Archive for March, 2008

Set Off

March 27, 2008

Every four-letter word Shop Boy knows, he learned from his mother.

Which is kind of funny, based on her late-in-life disassociation with any sort of rough or racy language. She wouldn’t go near a movie that she guessed had lots of harsh dialogue. “I don’t need to hear that,” Mom would say.

Certainly, she’d heard it all before. Mom was an emergency room nurse, so she ran with a pretty tough crowd. Doctors give R.N.s lots of garbage, and the life-and-death atmosphere of the ER creates an enormous amount of tension. But the nurses can’t let patients see their anger and frustration. (At least they shouldn’t.) So, they take it outside, where they smoke, fume and — oh, you betcha — swear their heads off.

As the third anniversary of Mom’s death arrives this week, I can think of a few sets of ears that are probably still red over her own rough — never racy — dialogue from those earlier days. She picked her spots, but she could really bring the noise.

Shop Boy’s been thinking about her a lot lately. And one of the weird things that struck me is how much more I curse than she ever did, even in her hey (@#$%&*!) day. I mean, Shop Boy doesn’t curse in this blog and gets the point across, right? OK, sometimes. Geez. Work with me here.

Anyway, maybe that was Mom’s secret: She knew that an unexpected F-bomb can have the impact of 25 while 25 F-bombs in the span of, say, 50 words just get you tuned out. So Shop Boy’s been trying to cool it a bit.

Which brings us to last Sunday night.

We got a call that Woodberry Kitchen, a local restaurant that Typecast Press does printing for — you can’t get a reservation these days (we like to think we played a small role in that, of course) — needed a fresh supply of menus. With all the changes that the chef, Spike Gjerde, makes to match the seasonal availability of stuff, the restaurant churns through a lot of menus. We letterpress the shell, and Mary has set up Spike’s co-owner and wife Amy with a file for changing the lineup. Then Amy runs the menus through a huge copier.

Well, you know how it goes. The restaurant gets popular, you’re running around refreshing the food, linen, flatware and booze supplies and you forget to check the stock of menus. Then Spike has a brainstorm. Uh-oh.

This time, I decided to really crank out a ton of extra menus so we could hold a bunch back for just such emergencies. We’d cut paper for about 900, so that sounded about right. The big Chandler & Price clamshell does a nice job on them, but of course it’s hand-fed. At two colors and at a rate of about 300 an hour (the menus are 12″x12″ and a little bit slick, so why rush it?), that’s about six hours of lift-bend-lift-turn-repeat. But Shop Boy was determined.

At one point, Mary walked into the studio, examined an enormous pile of drying menus and asked if maybe Shop Boy should take a break. No way!

“God, Shop Boy, you are so goal-oriented,” she huffed.

Which is probably why God and Shop Boy end up being mentioned in the same sentence. I’m just saying …

Ahem.

Well, just as Shop Boy was patting himself on the back — whoops! Misfeed. A sheet of paper jumped the guide and fell beneath the press and, quicker than you can say “fiddlesticks,” the tympan had black ink all over it. Good golly, if you’ve ever inked the tympan, the waxy paper that holds your guides and the sheets of packing that you use to adjust impression depth, you know what’s next.

Phooeey! Or to be more precise …

@#*$%&*$%#@, @#*$%&*$%#@-ING @##$*%*#@$-ER!

Yes, it means an offset — a shadow on the back side of every darn thing you print from here to infinity. All right, not quite that long. Your only choice is to get it off there. With black ink, that’s easier said than done. We don’t like using press wash to clear it, as that’s not real good for you or the environment, can also stain future pieces of paper, takes a while to dry completely and the moisture can change the depth of your packing after you’ve spent all that time getting it just so.

Instead, we buff it off with a rag. A total pain.

At that moment, Shop Boy was so mad at himself for losing his concentration that he could have put his head in the machine and turned it on.

I swear …

Letterpress List No. 28: Hands Down

March 25, 2008

Cutting paper with a guillotine is a one-person job, sayeth the wise old (eight-fingered) printer.

All the modern safety features in the world can’t save you, for instance, if you decide at the last second that the paper’s crooked and your partner picks the same moment to drop the blade. The only hands moving around that razor-sharp guillotine should be the ones attached to the brain operating the machine.

Is Shop Boy being clear here?

Good.

OK, I’m still a little uneasy around the 1950s-vintage Chandler & Price Craftsman hydraulic cutter that Mary recently added to our stable of guillotines. (I’m telling you, if the French Revolution suddenly breaks out, Typecast Press is ready to, um, help remove the heads of state.) We already had two manual guillotines, one that my brother-in-law Dan Laorenza — a printing guy by trade — sold me to get us started and another, older, larger job that Mary deemed too beautiful to pass up. (Sigh.)

The manuals take some muscle, which usually means Shop Boy has to stand around while Mary frets and tweaks the stacks of paper. Then I step in, screw down the paper clamper, throw off the safety latch — it prevents the arm and blade from descending when you don’t want them to — and whump! Then I stand around some more. Wait a minute … didn’t I just say that this is a one-person job?!?!

It’s truly better to be lucky than smart, sayeth the 10-fingered numbskull.

For one difficult cutting assignment — as I’ve said before, it’s high math sometimes — Mary and Shop Boy did this little dance for six hours. All to create 150 save-the-date cards. We were pretty edgy by the end.

And the mouths of the two manual cutters are relatively narrow — 21 inches on one and about 25 inches on the other — severely limiting the size of the paper sheet that can be cut. This is a big issue, as it’s often much, much cheaper to buy paper in large sheets, then cut them down. Mary once found a sale on really nice, thick paper that came in a roll that was 44 inches by 10 meters. It came all tightly rolled and fought like the heavyweight it was, threatening at any moment to entomb Shop Boy as he used an X-acto knife to slice it into manageable pieces.

So, yeah, Mary is right. We needed the Craftsman and its much wider jaws. But could she have found a cleaner machine? Sheesh.

Actually, we should give a Shop Boy Shout-out here to Tim Benas, the cutter’s previous owner. Not only did he show up to offer Mary a lesson in how to operate the Craftsman but he also brought two extra blades — and installed a freshly sharpened one! After that act of kindess, how can Shop Boy complain about having to clean off the normal grunge associated with printing machinery?

(Because that’s what I do.)

Mary was going to have Katrina, an intern from Villa Julie College who’s been working with her one day a week, clean the bugger. Katrina is clearly a lot smarter than Shop Boy, but will pay dearly at some point for her cleverness in ducking the assignment. I’ve got nearly 200 rusty, dusty job trays … oh, heck, you know Shop Boy’ll end up doing those, too. (Sigh squared.)

So over the weekend, Shop Boy grabbed the non-detergent motor oil, some fine-grade steel wool, a grease cutter, a razor blade and some rags and got to work. The cutter had been moved on a rainy day, leading to rust on the bed, the perfectly smooth steel surface that holds the paper. Oil and elbow grease made pretty quick work of that.

Next were the stickers all over the front of the machine, ads for this and that service preferred by the previous printshops. Mary had fallen in love with the logo — “The Chandler & Price Co.” with lightning bolts on either side, very cool — so Shop Boy decided to surprise her by getting all the stickers off. No surprise: This would be harder than you could imagine.

Then there’s the fear factor. Shop Boy would rather eat worms or swim with sharks than tangle with the business end of this thing. But greasy gunk on the machine means greasy gunk on the paper. No getting around it.

The blade looks scarier than anything, but it’s probably not what’s going to get you, though I lost a few layers of skin wiping some dirt off a smaller blade with a paper towel. Look, Shop Boy can learn from his mistakes, but he’s got to make them first, right?

Now the clamp bar … that’s the mangler. It drops first, locking the stack of paper in place. This is what will crush your fingers. Then comes the blade. (At this point, of course, you might as well just leave your mashed digits where they are and let the blade finish the job. Save the doctor a few minutes.) Anyway, the cutter was in a giving — not a taking — mood. So Shop Boy came through fine and it was gleaming. OK, as gleaming as a 50-year-old workhorse can be. And the smile on Mary’s face when she saw it …

Shop Boy’d give a finger or two for that.

***

Letterpress List No. 28

How about an hour’s worth of music to degrease — or cut paper — by. Of course, if you’re using an old manual cutter, you’re going to need a longer list. Sorry. Most of these tunes should be available in the usual places. Goofy or great videos are from YouTube.

Real Live Bleeding FingersLucinda Williams (Not today …)
Chop Suey! System of a Down (Band’s music cuts through grime … and bone. Even in Legovision.)
Still Not a PlayerBig Punisher (Just, um, “crushes” a lot.)
Once Bitten Twice ShyGreat White (My, my, my. These guys know a little about tragic mistakes.)
Killer QueenQueen (Let them eat cake, she said — just like Marie Antoinette.)
Some Heads Are Gonna Roll Judas Priest (Three guillotines … no waiting!)
Uncle Albert/Admiral HalseyPaul McCartney (Hands across the water, not across the cutting zone. Safety first.)
Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could SeeBusta Rhymes (Okey-dokey.)
Le DangerFrancoise Hardy (French chanteuse. Sexy song in any language.)
The Fight SongMarilyn Manson (Temper, temper …)
What’s the Matter ManRollins Band (Are you wrapped too tight?)
Demon CleanerKyuss ( ;-) )
Bad Habitthe Dresden Dolls (Cutter’s anthem.)
Cutthe Cure (Obviously not about hair management.)
Rip It Out Ace Frehley (When Shop Boy was a teen, he owned the air-drum solo to this.)
MachineheadBush (Don’t hate him because he took Gwen Stefani from us.)
One U2 (OK, Shop Boy, we get it.)

***

Oh, and while I’ve got you here, this is your chance to be the first on your subway car to check out my other blog, Unattended Items. It’s about commuting, natch.

Letterpress List No. 27: Dulcinea

March 18, 2008

There Shop Boy goes, opening his big blog mouth again.

He should know better by now: Anyone could be reading this. (OK, someone could be reading this. Work with me, people.)

Bruce Baggan of North American Millwright Services was. Rigging’s his game. If it’s really heavy and sitting in our printshop, chances are he or his guys put it there. Bruce has sort of become the patron saint of Typecast Press.

So, fine. I write a little teeny blog entry about taking down a closet to make room for a Heidelberg Windmill, he sees the posting and all of a sudden he’s all like, “We’ll be delivering it on Friday.”

Excuse me? Whatever happened to Shop Boy grieving his loss. Didn’t Bruce know what that closet meant to me? You could hide crazy stuff in there — like the homemade virkotype machine that Mary ordered Shop Boy to rescue from a basement letterpress shop and that she insists we’re going to use someday. Yeah, right, we’re going to print things and then, while the ink is still wet, we’re going to sprinkle the cards or whatever with this powder and send them down a sailcloth conveyor belt and through two toaster ovens while a rubber band spins a leather propeller that blows the extra dust all over the room — just so we can get an “embossed” look.

Man, Shop Boy had buried that thing in the closet. Now …

Better give me a minute.

OK. Where were we? Oh, right.

We had just spent a weekend tearing down a closet, piling its entire contents floor to ceiling and end to end in our suitemate Chris Hartlove’s space (nice), patching the walls, putting up temporary shelves and then, of course, moving all the stuff back, carrying the last box over at a little after 12 on Sunday night.

Now we had to do it all over again, with the added pleasure of disassembling and relocating a 10-foot stack of loaded flat files that blocked the double doors from opening fully, which we’d need to happen in order to get the press into the studio.

Shop Boy doesn’t want to seem like he’s whining — oh, hush — but this progress thing is really setting back my beauty sleep. Hush!

Anyway, the Heidelberg Windmill is a pretty nifty contraption. The press gets its name from the motion its arms use to move paper from the unprinted pile to the platen (where the impression is made) and then to the finished pile. A large silver shield at eye level stops the operator from leaning too close and ending up finished as well.

All of the adjustments that we do on the older presses with tape, wrenches, packing and endless tweaking are done on the Heidelberg with a few knob twists. And for registering multicolor jobs, the press is said to be a whiz. (Or, as Bruce Baggan says, “Woo-hoo! Typecast Press has just come roaring into the ’50s.” He’s a kidder.)

The Windmill is also incredibly tippy when moved. Think of a bowling ball balanced on the head of 10 pin. Or a 3,000-pound printing press, whose top half is about twice as wide as its base, balanced on a pallet jack — with only a little more than 1 inch sitting on each fork. Ooh.

Now picture this: Three guys coaxing this thing off a loading dock, over a threshold and down a long hallway, then turning it through a door and into position, all while constantly kicking a wooden block under the press from behind in case the whole mess collapses. Mary made me watch … she couldn’t. Believe me, Shop Boy just stood in awe, cell phone in hand (a 9 and a 1 already dialed), as these dudes pushed and pulled this off.

Finally, Shop Boy hollered to Mary to come OK the position, then the guys started lowering the press to the floor. At the risk of boring you — hush! — with procedure, it is mind-blowing to witness the process of lowering a printing press from 6 inches off the ground to the floor. It won’t go straight from the pallet jack (no clearance). Instead, you put it up on blocks, in this case stacks of 4×4 and 2×4 boards. Next, you take a long steel bar, put a board under it for height, then use it as a lever to lift the edge of the press ever so slightly. A taller board is replaced with a shorter one, the steel bar is slowly released, and the press is a bit closer to the floor. Repeat this on the other side and keep working your way down, alternating stacks. Wow.

So there it sat. Until Mary noticed that it maybe should be a little farther from the wall, as some adjustments and cleaning must be performed while standing behind the Heidelberg. No problem, the guys said, as two stood and grabbed the sides while the crew’s leader, John, one resourceful and determined dude, sat with his back against the wall and began pushing with his legs.

Crack!

Uh-oh …

The Sheetrock that Tom Beal, Mary’s brother-in-law, had so tirelessly and masterfully patched loudly let go. Shop Boy groaned. When John apologized, I told him not to worry about it. Tom is a large man but would probably make the death painless.

John looked back at the hole, the outline of his body traced in gypsum if not chalk, and reassured Shop Boy: “I can run faster scared than he can run mad.”

Good to know.

***

Letterpress List No. 27

On that note, how about a little music to run — or, heck, patch Sheetrock — by. Here are about an hour’s worth of tunes, most of which should be available at the usual places. Goofy or great videos are from YouTube.

Extraordinary MachineFiona Apple (Liking Fiona Apple doesn’t make Shop Boy less of a man. Just FYI.)
Movin’ Out Billy Joel (Watching presses move could give you a heart attack-ack-ack-ack.)
Don’t Dream It’s OverCrowded House (Mary swears this is the last letterpress she’ll ever need. Right.)
The Weightthe Band (Put the load right on me.)
Rust Never SleepsNeil Young (Did I mention the Heidelberg needs a little, um, cleaning? Get in line, pal.)
Push ItSalt-N-Pepa (Ooh.)
High VoltageElectric Six (Danger, danger!)
Feel Good Inc.Gorillaz (Windmill, windmill for the land … steady, watch me navigate, ha-ha-ha-ha-ha. Shop Boy does love this song.)
SlamOnyx (Beavis and Butt-head approved.)
Shake MeCinderella (Kicking the walls … and OD-ing on the hair products!)
Original Pranksterthe Offspring (Knock down the place.)
Somebody Pick Up My PiecesWillie Nelson (What I thought was heaven is just falling debris.)
Roll With It Steve Winwood (Oh, well.)
Pump It Up Elvis Costello (Looks like Elvis has had a press or two dropped on his feet.)
Heavy Metal Sammy Hagar (A one-way ticket to midnight. Believe it.)
The Impossible DreamMan of La Mancha (Tilting at windmills … hee-hee. Get it? Geez …)

***

Psst. Did you hear Shop Boy’s got a new commuter blog? Check it out.

Sugar Mama

March 13, 2008

One day, Typecast Press‘s chief investor called a shareholders meeting.

Uh-oh.

Mary’s mom wanted to know how her money was being spent.

Now, Mary’s mom — also Mary Mashburn — is known as the Fairy Godmother of the Arts in Colorado Springs, Colo., where she turned the Imagination Celebration from an annual festival into a year-round cultural juggernaut that put art back into the schools and the mall and, well, everywhere that children are likely to be.

Mama’s also a former military wife who learned to pick up and move the family every three years or so, always looking forward to the new adventure rather than moaning about leaving friends and familiarity behind. Mary still gushes about her mom’s ability to make word of a reassignment seem like the most exciting news in the world. With one exception: Mama cried when she neared the city limits of a slushy, late-winter Duluth, Minn., having left behind a base house on a California mountaintop overlooking San Francisco and Oakland. Ouch. Still, Mary says, thanks to her mom, the three years in Duluth became a cherished childhood memory.

See, Mary’s mom knows the value of the little touches, like hanging curtains in a barren new space. Turning “you are here” into “you are home.” She’s helped instill in three generations the excitement of learning new things, whether it’s a tyke’s first fun with finger-painting or a big kid’s halting initial steps toward operating a 3-ton letterpress.

So Mama can understand the fun of assembling what is fast becoming the Pee-wee’s Playhouse of printshops. She thinks it’s great that building Typecast Press has brought us joy and that Shop Boy sweats to give her daughter a cool place to work.

But, as the former head of a nonprofit, Mama also knows how to stretch a dime until it snaps back as a quarter. While expressing her admiration at our acquisitions phase, she wondered whether any plans might be in place for, ahem, returning dividends to stockholders.

Hmmm?

Mary and Shop Boy reassured Mama that we had formed a committee to study her brilliant idea. We said that the lovely stationery we’d printed for her (in her favorite color, blue) constituted at least part of a dividend, right? And then we simply said, “Thank you.”

We think she bought it.

***

See Shop Boy’s commuter blog at http://unattendeditems.wordpress.com/

Letterpress List No. 26: Spacing Out

March 11, 2008

When the final board had been torn from the wall, the final nail pulled, the last bit of Sheetrock scrapped and all that remained was a bare corner of the Typecast Press studio, Shop Boy stood back a moment and shook his head in wonder.

They just don’t build them like that anymore.

I’m talking about the closet we tore down this weekend, but could just as easily be complimenting Tom Beal, Typecast Press’ ace in the hole. (Mary’s got a few up her sleeve, folks. Believe it.) Anyway, we’ve talked up Tom before. Mary’s lumberjack of a brother-in-law parachutes into Baltimore every now and again with her sister Melissa to help with big jobs and fix the unfixable — machines that Shop Boy has begged Mary not to buy. So, sure, he’s made me look like a namby-pamby wimp at times. But who hasn’t, right?

Well, by the time he’d gone home, Typecast Press had a fully functional hydraulic paper cutter, a functional Miehle vertical printing press (“fully” once we get rollers) and floor space for a Heidelberg windmill press, the next big unit that Shop Boy asked Mary to step away from.

To make room, a storage closet had to come down. And it did, grudgingly and loudly coaxed toward oblivion with a wrecking bar — $10 worth of coercion — a hammer and maybe a wrench or two. Built to last, the closet was. The reinforcements were reinforced. But by Saturday afternoon, there was Tom, the king of schmunder (as he calls spackling or joint compound), erasing any remaining evidence of the closet. A coat of paint and you truly will never know it was there.

Not that Shop Boy should be too surprised. Tom built his own house in New Hampshire, makes machines that don’t speak the same language work together seamlessly and is now prepping for a journey to Ghana on a mission to spread the craft of creating chevron beads. Once he gets out of traction, that is.

How do you say “thank you” in Ghanaian? Whatever it is, Shop Boy, as usual, can’t say it enough. Bon voyage, bud.

***

Letterpress List No. 26

OK, how about an hour’s worth of music to push, pull, prod, yank, slam — or simply clean up — by. Most of these tunes should be available at the usual places. Oh, and if you haven’t had enough of Shop Boy, check out his new blog, Unattended Items.

Dust in the WindKansas (Mary made us mummify the entire studio before the first hammer swung.)
Crawling From the WreckageDave Edmunds (Just because.)
Can’t Touch This — MC Hammer (Nice work pants.)
Let the Bodies Hit the FloorDrowning Pool (For Tom, listening mostly while upside-down beneath some machine or other.)
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap AC/DC (Ha-ha!)
Working for the Weekend — Loverboy (Vacation, Typecast Press style.)
Iron Fist Motorhead (Punching through.)
Monkey WrenchFoo Fighters (Finesse is for wimps.)
Feuer Frie!Rammstein (Bang, bang.)
Between the Hammer and the Anvil Judas Priest (Speaking of closets …)
Goliaththe Mars Volta (Just … weird.)
VicariousTool (And this band knows weird.)
RumpshakerWreckx-N-Effect (For Mary. Couldn’t stop myself.)
Closet ChroniclesKansas (Destiny is done.)
HeroFoo Fighters (There he goes again.)

Letterpress List No. 25: A Rare Slice

March 4, 2008

Mary’s always been a little disappointed that Shop Boy knows so little about his people:

“Dad, are we Italian?”

“No,” answered Shop Boy’s father — Wally St. Angelo — one day long ago. “We’re American.”

End of discussion.

See, where Shop Boy grew up, identifying yourself with a particular ethnic group (Mom was Irish) did nothing but help the local wiseacres better target their barbs. We were your basic melting pot. A milky Caucasian broth to be sure, but quite a mix. (Turns out there was even a Swedish neighborhood, Eden Park. Who knew? I learned this after I’d moved away from Cranston, R.I., when someone from home mentioned something going on in “Sweden Park.” Jeez.)

Is it any wonder, then, that Shop Boy has needed some, um, cultural retraining from time to time. Take Pepe DiNave, Mary’s straight-from-the-old-country neighbor in Newburgh, N.Y., who once handed me a drawing of a squid with dotted lines demarking the cuts of meat (loin, flank, T-bone). Shop Boy was flummoxed at the joke. Pepe and Mary hooted. Or John Ottina, husband of Mary’s cousin Mollie, who skewered me over my knowledge of pasta. (He’d memorized all 8 zillion varieties or whatever.) What do I know from anything? Mom called it all macaroni.

Not that Shop Boy’s real name hasn’t paid off at times. True story: Mary and Shop Boy were visiting Federal Hill, the Italian section of Providence, R.I. Hungry, we’d settled on an authentic-looking little place to grab dinner. We were just approaching the restaurant as the tough-looking woman running it turned away a couple just like us. OK, they were blond. And, yeah, maybe a little WASP-y. But you can’t pick your parents, right?

Disappointed, Mary asked if we could put a name on the waiting list. (Mine, not hers.) As we told her the name, the woman’s eyes lit up. “For you, we have room!” she declared, dashing over to swipe half a table set-up from another blond couple in the corner, setting it up at the center of the floor and throwing a red-checked tablecloth over it. “Now, you sit,” she ordered, as a violin player began to serenade us. Swear to god. You should have seen Mary’s smile.

See, she finds her own, ahem, more thoroughbred lineage sort of dull. So when Mary meets someone with genuine pride of ethnic heritage, she wants to know their story. And if this person happens to be a printer, or the son of a printer, willing to share letterpress knowledge, she’s smitten.

Which is what brought us to Martin’s West, a wedding/prom/banquet palace just off the Baltimore beltway (I-695). This is one of those places where they designed the gargantuan chandeliers first, then simply came up with a frame to hang them from. We were there for the La Buona Vita Bull and Oyster Roast, all because of Vince Pullara III of Inter-City Press, which was founded in 1947. Vince III is a third-generation printer (son of Vince Pullara Jr., now retired from Inter-City and Chesapeake Press) and proud Italian-American who introduced Mary to my new favorite phrase for a hangover, “a sprained liver.”

Mary had met Vince and Vince the usual way — she was in the market for old letterpress stuff. They had it. She asked to pick the stuff up in person so that she could see the printshop. Well, once you let Mary in the door …

It turns out the Pullaras have experience operating The Beast, a Miehle vertical, which Typecast Press has been working toward bringing online. Having no such operating experience, Mary and Shop Boy had been cruising spots frequented by letterpress types, hoping to perhaps abduct an old-timer and, um, persuade him to teach us how the thing works.

Well, this was almost too easy.

For bonus points, Vince III immediately solved a problem we’d been having with the guillotine paper cutter. To wit: When we’d cut a stack of heavy cotton paper, one side of the cut would be left nice and smooth, the other ragged or fuzzy. We’d have to clear the fuzz by hand (every bit as annoying as you’d imagine) and still some of the cards would be unusable.

Vince knew right away what we were doing wrong: “You aren’t back cutting.” See, the front of the blade, even newly sharpened, cuts less clean than the back. So, leave a little extra room in your measurements to make a final trim on each side. Chop, chop. No mess, no fuzz.

Anyway, La Buona Vita is a society that celebrates Italian-American culture while it does good works in the community, and the LBV Bull and Oyster Roast is its big annual fundraiser. What exactly is a bull and oyster roast? We had no idea either, but we were for darn sure going to find out.

So there we were, attacking the raw bar and antipasto, hitting the pit beef, pork and turkey hard and devouring plate after plate of the — what else? — pasta. Vince III’s wife, Heidi, stopped by, telling stories of her husband’s uncanny efficiency in getting projects done, both in the printshop and out, something else Mary and Shop Boy hope eventually to get around to. We partook of the open bar — without injury, it would turn out — yukked it up and danced. Then we went back for dessert. It was the least we could do.

And what a crowd, proud, warm and welcoming, and having a really good time, not put off at all by the Maserati of Baltimore display that greeted us. You know, the letters M.O.B. … subtle.

Much cooler were the polo shirts with the tasteful LBV emblem that Vince III had made up by Inter-City for the guys who run the society to wear for the occasion. Shop Boy asked whether these were for sale. Forget it, Vince said. Members only.

Turns out that everyone’s Italian on LBV Bull and Oyster Roast day, but not everybody’s that Italian.

***

Letterpress List No. 25

Time for about an hour’s worth of music to … oh, memorize pasta types by. Or to check out my other blog by. ;-) Most tunes should be available in the usual places. Videos are from YouTube.

Scenes From an Italian Restaurant Billy Joel (It all depends upon your appetite.)
Who Are You?the Who (What do I look like, a genealogist?)
I’m a ManChicago (And that’s good enough for Shop Boy)
Oh Methe Meat Puppets (Nirvana did a great cover.)
Danny BoyHouse of Pain (For the Gilloglys, Martins, Gaulins, O’Haras and my mom’s people, the Dempsters.)
Hungry Like the Wolf
Duran Duran (Australian … that’s sorta like really, really, really southern Italian, right? Paisans!)
Hunger StrikeTemple of the Dog (Yeah, right. Gimme more!)
Jenny From the BlockJennifer Lopez (Not forgetting where she came from … Ha!)
Meat Is Murder the Smiths (Let me be guilty.)
Too Much Pork for Just One ForkSouthern Culture on the Skids (Mmmmm, tasty.)
The First Cut Is the DeepestSheryl Crow (The second’s just as tasty.)
Sheer Heart Attack Queen (Hey-hey-hey-hey, it was the DNA.)
Eat to the BeatBlondie (Faster, faster.)
Days Gone BySlaughter (Every hair band needs a wimpy ballad, eh?)
Cold GinKiss (Did I say wimpy?)
The Great American Melting PotSchoolhouse Rock (Room for all.)
That’s AmoreDean Martin, aka Dino Paul Crocetti (Loved it. Thanks, La Buona Vita.)