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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Fringeville #91, June 27 2013

... in this all-important third phase of this unscientific experiment, I have combined the elements of sex and chicken wings to determine the impact on random web traffic. (In other words, yes, trolling for hits.)

The full report, issued by the North American Institute of Wingology, will be released as soon as all the data is compiled (immediately after cleaning wing sauce off my fingers with a moist towelette).

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fringeville #90, June 26 2013

...the second phase of a three stage experiment. (Still shamelessly trolling for hits.)

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Fringeville #89, June 25 2013

...a little experiment. Chicken wings are next. (I'm just shamelessly trolling for hits.)

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Fringeville #88, June 19 2013

Da chi mi fido, mi guardi Dio, da chi non mi fido guarderĂ² io.

One night years ago, when I still had the moolah for HBO, I was in the kitchen getting a snack when my wife called me into the living room.

"Watch this show with me. It looks good" she said.

It was the first episode of The Sopranos. I never stopped watching.

With the stunning loss of James Gandolfini at age 51, any possibility of a Soprano's project is sleeping with the fishes. The one irreplaceable character on The Sopranos was Tony. Livia: Expendable. Junior: Ditto. Even losing Carmela would probably not have doomed the show. But Tony was the center of the wheel around which everything revolved.

Gandolfini was absolutely perfect as Tony Soprano. There is no one who could have done the role better, just as no one but William Shatner could have turned the trick of being Captain Kirk on the original Star Trek series.

I'll leave you with some of my favorite Tony Soprano lines:

“If you can quote the rules, then you can obey them.”

“Those who want respect, give respect.”

Janice Soprano: What'd you do with him?
Tony Soprano: We buried him... On a hill overlooking a little river, with pine cones all around.
Janice Soprano: You did?

Tony Soprano: C'mon Janice, what the f__k? What do you care what we did with him, huh?

Tony Soprano: What is that?
Irina Peltsin: "Chicken soup for the soul".
Tony Soprano: You should read "tomato sauce for your ass", it's the Italian version.

"What happened to Gary Cooper? The strong, silent type. That was an American."

Rest in Peace, James Gandolfini.

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Friday, June 7, 2013

Fringeville #87, June 07 2013

"...rain? What rain? It's not raining. And if it is, I don't know anything about it."

Legend has it that after Walter Cronkite declared the Vietnam War unwinnable President Johnson said, "...if I've lost Cronkite I've lost middle America."

Yesterday, the New York Times Editorial Board said the Obama Administration has lost all credibility on the phone data collection scandal. They go on to say, "...Mr. Obama is proving the truism that the executive branch will use any power it is given and very likely abuse it."

This is the New York Times, which has long had a love-fest with the President. The Times. Not Fox. Not Breitbart. Not a little-known Internet news source or a kitchen table blogger (like me).

I can't help but wonder what the President said last night after realizing he's lost the New York Freaking Times.
"...the executive branch will use any power it is given and very likely abuse it."

From where I sit, this is the official beginning of Lame Duck season. We are likely facing more than three years of rudderless government, endless hearings, and further erosion of the average American's faith in their government.

This isn't going to be fun, kids, it's going to be a long, depressing slog.

Arrogance reaps a bitter crop.

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I can tell, after reading yesterday's blog entry, that my blog wheels are rusty. I was all over the board on yesterday's post. Bear with me. I'll be back in form soon. I just need more coffee in the morning and chicken wings at night.

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Fringeville Edition #86, June 06 2013

Lately, each day brings evidence that the Federal Government is becoming dangerously powerful. This morning I awoke to learn that the NSA is indiscriminately collecting phone records from millions of Verizon customers.

This is not a story found only in murky media outlets or conservative blogs. It’s front page on the New York Times. It was a big story on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

When the Times and MSNBC start piling on, things are really hitting the fan.

According to the Times story by Charlie Savage and Edward Wyatt, the NSA order (signed by Judge Roger Vinson of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court) directs an arm of Verizon to provide to the NSA “on an ongoing daily basis” all call logs “between the United States and abroad” or “wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls.”

This particular order is aimed at Verizon Business Network Services. I believe it is just the tip of a frightening iceberg. This Administration, supposedly the most transparent ever, has piled lie upon lie and misdirection upon misdirection at every opportunity, and until recently went largely unchallenged. But trust has been broken, the President is ultimately a lame duck, and his Teflon coating is vanishing.

Let me back up a second.

I am not a member of the Tea Party. I am a small government, conservative Republican who believes in God, the sanctity of life, and the inherent right of people to pursue happiness and achieve their dreams in a free America. Yes, I’ve met a number of Tea Party people over the last year or so. I worked with a Congressional candidate last year who was a founder of the Scranton Tea Party. I never once encountered the crazed, militant, dangerous Tea Party folks the mainstream media warned us about.

But I did have my life threatened by a man for supporting Romney. (His exact quote was: “…you’re a Romney man? Get off my porch or I’ll kill you where you stand.”)

Hope and change; ice cream and rainbows; death threats on crumbling porches.

I heard whispers last year that Tea Party groups were being scrutinized by the IRS. At one time I’d have disregarded such a thing as the product of a conspiracy-theory-soaked brain. But these had a ring of truth and they sprang immediately to mind as soon as the IRS targeting scandal broke.

We also have the targeting of certain journalists and the AP by the Justice Department.

And now the NSA is looking indiscriminately at Verizon phone records. (Dear NSA: Can you hear me now? At least you know where to order good wings if you’re pulling my records.)

On this very day in 1944, the beaches of Normandy were soaked red with the blood of those who died to preserve our freedom against an insane dictator and his nightmare government. We are still a free nation, though that freedom is being compromised daily by an out of control Federal Government that indiscriminately monitors the phone calls of anyone they choose …just because they can …and they face no ramifications whatsoever.

I wonder how Walter Griffith feels about this…

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Monday, June 3, 2013

Fringeville Edition #85, June 03 2013

Going to church on Sundays sets the tone for my week. God speaks to me when I'm at Mass. I'm not saying he sits down next to me and says, "Hey Jimbo, let's go for wings after church! And put your money on the Phillies this year." It's a far more subtle conversation. The end result is that no matter how tired or beaten down I was going into church, I leave church recharged and ready for the week ahead. If I'm on the schedule as a Eucharistic Minister, that battery recharge for my soul is triply intense.

Last week was a depressing grind. There were no major tragedies in my life; it was more a matter of still coming off yet another election loss and sitting down to the sobering month-end financials on the home front. (Anyone who thinks all Republicans are rich S.O.B.'s who detest the poor and only want to crush the working class ought to swing by my place on one of my macaroni nights. I get a helluva lot of mileage out of cheese ends, elbow macaroni, and a great roux to start it all off.) It's one thing to be pretty much worn down physically, but it's the feeling of futility, that the hard work isn't paying off, that really tears at the edges of one's soul.

After closing my Quicken software on Saturday night (a depressing session where I realized I'm likely not going to be able to retire to the Eastern Shore of Maryland on the seven grand left in my IRA) I realized how badly I needed church on Sunday. I was on the schedule for Eucharistic Minister, and so much the better. I really needed that weekly talk with God (who I think is actually a Cubs fan; someone has to love the Cubbies).

Sunday morning I woke early, looking forward to that conversation with the Creator. Off to Mass I went. I took my place in the pew, and nothing happened. Zip. Nada. Our Lord was conspicuously absent from my pew. He was there for the Eucharist, of course and stood just behind me while I gave Communion. But he didn't say a word and didn't come back to the pew with me.

Church ended. I walked back to my car. Maybe he was there, in the passenger seat, ready to elbow me and say, "...just messing with you Jimbo." 

Nope. I was in that car alone. I'd been to Mass. I'd anxiously awaited that kick-start to my week, that recharging of my soul's battery. The battery was now, in fact, dead. 

All I had for my trip to Mass was a church bulletin. I started the drive home, feeling worse by the second.

A hundred yards from my intersection, I saw a big rock in the middle of the road. As I prepared to steer around it, the rock moved. It was a snapping turtle, big, ugly and halfway across Union Street. He had left the creek and was headed to the woods. He was in a position of peril. I pulled off the road, backed up, and stopped next to him. I considered picking him up and taking him to the edge of the trees. I've had some small experiences with snapping turtles, so I wasn't worried about getting chomped on. Instead, I decided to watch for vehicles on this normally busy road. I'd be his guardian, but at a distance, and I'd only leave the car if I saw a vehicle coming.

No one drove by; it was like the traffic was miraculously rerouted.

On he slogged, inch by inch, stopping every once in a while just because he damned well felt like it. Finally he was across the road. He raised his head high, looked across the road and directly into my eyes, and a single word formed in my mind: PERSEVERE. 

Sometimes God sends a prophet. Sometimes He sends a great figure like Moses. And I guess sometimes He sends a turtle. 

I'm set for the week, and likely well beyond.

Whaddya looking at? And quit whining.
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