Reprinted from the November 17, 2002 edition of Tommy Devine's Online Journal:
I finally got around to trying out the coffee and spagetti sauce the Mayor of Springfield has been peddling for several years. I purposely avoided doing so any earlier because I regarded the whole concept behind selling the products as essentially a political scam. Both the coffee and the sauce are overpriced, but that's supposed to be okay because the profits go to charity. Of course it is Mayor Mike who determines which "charities" receive the funds.
All politicians who intend to be re-elected do a lot of charitable giving. In fact it's considered a routine expense of holding public office and usually comes out of their campaign re-election funds. But by making such contributions out of coffee and sauce profits, Albano is able to make politically advantageous charitable donations while leaving his official campaign treasury intact, where its size can serve to intimidate possible opponents. It also gives him free advertising in an unlikely but valuable place - supermarket shelves. I consider all the income from those products to be little more than a glorified slush fund, and therefore never saw any reason to contribute any money to it by buying the coffee or sauce.
However a friend recently argued that I had a duty to at least try the products one time, and even bought me some samples so that I couldn't refuse on monetary grounds. And you know what? I like them.
The coffee is pretty good, when brewed as dark as the circumstances surrounding a community development project. The aroma is not that great, but won't remind you of Bondi's Island, while the high caffeine content gives you that extra energy you may need to outrun a man with a subpoena. Of course such a powerful brew might lead to high blood pressure when combined with the sight of an FBI agent, but is probably otherwise harmless under normal circumstances. Unfortunately caffeine can be as addictive as a contractor's kickback, so don't overdo it.
The sauce is also pretty good. It's supposed to be based on the Mayor's mother's secret recipe, but some unkind critics have suggested it's really a generic BigY brand with a Mayor Mike label slapped on it. I had the "meat flavored" version of the sauce, which had a meaty taste without my encountering any evidence of any actual meat. But so what? For years when it comes to Mayor Mike we've been wondering where the beef is, so why should his sauce be any different?
So surprisingly I find myself recommending the Mayor's products. Just be sure to attend confession and mass after every serving, in order to seek forgiveness for where the money you spent on Albano's products may end up.
On July 9, 2002 I printed an insider's account of what went down at one of the FBI interrogations into corruption in Springfield.
Sources in Springfield, some of them deeply connected, keep telling me this story, which I must share with you even if libel laws demand that the names be omitted to protect the guilty.
Recently a certain somebody and his wife were being interrogated by the FBI. The agent handed the wife some pages from her husband's expense account and asked her to examine them.
"What I would like to know m'am," the agent asked, "is how do you justify taking all of these luxurious trips with your husband and then charging the cost to the taxpayers?"
The wife stared at the documents in silence for several long moments, then quietly began to sob. Her husband slumped in his chair, burying his face in his hands.
"I'm sorry," the FBI agent said, "but I had to ask that question."
What a way for your wife to find out about your affair!
Dope and Change!
Drug enforcement authorities released this photo of a quantity of Obama blotter acid they confiscated recently.
Daisy Deadhead offers this review: The Obama acid comes at a high price, lots of intense build-up and flash early on… then only performs in a relatively mediocre fashion, leaving you with a ferocious hangover wondering what was I thinking? Afghanistan-shaped blotter next!
The Obama Administration may wish they were on acid when they see this poll by MoveOn.org of 50,000 of its members on whether they approve of his escalation of the war in Afganistan. If Obama loses his liberal base, what will he have left?
In the Fortress of Solitude
An interesting painting of Superman by Jay Buck.
Singer in downtown Amherst this morning.
Planting bulbs to bloom in the spring in Kendrick Park.
This giant mural shows UMass as it was when it opened - all of three buildings! Dig the first class with their showboaters and high hats.
In the early days of the University the Old Chapel was a true religious institution where students were required to attend prayer services every morning. Too many absences from Morning Chapel was considered grounds for dismissal.
Today the Chapel is hardly used at all, preserved primarily for its historic value.