Thursday, July 15, 2010

I Have A Confession...

It would be the apex of arrogance to imply that I "started" something online. In fact, anyone who believes that they have ever done anything that hasn't been already done... well... let's just say that there may be someone who thinks the same way. For instance, a number of people chose to inform the Massachusetts Tourisminatti that a certain local landmark -- a defunct whale oil refinery -- deserved placement on a marketing hustle called "1000 GREAT PLACES." Whether moved by irony or genuine devotion, this thing was done.
Because of the close relationship that I do not in any way have with the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, I was aware of their hope to compile a list of one thousand GREAT PLACES in Massachusetts. I predicted that there would be a few anomalies. You know, like when "Why Don't We Do It in the Road" was voted the best Beatles song. To test this hypothesis, I suggested -- on Facebook and Twitter -- that people vote for a PLACE that had been in the news at the time: The Baker-Robinson Whale Oil Refinery.
Well, the truth is that I was just being a smartass, but on March 18...

I listed it and voted for it and suggested that others might do the same. Since it was all a zany lark, I'd forgotten all about it.
When THE LIST was first posted a couple of days ago, I heard about it on the local radio news on the car radio while I was texting to my LinkedIn account, offering advice to Michael Westin on my Bluetooth and trying to trade "Matt Berry" for "Kim Cattrall" on the GPS, so I may not have heard quite correctly. The brilliant voice actor on the wireless (in this case playing a newcaster with random mid-phrase halting, distracted interview skills, and ludicrous mispronunciations) announced that New Bedford had fourteen PLACES on THE LIST and Fall River had eight."
After returning to the home office here at stately Goon Manor, confident in the confirmation of Hilltopper/Whaler rivalry, I investigated THE LIST. Although the M.O.T.T. site is unclear as to its actual purpose, it is very complete, but only to the most patient of seekers. You might be familiar with easter eggs on DVDs: special production clips and messages from the director one views by clicking an image of the Main Menu and then hitting REW or something. As it turns out, the actual LIST appears at

... according to which, Fall River boasts SIX GREAT PLACES while New Bedford lays claim to THIRTEEN.)
As related by Don Cuddy in today's Standard-Times (available to subscription holders and those who know the secrets of private viewing) some are "puzzled." Whiny technophobes who didn't bother to try and get their pet hangouts on the list are surprised; some other folk are bemused. As with all public relations schemes, its stink will soon spike and then vanish. But some points are certainly worth more consideration. The author of this article posits that the "New Bedford's Baker-Robinson whale oil refinery and the schooner Ernestina" are, problematically, "both endangered species."
The Ernestina is simply acting like any other boat: proverbially, "a hole in the ocean into which one throws money." I wouldn't call it "endangered" however. It's simply experiencing a period of diminished productive outlay with increased fiscal prudence and refreshment of brand advantage while sitting on the bottom.
The Baker-Robinson Whale Oil Refinery is not endangered. It's simply not there. Oh, the striking stone exterior walls are there (probably soon to be obscured by Marriott™ promotional DOOH signage), but the interior is a chrome-plated banquet facility/meeting hall probably done up in the latest designer colors, anticipating the convergence of overwrought entrepreneurs, networking powwows, whiteboards and their mountebank facilitators.
This gambol remembrance of the world's last extant whale oil refining facility may have been some of my doing, but I want to meet whoever dreamt up the best one:
The ACME THEATER in Mattapoisett doesn't even exist.


Carol said...

I voted for it, prompted by your link.

Andrew Weiss said...

I checked to see what delights awaited a traveler to my beloved woo-BIN. The public library here is indeed an architectural treasure, but I am not familiar with this "Horn Pond" they speak of...unless it some archaic spelling of the wetland wilderness down the hillside commonly known as "Hawn Pahn."

PJ said...

Carol, that's very gratifying to hear. Thank you.

Andrew: I seen that.

karie said...

I join Carol (see my little "likes" peeking up over the bottom of the FB post?)

Andrew, you crack me up!

Steve said...

"Why Don't We Do It in the Road" as best Beatles song? Please! Isn't it "Old Brown Shoe"?