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.

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August 28, 2006



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January 16, 2006

The Morning After

I went to bed pretty early last night; 10:30pm. Well, that's pretty early for me, anyway. But I woke up at about 3:15am and couldn't get back to sleep. I did, however, come up with an idea for a short film about a psychiatrist/therapist who's driven slightly mad by one of her patients/clients.

It's sort of a Stephen King meets Andy Kaufman thing where the patient -- who insists that the therapist does not in any way shape or form understand him -- ties her ankles and wrists (behind her back, of course) and puts her through twelve plus hours of repititious "chanting". (I don't wanna say what he was chanting because I may actually write this as a short story this weekend.)

Dispite her early attempts at getting through this Chinese water torture-like ordeal, she is, after over twelve hours, at her wits end. She sleeps in the office and in the morning can't shake the "chanting". The other therapists think she's gone loopy, but she insists that she's fine except for the chanting voice that, like an annoying song, she just can't get out of her head. (Her secretary will walk in on her in the morning as she's screaming into the radio speakers singing along to a song just to finally rid her head of it all.)

Anywho, I immediately had one, and only one, image of who I saw playing the therapist: Carol Lynley. You remember her. She played Nonnie in The Poseidon Adventure and so many other roles. Believe me, you'd know her if you saw her.

Oh, wait, here she is:


I saw her in The Poseiden Adventure when I was 9 years old. I was immediately smitten. Oh sure, you'd think that a young tyke like me would've taken more to Pamela Sue Martin. Nope. Nonnie Nonnie Nonnie. That face. That voice. That look of quiet panic and doom when she admitted to Red Buttons that she couldn't swim. "You can't swim?" "No, not a stroke."

So, I've been thinking about the story all day... and about Carol Lynley... and decided to check out some photos on the web. Unfortunately, she is entering her mid-60s now and is no longer right for the part. But, still, that can't stop a grown 9-year-old from dreaming, now, can it? N-n-n-n-o-o-o-o-o-o!. So, as a service to mankind, here are some more photos of the lovely and talented Carol Lynley. Fair warning: 2 are semi-nude. Yay! :)

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January 15, 2006

Curse Sir Walter Raleigh, he was such a stupid get

So anyway, I'm listening to the Beatles' Anthology 2. Thumbing through the booklet I saw, on page 8, a lovely black & white photo of Paul playing an acoustic guitar. Clearly he is on stage at a concert somewhere and probably singing Yesterday.

Now, at the tender age of 23, this guy lost more talent with his nail clippings than I ever had in my whole neighborhood. I know that already. But, in that photo on page 8, Paul is on stage playing the acoustic guitar with a cigarette in his left hand.

Paul's a lefty, so that means that he's picking the strings to the tune of Yesterday (presumed) with a frickin' cigarette in his hand! Do you understand what I just said? He was playing the guitar vir-tu-o-so-ous-ly to a paid crowd of who knows how many thousand and doing it with a @#$% cigarette in his hand!

Y'know, Larry King used to smoke in the shower.

Nicotine bad.

Beatles good.

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January 07, 2006

Colors and Commerce

There's a client of ours that orders prints of 10,000 business cards at a time. Granted, he only shows up about once every two years, but still...

His business is called Stop & Go Transmissions. His business card is printed in red (PMS 165, Steve) ink on Meadow Green colored card stock. Meadow Green is a deep rich earthy green. Kinda, as you'd expect, grassy green, but even more so. What an ugly card.

Now, you might ask "But, Spork, red and green are such a pretty combination -- Why would it turn out so ugly?"

Well, ink goes on very thinly. The color of the paper effects the color of the ink. And, as I said to Bossman yesterday, someone oughta tell this guy that red and green are opposite colors. When you mix them, all you get is some shade of brown.

"Red and green are opposite colors"?! Yep.

There are three primary colors in pigments: Red, blue and yellow. The three secondary colors are purple (blue and red), orange (red and yellow) and green (yellow and blue). So when red ink (a primary color) is printed on green stock (a secondary color made up of the primaries blue and yellow) you get brown. Brown on green. Ugly.

The obvious answer is to have these card printed thermographically. (That's where you get the fake-engraved-like raised print.) The problem is that ordering 10,000 thermographed business cards would cost him about $500. So, he opts for the flat printed red-on-green.

The other option is to print two inks (red and green ink on white stock) in reverse. But that would require a rediculous color registration as the small text would have to set just so to keep it clean.

No. The best solution is to have them thermographed, and not to hand out 10,000 business cards every two years. I mean, that's like 13 cards a day. Get a grip. Maybe you'd have more business coming in if yer cards didn't look like shit.

I'm jus' sayin' is all.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 10:18 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Scam Alert, pt 4,762

I got one of them emails from "PayPal" telling me that my billing information needed to be updated. I assumed that this came from a scambot, but I wanted to be sure.

Usually, if you copy the hyperlink they provide and paste it into wordpad, wordpad will reveal the true address. F'rinstance, if the email reads Just click on to update your info, the full text in wordpad might read Just click on http://scamalot.revisited.nigeria/UN/oilforfood to update your info, or something,

So, I copy/pasted and got this:

You can also confirm your Billing Information by logging into your PayPal account at [-].

Thank you for using PayPal!

The PayPal Team

Hmmm. It definately redirects to something seemingly unPayPal-ish, but I still had a lingering doubt. Well, not really. But I was still curious about where this might take me, so I clicked.

I got to the fake PayPal page and was intent on entering my email address (which they obviously already have) and a fake password. If my fake password got me any further than this was obviously a scam.

But then I noticed the helpful option, offered as a highlighted link, next to the password field. "Forgot your password?". Hmmm. If this really is PayPal then they'd email my password. I clicked. Did they inform me that my password was en route? Nope. I got a message that began:

To retrieve your password, enter any email address you have added to your PayPal account. We will email instructions on resetting your password.

Uuuh... oookay. So I backed out of there and entered a fake password. I chose slowboat. I was gonna try whaddayatakemefor? but I figured that might have set off an alarm.

I got right in.

Then they, of course, wanted me to give them all of my personal information including name, address, phone numbers and, get this, credit card information including "credit card PIN".

There's gotta be a way to ping their IP with a dirty bomb and fuse their 'puter's circuitry, no? No?! Damm. I know their IP is but I have no idea what to do with that information.

Ah, well. Be careful out there, folks.

UPDATE: Got another one, from a different IP:

We recently noticed more attempts to log in to your PayPal account from a foreign IP address.

If you accessed your account while traveling, the unusual log in attempts may have been initiated by you. However, if you are the rightfull [sic] holder of the account, please visit Paypal as soon as possible to verify your identity:

Click here to verify your account [That link wont copy/paste for some reason -- TS]

You can also verify your account by logging into your PayPal account at [].
If you choose to ignore our request, you leave us no choise [sic] but to temporaly [sic] suspend your account.

We ask that you allow at least 72 hours for the case to be investigated and we strongly recommend to verify your account in that time.

Thank you for using PayPal!
The PayPal Team

And just 'cuz I'm curious:

Results of IP Tracking for
IP address:
ISP: Rogers Cable Inc.
Country: United States

Results of IP Tracking for
IP address:
ISP: Road Runner-Commercial
Country: United States

UPDATE II: Just got the exact same one again. Road Runner again, but from a different IP:

Results of IP Tracking for
IP address:
ISP: Road Runner
Country: United States


UPDATE III: Rogers Cable is a cable and phone service provider, and Road Runner does kinda the same thing.



OrgName: Road Runner
Address: 13241 Woodland Park Road
City: Herndon
StateProv: VA
PostalCode: 20171
Country: US

ReferralServer: rwhois://

NetRange: -
NetHandle: NET-24-193-0-0-1
Parent: NET-24-0-0-0-0
NetType: Direct Allocation
NameServer: DNS1.RR.COM
NameServer: DNS2.RR.COM
NameServer: DNS3.RR.COM
NameServer: DNS4.RR.COM
RegDate: 2002-04-05
Updated: 2002-11-25

RTechHandle: ZS30-ARIN
RTechName: ServiceCo LLC
RTechPhone: +1-703-345-3416

OrgAbuseHandle: ABUSE10-ARIN
OrgAbuseName: Abuse
OrgAbusePhone: +1-703-345-3416

OrgTechHandle: IPTEC-ARIN
OrgTechName: IP Tech
OrgTechPhone: +1-703-345-3416

# ARIN WHOIS database, last updated 2006-01-07 19:10
# Enter ? for additional hints on searching ARIN's WHOIS database.

My guess is that all of this information is pretty useless. I searched my own IP address and it led me to believe that I was somewhere in Colorado. Pheh.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 08:37 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

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!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 02:16 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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?

Posted by Tuning Spork at 12:10 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 27, 2005

Odd thought of the day

Freedom is the place where you get to forge your own chains.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 04:52 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 10, 2005

Foggy Memories, pt 9: Caviar

I bought a tiny jar of caviar a few years ago. I'm not sure why. I think that I had some money and wanted to treat myself to something I'd never tried before.

Got home; grabbed a spoon; opened the jar; scooped up some fish eggs; had a taste.


It tasted like everything else that comes out of sea. Salty. Fishy. But even more so. Disgustingly so.

Another taste; same thing.

Note to self: Food with an Italian name is usually yummy. Food with a French name is usually weird.

Does anyone really like caviar? Or is it an emperor's clothes-like thang to say that it kinda jus' tastes like the Dead Sea?

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

June 26, 2005

Um... Should bottled water have a list of ingredients?

According to the label, a bottle of DASANI™ water contains:


Word has it (though I've done no independent research) that The Coca~Cola Company is bottling New York City tap water. WTF?!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 07:49 PM | Comments (0)

January 27, 2005

Kristina Goes Home A Bride of Tragedy

Newsmax laughed heartily when a Chappaquiddick-like tragedy struck us a couple of days ago. I can't believe I still have them as my IE Homepage...

For the unintiated: In local news: Kristina Kalganova will fly back to her native Russia in a wedding gown.

This is how the 21-year-old Russian expatriate's parents, Larisa and Valeri Kalganova [sic. The masculine form would be "Kalganoff" - TS], want to see their tragedy-struck daughter for the last time.


Please read this Link. Kristina came to America as an exchange student at the prodding of her on-line friend Jane. She lived with Jane's mom right here in Bridgeport.

Apparantly, she didn't pick her boyfriends very well 'cause she drowned in a pond in Stamford a few days ago because Lucky Loaiza abandoned her when she needed him most.

Kristina Kalganova died horribly on Jan. 15. Her boyfriend, Francisco Loaiza of Stratford, stands accused of manslaughter with a motor vehicle in connection with her death in a car sinking to the bottom of a Stamford pond.

Friends of the nearly penniless Kalganova have rallied to raise money to send her remains home. A Stamford woman whose husband died in the World Trade Center disaster of 2001 is among the major benefactors.

A pledge drive began to send the girl's remains home so her parents could see her one last time.

And she's going home; escorted by her friend Jane.

The most difficult part for Jane Oleksy will come Friday night. That's when she boards a flight at Kennedy International Airport in New York to bring Kristina home.

Meeting her best friend's parents is likely to be especially awkward. Though she's spoken to them before, this will be the first time they'll meet face-to-face. Over Kristina's silver-toned casket.

"Kristina would say she'd want me to come to Russia with her and visit her family. But it's bad to meet them like this," Jane Oleksy said. "But this is the least I can do for her and her family. I wouldn't want somebody else to go with her. That's not even a question for me."

Posted by Tuning Spork at 12:53 AM | Comments (2)

January 17, 2005

Moby Chicken, pt 3

"Ishtar," Habanero sighed, "I've been working for Baja for seex years. He knows how to run a company and, like I always say, I'd follow heem into battle any time and anywhere."

We'd been driving along the narrow paths in the woods for about half an hour. "How far is that 'hilly area' Baja mentioned?" I figgitted.

"About five or six miles," spoke a voice from the back seat of our Jeep.

"Yeah, five or six miles," chimed in another. Pete and Repeat were egg packers, and they always seemed eager to do whatever they could to make Baja proud of them. "We're not even close, yet. In fact, we're still near the farm."

"Yep. Still near the farm," echoed Pete. "And it looks like we're stopping again."

The convoy came to a halt along the edge of a long 2-foot high stone wall just as a fella came running up on the other side.

"Frapple!" he called out. "Got a question about some of these returns!"

"Who's that?" I asked Habbi.

"Dat's Silo," he replied. "He runs de recycle area. You'fe never been out here before?"

"No," I confessed. "What are they recycling?"


Frappled stepped over the stone wall and began walking down the opposite hill with Silo. Then he turned around and shouted, "We're gonna be here for a few minutes if you all wanna stretch your legs!"
We all got out of the Jeeps and stood around for a few minutes.

"You wanna see what goes on here?" asked Pete.

"Yeah, wanna see?" asked Repeat. Habbi, Pete, Repeat and I stepped over the wall and followed Frapple and Silo down the hill to an assembly of large machines. They were droning along somewhat loudly but smoothly.

I noticed an open box of packaged whole chickens and cornish hens. "They're going to spoil in this sun," I said aloud to no one in particular.

"Too late to worry about dat," Habbi said dryly. "Dese are de returns. When de expeeration date passes and de cheekens haf not been sold, dey get sent back here, where we recycle them."

"How do you recycle expired meat?" I asked quite confusedly.

"Ashes to ashes, dust to dust." he answered.

I meandered my way closer to the machinery. I could hear Pete and Repeat's voices talking about what is done with the old meat -- something about fertilizer and "bio-mass" research were mentioned -- but I was too focused on the box of packaged whole chickens.

A stark sense of futility came over me as I thought about what I was seeing. These were not rows of drumsticks or wings, they were whole chickens who were raised, fed, killed, beheaded and befooted, plucked, gutted, cleaned, packaged, shipped and returned for discarding. They were large, plump and, in all likelihood, still perfectly good for roasting and eating. They sat in the refridgerated bins in area markets for a week or so, and remained unsold. I couldn't turn my head. These big birds died for nothing.
I could feel someone breath on my neck.

"Don't stare for too long at this waste," Frapple said. "or soon waste will be all you can see. I've seen it happen to others."

"It's just so.....sad," I muttered still staring into the box. "We're supposed to eat what we kill. We learn that when we're young. These were, in the end, slaughtered and thrown away."

"The butcher shops, restaurants and supermarkets can't prepare live chickens to each order," he said calmly. "These aren't lobsters, y'know. The best we can do is estimate the demand, and to match supply as close as possible without going under.
Don't worry."
he said as he put his hand on my shoulder, "the chickens don't know the difference." as a voice from the path above boomed out.

"Frapple!" Baja's voice boomed out from the path above. "Are you finished down there, yet?!"

"We'll be right up!" he called back. I turned to face him and he sort of smiled sheepishly.
"You'll be happy to know," he smiled, "that there's a box in the refridgerated truck that's being sent to a catfood plant. The meat's still good, it just can't be legal sold to people anymore. Baja doesn't like to waste anything either, okay?"

We walked back to the Jeeps and were soon on our way again.

It must have been three hours of rough trails, no trails, and inane conversation among our Jeep's compliment, before the lead truck came to another stop. Baja, Frapple and their front-seaters stepped out. Baja waved us all to join them.

"Gentlemen," he began, "We're getting near to where I believe Moby Chicken is hiding. I want you all to begin keeping a keen eye on our surroundings. We're looking for a large chicken, nearly the size of a turkey. She's got bright white feathers and a red 'BajaBird' tag on her left leg. If you see her, have the driver honk the horn once."

"Baja," came a voice from behind me. It was Hargus, a gutter/cleaner. "Forgive me, but it'll be getting dark soon. Shouldn't we be heading back to the farm before night falls?"

Frapple visibly bristled at the question.

"Baja knows what time it is, Hargus," he said sternly.

"We wont be heading back tonight," Baja assured us, "unless we find Moby Chicken today."

There were some groans. None of us had eaten since our chicken sandwiches at lunchtime, and we hadn't packed any food to take along on this little adventure. But, Baja had spoken, and the entire crew seemed resigned to the fact that we would likely be camping out tonight without dinner, or breakfast in the morning.

"In return for your loyalty," Baja interjected, probably sensing the hit to our collective morale, "every one of you will receive a double-sized Christmas bonus come December, and," he continued as mild cheers began to sound, "the man to first spot Moby Chicken will be paid one thousand dollars on top of it!"

The hazzahs and applause had turned nearly into a Marine Corps shoutfest. Nine employees high-fiving and carrying on like a highschool football team at a pep rally. Baja stood triumphantly. Frapple looked me in the eye after seeing that I was the only other team member struck silent by all of this.

Back into the Jeeps we piled and headed onward, all of us looking out for a big white chicken with a red tag on her left leg. This bird could be anywhere amid who knows how many hundreds of acres. My heart sank into my stomach, and it only felt emptier.

[To be continued....]

Posted by Tuning Spork at 09:22 PM | Comments (0)

January 16, 2005

Moby Chicken, pt 2

About a dozen of us had set out for the surrounding woodlands, in three Jeep Wranglers, in search of Moby Chicken. Frapple and Baja were in back seat of the lead truck while I was in the passenger seat of the middle truck. The others with us were various farm employees. Butchers, feeders, packers, drivers, etc. Habanero, a chicken feeder was driving our vehicle.

"Tell me more about Moby Chicken," I asked him as we wended along a path through a field that led us to the woods.

"'T'was about a year ago, just before you joined de farm, amigo," he began as he lit a cigarette with the dash lighter. "We had a cheeken dat we used to use for breeding. She was one of our top egg-layers and she gave us many healtty cheeks to raise. Sweat meat.
She grew to almost de size of a fawking turkey, I say truefully to you. So, we called her 'Moby Cheeken'."
Habbie paused for a moment to savor a long drag from the Marlboro menthol.

"Den, one day," he continued, "Moby Cheeken began to act strangely. She woold cackle all day and all night, ronning around de henhouse and de outside range area getting all de other cheekens in an oproar. Den she started to try to break down de fencing around de coups and de yards...
"I tried to catch her one day. Frapple wanted to haf her examined for a virus or someting. She pecked my right forearm good, do you see?"
He extended his right forearm out before me to show me the underside. It was dotted with scar tissue.
"I was de lucky one," he said, shaking his head.

"And, Baja?" I asked.

"Baja was more of a hands-on presidente back den, before dat day," Habbi said wistfully. "He was in de office in de farmhouse and heard de comotion and came ronning out. Frapple tried to stop him from getting near Moby Cheeken, but Baja was a big man. He tought he coold wrestle a crocodile, you know, and ween? Moby Chicken got him in de eye and finally escaped up de meadow and into de woods."

The lead truck was coming to a stop just up ahead. We were about 50 yards from the edge of the woods and came to a halt. Baja and Frapple stepped out of the truck and walked to our hood. There, Baja unfolded a large map and spread it onto the hood of our truck.

"We're here," Baja said to Frapple, pointing to a spot on the map. "The way I figure it, Moby Chicken will probably be up in this area somewhere." Baja was pointing to an area of the map that was close to it upper-right corner. We, in the truck, had no idea at the time where this place might be.

"Why there?" Frapple inquired of our excited and fearless one-eyed leader. Baja began pointing at different areas of the map as he explained:

"She wont be hiding over here, that's too close to the road. She wont go over in this area, it's low-lying and the aroma from the sewage plant lingers there. These areas along here are too close to the edges of the woods where fox urine would ward her off. Over here is too close to our butcher rooms, and up here is where the sheep farms are. She wont go near there for fear of wolves. No, Frapple, up in this hilly area over here is where we'll find Moby Chicken," he concluded, poking the spot with his finger.

Frapple turned away slowly with a concerned and puzzled look on his face.

"What's the matter, Frapple?" Baja asked, reaching out his hand. "Aren't you feeling all right?' Frappled turn to look Baja in the eye. Baja perked up. "Oh," he sighed, "You think I've gone wacky. Don't you?" Frapple stood silently. "I'm not wacky. I'm wackiness whacked."

"Moby Chicken is a dumb bird," Frapple protested. "It was acting strangely and attacked you out of thoughtless self-defense. We need to get our work done down at the farm, Baja. Why are we pursuing this crazy bird?"

"Because she dares me to find her, Frapple," he said intensely. "She dares me to come and get her and make her pay for what she's done to me."

"A dumb bird," Frapple repeated, "who doesn't make plans, or demand explanations, and with little more awareness of it's own existence than a fish."

"No, not this one, Frapple," Baja retorted, shaking his head. "This one is different. The chicken's likeness is a mask, to hide the soul of a fox. Now let's get moving; there are only so many hours of daylight left," he concluded. Frapple walked slowly as Baja folded up the map and hurried back to the truck.

Habanero and I looked at each other silently for a moment. The lead truck began to move. Habbi revved up the engine and into woods we followed.

[To be continued....]

Posted by Tuning Spork at 06:13 PM | Comments (2)

January 15, 2005

Moby Chicken

Call me Ishtar. I'd gotten into the chicken farming business because I wanted to see the world from a different point of view. A view with a pool and garden and, maybe, a tennis court.

Okay, it's just a local chicken farm so the tennis court might have to remain a dream. But, what with the Mad Cow Disease scare in full swing, I thought I'd invest myself in a safe meat. Safer, anyway, so long as it's cooked to 160o.

I wont inflate myself; I didn't own the farm. But, with a little guile and midnight oil, I'd managed to get myself up into where my services were highly appreciated and compensated for. Mainly because I came up with the company's slogan and local billboard: "Afraid of beef? You are what you'll eat!" above a photo of a luscious steaming oven-roasted golden-brown chicken.
Nevermind that the slogan insulted the reader, the picture was too delicious to ignore. The farm went into high gear.

Leading the team was the owner, Baja. (That's pronounced bah-hah. His parents were southern California hippies who liked to hang out in Baja -- the Mexican Florida.)

His second in command was Frapple. Soon after joining the team I'd come to realize that Frapple did most of the delegating while Baja seemed to spend endless hours stewing in juices whose heat only he could feel. I was like a glorified foreman; I took Frapples guff and gave it to everyone else. Still, I felt that I was the one who kept this operation going.

"How come I never see Baja?" I asked Frapple one morning.

"He is a learned man, Ishtar. He went to Harvard Business School. Built this farm by his own sheer will Almost got on Jeopardy last year. He sees things from a higher vantage than you and I." Sumpm' was up.

One morning -- oh, it might have been in mid-autumn sometime -- Baja called a companywide meeting. Companywide meetings were rare. Mainly because they were usually simple procedure checks. And we had our procedure down pat. But this time was different.

Baja commanded a room as soon as he walked into it. As imposing on us as the grill is on a rack of drumsticks. He was a strong man with an eyepatch. A frickin' eye-patch. Now there's the maverick spirit for ya. He strode about the casual assembly for a few moments and finally spoke.

"Ladies and gentlemen, you do great work," he said. I, and I think all of us, were relieved to hear the meeting begin that way. "But there is now a great task ahead of us," he continued. "Our mission now is not to simply produce edible fowl, but to avenge an effete foul."

We weren't sure what he was talking about as he paced and muttered under his breath. His twitching was setting some of us wrong, but Frapple would occassionally nod an indication that this was all in his way. Was it a comforting glance? Even Frapple seemed unsure. It was just a glance.

"Our mission now," Baja continued, "is to find that renegade, Moby Chicken. By all that is holy, I swear; she has laid her last egg!"

"Sir," Frapple interjected, "Wasn't it Moby Chicken who pecked your eye and, since then, you wear that patch?"

"Moby Chicken," Baja muttered with disdain. "I'll not rest until a roasting fire is all Moby Chicken can see. She is of another world, I truely tell you, friends. Suspicious, suspecting and wise she attacks my own eyes."

Baja drew a cleaver from within his jacket and raised it to the air.

"She escaped into the woods and there will we find her!" he wailed as he slammed the cleaver into a wooden desktop. "A chicken for an eye! Are you with me, men?!"

The clarion shouting in the room drowned out any forming questions that may or may not have been coming to me.

I, humbly relaxing, watched the room become Baja.

[ be continued......]

Posted by Tuning Spork at 09:02 PM | Comments (1)
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