Archive for the ‘Universal Hub’ Category

Passing of the Torch Light Switch

November 30th, 2014

Even if our longest-serving Mayor Tom Menino hadn’t died so soon after leaving office, today would have been strange. His replacement, Marty Walsh, threw the light switch on  the Christmas tree in Logan Square.

LoganlightingThat’s in Hyde Park, Menino’s part of Boston (and mine). As a city councilor, then mayor for so long, Menino was the tree guy. He loved the square, the event, the happy kids, the young step dancers and other performers, greeting the constituents, and showing off his phenomenal memory of our names and details. One year when he was ailing, his wife Angela, stood in and up for him, but this was different.

A tree lighting without Tom Menino is a shock to the HP psyche.

Let me note that Walsh did well. I don’t know if he has it in him to be as charming, as avuncular, and as jolly as Menino. I can leave it for others who did business with the city to haul out their favorite vignettes of how Da Mare could, would and did figuratively break their knuckles in negotiations. As a constituent I never experienced that in my decades of dealing with him.

Pix clix: Click a thumbnail for a larger view. If it opens in the same window, use your browser’s back button or command to return.

License note: All pix are Creative Commons-Attribution. Do whLoganhorsesat you want with them. Just give Mike Ball credit once.

Walsh is a passable pol. He got elected and reelected to the MA House then the mayoralty. Oddly enough though today in Logan Square, he seemed to get a lot more pleasure out of high fiving the kids than he did glad-handing the voters. Could the new Mayor be shy?

The crowds were also passable. I estimate that half to two-thirds as many who showed as in previous years. That was surprising in that we had relatively balmy 4:30 PM weather. It’s gotten to be a very localized joke that the event brings snow, sleet, bitter cold and strong winds.

However, as always, the kids had a good time. There were silly rides for the littlest ones, fried dough and cotton candy for the shameless and those with strong stomachs, and draft-horse cart spins about.

LoganfaceOh, yes, and the face painting occurred in the Logan Square Barber Shop. That’s where I get what little hair I have trimmed. I found it peculiar that while the barbers were not doing the deeds, kids adults alike were in the three chairs getting done up like tigers or with Patriots’ logos on their cheeks and foreheads.

On the dais, we had the usual suspects — Santa, Rep. Angelo Scaccia, District Councilor Tim McCarthy, At-Large Councilor Steve Murphy. the commander of the local police precinct and such. In no surprise, I kept overhearing the lament of no-Tom-Menino. That’s certainly not Walsh’s fault, but he has a lot of history against his back.



Freedom of Peek

March 5th, 2014

With mixed thoughts, I see that MA’s high court ruled today that perverts on the subway can legally take upskirt pix. (The news broke on Universal Hub, here. The Supreme Judicial Court’s decision is here.  )

Of course, doing so is intrusive, tacky, and and, well, sort of, some kind of assault.

Sure, you can state the all too obvious — women ought to wear underwear, whether they do or not, they should keep their legs together if they wear a skirt or dress. Most do. Too many don’t. I don’t want to see flashes or swathes of underpants of women or men.

Yet, what is it that seems to excite so many? Why are there websites devoted to upskirt images? Why would anyone watch a Victoria’s Secret Fashion show? Why is lingerie the, if you pardon, butt of so many comedy routines? Why do women as well as men fixate on bras and panties?

Truth be told, I remember in early puberty being turned on by men’s magazines in barber shops and plain old catalogs showing women déshabillé. That was the euphemism for in your underwear. Back then, a movie was really risqué if an actress appeared in underwear, without the dress covering the clothing that in fact covered their prurient parts.

Even today, there cultures and subcultures titillated not by the actual body parts, rather the garments that hide them. For example, Japanese press and literature frequently alludes to men’s fascination with and hope for glimpses of underpants.

As I began dating, I quickly learned to favor and choose the real over the fantasy. Is that all this fetish is about?

Even if the crotch clickers with cellphones don’t grow up and out of their fixation, even it the SJC says that’s legal, you’d hope that the targeted women and the other passengers would at least call them out.  That might stop them…unless they are into public humiliation.

JP Music Fest Tunnel Down

September 8th, 2013

Why was I surprised? I commented again, as I have for the past four years, on the annual Jamaica Plain Music Festival.  I love it, but I am not a slavish schmuck who will defend it in every aspect against all critics.

I thank UniversalHub for its one-sentence citation that produced a thousand or so hits on what was fundamentally a photo spread. Yet, the few commenters who went on and on about how I had no right to dare criticize the audience can stuff it. Sorry, kiddies, I lived 21 years n JP, saw it swing to hipster-lite, and do damned well have that right.

Here’s a word or 12 to the anonymous sorts at UH, come over here or even stay on UH and leave a email. We can deal with your issues.

Regardless, I had a busy day yesterday and didn’t really comment on the third or so of the groups we heard and saw. For a recap, let me spew:

  • Red Dog, was not ready for even minor league. It’s a garage band, heavy on bass guitar, that is strong on beat and very low on lyrics. Try again.
  • Allison Francis. She does good deeds and has good politics, but there’s a reason she was at the top (lower end) of the bill. Her voice is so-so and lyrics predictable.
  • Afro D All Starz. were super hot. Theywere a relative big band with a variety of instruments, voices and words. Expect to hear more of and from them. We loved them.
  • Jesse & The Hogg Brothers. We found them entirely forgettable. As Southerners ourselves, we were stunned by their simplistic, clichéd words and sentiments. This was like someone making fun of New England Yankees. No. They exceed the limit of cute.
  • What Time Is It Mr. Fox? Shtick or not, these guys win. They have good costumes and far better music. They went far beyond clever, blending camp and good to great music, both instrumental and vocal. We’ll buy their stuff.’
  • Peter Sykes. Tinny and under-amplified harpsichordist was perfectly adequate for recital-classic tunes. He was not right for an open venue to engage a large audience.
  • Hobo Chili. A fun group came in with lots of horns and other instruments and a variety of vocalists. They were totally fun, but no way would you say they were your weekend listening choice. They are really strong on horns and can likely develop.
  • Coyote Kolb. They are better on their website than at Pine Bank. There’s a Black Keys pretense that they did not deliver in JP. I like their recorded tunes, but their JP Fest showing was bland.
  • The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library. This was a big hit of the afternoon, both musically and visually. We were amused by the sexy librarian conceit but more pleased by the solid performance and lyrics. Their CDs are well worth the price.
  • Merrie Amsterburg. She has a tinny voice, worthy of a student broadcaster on WERS. Nuff said.

Overview of our afternoon, is that we got a lot for free, but not everything was a gem. Do come…every year…and expect fine entertainment. If your go to the Lowell Folk Festival at the end of July, you’ll return with some keeper CDs and at least two new favorites you wondered how you didn’t know before the weekend. The JP Music fest might produce one or two on on great year that are spectacular.

We can do the you-get-what-your-pay-for jive. Lowell is far better, but, hey, JP is free, is local and easy to get to.






Sanity Rally, Boston Style

October 30th, 2010


Six hundred and forty-two, at last check, clicked Like for the Rally to Restore Sanity Boston. They must have gotten lost on the way.

Generously, 200 of us were there, sans JumboTron (insurance and permit troubles, report the last-week organizers of the satellite Rally to Restore Sanity), sans big name hosts and musical guests, sans undercurrent of one-upping Glenn Beck’s self-indulgent right-wing cliché fest. With all the things it was without and all it wasn’t, it vibrated soothingly with the feelings of yesteryear. It was like a hippie event, at least for those of us old enough to recall those.

Truth be told, most of those at the rally looked old enough to recall.

The crowd largely milled about, chatting amiably, snacking and in general producing the feeling of a coffee hour at church. Adhering to the no bummer, no hater requests for signs, some were hipster wry, as in this one reading, I HAVE A SIGN. sign
littlemore There were a few short-lived cheers, like, “Stop the insanity.” Some of the placards seemed to channel Jon Stewart, like this one.
The requisite unverbalized jibe also appeared, in the form of a coffee party. coffeeparty

One pol worked the crowd. Jim Henderson, independent for Secretary of the Commonwealth. He wondered about the efficacy of this. Several people approached him to say they were voting for him, but at least one fellow took some of his handouts to re-hand out.

In the main, it was a civilized, mannered gathering, in the spirit Stewart requested. Some might say that made it a bit boring. Then again, is that bad in this era of ranters, haters and screamers?

Maples Flashing and Burning

October 22nd, 2010

’tis the season…to admire the premature defoliators. Our sugar maples abound in Hyde Park, all Boston and New England.

They also flash and crash, with short, intense color. Far more patient trees, such as Norway maples and beeches, deliver the color and coverage long after the sugars are nude.

With apologies to botaniphiles (surely not a word), I note that plants, even large trees, are very, very short on brains. They can’t benefit from psychological counseling for their problem. How is it that we have not breed these colorful trees for longer display?

Consider (and click a thumbnail for a larger view):

mapleriver From the historic stone Paul’s Bridge, the contrasting undercoat of the dark Neponset highlights the too eager maple.
In Boston, often sugar maples are on every street corner. maplecorner
maplereadytodrop Several maples in the backyard are as garish as any fop. They remain delightful, but for all too brief a time.
Even the decrepit ancient maple in the front — all too eager to let wind take its branches the rest of the year — seems to know when it is time to perform. oldandpretty
maplesteps To the eye is one thing; underfoot is another. When the maples finish their tricks, someone has to move, compost, bag and otherwise deal with the little dainties on the ground.


Grocery Has No Place for the Weak

March 16th, 2009

A wave of maturity washed over me yesterday. It will surely pass, but I’ll enjoy the accompanying equanimity for the moment.

In my pathetic but relentless expansion of leg use, I push what I can do with my comminuted fibula and titanium-rod filled tibia. The symbol of feebleness, my walker, is folded and hidden. I go as I can on crutches until fatigue and discomfort park me on a chair or bench.

Yesterday, I was back at the gym using the one aerobic machine I can, the SciFit Pro1000 upper body exerciser. It’s sort of a hand cranked bicycle, with no wheels. I sit and operate the hand levers. While I could set it to a weight-lifting mode, I am using some of the hill programs, which elevate my heart rate, take a lot of power to use, and even make me sweat.

crutchesAs the company so graciously puts it, this series of products is “for complete workouts by elite athletes or severely deconditioned users.” So, I’m not a gimp trying to walk, I’m deconditioned. There may be a time in a month or so when I can get in the pool and at the least drag some laps. Right now my fibular shards and the two-piece tibia don’t allow a push off and besides, I could not get into and out of the pool yet. Meanwhile, it’s a minor thrill to be using my body a bit.

As part of my lowered but not extinguished aspirations, I push a little here and there. I still can’t tool around the neighborhood, but I am not immobile. Yesterday after the gym, my uxorial unit and I went a grocery on the way home. I did not accept sitting in the van and thumped in. While she shopped for a wee cart of things, I tried to feign that I too could look for comestibles. I had no way to carry them, but I walked with my head high anyway.

We went to the West Roxbury Roche Brothers. It is locally famous for its regular coverage on Universal Hub. Moreover, videoblogger Steve Garfield hyperlocalizes this particular store. It is somewhere between a large green grocer and a giant supermarket. If some of the clerks were any more Irish, they couldn’t even understand each other. Shoppers call out to each other and employees.

So, while Cindy was wheeling around snagging yogurt and such, I was exercising and trying a bit of confidence building on my own. That didn’t work out too well.

grocery cart

I am definitely less hurried than I was five weeks ago on the day of the big break. I was surprised to find that I mellowed a little, wet with that wave of (at least temporary) maturity. I found a series of folk, largely 30-something and 40-something women charging directly at or rushing inches in front of the big old guy on crutches.

I quickly saw that either:

  • They didn’t have good upbringing or
  • They weren’t in the moment (as Sherlock Holmes would have said, “You see, but you do not observe”) or
  • They didn’t have enough brain power to process other humanoids while they chase a particular food stuff

Two different husband units following these careering shoppers quietly apologized to me when their wives either caused me to rock back on my crutches or literally brushed into me. They apparently were used to seeing a focused grocery hunter in action.

I quickly realized that I normally would have thought evil of these women. Yet perhaps because of my relaxed and reduced pace, I found them amusing.

Very short people at the gym had already conditioned me a bit. Hobbling from the workout area to the main exit generally meant passing by lines (or more accurately line-like clumps) of five to nine-year-olds. Some haven’t learned to be aware of or considerate of others and some are just chatting away being little kids.

A parallel between those Roche shoppers and the Y kids is that they seem used to adults accommodating them. While I grew up in a time and in places where we held doors for each other and no child would ever think of pushing an adult aside to get to the door first, that is not here and now.

I do enjoy the simple, warming grace of consideration. Beyond being attentive to the elderly or disabled, making minor moves for even big guys laden with packages is just plain nice…and it’s nearly free, with only the cost of a few seconds lost.

The middle-aged women in Roche Brothers surely were not being malicious. Had they thought about it, they likely would not have threatened the guy on crutches. The point is that they didn’t think of it and likely won’t the next time or times.

These are the same folk who push their carts at other people, parking willy-nilly on any side or even in the the aisle middle. They are busy, not thinking about it and reflecting their family culture.

I hope I can retain my humor and calmness about such interactions. They are so common that moving them from annoyance to amusement could be a real stress reducer.

I think I’ll stay emotionally ready for my next grocery visit.

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Ciao Bella Luna: One of Several

August 21st, 2008

A good chef doesn’t need to be a porker, but it’s hard to trust or believe one who’s skinny either. I like my cooks to like their food.

The new executive chef at Jamaica Plain’s Bella Luna, Jacob Zachow, has a hand like a ham and a smile you can trust. Bloggers at Tuesday evening’s food fest there left with a renewed or new affection for the Hyde Square pizza/bowling/club joint.

The short of it includes:

  • He’s been there for two months
  • He’s revamped the menu, leaving favorites and adding his gems
  • They’re there for months until they move to the Brewery Complex under the …FENREFFER chimney to a single floor
  •  If you liked Bella Luna’s food, expect the same and better. If you haven’t been, what’s the matter with you?

Jacob is very approachable. I learned among other thing:

  • He grew up in Cooperstown, New York, a relative hick even by even by our third-tier sized city.
  • He moved a couple of blocks from his Hyde Square kitchen and really likes JP.
  • He had previously been at the Mohonk Mountain House, where rich people play golf and dance stiffly.
  • That was across the Hudson from the Culinary Institute (CIA) where friends became cookies (and drank in New Paltz, where he was). We were able to compare memories.
  • He loves being at Bella Luna and getting a chance to do his own thing instead of the predictable.
  • He’s not afraid to add spice (consider his skewered shrimp with a biting mint pesto).

The manager, Carol Downs, was also full of herself in a gracious and informative way. I wasn’t all that polite and asked bluntly whether the previous chef had left in a huff or gotten pushed out. She said that no, he had been there three years, a pretty good tenure for the top guy, and was ready to move.

She too lamented the loss of the basement bowling alley when they move. They’ll add some games and have space for bands on their one-floor (much larger one-floor) central space. She’s aiming for the same ambiance.

I estimated 50 to 60 bloggers by my grouping of 10 count. That’s pretty good and  and more than we got for our first WR/Rozzie/JP fest. In our defense though, you had to buy your own beer at ours. Sadly too for this week, St. Gaffin did not show. While I didn’t know many of the bloggers at Bella Luna, several I did know asked me if Adam was coming. He and Steve Garfield (who did attend) are our idea of peer celebrities.

I confess my family has gone there for many years. Lackaday, my uxorial unit was ill and did not attend, and was thus unprepared to compare perceptions. However, she’s pleased that they have long carried one of our hot-weather wine standards, Muscadet. They had little kids’ food when we had little kids and adult spiced entrées for us. There was bowling in the lower level, and we’d catch music when bands that included friends played. We may live at the other end of JP, but this is our neighborhood too.

Both the Globe and the Gazette covered the capitalist tragedy-ette of the mini-complex feeling forced out by what they describe as an 85% rent  hike.  While there is a dispute over whether the restaurant carried the landlord or the other way around, the short of it is that Bella Luna got bumped out over a huge rent increase, it cut a deal with the Brewery complex, and there’s an extension to let them prepare the space and old landlord to find new tenant(s).

I’m sure the pleasant flacks for Bella Luna don’t want to know the business that is not of their business’ business. However, the freebie evening brought up:

  • My slightly sordid past of swag and freeloading.
  • Public relations and those who do it.
  • My shameless willingness to continue that legacy long after my journalism is over.
  • My fascination with my real avocation, cooking and eating.
  • Chefs I have known and related cooking stories.

In fact, this was savvy PR at its best. Like Deval Patrick and Barack Obama showed, a little attention to bloggers and occasionally recognizing them as community journalists is cheap purchase  of coverage. We each have our followings and provide coverage and credibility you aren’t likely to find in MSM, for whatever that’s worth.

I’ll deal with each of those and reference related topics’ posts as they go up here or at Friendly With Food. Meanwhile, here and at Marry in Massachusetts, I’ll post lightly or not at all for a week or so.

For more focused coverage, you can see a few pix at Steve’s Flickr feed. Andrew and I had a nice chat and he was quick on reporting at Changing Way. There are several foody bloggers there sure to post too.

And More Update:  Over at Cave Cibum, Pam has a short post and there’s another pic from one of the We Are Not Martha women at Better Than Cupcakes.

When they do, food will likely be up early and late. A bevy of young women (one even featured red sequined ballet slippers) served the noshes Jacob prepared. There were a couple decent wines (red overly chilled though) and two trendy drinks, a mojito/cosmopolitian variant and a Martinique (vodka, Cointreau, mango nectar, rose water and lime juice).

There was a bit of buzz early from a couple of us who had heard that the rush would mean they catered the blogger offerings. Not so…Jacob was everywhere.

My respect for him swelled as I peered over the kitchen bar to see his flying fingers. There was the tender morsel of pork on a non-greasy sweet potato chip with a corn salsa. The executive chef personally whipped out an office-desk sized tray of them.

I am much into presentation and Jacob seems to be too. While my chums at the CIA dissed garde-manger, I have always respected both cold foods and artistic display of all food. Watching Jacob work, I shall expect pretty plates on every visit.

We has black-bean based sliders with a great cumin, hot-pepper zip. There were a few crowd pleasing mundanities, like fried mozzarella, but in the main, food was like Oscar Wilde described ideal lovers, chosen for their good looks. The sustenance was both pretty and palatable.

Doyle’s Infested with Bloggers

May 15th, 2008

Blogger neighborhoodsMore than a clown car load of bloggers showed last night. I pronounce our first (insert period here) Rossie/JP/West Roxbury blogger social meet a modest success.

The rush report on the event is over at Universal Hub. Adam over there and I blame each other for this event. I think it was his idea and he claims I made it happen.

As threatened, we met at Doyle’s and from the comments, enjoyed it enough to have more such blobs of bloggers. I suggest that you try that for your neighborhoods or town.

It was without agenda, other than putting faces with blogs/bloggers and talk about our widely diverse blogs. I think we had 17 attendants.

We depended on the curiosity of strangers (and friends) as online invitations. While UH lists seven West Roxbury blogs, none from his list showed. We don’t know whether wading all the way into JP would be too much of a culture shock, but we’ll try to entice or shame them into coming next time. Maybe we can hold it closer to their safety zone, a Centre Street pub or the Pleasant in Roslindale.

However, we ended up with quite a few from Roslindale and JP. We got our share of what passes for celebrities in our little bloggy world. That certainly includes videoblogger Steve Garfield and media critic/professor Dan Kennedy. Plus we got Globe correspondent and ubiquitous free-lance Justin Rice.

Unquestionably though, the best parts were meeting bloggers whose stuff we read and talking with those whose interests and posts are nothing like ours. To those of us who do political or personal blogging, or in my case both, there were fascinating excursions.

Boston Handmade, for one, is for a crafts collective; Jessica Burko showed her geek chops and brought a laptop to access her site

Drew Gilpin Faust Fan Club has real and surreal posts related to the Harvard prez; I have it on good authority that she doesn’t yet know it exists

Learning Strategies has reportage and musings on like its title reads; as proof we did not discriminate by ZIP, this is from Larry Davidson in Dot

Joseph Porcelli, the cops and coffee mugs guy, attended

My Dedham (Brian Keaney) represented the south-of-Boston contingent; actually he was that contingent and lives in the land of always bubbling politics

9Neighbors had Rick Burnes describing his concept of displaying the most active blogs

Involuntary Slacker Alyssa belied the blog’s name and already posted on the literal symposium

The Boomer Chronicles (a favorite) had Rhea standing up for it

Andy’s Blog blogger Andy (Miller) even appeared; he’s been in his cave to pass the Mass bar exam, which he recently did and surely will become a regular poster again

Roslindale Monogatari with Michael Kerpan on film; he and I share an interest in the Tollgate Cemetery and had corresponded

Disclaimer: I am favorably disposed to the Faust blog, which is the idea and output of my uxorial unit, Cindy Thames.

And so it went. We met, we drank, we ate, and mostly we talked. I’ll put a few pix below. Click thumbnails for a larger view of what real bloggers look like.

Andy and Justin Steve Garfield
Andy and Justin (Rossie and the Globe Our famous videoblogger (JP)
Dan and Michael Rick, Cindy and Jessica
Dan Kennedy and Michael Kerpan Rick, Cindy and Jessica
Jessica, Alyssa and Adam
Jessica, Alyssa and Adam  

As an aside, reporter Justin asked me about blogger gatherings and whether this would grow into a BlogLeft type of activist group. I’m sure not. This was pure social and pure pleasure.

BlogLeft is a flapping loose set of political bloggers, pinko variety. We had a big gathering two years ago when Tim Murray was still mayor of Worcester and about to run for lieutenant governor. He was a guest there. We had breakout sessions and got real serious.

Likewise, we co-sponsored the lieutenant governor debate in Lowell and recently had a long, highly political gathering, also in Lowell. This is a serious and action-oriented group…not so with the south by southwest Boston bloggers.

The next time you see us plug an open, in-town blogger gathering, know it not serious, just seriously social.

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Tuck the Earth Back in Bed Day

May 3rd, 2008

Does it make us Wake Up the Earth junkies if we’ve been going for about 20 of the 30 years it’s happened? We dragged our sorry, soggy butts there again today.

The people in the parade were having a great time. See some pix below.

Motley drummers in WUTE parade wave.jpg
Drum was a loose term and the dummers clearly enjoyed their versions. A variety of stilt walkers had a great time striding, walking, dancing and waving.
shake.jpg bugs1.jpg
Some bugs also played instruments as they paraded. Others were not content just to talk. Dancing was in order.

Pic Click Trick: Click on a thumbnail for a larger view.

On the other foot, hand and head, the cold drizzle kept the crowds to maybe a fifth of the usual. It wasn’t enough to trigger the rain date of next weekend, but it is not going to be the vendors’ best WUTE day.

RIPbanner close RIPbannerAt the basketball court just below the Stony Brook T station, the on-court memorial shrine to murdered 20-year-old Luis Troncoso had to be off, apparently not to harsh the festival’s mellow. Yet a hand lettered banner running along the back of the court remained.

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Not Paranoid Enough?

April 22nd, 2008

There’s a lot of JP, both in length and diversity. Maybe I misdirected my comfort yesterday.

I walked with a newly met woman about 10:30 a.m., assuring her that the Lallement bikepath on the Southwest corridor — tracking the Orange Line — was safe. At the Forest Hills end, she asked whether it was okay to walk then. I told her that yes, in the daytime, but maybe not at night.

She had eyed the seedy sitters and I recalled the late-night bike bandits who’d knock riders down and take their wheels.

I tend, not surprisingly, to bike on that bikepath. When I do walk it, I like to follow the stick figure signs, keeping the bike side for cyclists, even though they are few. I recall the many oblivious strollers often blocking the whole bike side while risking their infants or looking and listening to phones. Don’t be that guy, Mike.

Oddly enough, I was on foot because of my road bike. I finally admitted that those scraping sounds meant I could no longer pretend my brake pads would last forever or regenerate. The Shimano 105/Ultegra pads are hard to come by. International over in Newton had sold me the wrong type already. I was delighted to call at 10 a.m. on Patriots Day and find that Community Bicycle Supply at the far reach of the South End would be open.

I headed up, both to get the right pads and to do a cardio session. That’s about five miles. We live at the very bottom of JP, kind of the pendant on the chain of the long, narrow neighborhood. We’re a mile below Forest Hills in the last couple of blocks of JP.

The woman walker, Wanda, and I headed north. She had dropped her car off in Dedham for repairs, taken a bus to Forest Hills and figured to get a warm-up for her workout at Mike’s gym, a mile or so up the corridor. She is bookkeeper for the Mass Public Health folk and works in JP. She was just not used to walking over to Mike’s.

I’ve biked and walked that path for many years. Quickly she and I got past any thought of evil en route. We spoke of our teenagers, school, sports and gyms.

So that evening, my JP-ness got a jolt reading about Luis Troncoso, the 20-year-old gunned down on a basketball court on the corridor at about 4 p.m. yesterday. That would be the court next to where JP Wakes Up the Earth, the court one half block beyond where Wanda and I parted.

I don’t think I lied to her, not intentionally. I still know the bikepath is safe. It appears his murderer targeted him specifically, so the place and time of death have little implication for the rest of us. The young father is dead still.

I also know that, geographically, fancy folk Pond Side and even Brookline are closer to this violence than we live. Somehow though, as disparate as the various JPs are one from another, the neighborhood link is powerful. I might well have led Wanda right into a scene of death, had timing been slightly different. That’s not what any of us want in our neighborhoods.

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