September 24, 2006

Now THIS is cool

It's the 1986 World Series. Game 6. Bottom of the 10th inning.

Vin Scully is doing the play-by-play, and you see it all re-enacted with Nintendo RBI Baseball.

Behold and be awed. :)

It doesn't do justice to the wild pitch, and the final play isn't quite right, but hey, whadda ya want fer nuthin'...

Posted by Tuning Spork at 09:23 PM | Comments (74) | TrackBack

September 17, 2006

Mmmm... coffee

I stole this meme from Hold The Mayo" who swiped it from Knockin' On The Golden Door who purlioned it from Astroblog who fleeced it from Blog of Rand.

1) When did you first start drinking coffee?

About ten years ago at the age of 32 or 33. I was a tea and soda drinker before then cuz I didn't really care for the taste of coffee. Things have changed.

2) Do you have any coffee-related incidents that you regret?

Buying the worst cup of coffee on the planet from the deli around the corner. Then, about six months later, forgetting how bad it was and buying it again. Yecch!
Also, I once made the mistake of trying an iced coffee. I don't know why I thought it might be something other than just a really cold cup of coffee. Double Yecch!!

3) Have you ever tried to give up coffee altogether?

No, but I've gone through phases where I drink less and some where I drink more. I recently went about four months without a single cup. But in the past few weeks I've been having at least two cups a day. I went out this morning at 6:30 on a Sunday just to get a 16oz cup o'joe from a local gas station. Oh, that's good stuff.

4) Do you have complicated taste in coffee? That is, do you make an intentional attempt to purchase and drink certain kinds of coffee for political or olfactory/gustatory reasons?

I just want a good cup of coffee. I have no use for places like Starbucks. My only requirement is that I'm the one who adds the cream and sugar. A little sugar and just a splash of cream. Y'know those little thimble-sized half & half tubs? I use half of one of those; just enough to cut the acid and add some color. I avoid Dunkin' Donuts for this reason. Their smallest automated dose of cream is equal to about three of those little tubs.

5) Do you have any coffee-related incidents that are exceptionally nice?

When I was 20 and had my first sleepover with my girlfriend Janet, who was living in Greenwich Village, she woke me up in the morning with fresh-brewed mug of coffee. Black. It was a cold December morning and that first sip was heavenly. Um... and so was the rest of that morning. :)

I've never tagged anyone with a meme before, but I simply must make an exception with this one. Ahem. Susie? :)

September 11, 2006

A Hero's Hero

My Project 2996 task was to honor Amy Lamonsoff, which I did in the post below. I'd like, however, to also honor Captain Vincent Brunton. There are two reasons why. 1) the blogger who was assigned Capt. Brunton has not posted a tribute (yet) and, 2) I want to post a song lyric.


UPDATE: Timbrely has posted his/her tribute and it's a short but good one. Here's the operative paragraph:

In reading the words written about, for and to Captain Vincent Brunton through the World Wide Web, one can paint a mental picture of this man. Certain words come up again and again as people remember the 43 year old firefighter who gave his life to save others on September 11, 2001. Brave, Hero, Gentleman, Determined, Loyal, Friend. These are not words written simply because he is gone from our midst. These are the qualities people noticed about him when they met him. It is quite apparent that Vincent had a deep impact on people even before he made his ultimate sacrifice at the World Trade Center. The people who knew him, were touched by his spirit while he was amongst us, and have chosen to spread his spark in his memory. Everyone who reads about Vinny has an opportunity to grow as a human being, to pass his spirit along in words and action.

You can learn a lot about Vinnie Brunton by googling his name, so I wont go whole hog on constructing a tribute here. I just don't want him to go un-remembered among all the tributes being posted today.

I first heard his name in June while at the annual Fairfield County Irish Festival. The band, the Highland Rovers, were playing an excellent set, as usual, when their lead guitarist and some-time bagpiper, Jeff Conlon, introduced their next song as a tribute to Brunton.

Jeff is not only a guitar player extraordinaire, but a retired New York City police officer. His brother-in-law is a New York City fireman who, on September 11th, 2001, arrived at the station house at 9:00am -- only several minutes after the on-duty crew had left for the World Trade Center. All those who went to the towers perished that morning.

As the Highland Rovers began to play the song, the people who were dancing up a storm during the previous tunes sat down on the dance floor. The pulse of the rhythm and the cry of the mandolin created a solemn atmosphere that seemed both strange and satisfying on that sunny afternoon.

I can't seem to find a way to post a direct link to the song that the Highland Rovers played that afternoon, but you can hear it here. It's track #10; "Hero's Hero". The lyric is in the extended entry.

The men huddled into the kitchen staring at the color TV
8:54 and it's time boys,
We know where we need to be
There's smoke rising out of our city,
smoke that is burning our eyes,
unbelievable visions on TV,
unanswerable question why

So many running around trying to just stay alive
25,000 could do so thanks to Ladder 105
People turn running away, confused, hurt and afraid
but the captain says "we're going in, boys,
may the Lord be with us today"

Captain Vinnie Brunton says "Gentlemen, think on your feet,
take a deep breath and stay by my side,
this morning we're going in deep"

A year has passed like a whisper,
the pain hasn't gone away
and everytime I feel afraid I can still hear my captain say
"Be a man's man and study every mistake that you've made
and learn from every situation, it may save your life one day"

Captain Vinnie Brunton says "Gentlemen, think on your feet,
take a deep breath and stay be my side,
this morning we're going in deep"

With a halogen over his shoulder and Father Judge guiding him through
he passes through the gates of heaven and says,
"we still got work to do"

To Mrs Cathy Brunton,
don't ever feel like you're alone
We will always tell your children
their father is a hero's hero

The captain is gone but will never leave
Every time that we hear the bell call
the legend that is Vinnie Brunton
will remain in the hearts of us all.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 11:57 AM | Comments (1201) | TrackBack

Amy Hope Lamonsoff

She was born some time in good ole' ' 72. The year of Mac Davis, the Nixon landslide and "I can see clearly now, the rain is gone..." by Johnny Nash. She was the baby girl of a couple o' young dreamers called her mom and dad. They named her Amy Hope.


She was a Long Island gal. Massapequa to be exact. Fiesty little one, she was. Always having fun and shining a smile that dimpled her cheeks. Her friend Sheri, whom she met at age 5 in Brownie troop 749, said that Amy was "the dispenser of the best advice, she was a shoulder for me to cry on countless amounts of times. She was also such an intelligent, well informed person."

And, among some of the lesser known facts, "she was so uncomfortable with the word 'Grapefruit' that she couldn't say it..." and "Amy really wasn't the 5 feet tall she claimed to be, but a mere 4 feet 11 1/2 inches."

Seems she was an avid runner and loved to travel. Maybe she thought she had somewhere else to go, or maybe she thought that running itself was where she needed to go. I don't know. Amy was a petite five-foot-nuthin', but her friends remember her as being so much larger than that, and who are we to argue. They loved her.

Her sister recalled: "She loved the Beatles and was devastated when John Lennon was shot, although she was only 8 at the time."
She also loved to laugh and would stay up late to watch "Saturday Night Live" after everyone else in their Selden household, including her sister and older
brother, Stephen, had gone to bed. "She was crushed when John Belushi
Tragedy came closer to home when her mother, Anita, died when she
was 16.

She knew of the ups and downs of this old world, and never let 'em get her too up or too down. Amy was a brave and daring soul, and was never too timid to let the potential of reality enter her world.

On the morning of Tuesday, September 11th, 2001, she was an events manager for Risk Waters Group and helping to set the tables for a breakfast conference at the Windows On The World Restaurant on the 106th floor of Tower 1 (the North Tower).

"She would have stayed through the whole
her sister said, "she was so conscientious."

Oh, did I forget to mention that Amy met her fiance on September 11th, 1999?

I can't possibly eulogize a stranger and do her justice, so the rest of this post is in the words of her fiance, Shannon:

In the beginning of the movie Arthur, Dudley Moore says that the best thing to have is fun. Fun was a strong voice in Amy's life. Amy was a fun person, a funny person, and sometimes a shockingly funny person. People, music, travel, politics, the diversity of New York City - these were some of the other strong voices in Amy's life.

When I met with Nadia a few days ago to discuss this service, she spoke to me about the many voices present in the Jewish religion. Here, I'll try to find expression for some of the many voices present in Amy. Many of her voices will not be heard today, but will be heard tomorrow, or next week, or next year. I've been trying to hear those voices by reliving the many wonderful memories we had together, by listening to her music, by watching her favorite movies, by reading her favorite books, and by spending time with her friends and family, who formed the fabric of her life.

We used to all talk sometimes about "desert island" movies. What movies would you want with you if you were stranded alone on a desert island? I think Amy's true answer to that question would have been something like, "But what's the point, if there's no one there to share it with?"

Amy and I first met in a chance encounter on the Long Island Rail Road. About five minutes into the first conversation we ever had, she asked me if I liked to travel. I said, "Yes," thinking to myself, "Of course! Everyone likes to travel!" It was only as I got to know Amy over the following two years that I realized she took a love of travel to a whole new level. She wanted to see everything. She wanted to experience everything. And she wanted me to join her for the journey. She wanted to see what sort of stuff you might buy in a local grocery store in Barcelona, just because it showed her a little more about how the people in the area lived.

Together, Amy and I traveled to London twice, to Scotland, to Spain, and to Costa Rica. We were planning to travel to Japan in a few months. We were planning to travel back to Latin America, and to take an intensive Spanish language course so that we would never have to embarass ourselves again trying to explain to a Costa Rican cab driver where our hotel was by saying that it was the "grande building next to Denny's." We were planning to travel to Australia after we married.

Amy's desire to experience everything carried over to so many other aspects of her life. She always took pride in her knowledge of trivia. However, her knowledge of music, politics, international travel, Joan Crawford movies, and all sorts of other interesting stuff, was anything but trivial.

Amy would constantly visit the used CD shop in Park Slope, trading in her old music for something new, often just trying out whatever the guy behind the counter recommended. Sometimes she liked it. Sometimes she traded it back the following week. Either way, she got to try something new.

Amy wasn't just interested in politics. She was an active participant. She would call her senator to express concern or praise over some piece of legislation that was being considered. She would attend protests against policies she disagreed with, and she would seek out chances to hear local politicians speak. Her attitudes and actions persuaded me, after having spent 13 years with no party affiliation, to finally join a political party.

Amy brought me to some of the best independent and classic films I've ever seen. And she brought me to some of the worst contemporary Hollywood films I've seen in a long time. She was an avid celebrity-spotter who recently tried to claim David Caruso as a spotting, only to be told by her friends that he wasn't a celebrity anymore.

Together, Amy and I discovered Brooklyn. The first summer that we lived in Carroll Gardens, we rode our bikes all over Brooklyn, including many rides through Prospect Park and longer rides to Coney Island, Bay Ridge, and Sheepshead Bay. We got to see a side of the city neither of us had ever seen before, including an area of Brooklyn called Midwood that is filled with old Victorian Houses.

Of course, no picture of Amy is complete without talking about the dogs in her life. The local dogs of Carroll Gardens include a Bassett Hound named Emily and an adorable Pomeranian named Sandy. Amy and I would routinely walk a few blocks out of our way just to walk past Sandy's house, in hopes that Sandy might be outside and waiting to be petted. Amy taught me to love pugs and other dogs with snubbed noses.

Amy welcomed me warmly into her life. The care and consideration she showed amazed me nearly every day. She introduced me to friends and family who I now count among the closest people in my life, and who have wholeheartedly embraced me. Amy became a close friend of my closest friends and family.

By the end of the movie Arthur, Dudley Moore has realized that just having fun is not enough unless you have the right person to share it with. Amy found many of the right people to share her life with, and I consider myself lucky to have been counted among them. I guess I was in her "desert island" movie.

When we leave here today, we will reenter a world that seems somewhat less fun, somewhat less loving, somewhat less musical, and somewhat less political, all for having lost Amy. She will will live on in our memories, and in the actions and feeling which she impacted while she was with us. The love that she created in this world has been planted within our hearts, and will continue to grow. She will be dearly missed, but she will never be forgotten. Her smile, her laugh, her love, her strength - these things I will keep in my heart.


Amy, you've made people love you. You've made them miss you. In my humble estimation, your life has been a success. You've left your mark.

May God bless Amy Hope Lamonsoff, and may He comfort all who were blessed to have known her.


Posted by Tuning Spork at 09:09 AM | Comments (741) | TrackBack

September 05, 2006

Moon probe deliberately sent crashing into the moon at 10,000 miles an hour

Europe's first moon probe has completed it's mission. So, what else is there to do with it than to litter the lunar surface with it's remains.

Mmm, hmmm.

The European Space Agency's (ESA) unmanned SMART-1 spacecraft ended its three-year mission to test new propulsion technology and explore the lunar surface by crashing into the near side of the moon on Sunday.

Tip o'the tam to Wizbang!

Well, it DID serve out it's usefullness to the Europeans. Might as well just toss all them used up, obsolete things onto the moon, I suppose.


Posted by Tuning Spork at 03:23 AM | Comments (148) | TrackBack

September 03, 2006

And I see bloggers in my sleep

So anyway, my sleeping schedule has been killing me lately. After about four hours of sleep I got up at 5:30 Friday morning, thinking that I was finally back on track. At about 3:00 I was so tired that I thought of taking a nap, but was afraid that I'd jonk out for a good four or five hours. So I pressed.

Then I seemed to get a second wind and was wide awake 'til deep into the night. I finally plopped down at 2:30am.

I awoke at 5:30 but, y'know, it was Saturday and I was still pretty tired. I awoke again at 9:00, but still needed a little more rest.

I woke up 12:00 and was even more tired than I was earlier. After a few more attempts at rubbing the sting out of my eyes while the rain and high winds were wafting through the room, and then falling back to sleep, I finally got out of bed at 7:30pm. Yep. I pretty much slept for 17 hours straight. What a dreary day. Perfect for sleeping in, but sheesh.

Anyway, during all of those wake/sleep/wake/sleep bouts, I had some pretty screwy dreams. Now, my dreams can be very weird and very vivid. Sometimes I want to write 'em all down as blogposts, but, eh, that'd be just weird. But here's a part of one that I had that day that, for some reason, has stuck with me.


I was at a blog meet. I walked into a large room with long tables set up for all the bloggers at the meet. One set of tables was arranged in the shape of a long, thin letter E. The spine of the E ran along the length of one side of the room, and the "spikes" (if you will) of the E jutted out toward the center of the room. Chairs were set along the spine and along each side of the spikes.

A smaller set of long tables was set on the opposite side of the room. Chairs were set along the far side of that table and, in those chairs, were some other bloggers who made up some sort of panel that was running the show.

I took my seat at the corner of the first spike. Sitting to my right -- but around the corner -- was Michelle Malkin. Michelle faced the panel, while the panel was to my left. Sitting immediately to my left was Stephen Macklin, and to his left was my friend Tex Kaliber. (Tex isn't a blogger, but what the hell. It was a dream.)

I was sitting next to Michelle Malkin because she and I had agreed to do some co-writing on some project later that day.

There was some conversation going on as everyone was jus' sipping coffee and/or enjoying the snack bowls.

Then I heard something from the panel that got my attention. Peggy Noonan was talking about life and love, or something, and said, "...and, yes, I always expect, or hope, that there is only one true love out there for me, even though I know that I have fallen madly in love with every single co-worker, co-editor, co-panelist and co-author that I've ever worked with."

As I looked at Peggy and thought about how much younger she looked than I'd expected, I heard that unmistakable sound of a "spit-take". Michelle spit out her coffee and then tried to control herself as she closed her eyes, wiped her mouth as she swallowed, nodded and finally giggled, "Yep, me too, me too...".

Now, since Michelle and I were scheduled to do some co-writing, this was an interesting revelation. Even though I know that she's married, I thought it'd be kinda cool if she was madly in love with me for the few hours that we'd be working together.

The panel discussion ended and we all started to mingle a bit. After a short time Michelle walked up to me and said, "Hey, Bob, would you mind if we got together tomorrow? Something came up and I'll be busy for most of the day with that."

"Okay, fine," I said. "See you tomorrow." And off she walked.

With nothing to do, I left the meeting room and headed for my own room on the other side of the building. (On the way over there was a strange event but, since it was a bit lengthy and had nothing to do with Michelle Malkin, I'll skip it.)

I arrived at my room and decided to take a shower. The shower room was just that: a shower room. No other amenities. It was about 6' x 8' and tiled like a large shower room that you'd find at the YMCA, Boy's Club, or where ever else you'd find a large shower room.

Strangely, opposite the shower head was an open door that I knew was not supposed to be open. I looked through the doorway into another tiled room but, instead of a shower, it contained a large swimming pool. As I looked at the pool, a man emerged from under water and plopped himself onto the edge. While I bit upset that the door to my shower room was open and didn't know why, the guy just smiled and waved to me as if nothing was wrong.

Across the pool room was another open door, and into the room ran a white rat.

"Is that a rat?" I called. A woman poked her head around the far door just as the rat was running full speed toward my shower room.

"Scruffy!" she called. The rat ran about two bounding leaps into my shower, then turned around. "Scruffy, come here!" the woman called, and the rat promptly ran back across the pool room to the far door and into the woman's arms. I closed the door and went to turn on the shower.

I had the shower running just long enough for me to get my body wet from the neck down and to begin soaping up. I turned around and Michelle Malkin walks into the shower room wearing nothing but a towel.


"Okay, Bob," she said, "I can do this with you, but only for a few minutes. Then I really gotta go..."

"Uh..mmm... okay," I muttered. Carefully, she set her towel on a low ledge and, since I was already wet, I stepped aside and let her stand in the stream. The water was a bit on the cool side so I reached over and tweaked the knob a bit to make the water warmer. "Ooo, that's much better," she sighed. "Thank you."

She then furiously shampooed her hair, soaped up and scrubbed, rinsed and walked over to her towel.

"Michelle," I said as she dried off, "That was amazing. You lathered, soaped, scrubbed and rinsed already, and I still haven't gotten my hair wet!"

"You work too slow," she sighed, disappointedly, as she dried her arms. Pointing to the running water, she warned: "You'd better get busy or you'll be left with nothing but a cold shower."

Wrapping the towel around her hair, she scantered out of my shower room, waving, "See ya tomorrow...!"


I must have finished my shower, but I have no recollection of it.

The dream ended there.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 04:21 AM | Comments (2608) | TrackBack

September 01, 2006

Link of the Day Month Summer

I first saw this SNL commercial parody some 15 to 20 years ago and nearly burst my spleen. I haven't seen it since. But, for some reason, it popped into my head tonight so I went looking for it on YouTube. I didn't nearly burst my spleen this time but, what the heck, it's still pretty funny.

You Click Here.

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