Letterpress List No. 57: Short Work

Four minutes and nine seconds.

That, for the record, is how long it takes to saw a Jeep completely in half using a tungsten steel blade and a small power saw. Shop Boy has seen it with his own two eyes.

The demonstration was part of an open house to show off the new digs of Typecast Press buddy Bruce Baggan and his North American Millwright Services. Great big warehouse, nice offices, great old part of Baltimore (if you like, um, show bars and that kind of thing). Hey, ask Bruce about the “green space” — a swath of grass and trees — that he had to plant and must maintain so as not to offend the sensibilities of the girlie-bar patrons or the owners of all that scrap iron next door.

Then again, maybe it’s best just to continue on with a tour of the oasis.

Oh, the place looks bright and airy. Bruce’s old shop was pretty neat too, but let’s say N.A. Millwright suddenly got an order to move and store a corporate jet. Shop Boy’s guessing Bruce now has the room. I mean, maybe I was simply distracted by the tons of pork barbecue and all the fixins, iced tea, cookies, and a cake/pie that tasted for all the world like a glorious, cream-filled, powdered donut. (Shop Boy once worked just one overnight shift filling pastries … but that’s a story for another day.) But … wow.

So we looked around the new place, chatted up Bruce’s strapping sons Chris and Greg as well as Bruce’s lovely wife Delia and some of the guys we know from previous press moves.

And we stuffed our faces.

But then there arose a clatter just outside one of the big bay doors. We stepped out into the cool afternoon air to see a dark blue Jeep up on wooden blocks. And there stood a guy with a saw, explaining — like a magician about to saw a lady in half — that he was about to saw this baby in half. We’d gotten there too late to participate, but it turns out that the person who guessed closest to the exact amount of time it would take to accomplish this trick would win something neat. (It was noisy, so Shop Boy missed a few of the details. Besides, I was still chewing. And Bruce had stuck a sleeve of spiffy new golf balls in my hand, so I’d already won.)

Well, four minutes and nine seconds later, the front and back halves of the Jeep fell away from each other.

Like butter.

We had to head back to the printshop before they announced who won, but I’m guessing nobody was close. I mean, maybe the blade’s maker would brag that it’d be over that quickly, but sheesh. Shop Boy got a chill.

Mary: “How long do you think it would take to cut through one of our presses?”

Shop Boy, gulping: “Let’s hope we don’t have to find out.”

***

Letterpress List No. 57

Now, Bruce Baggan is a musician, but he keeps telling Shop Boy (so not a musician) how impressed he is with my, ahem, “encyclopedic knowledge” of melodies old, new and ridiculously obscure. I’m flattered, of course, but fear the pop quiz. You know, the point at which Bruce discovers that, rather than know a lot about music, Shop Boy is just weird. Yes, yes, the rest of you picked up on that a while back. Anyway, how about an hour’s worth of music to move massive machinery — or shimmy up, down and around a pole (no, not you, Bruce) — by. And heck, an hour’s enough time to saw 15 Jeeps in half! Most of these tunes should be available in the usual places. Goofy or great links are (mostly) to YouTube.

409
the Beach Boys (Too fine to cut in half.)
BreedNirvana (“We could plant a house; we could build a tree.” Great stripper song, if a little too fast for safety, Mary said … She said … She said … She saaaaaaaaaaaaaa-id ...)
Welcome to My WorldThe Fabulous Kahuna Brothers (That’s Bruce Baggan on bass.)
Our HouseMadness (Nice place you got here.)
Joe’s GarageFrank Zappa (They knew one song, but knew it well.)
LapdanceN.E.R.D. (We’ll put a parental advisory sticker on this one, but it’s irresistibly dirty/funky.)
I Know But I Don’t KnowBlondie (Dumb luck?)
Hangar 18Megadeth (I know this much … these guys rock!)
Close But No Cigar — “Weird Al” Yankovic (4:09 … yikes.)
Big TimePeter Gabriel (N.A. Millwright’s got turbines stored in the joint the size of a two-car garage.)
PiecesSevendust (Just like that.)
Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)Billy Joel (Cramped no more.)
Santa MonicaEverclear (“Gonna find myself a new place.”)
ShimmySystem of a Down (Girls, girls, girls.)
Hot in HerreNelly (He’s got a friend with a pole in his basement, FYI. This guy is all over Mary’s printshop iPod playlist and has apparently invaded Shop Boy’s skull.)
Straight Down the MiddleBing Crosby (An old golfer ditty.)
JeepsterT. Rex (Alas, Marc Bolan was in a car that was about cut in half when it hit a tree. Gone in his prime.)
Ooh La LaGoldfrapp (Channeling T. Rex.)
Feed the Tree Belly (Ah, green space. Sorry, Bruce.)

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