Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"Our true nationality is mankind." - H.G. Wells

it's GREEN, see? And that means 'Irish.'I feel a certain kinship with Standard-Times writer Jack Spillane, probably because we both provided free and underappreciated content to Rupert Murdoch (I had a MySpace page). After a few well-placed, well-researched, and well-timed columns and blog posts concerning the hypocrisies of certain local fans of franchise motel development, Jack Spillane planted his tongue in his cheek and cranked up the irony to blog about a fund raiser at a New Bedford pub held for a gubernatorial hopeful from Rhode Island. Here's a bit of good ol' wacky nationalism learned from teevee or motion pictures. Jack?

Politics is about organizing, and making the most from personal relationships of family and friends. “All politics is local,” said Tip, and the Irish are local masters of the game.
It will be interesting to see how well Lynch does in Rhode Island, a state whose politics, of course, are also strongly influenced by the Italians and blue-blood Yankees.
Sure, Tip said it. So did his father and every other local politician who has succeeded and national politician who hasn't. The aphorism has been attributed to a Maryland newspaper and to Chicagoan Finley Peter Dunne (who, as his alter-ego "Mr. Dooley," also gets credit for "Comfort the afflicted, afflict the comfortable." Even though Dooley would have said it like a drunken Roscommonner. )
The "Irish" are local masters of the game, eh? I've always been a stickler about this sort of geographical shorthand; aren't the Irish the "local masters of the game" IN IRELAND? Irish-Americans -- most of whom around here have some French or Portuguese relations -- have politicians whose last names are of Hibernian derivation who have jockeyed and corralled other ethnic and labor groups to vote along with them.
Which, according to today's shouters and spitters, is quaint old-school frippery.
And, then, when I think on it, that is the game, so I cede the point.Monica. That's an Irish name? Innit?See? Blonde. Everyone knows Italians can't be blonde. I grew up in Rhode Island and lived among the very same Italians Jack Spillane credits with political influence. (I assume by "Italians" that Jack Spillane means "Italo-Americans" and not "Venetians.") Those Yankees in Rhode Island are blue-blooded because they are Swampers who never turn the heat on. "Blue bloods" are found in Boston, Cambridge, and environs thereabouts, driving "Blue Bloodmobiles" -- BMWs. Sometimes Audis.
(This presentation features photographs of Monica Bellucci and Virna Lisi.)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Palms

Seems written on the wind, don't it?
Hawaii looks good on Donna.
They dragged that palm out of Irving Thalberg's office.Framingham High, Class of '79(This presentation includes photographs of Dorothy Malone, Donna Reed, Maureen O'Sullivan, and Nancy Travis.)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Ten Years on...

Today is the tenth anniversary of Ian Dury's death.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Plastiki

(click image to recycle into bigger better image)
You might think that with my heretofore covert fascination with Tiki culture -- or at least with rum beverages -- I would at least have mentioned the Plastiki mission. David De Rothschild, environmentalist and adventurer, has put together a crew, a program, a website with imaginatively informative and entertaining animations, and a multihull made out of reclaimed plastics. Plastiki is, and is now sailing across the Pacific.
Never one to not give free publicity to folk who (a) seem to enjoy the water, and (b) seem to not want to wreck the whole planet, I'm thrilled to keep an eye on their progress and urge shipmates to do so as well. A permanent link to the Plastiki website is over in the port "link" section.

(They've been out for a week, covered 545 nautical miles so far as of this writing. Fair winds to them!)

March Mariners' Birthdays...

Autodidact. Never dressed like that either, I bet. ...are all today.Sailing with the kids, don't forget naps. Get it? ''Kids''... ''nap''... aww, never mind. The important ones, anyway.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring Arrived Yesterday (when I heard...)

''Word, homeslice!''

(Pseudacris crucifer)
The official heralds of Spring. The crocuses, the daffodils are waiting for that inevitable last snow before really making their move to bloom. The witch hazel, having shocked the grey landscape for the past few weeks, fades back to make way for the more overt forsythia. The ground softens and a few blades of new green disturb enough earth to freshen the atmosphere with a whisper: "Every morning will smell like this." And soon, an evening will smell like steaks on the grill, saltmarsh, and beer. Best wishes.

-- reposted once again, the peepers.(We thought they'd been displaced by the quackers,
but they're back now with a vengeance
.)

Order the Tea ...

...and there's wisdom in the cookie:Too late,"Be demonstrative, but do it with dignity," it reads. The other side purports to teach one Chinese, revealing how to say "fork" (叉子, "pá").
Which somehow works, too.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Diabetes Alert Day

The American Diabetes Association is conducting a sweep of the country today to determine how many more members of your local uncontrolled hypertensive obese community will be buying popular insulin-sensitivity drugs and incretin mimetics in the coming year. Now that everyone has free government-providedmandated healthcare, lots of Americans will have the opportunity to enjoy this popular diversion. Are you one? Take this little test and then don't blame me when you share the results with your physician and he gives you a sit-down talking to.

According to this test, I have some factors which place me in the "low risk" category for diabetes. Which is nice, because I have had Type One Diabetes for forty years. Back then, Juvenile Diabetes was either a death sentence or a promise of a horrible life filled with test tubes, boiled syringes, huge needles to collect blood samples, and huger needles to inject some animal's hormones so that maybe you could go play.
But at least I was given those choices. Besides a few years of adolescent defiance (in my thirties) and an experimental intoxication or two, I've lived a relatively well-prepared life and had the opportunity to advantage myself of various cures, methods, technologies, and modalities of diabetic control. Diabetes management is mechanized and efficient these days; I was prepared for this life all my life. And as a Type One Diabetic, I get to read all of the literature aimed at juveniles, so I retain my youthful insouciance
Type Two Diabetes -- although I am willing to unapologetically lampoon its cultural pervasion -- is a much worse fate. Imagine living your whole life the way you have been. ("Living" it, not "imagining" it.) And then having to make a complete lifestyle paradigm switch in your middle age or older. Your lifelong habits and pleasures have all led you to a dangerous place, slowly and silently in most cases. If you'd known, you would have made changes long ago, but now: regret.
Give yourself a chance.
That ADA site has some great information. So, I reprint the link that you'll never click here: The American Diabetes Association.Another fine Brooklyn export.
(This presentation has a photograph of Mary Tyler Moore.)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

"He was a bold man that first ate an oyster." -Jonathan Swift

According to the Los Angeles Times:

A Santa Monica sushi restaurant facing federal charges for serving endangered whale meat closed its doors for good Saturday, according to a statement posted on the Hump's website, which called the decision a "self-imposed punishment."
"The Hump hopes that by closing its doors, it will help bring awareness to the detrimental effect that illegal whaling has on the preservation of our ocean ecosystems and species," reads the statement on the restaurant's website.
Phone calls to the restaurant and its attorney were not answered.
Federal prosecutors last week charged the owner and chef of the restaurant at the Santa Monica Airport with the illegal sale of whale meat in violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a maximum fine of $200,000.
While the restaurant immediately took responsibility once it was charged, the charges came only after an undercover sting operation that was orchestrated by animal activists and the associate producer of the Oscar-winning documentary "The Cove."
The activists used a tiny video camera to record their payment of $600 for the omakase, or chef's choice, which included eight pieces of whale. The activists bagged samples of the meat and sent them to the Marine Mammal Institute, where they were determined to be sei whale, an endangered
species.
No word yet on how this news plays in The Whaling City. Except for the usual remarks by the people who still claim to be "grossed out" by sushi.Debbie's got a fly rod for trout fishing. In unrelated news, her birthday is April 1.

(This presentation features a photograph of Debbie Reynolds.)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Patriots

Nice gal, if ardent.A few caustic remarks aimed at weaklings wouldn't keep me away from the Democratic Party.
The usual. AM Morning guy. Harmless. A couple of off-color jabs at leadership wouldn't keep me away from the Republican Party.
Crazy as fucking crazy.But the "Tea Party"? I will not believe that I was raised on the same planet, much less admit that I am from the same country.
It's time for everyone to learn where to sit, which fork to use, to show gratitude to elders and respect for everyone else at the table. And when to keep quiet while the grown-ups are talking.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Donning the Wool

With the recent SouthCoast focus on preservation of buildings (and their relevance, value, and exploitation), the reasons for preservation have become muddied by some who value a façade over a full story. "History buffs" see some urban developers cherry-picking projects for utility, cost, and glamor. Corporate developers see obstructionists and Luddites in "ardent preservationists."
But, someday a historian will tell the story of that business and its owners, with interest, honesty, and enthusiasm. Preservation secures a visible remnant and only assumes interest. A historian ensures the latter.
No restored granite edifice, gingerbread detailing, iron machination -- no matter what interactive signage or concocted parochial significance -- can ever deliver the humanity of history as effectively as a spoken narrative. When listening to a National Park tour guide or well-prepared historical re-enactor or first-person interpreter as they present The Past to us in The Present, the media is reality itself: tangible, relatable, and sometimes inspiring.
I have been a personator. That may sound like another bit of contrived industry jargon, but I was in that industry. Sure, "actor" or "coach" or "consultant," look better on the business card, and they're all on there. But indulge me as I congratulate, recommend, and commemorate some former colleagues and peers here every so often.
Personating is like a restoration or preservation project; it requires knowledge, skill, and research. Just as a building like the Baker-Robinson whale oil refinery/candleworks represents one industry that employed many many people and relied on many many trades to do so, a historical interpretation depicts a representative of a setting: a series of details that acknowledge a populace while presenting a presence.
Because history doesn't actually repeat -- so much as it displays relatively similar circumstances and presents predictable outcomes -- somebody has to put on the stinky wool and tell/educate/show/interpret/manage/sing/discuss/collect/translate/portray/first person relate it. I have argued elsewhere that "it can be done poorly, indifferently, ineptly, and mawkishly. It can embarrass you. It can embarrass the audience, and it can embarrass someone's great-grandfather."
In this irregular feature, I hope to celebrate the people who don't.
Stacey RothMary Ludwig Hays McCauley may or may not have won the Battle of Monmouth, but she did more than carry water that day in the Summer of 1778 when she joined her husband's Continental Army cannon crew. "Molly Pitcher" has assumed the prestige of representing numberless camp followers who performed necessary duties for soldiers and in some cases -- like Molly's -- fought in the War for Independence. Many fought alongside their husbands, sons, patients, and, erm, customers. Contemporary desk jockeys would call them "on-site support staff." Which is why their story is an important one to tell.
According to the Independent Press of Newark New Jersey, the Historical Society of Chatham Township and the Chatham Historical Society have teamed up, with funding from the Horizons Speakers Bureau of the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, to present historical interpreter Stacy Roth as Molly Pitcher.
Stacy Roth and David Emerson are History on the Hoof, an outfit that presents at libraries, schools, historical societies, community organizations, clubs, festivals, and more according to their website The photograph above of Stacy Roth, by James Bell, is from that site. As is the one below, of David Emerson portraying Captain Leland Emerson of the whaler Sarah Ann. (Who should give the octant back to the Li'l Navigator.)B. David Emerson

Thursday, March 18, 2010

"We know where our hearts are. Right behind our wallets..."

"... Yes, and that's where they're staying."
In the recent New Bedfidgian kerfuffle over a restaurateur/motelier vandalizing the last whale oil refinery in the universe, certain individuals who notice these sorts of things are suitably distressed and have made their annoyance known.
This is the right thing to do.
But not in this stagnant backwater whose invertebrate denizens are tickled whenever a strange foot steps in and kicks up a few unnoticed larvae for devouring. nom nom nom
Assiduously assuring the provincialist SouthCoast "There can Be Only One" rule, those who disagree with the distressed are defending every move of the developers in unattractive cavorts, sending off e-mails to their donors, making calls to patrons, writing overwrought letters to the editor filled with ungracious sophistry, insisting that no opposition will be abided because "nice people are doing a nice thing for us," all the while ironically accusing detractors of being "naive." They are indecorously falling over themselves to both quote and overstate each other in unctuous and humiliating lionization of the saints of providence who have brought a great miracle, the FIRST HOTEL EVAR (except for the one that was across the street ten years ago) to the part of the waterfront that is sometimes referred to as "Downtown New Bedford."
But it may not be called "New Bedford" much longer because New Bedford's de facto leadership is clearly trying to change the name of The Whaling City to "Stockholm."
Because they seem to be exhibiting symptoms common to a certain syndrome described in the wikipedia as

a paradoxical psychological phenomenon wherein hostages express adulation and have positive feelings towards their captors that appear irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims.
Yup.
Victim sees captor as giving life by not taking it? Check. Captor as the only provider of victim's basic needs? Check. Victim is isolated from others? Check. Captor overplays own importance as provider? Check. Victim relies on captor for "special" item or consideration ? Check. Victim overreacts to small kindnesses from captor? Check.
I'm making a diverting jest, yet my burlesque feels a little uncomfortable since I know all of the players, and admire ... some of them. And I do not paint the hospitality company as a perpetrator of a crime or bad guy. This is a well-known local family, well-connected to the community, and to the area's lame-brained media and thuggish political machines. (UPDATE 031910 12:00 Apparently acquainted with the Attorney General. TY Anonymous commenter.)
So... the term "Ardent Dartmouth Preservationist" is the newest "zinger" going around the club. I see them in their Nantucket Reds as they peer over the rims of their Mount Gay and tonics (or just tonics, if they're condescending ex-soaks) and get real hawhaws from the exploits of those whom they perceive as mere obstructionist history buffs with no understanding of the way things work nowadays.
Things aren't supposed to work for bookish types.

(Watch all the parts. The narrator is noted Spaulding Grey impersonator Jonathan Rosen.Note disparaged historians in credits.)

From my vantage point -- a distant vaguely-interested one that had been hoping for a sleazy motel with a cool Tiki lounge -- there's just too much noise around that construction site, and it's not constructive noise.
When the thing was announced, the public was told that the building was "an old ice house that's a fish plant that made cat food." But I changed my opinion of it when it was found to hold an environment that no longer exists. I didn't have the enthusiasm to suggest that a museum be fashioned there, but gosh: a tryworks...
News -- which is transitory and usually incomplete -- is made by those who can frame their story best, sometimes loudest. Historians have to sort out the obvious prejudices, personalities, mischaracterizations, and "adaptive re-use" of the facts.
Historians are the people that newsmakers dread most.
Which explains the rancor in their attacks.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Monday, March 15, 2010

To: Scholars of the Future. In the Future.

As you Future Scholars look back into the archaic Internet archives at this generation's peculiar spelling irregularities and shake your heads (or nodules or units or tentacles or whatever), I entreat you to remember that we here in the early nanomoments of the Twenty-First Century are good people who tended to conflate "Right to Freedom of Speech" with "Right to Whine Like a Brat." And often confuse "Right of the People Peaceably to Assemble" with "Right to Stand around Town Meetings Dressed Like a Pirate and Whine Like a Brat." And sometimes mistake "Petition the Government for a Redress of Grievances" for "Demand Impeachment of Socialist Alien the Day After the Election and Whine Like a Brat." Some incorporate all three and unassumingly fashion bewildering signs with unintelligible slogans and brandish them; the media publish mortifying images later. (Oh, and there was this momentary obsession with brusque women performing pedestrian dance music. As they say,"It's all fun and games until someone loses a dignity.") Seem like nice enough guys...At this juncture in our history, many broadcasters had no means of discourse other than hollering swear words and showing expensive, flashy -- but ultimately inaccurate -- graphics. This led to widespread knowledge shortages and something that you probably know as "The Dumb Bubble."
"The Dumb Bubble" required entertainers to display little talent -- other than insipid uninspired mimicry -- and news outlets to just plain make shit up, especially their own self-identification as "news outlets." This did not keep them from profiting off of the widespread dopeyness. Politicians didn't even bother with those apocryphal "smoke-filled rooms," but downloaded their dealings with their now-corporate constituents directly to CNBC.
Eventually Dumb reached critical mass when an Objectivist called his Socialist neighbor "a Communist." But rather than retort with antagonistic comments about Ayn Rand -- as was the practice in those days -- the neighbor proffered challenging and illuminating reading materials and painstakingly explained their differences in ideologies. This was the turning point. Rather than "agreeing to disagree" (also a common argument-ending ruse in those days which was interchangeable with "STFU"), they mutually manufactured a synthesis, became Socially-Progressive-True-Fair-Market Capitalists, and married. You just wait'll I get back to my parents' basement and BLOG about this!!1!You may think, Scholars of the Future, from your perches way above the various strata of imbecility that we have left for you over the ages, that the nascent Internet was an incubator for ignorance. That so many nuts and fringers have deluded themselves into believing that their wacky precepts are widespread due to easy availability on the Web. That the entire culture's principles became so relaxed as to languish untended.
Studying this sort of thing from their "unique" perspective, the Simon Weisenthal Center for Tolerance found that in 2009, there were 11,500 "problematic" websites (blogs, social networks, forums, et cetera) with "hate content." They had only counted 10,000 in 2008. But has this churlishness and bigotry affected the world at large? It's no surprise that Twitter and them are fifteen percent meaner (fifteen percent of my facebook friends are loutish boors, I admit it); but has this coarseness made the world fifteen percent dumber?

"We are a Christian nation founded on Christian principles. The way I evaluate history textbooks is first I see how they cover Christianity and Israel. Then I see how they treat Ronald Reagan -- he needs to get credit for saving the world from communism and for the good economy over the last 20 years because he lowered taxes."

-- Dr. Don McLeroy,
Chairman of the Texas Board of Education


Nothing to worry about here.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Climate Change Denier Predicts Big 2010 Storm Season

Joe Bastardi -- one operative of that cabal of loosely-connected entertainers who are also meteorological scientists, AccuWeather -- has made a dire prediction for the North Atlantic Storm Season which begins this June 1.
Joe is a frequent guest on teevee programs that require a scientific expert to argue against widespread environmental theories that are based on non-Joe Bastardi scientific evidence. This can be edifying and entertaining, until someone says "Al Gore." Then it becomes a rhetoric and statistic challenge to determine which contestant can more effectively call his foil "big fat stupid-head." This surely will not go well.I'm not one of those who looks at weather and calls it "climate." The snows in the MidAtlantic region this Winter were -- by my lights -- a fluke. Because they don't usually get twenty inches of snow. To claim that such weather is proof that "Global Warmening is a big liberal lie" is a wild stretch.
I prefer to look outside of myself in matters of global climate, think of future generations, and admit that "Mylar balloons kill sea creatures" and "cars make smog." So, I do not buy Mylar balloons and I drive less. And if Green industries create a few more jobs: then, good.
Joe calls his opponents "alarmists." I define an "alarmist" as someone who, in March, three months before North Atlantic Storm Season, "is forecasting seven landfalls. Five will be hurricanes, and two or three of the hurricanes will be major landfalls for the U.S.[sic] He is calling for 16 to 18 tropical storms in total, 15 of which would be in the western Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico, and therefore a threat to land(from AccuWeather.)."
Call me a Neo-Luddite, but I stopped listening to radio because I had grown tired of maladroit news readers inserting the term "Foreign-Born Socialist" into broadcast segments regarding the President ; I stopped watching teevee news because my smarts were being pulled out through my eyes; newspapers stopped delivering into Dartmouth because they started believing their own concocted stories of vicious coyote attacks. I would like to say that I have chosen to turn to blogs for my news, but I don't take my own web presence too terribly seriously, so I certainly cannot be expected to invest in anyone else's. (Except for Andrew at Armagideon Time. Whose birthday, I hope, is boffo and diverting.)
It is possible, however, to conjecture based on past experience. Whether an actual storm watch or warning is issued in anticipation of a significant weather event, one can be sure that there'll be someone with flashy graphics entreating us to over-prepare, overcompensate for a lack of preparation, or simply panic. So, I made a few predictions of my own: I tend to underestimate.Oh, and there's a tropical cyclone -- NOT A HURRICANE -- off the southwest coast of Brazil as of this edit(1600).

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Congratulations, Fall River !!1!

The rivalry once had something to do with high school sports, but those Business Club extracurriculars sure paid off better than windsprints. New Bedford can no longer cast a long dark imaginary shadow of relative success over its neighbor to the west.
A Fall River-based corporate chain of motels (that provides Little Debbie™ products as their Continental Breakfast) has won the emptiest victory of Ever by destroying the only chunk of New Bedford historical significance that hasn't yet been sold for a dollar or sunk into the harbor. Or lost at sea. Or bought by out-of-town interests. Or anxiously hidden away by jealous caretakers. Or burned to the ground. Or smashed to make room for a discount supermarket. You can quit trying now.
"It took some finagling," says some guy I'm sure probably exists. "But we got TIFs and a $250,000 loan, and we got in on the waterfront by circumventing or ignoring all that preservation crap and we wrecked a big whaley-boily burny-firey thing that some smartypants called a tryworks."The tryworks -- part of the Baker-Robinson whale oil refinery that's going to wake up someday this July as a beige-and-powderblue dining hall conference center -- is pretty much wrecked, as shown in this picture by David Oliveira of the Standard-Times, which was featured in an enigmatically terse Jack Spillane blog entry.''Work up a good sweat in our exercise room. Or tryworks.''
Perhaps the most satisfying achievement for B.M.C. Durfee High School alums, however, is knowing that the soon-to-be-mildewy no-tell crashpad is named "Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott," a name that -- not counting the 'Inn' or ampersand -- has nothing at all to do with "whaling" or "The Whaling City." (Plus, that's what New London CT calls itself, anyway.)

-with special thanks to Carol Steinfeld,
whose investigation is actually a serious one.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Still the pensive spring returns

Admittedly indolent in its commencement, this year's Kitchen Phal Season began with this promising bit of progress:She's gonna BLOW!!1!Not bad for the day before the Oscars™, but this is the real world smacking you in the area.
For those who have forgotten my other calling -- tamer of and dealer in Pacific, Asian and Subcontinental flora -- I offer this reminderance: Your Thirdmate spent a few seasons (until economic realities set in) enjoying the warm humidity of greenhouses and hot co-workers in Winter and the hot absurdity of chauffeuring exotic plants to Manhattan in an oversized luxury van in Summer. After seeing these charming epiphytes -- the plants, not the hot co-workers -- in their natural setting, the apartments of the advantaged and the shops of the mad, how could I not continue to surround myself with the colorful pornography of orchids?
One of my least special-part-resembling flowers from the Orchidaceae family, our kitchen phalænopsis (who, incidentally, resents italicization) had decided to splash our galley this weekend with chartreuse and fuchsia.
A very Eighties color scheme, I know.
But I saved these particular plants from a dank death in a corridor at the hands of municipal maintenance workers.
Like every other topic I address here in The Journal, my opinions vis-à-vis orchid culture are the result of intervals spent in back-breaking and mind-bending travail in the employ of accomplished lunatics and world-class narcissists who would certainly be impounded in the Cracker Factory if they weren't recognized -- at least by themselves -- as possessing skill or knowledge at whatever it is they've decided to focus their raving loose-screw obsessiveness on.
A complicated Gypsy curse ordains that I develop business relationships with sociopaths and cranks, all of whom take credit for the results of my hard work without recognizing, complimenting, or recompensing me properly for it.
Oh, waitaminnit... That's just what "employment" means.
So, there is no Gypsy curse. (Except that I still cannot explain why it is that I have no aptitude for card games or playing the concertina.)
Orchid culture is not the fussy compulsion often depicted in popular media. Notice, if you dare, how often phals appear on office desks in teevee series, without notice or mention. They're just tossed there as cuttings, stuck in those shiny rocks and often surrounded by weird twirly stick-things. And they're probably silk.
Unlike this lovely hybird that eventually brandished this premier bloom:Sometimes, you have to sneak up on them.And so, here's The Orchid Lady of the Silent Screen, Corinne Griffith:

Saturday, March 6, 2010

An orchid, robed in cloth of silver and glimmering chiffon

I bet that they're oncidiums.I'll explain.
Later.

(This presentation features Corinne Griffith)

Friday, March 5, 2010

March 5 1770

"Come on you rascals, you bloody backs, you lobster scoundrels, fire if you dare, God damn you, fire and be damned, we know you dare not."

-attributed to Crispus Attucks

Whether he actually composed and delivered that poetical line on that March 5 in 1770 is hard to say. We do know that a bunch of guys were getting pretty fed up with the destruction of their economy by a monarch they considered a faraway tyrant with no local sovereignty. These were men whose livelihoods were based on the maritime industries in and around Boston. For six years, the bromide "taxation without representation" colored every business transaction, hung in every tavern, tagged every ship and ropemakers' walk and sailmaker's loft.
It would have been pretty simple for guys like Crispus Attucks -- who was a sailor on a whaling ship (and no longer thought of as merely a runaway slave who had skipped out on his plantation gig in Framingham). If the King sent soldiers to enforce zany taxes and strange quartering acts, so what? The soldiers had guns and took colonists' jobs and pressed their shipmates into service. Attucks -- and the other men shot and killed that day : Samuel Gray, Samuel Maverick, James Caldwell, and Patrick Carr -- weren't lawyers or landowners or businessmen or clever pamphleteers. They knew that they would be cannon fodder and target practice in some war, nameless tools of another kind of tyrant. If there was an Adams to immediately praise their bravery and make them martyrs, there was an Adams who would defame them in court, defending the men who had fired on them that March 5.
Clearly, each has a point. And for everyone who looks upon the Boston Massacre as the very provocation to sail for Revolution, there are still those who believe that it was only another fall of the dog, another turn on the capstan that merely hauls a yard.
In the anger of a rabble, Crispus Attucks found a voice. He raised that voice and raised his fist because he knew what it was like to be enslaved. And he knew -- unquestionably -- what freedom felt like.
For he had sailed.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Is Morality Censorship?

Here's John C. McGinley from some teevee show walking right into a moral complexity...
No problem, however, with that character using girls names to insult another doctor. I suspect that "Patricia," "Pam," "Helen," "Billie," "Nicole," "Deb," "Nancy," "Kathleen," "Mary," "Loretta," and "Grace" might each have her own ideas about that. "Words are powerful," indeed, but willing them to disappear will not diminish peoples' continuing proclivity to insult, demean, marginalize, and demonize. We humans are an inventive lot; we'll come up with new ways.
Until that day, I'll try to employ more accurate monickers and epithets.

Even my pro-local-business sentiments...

... don't extend to excusing this sort of a tease:''Last 3 pays $118'' There. I'm a giver.

Never mind that most "Subscriber Content Previews" of news articles only provide two-thirds of the obligatory cutesy pun-garnished and fact-diminished first sentence of an article. Why does the online version of Standard-Times hate its lottery-playing readers so? (If you were to "subscribe" --pay $3.56 -- you could get the paper delivered AND have full access to the website weekly. But if you were to have the paper delivered, why would you bother to go to over-stuffed and poorly-managed website? Particularly for lottery numbers. Which are available at The Lottery website. Or at the store, for that matter, where you bought your ticket.)
Marketing FAIL.