Archive for June, 2011

New Robot in Town

June 30th, 2011

I suspect I’ve cycled by a few times without noticing the robot and cellphones. When I roll on the DCR path beside the Mattapan trolley, I’m watching for unattended toddlers, unleashed dogs, and adult humanoids blissed out with earbuds. Today I noticed.

robotmuralNext to the grand mural depicting Native Americans, corn, canoes and such is a new and delightfully garish one. It’s big, it’s bright, it’s bold, and I bet it was done by high-school students.

I called the DCR when I got home. Allegedly the flack in charge of that area is at an event and no one else has any idea of the provenance. I’ve left a message and shall follow through if she does not get back with me. As soon as I learn, I’ll update this.

Pic Click Trick: Click on any image for a larger view. If your browser brings it up in the same window, use the back button or key to return.

This new one is contemporary, with modern electronics, retro tug of war, skater and even the Apple logo.  It makes an amusing visual counterpoint to the historic neighbor.

This stretch between the Milton and Butler trolley stops is vying for mural overlord. Up the line into Dorchester are a series of DCR and city supported wall pieces. They tend to be pretty crude and not too visually exciting.

Already just beyond the robot to history pair is a series of stylized nature pieces — ladybird, fireflies, cricket and day lilies. I’m figuring there’s more to come. I and likely hundreds of daily strollers and runners likely are eager for more secret gems in this hidden gallery.

The robot a little closer, replete with cellphone eyes. robottug
lilies Whole day lily mural.
Adjacent fireflies. firefly
ladyclover Ladybird detail.
Cricket detail. cricket

Birds, Beasts and Bragging

June 29th, 2011

Rip ’em up. Tear ’em up. Cocks give ’em hell.

That was by far the most popular cheer when I attended the University of South Carolina. My high school in New Jersey also had a bird (bird?!) as mascot, but not with razor spurs and killer reputation. Instead it was a cardinal.

I confess that I am not a true sports fan. I like the team sports I participated in — wrestling, swimming and water polo. When the Olympics coverage shows those, I may watch.

Gamecocks tee shirtIt should surprise no one that I’m not a big USC Gamecock’s fan. Yet I did become aware last year and this, as the team had a shot at back-to-back college baseball national championships. Last night, they did win the College World Series and did it right. It was an all-SEC final, against Florida. The red Carolina swept the three-game playoff after winning all of its CWS games. Or as Yahoo Sports put it, “South Carolina became the first team to ever go 10-0 in an NCAA tournament and the first since Oregon State in 2007 to go unbeaten in a CWS. The Gamecocks’ streaks of 16 NCAA tournament wins and 11 straight in the CWS are both the longest all-time.”

So, self, I ask you, why when friends were were also jocks or even just alumni go on and on when their alma maters do anything remarkable, are you blasé? I still do athletic things, am a hulking guy, and of course, once a jock, you keep that mindset at some level.

I’m understandably indifferent to a second college, Lesley in Cambridge, where many years after journalism school, I got a management degree. That likely has to do with no longer being a teen, as well as taking the courses at what was then a hotel on Route 1 in Norwood, where the business school shipped its professors one night a week for a long, long session. In fact, we called it Ramada U. As it turns out, I was the only one who had bothered to find out that the few, almost entirely women’s teams had a lynx as their mascot. None of us in our study group or the program ever attended any games.RU

In Columbia, I did attend football games, but to sell programs, which was a money maker for the underfunded swim team. I also wrote news, but mostly opinion pieces for the student newspaper. There I ran afoul of the fowl-loving real fans.

Our football coach/athletic director was the allegedly brilliant Paul Dietzel. He built a shakily assembled (really pissy) record there. Then when he had the double slam of thinking the ACC rules kept him from recruiting enough big dummies for football and the very good basketball team got skunked in the conference tournament, he took Carolina independent. It subsequently ended up in the SEC, which is much, much tougher in football. It took them nearly 20 years to morph into truly competitive teams there.

I found his crybaby exit from the ACC pretty stupid and puerile. One of my paper columns that got the most hateful responses was a satire about it. I suggested that we forgo such pretenses as athletic conferences and instead go directly professional, so we could simply funnel the huge alumni contributions into paying jocks directly. We could buy championships and be done with it. Lo and woe, many students and alumni were mightily offended. In a state where nearly everyone in power had at least one degree from Carolina, many threats and curses came to the board and president. In fact another journalism major told me that when he was crossing the horseshoe in the old campus and hailed President Tom Jones, he told him on being asked that I was gone. He said Jones grinned and said, “Good!”

I surely have robbed myself of frequent simple pleasures in vicarious participation in an alma mater’s successes. That’s odd in that I have many cheap thrills. I revel in our own flowers, herbs and other plants, as I do in those I see as I walk or cycle. When I create a new or I think improved dish, as I do several times weekly, I can be smug. I can even delight in a small square of 72% chocolate or snifter of Lagavulin like it was a sacrament.

Those though are all personal and direct.

I admit it’s great for the young Gamecocks that they won it all in their sport, and two consecutive years. I was never on a team that did anything like that. They’ll have bragging rights for the rest of their lives. I just don’t see how it has much to do with me.

HP Sweet Place Sweet Spot

June 27th, 2011

beanTom and mom opened at 6 this morning as real-time market research for HP’s coffee/ice cream shop the Bean & Cream. It took half an hour for the first ever customer.

I’m blogging via their free WiFi, eavesdropping on the four other customers and vaguely longing to be instead at one of the two sidewalk tables. There are eight tables for two inside.

Like trying spicy soup in a Thai place or naan at an Indian one as touchstones, I started with black dark roast coffee. I approve. Likewise, the WiFi is a good connection (PW is coffeeshop). The mother/baker does not make everything in the display case and is holding back until they see what people ask for with their coffees. Meanwhile, I can recommend her biscotti.

The Papadopolous family has run the very busy Cappy’s Pizza at the other end of the building on Truman Parkway for nine years. Tom took a flyer on this shop, figuring the Fairmount Hill sub-neighborhood was overdue.

At a soft opening last week, he noted that doing so was not a quick, linear process. Like the bureaucratic stereotype, he’d show at city hall to find out new, surprising permits or other steps. HP district Councilor Rob Consalvo was the guest speaker who got to hear Papodopolous wonder – while grinning – why such would-be businesses couldn’t get a checklist with tasks in order and maybe even a rough schedule.

As one of the Council’s young lions, Consalvo has a history of fixing such sillinesses.

Customers so far include teen girls, one with motorcycle road rash, a 30ish mom with her 10ish son, a few senior men, 20-something mom and dad with toddler and few middle aged women. A definite sense of community shows in unsolicited praise. Everybody says something.

I can have coffee at home, but I’d rather come here (with a wave at the pastry case. I could go someplace else (likely DD in Cleary Square a half mile or so away), but if you’re right here on the hill… Oh, this is so pretty. Richardson’s ice cream? That’s goooood.

Papadopolous is an optimistic sort. He hasn’t gotten a real fix on how much morning traffic to expect any more than when he should open. He figures to stay open for ice cream until 8 PM.

I likely shall have to trot down this evening with wife and son #3 to sample some of the 15 flavors. Fortunately, they have started with only chocolate, not Richardson’s double or anything more to my tastes.

Other wireless users have appeared. Maybe 24 folk have entered and bought in a short time. This morning does not make a success, but without advertising, this isn’t bad.

Tuesday Follow-up: The teen was not to be dragged from his net joys to do a postprandial prance (death march to him) last evening. My wife and I toured lower HP and rewarded ourselves by splitting an ice cream…research, don’t ya know. Tom and mom (Despina) were still there after a long day, but looking chipper. We did Richardson’s chocolate and pronounce it good indeed. A family of three got their daughter to provide curb  service. We don’t yet know how the strawberry is, as they drove away before commenting.

Cereal Box Joy

June 23rd, 2011

“Kellogg’s Sugar Corn Pops. Sugar Pops are tops!

popsgunThat’s what we boomers heard, hundreds of times. Much has changed from the 1950s, not the least of which is that Kellogg’s dropped Sugar from the name.

Cereals also no longer have associations with cowboy heroes who could virtuously wound bad guys to keep others safe. More tangibly, prizes in the boxes or to be sent away for are neither common nor a big deal.

Those were simpler or perhaps simple-minded times.

This came to mind yesterday reading the annual predictions of brands likely to disappear in a year. Corn Pops is right there on the brand death watch, by 24/7 Wall St. Reasons included continued nutrition/additive concerns and soaring sugar prices.

I haven’t liked that cereal in a long, long time, turning to the occasional bittersweet chocolate piece for such thrills. Nor do I buy into the black hat/white hat simplicity of life. However, both were unquestionably big parts of my life. I think the latter actually set me up for accepting the cartoonish stereotypes of Ayn Rand characters in my teens. That’s easier than actually thinking and evaluating grays.

I did like my cap guns though. Sugar Pops delivered…for a fee.

As I recall, nearly all kid’s cereals came with a prize in or on the box. Those were small items of little value, such as miniature comics or lame plastic compass or tiny boat that took baking soda and tooled around the sink or tub for a few seconds before a refill.

The way I remember it, Sugar Pops offered the first prize I collected some box tops for and sent away with a shipping fee. My three modern sons have never understood any of that, including:

  • Love of Western TV and movies, even after seeing some of what I think are the best.
  • Begging for certain cereals for the prizes in the box or on offer.
  • Fantasy play that did not involve dungeon masters, rather cap guns and imaginary horses.
  • Waiting two or four weeks for a toy in the mail.

gunsAs an adult, I think owning guns is just looking for trouble and premature death. I know the stats on how many of us shoot, maim and kill friends and relatives, far greater than protecting home and our almighty stuff. Back then though, at six and eight and ten, realistic six-shooters were hot stuff. Most were also cap guns, that shot and advanced red rolls of harsh sounding, nasty smelling caps.

Back to my memory (feel free to fine-tune it with your own), I needed a couple of box tops and a quarter for Wild Bill Hickok’s pistol. The related stuff on the net looks like there was a similar offer for a bigger gun that required 50¢, but my deal was for a very small version with a fake pearl handle, one that shot a single cap at a time.

Wow, did it seem worth it…the money (I was already eating Sugar Pops, so the box tops were commodities), the wait and all.

It was pretty sturdy as I recall, hard metal, precision hammer that exploded the cap, and even plastic handle that was tightly riveted on and stayed put through a lad’s abuses.

There’s a cliché about simple pleasures being best. That may qualify.

The gun lasted throughout my use, although I stopped firing it a year or so after acquiring it. As with so much of my ephemeral treasurer — extensive butterfly collection, favorite childhood books, and toys — the pistol migrated to my niece and nephew.

My sister was kind enough to marry and have children long before I did. That quickly eliminated questions about when I’d do either. Being an uncle is certainly a lot easier than raising your own kids. Spoil ’em and go home is the role of the former.

When I would hear that my nephew had destroyed or given away this or that, I didn’t mind or was pleased. Two generations getting joy from a toy is fine.

Crowing in Hyde Park

June 23rd, 2011

With a wholesome sort of boosterism, Hyde Park (and a wee bit of Roslindale) City Councilor Rob Consalvo got to brag. To hear him tell it this morning, his district is sucking up far more than its share of development projects and business expansions.

Oddly enough for a pol, he didn’t take credit for most of it. He was quick to point out that corporate and government deals tend to be in five-year terms. A few years of talking and planning have similar period of funding and implementation. That goes for massive sidewalk and street reconstruction underway, the two huge rehab and expansion plazas anchored by Stop & Shop on American Legion Highway and Truman Parkway, and a lot more.

Another Go at Coffee

The scene for his bragging on his district but not much on himself was a soft opening of the Bean & Cream coffeehouse/ice cream parlor on Truman off Faimount. The actual open-for-business starts Monday.

I was bribed with both a free coffee (super dark roast, not diner stuff) and biscotti made by the owner Tom Papadopolous’ mom. (She was right when she let slip that they were better than the commercial Nana’s. These had nuts and dates and were fresh.) (Brother Peter is in the biz as well, but was not there this morning.)

Nevertheless, I think I’m not too tainted to report that Bean & Cream is promising. I’d need to taste the ice cream as well, but there’s lots to recommend it. Of course, it’ll have WiFi and Tom says he’s encouraging loiterers. There are about 10 tables (catchy name for somebody) in a spacious and light room. Even the johns are remarkable in that they are roomy and what you’d like to but never do find in a service station.

Locals have bemoaned the shutting of Townsend’s coffee shop, T.C.’s, run by the restaurant owner’s wife Rosaleen Tallon. As well as co-owner of the big place, she’s an excellent baker and still does the desserts there. Apparently they didn’t get the business they hoped on the coffee/pastry side, although regulars were very loyal.

Mild disclaimer: Michael Tallon is always chatty and cheerful, but we’re not real friends. We do live a couple of houses apart and my wife and I eat in Townsend’s. I’m prejudiced in favor, plus I can attest that Rosaleen does grand things with lemon in her pastries. Moreover, Michael has a great nose and mouth for ales and beers that they offer.

I have been attending the HP zoning and redevelopment meetings. I suspect that when they finally expand parking at the Fairmount commuter-rail stop and drop the fare to subway level instead of $4.25, the Logan Square area will get more daytime oomph for such businesses. Meanwhile, the new shop may do well for several reasons:

  • Cappy’s Pizza in the same block, owned by the Papadopolouses for about a decade, draws lots of lunch as well as dinner business.
  • While Ron’s ice cream/bowling is half mile away in Cleary Square, Bostonians love their ice cream, maybe even more than donuts.
  • The write-a-novel or just gossip coffee shops are in West Roxbury and JP, but not HP. There may well be a need.
  • Tom P. seems to be building a little empire, which short of alcohol, would give people what they want from breakfast through evening snack.

Whining Muffled

By coincidence, I had just griped to Consalvo by email about the dreadful crosswalk at the HP Y (where his wife Lisa works). There’s a combo of terrible design and Boston driver/parker behavior. People park there massive SUVs and F-150s next to and often on the crosswalk. Drivers on River Street race to the stop signs a short distance away. The effect is that kids, seniors and everybody in effect is darting out between parked vehicles, blind to the street and drivers to use the crosswalk. I went on and on.

That’s taken care of, it turns out. As part of the River Street Road work (Mattapan Square to Reservation), that and other crosswalks will get an upgrade. The pedestrian zones will make it obvious you can’t park there and provide line of sight to all. So there to me!

Money on the Table

This morning’s meeting was the neighborhood business networking. Consalvo described commercial boons that should become booms.

Foremost are the grocery-plazas — the two S&S ones and the relatively new Price-Rite on River Street. All three are multiphasic deals, with more to come. Each has created a plaza with itself as an anchor store and will expand with more building and more stores. He figures each represents about $30 million invested. To Consalvo, these deals prove his contention that these large corporations have done their market research and believe the district will expand and provide profits.

I did get a brief flashback to the South when he spoke of S&S’ putting stores within a mile of each other. Actually, it’s a bit farther but they are still oddly close. This is similar to the successful strategy of Memphis-based Piggly Wiggly. As a child and young man, I noted the obvious proximity of its stores in many Southern cities and towns.

Locals set me straight when I was eight. They referred to the white Pig and the black Pig. The then separate cultures (despite nearly identical foods) dictated racially solid customer bases, thus parallel grocery tracks and support for close stores.

Hyde Park is not that separate, but there is considerably similarity. The Price-Rite for one example seems to have a few white customers, some Latino, but very heavily black shopper base. The American Legion S&S is similar. The Truman Parkway S&S has largely white customers, although neighboring Hyde Park areas are highly diverse. Once the new Truman store opens in larger format, perhaps it will attract a more mixed set of customers, particularly if they add a fresh fish counter, which either of the other stores has.

Back to Consalvo, he also ticked off $10 million to the Y and $4 million to the public Wright golf course/club house. Even though he minimizes the credit due him for his relentless boosterism, everyone else in the room was quick to say much was and is and will be his doing.

Amusingly, I lost count of his most frequently used phrase today. That was tough fiscal times. He’d use it and follow up with the development underway. He’d use it and point to 130 new cops and 50 new firefighters on or about to be on the job. He said pols in nearby towns ask how Boston can do all this. His answer, he said, was that the mayor and council have prioritized.


Cap’n Bob

June 22nd, 2011


Where do you go from running a kids’ show and being a TV clown? Well, lots of places.

My friend Bob Ford died Sunday after an amusing and amazing career. While the stages are sketched in his obit, those are not what we’ll remember him for doing and being.

Let’s be plain. He was one funny guy…and the right type, never cruel. In fact, born a Yankee and living Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maine, he spent most of his life in South Carolina. In many ways, the showed the wisdom of Ovid’s snippet that became the motto of the University of South Carolina.

In describing a liberal education, the great poet wrote (Epistulae ex Ponto):

Adde quod ingenuas didicisse fideliter artes
emollit mores nec sinit esse feros.

The second line is the motto of the red Carolina. Many others, including Napolean, used that as well. In South Carolina’s case, the literal translation, (liberal education) humanizes character and does not allow it to become fierce, has a vernacular definition — we make gentlemen out of roughnecks. Bob was wise and kind.

I tended to call him Cap’n Bob. He lived and spread his equanimity and good humor even when he worked in county sheriffs’ offices. As a flack, a.k.a. public affairs officer, he still had to qualify as a cop, with badge and gun. In what was stereotypically a coarse world, he remained a reasonable and modulating force.

The drawing here is from his long-running Call the Cops column.  While each of us who got as high as elementary school will say, “I could write a book about it,” Bob actually could. Beyond the police hardware, he had consider experience and expertise as a reporter and photographer. Not only did he have observations and insights, he could and did explain and illustrate them so we could all understand.

At 82, the Cap’n had a good run. One the family side, he had two marriages, numerous kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews, all of whom enjoyed him as he enjoyed them. He was above all a guy who always listened and always cared.

Suddenly, his death brings to mind Hamlet’s musing on the skull — Alas, poor Yorkick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy.

To the Real Dads

June 19th, 2011

WLMCome Father’s Day, I miss my mother and her father. They were my real fathers. Both are gone.

My own biological father was both absentee and deadbeat. I did not see or hear from him from after their divorce when I was about five until he and his replacement wife visited Manhattan where I was living when I was in my 20s.

Amusingly, he had been an artillery commander in WWII and Korea, but personally was, as the Europeans are wont to say, under the slipper. He did whatever his second wife told him. That included stiffing us on child support and never sending cards, presents, money or a call. Nothing of physical or emotional value was to go to his first two children, my sister and me.

Yet, I am a product of what was and is so disparagingly referred to as a broken home who ended up with more and better dads than nearly everyone I knew. I would hear teachers and chums’ parents condescendingly telling me how sorry they were for me. What I noticed was the many homes with one or both parents heavy drinkers, kids regularly verbally abused and beaten with hands, paddles, sticks and belts, and degrading insults for the least or no offenses. None of those was part of my upbringing.

Moreover, Granddad, William Benjamin Michael, my mother’s father, was a great dad to me. We spent summers and holidays with my grandparents. He was older and wiser than most fathers, wiser and gentler than any dad I knew, and was a great role model as well as teacher. There were also six great uncles nearby who made it a point to father me whenever we were together.

Granddad died in his 70s though — killed by blood clots after a hernia operation, dying 20 years too soon. From that point, my mother redoubled her effort at parenting.

When Granddad was around, I always gave my Father’s Day presents, cards, hugs and thanks to him. After he died, they went to Wanda, my mother (shown above in a college picture). She graciously accepted both Mother’s and Father’s Day acknowledgments. We’d laugh at how she somehow managed to serve both functions. She too was amused by the lack of self-awareness in the many who’d sigh when they said broken home and try to make my sister and me feel unfortunate. We knew better.

Today, I’m the old man, the father. I have neither William nor Wanda to praise and thank, except in my heart and with these electrons. I remain grateful and love them both.


Babies at Risk on the Hill

June 19th, 2011

Trying not to anthropomorphize the wildlife, I have been struck and stuck twice in a week. Looks like we saved one baby and lost another.

A week ago on her wedding day, my new daughter in law rescued a tiny bunny from the toughest cat in the neighborhood, Chartreuse, who doesn’t even fear the big male coyote who trots down the middle of the street in the daylight. Jessica is a big adopter and protector of critters feral.

Unfortunately, neither the towel to warm and very gentle ministrations could save the mangled lagomorph infant. Its corpse joined (not too close, mind you) that of our cat on the back 40 (feet).

chickpeekWe had better results yesterday.  Cindy saw a fledgling blue jay standing dumbly on the driveway between the car and garage door. Apparently it’s not quite ready for real flight and staged a stand-up strike on the pavement.

I scooped him or her up in several layers of paper towels, to avoid tainting the wee one for the parents. Then I bush pushed into the back of a large rhododendron to place the fledgling back in its nest. The parents were squawking and buzzing, but apparently did not reject the baby.

This one at least commutes from the nest to rhody branches and back. We can see the mini-aviary from the sun room.

ChickScowlAmusingly to me, the pix I snapped this morning in the pretty dreadful low-contrast lighting (without flash so not to startle) reveal a fairly dour looking bird. Here’s where I try to avoid reading too much into the sneer. For God’s sake, blue jays don’t even have lips!

Cindy is much fonder of blue jays than I.  Their calls seem strident and unmelodious to  me.  I don’t mind playing blue-jay rescue though.

This did recall the Blue Jay tavern in Keyser, West Virginia, though. That’ s the hometown of Harvard’s Prof. Henry Louis Gates Jr. , he of beer summit fame.  He and my mother were born in the local hospital, a generation apart. He, my mother and her father each graduated from Pot (Potomac) State in town. My mother’s parents’ families were across the river in Luke, Maryland and the sticks above it.

When my grandfather took my sister and me through Keyser to visit relatives or the B&O where he worked, we’d often stop at the Blue Jay. His wife strongly disapproved of alcohol and once I was old enough to drink, I realized the brew he got at the Blue Jay really didn’t count as it. He got a 3.2 National Bohemian, which really meant it could not exceed 3.2% alcohol and was more a diuretic than intoxicant. My sister and I would sit at the bar with our favored orange sodas — Pal for me and Tru-Ade for her.

We were mildly befuddled when I asked the barkeep about the name. They kept a crow in a cage at the bar, not a blue jay. He said they’d never had a jay and besides crows could actually talk, as his did.

If this rescue isn’t really a circle-of-life event, it at least brought childhood ties to mind. Worse things could happen.


Pol Roast on Juneteenth

June 18th, 2011

As a disclaimer, I’m prejudiced in favor of Juneteenth. It is, after all, my birthday as well as a holiday in 37 of our states. The first state to recognize it as such was Texas, where on June 19th, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger announced the Civil War was over and slaves were free.

If much mellower, the sentiment remains, even a couple of thousand mile east northeast. They’re still at it in Roxbury and did it again today at Franklin Park, a day early. As charming loudmouth activist Alfreda Harris said on stage at what is of the cricket pitch there, “We started with peanut butter and jelly and now we have steak and chicken.”

Indeed, we did. The massive field had a tight necklace with family canopies as the jewels all around. Huge sooty smokers and many dozens of grills burned all manner of animal and vegetative matter to the joy and sharing of all comers. It’s a fun day every year and more Asians, whites and Latinos should show. Good food, good music, good feelings, good times.

Probably the most serious attendants were the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Company A and Colored Ladies’ Christian Relief Society. Replete with canvas tents, heavy uniform and period firearms, they remained in good spirits in the heat. They explained their educational goals and pointed to their website for updates on upcoming encampments and events.


I suspect you can discern in the pic which are members and which are politicians LG Tim Murray, and City Councilors Tito Jackson and Felix Arroyo.

I’ve attended several of the local Juneteenth parties. Today, I was looking unsuccessfully for Ayanna Pressley, who had been pitching her attendance. I did not find her and hope it was just because  there were so many tents, grills, people, and locations.

While Bruins fans stood open mouthed hoping for a glimpse of the One True Cross Stanley Cup, hundreds were in for the afternoon in Franklin Park. Many likely missed the ephemeral pleasures on the main stage. Pity.

HarrisMurrayHarris is a delightfully self-absorbed emcee. She introduced the City Councilors, Felix Arroyo and Tito Jackson, the members of the Roxbury Homecoming Committee (hosting the event), LG Murray, and members of the 54th Infantry.

Murray read a proclamation by Gov.  Deval Patrick dubbing tomorrow as Juneteenth, independence day, for Massachusetts in honor of the freeing of slaves.

Ever cool, he could have teased her (passing behind him in the pic) for misnaming his Lieutenant Murphy with something about how all those Irish-Americans look alike and how their names are so similar. Instead, he kept in the spirit of the day and did his do.

She may been at her best in preparing to introducing the pols on stage. She said there were politicians, “And you are politicians, aren’t you?” with slight derision. When Arroyo tried to outquip her with, “We’re community leaders,” she was quick with, “No, I’m a community leader. You’re politicians.”


All three pols were charmed and amused. They laughed.

The takeaway is that Juneteenth in Boston is worth the visit. It’s annually pretty close to my birthday. It’s been in Franklin Park for quite awhile and likely will be next year.

Parking is tight. Be there early (starts at 8 AM or be prepared to hump your tent and grill gear). If you just show, people will be friendly and feed you, but you’ll be in their debt and less civilized.

By the bye, Worcester will have a serious version next weekend, June 25th, from noon to 8 PM.



ID’ing Fans by Ear

June 15th, 2011

stompFrom our times living in Charles River Park, I don’t miss hockey nights. We did get to have a dawn party when they imploded the Hotel Madison (formerly the Manger from Frank Sinatra and Beatles eras). We could see every kind of transport — the Constitution, the Green Line, 93, the streets, and planes leaving Logan for Europe.

We were also next to the Garden. From the 9th floor of Hawthorne Place, on the Garden side, we knew from the sounds what had happened a few blocks away.

Concerts — Maybe they were doped up or blissed out from the music, but they were calm. They’d leave the garages and just slightly increase the hum and roar of traffic.

Basketball — Celtics fans left in clumps if one team was well ahead as was the norm. There’d be some impatient honking, I’d guess suburban types feeling inconvenienced by hoi polloi.

Hockey — Ah, we knew for sure when it was a Bruins night. There was garage rage, whether the home skaters won or lost. Much honking was interspersed with screeching brakes, audible collisions, obscene screaming, and occasionally what sounded like gunshots. The terms rabid and fan seem to go well with hockey.

We don’t hear any of that in Hyde Park. I suppose the Mayor a short distance away does not either.