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NGO_Vleeptron (aka "Bob from Massachusetts") recently featured LIVE on BBC WORLD SERVICE, heard briefly by Gazillions!!!

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Location: Great Boreal Deciduous Hardwood Forest, New England, United States

old dude, all hair, swell new teeth

27 December 2005

I miss Silvio (now we got Rubber Richie)

When you're as powerful as Silvio Conte, you can wear a Red Sox uniform and not get arrested or have people laugh at you.

Massachusetts is not a State. It's a Commonwealth. (So's Virginia and a couple of other things which most people assume are States, but they're not.)

Silvio Conte is, alas, sadly no longer on This Mortal Plane, he has Moved On, but for a whole bunch of decades he used to be my Congressman. I liked him a lot. We never met. But I loved voting for him.

He was a Republican. But the local Democratic Party kept nominating a long series of Fooles, Clowns, Idiots and Vanity Candidates -- and Silvio was verrrrry hip to the Utopian and Humanitarian and Visionary Impulses of my Neighbors, and everybody liked him. He was for Freedom Of Choice, and a whole bunch of other things you wouldn't expect from a Republican. When Bush I declared the First Short Iraq War, Silvio said "This sucks" (perhaps that's not an exact quote) and voted Against it. Silvio was a Navy veteran from World War II, he served with the Seabees (for "CB" = Construction Branch, they built things).

One day in Congress a whole bunch of Free Money was being given away to Some State University, and Silvio determined that the Money ought properly to go to the University of Massachusetts -- not to the other candidate, which I think was the University of Southern North Dakota @ Hoople.

He made a Very Long and Impassioned Speech in Congress to try to wrest the Free Money from USND@Hoople and bring it home to U-Mass@Amherst. His argument rested on the Hi-Tek Go-Ahead activities at U-Mass@Amherst, which are renowned throughout the Five Planet System, but he described USND@Hoople as "a Cow College."

Eventually his silver-tongued oratory (and his Seniority -- he'd been in Congress since the Spanish-American War) won the day, and U-Mass got the $$$$$$.

That evening, it fell to me, one of a stable of anonymous, harrassed, overworked night copy editors, to edit this thrilling story and write its headline. I'm boring you already, so I will not further bore you with the Algebra of Headlines -- how complicated and hard it used to be to say something relevant about the story in a very constricted small cramped space which some Superior Editor has already forced on the headline-writer.

But I got lucky. The Conte story was the most thrilling story of the night, so it was dummied at the very top of a page, and the hole for the headline went all the way from left to right across the entire page -- an unusually large, liberal and easy headline hole.

But it still required some brains -- Fast Brains, you're on Deadline -- to figure out what kinda crap to put there.

Conte 'Cow College' Comment Clinches Commonwealth Cash

Later I found out he liked that a lot and had the headline framed and hung on his Congressional office wall.

Okay, YOU tell a complicated short story using nothing but words that start with C.


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