate? Can a post-menopausal woman carry another's baby? Would an infertile woman sellect a surrogate who is a sextogenarian who smokes? Assuming that she's still pre-menopausal, did she intend for this to happen -- to care for a newborn baby at her age and her (seemingly to me) lower than average faculties? What the @#$% am I looking at here?!

After a few more minutes her bus arrived and she boarded it. She pulled herself up and into the bus, waddled a little ways down the aisle and plopped herself into a seat. While others opened newspapers, pulled out a crossword puzzle or talked on cellphones, she simply looked forward and low; expressionless, alone and just going to whereever she was going. I got the feeling that it's a lot further than the bus could take her.

My bus arrived and I got on board. I've ridden that same route nearly a thousand times. Same old street names, same old businesses and houses. It's usually pretty boring scenery. But, tonight, I got a lot of comfort out of the familiarity of it all.

What the @#$% was I looking at?!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 08:04 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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