Rear Window Ethics Rear Window Ethics: August 2004

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Goodbye, Somerville

So long, farewell, adieu to yieu and yieu and yieu.

It's been a while since I wrote anything here, mainly because the time spent since my last post can best be described in a few words.

moving
shopping
sweating

As of right now, I have just my computer station, some random items rolling around on the floor, and my bed to take over. By tonight I will no longer live in Somerville. I think it's only appropriate for a "Somerville memories montage" to appear here with sappy music and slow-motion pictures, but I don't really have the will to break out my camera to tape our house falling apart, people discharging firearms down the street, sketchy middle-aged men in wife beaters hanging outside 7-11, or any other of the classic moments from my time in this fair city.

On a completely separate note, I have a funny story to tell here. The names of those involved will not be used, because I haven't asked them if I can write this. It's actually not even someone I know that well, but it is a pretty great story. Here it goes:

There was this girl who had been together with this guy for a few months. The guy was kind of a slob, and the girl didn't really know where the relationship was going. The guy desperately wanted the girl to sleep with him--feeling that enough time had passed since they had started dating--so he decided to create a grand romantic gesture that would inevitably end with the girl throwing herself into his arms and onto his bed.

The girl, knowing well the guy's intentions, had none herself of sleeping with him. She did like spending time with him, however, so when he called her to come over to his apartment she showed up at the appointed time.

When she arrived, she found a note on the door telling her to come in and "follow her nose". She opened the door and immediately noticed the trail of rose petals leading down the hallway and up the stairs. She followed the petals as they lined the stairs leading up to the guy's room. She opened the door to find his room smelling of flowers, illuminated only by candle light, and the sound of sexy music pulsing from the stereo in the corner.

When her eyes had adjusted to the light, she saw the guy standing, wearing a nice coat and tie, holding a champagne flute filled with tiny little bubbles. He smiled to her. She smiled back.

This is when things got amazing. Directly next do the guy, was his bed, although you might not even call it a real bed. It was just a mattress with no cover, no sheets, no pillows or any other kind of standard bedding atop it. Just a bare mattress.

Oops.

Needless to say, the guy's plans did not go as expected. The two did not stay together long after that.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

More T Madness

Today, when Nish and I were on the T to our new apartment, we overheard a conversation between a sharply-dressed, thirty-looking man and his elderly mother. From what we could pick up, they had just come from a hearing regarding the man's breaking of his parole. He was pissed because his mom had gone against his wishes and retained him legal representation. He kept yelling at her, saying things like "I don't care what you believe, just stay outta my business!" and "what ah you, an attorney!?"

Nish and I got very uncomfortable, because we're sitting right in the middle of this parent-child row that had all the attitude of an angsty adolescent argument but the subject matter of a gangland court drama.

It got pretty heated at one moment, and the guy, looking like a street tough uncomfortable in dress clothes, yelled "I'm not fuckin' listenin' to you because you don't fuckin' listen to me! When I break parole again I'm gonna fuckin' forget you and your lawyer!"

We got off the bus as soon as we could, because it was a crowded bus and these people had no problem airing their anger with each other right next to us.

We're getting there on our apartment, only the last bit of house stuff and our beds remain. Tomorrow, however, belongs to fun. Joc is up for the rest of the week, and Johnny Mac is coming to go out to the Burren on our last Thursday night in Somerville. The most spectacular 80s cover band will be there, and our faces will melt.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Back in Boston and already moving again

After almost two weeks of constant travel in both California as well as down the Eastern seaboard, I arrived back in Boston yesterday evening. After reading the new Time magazine for a bit, it was time to get going with my next big travel plans--moving.

I hate moving.

All this week I'm going to edit in the daytime and move during the nighttime. Nish and I don't have too much more stuff, just beds, dressers, desks, and a lot of packing of small things. Oh, and of course my entire office. And I have to do all my laundry now because the machine in our building costs $2.50 for a wash and $2.50 again to dry.

I hate moving.

Both of my rooms, in my old and new place, look like hell. Books are scattered all over the floor in my apartment, while dog hair is flying around the floor of my old one. I'm frantically trying to index 60 digital video tapes so I don't lose any program masters or raw footage.

I hate moving.

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Sunday, August 22, 2004

No Traffic!

We're on our way back to New Haven now after an absolutely great weekend in the Maryland/D.C area. So far there's no traffic, and I hope I don't jinx it by writing it here. I'm pretty sure jinxes only work when you say them, not when you write them. I don't know about posting online, however.

We left really late to avoid the weekend traffic that we hit on the way here, so we spent part of the day on the Jocelyn reality tour of UMaryland and the rest hanging out with Joc's friends Heather and Cole. I heard an amazingly strange story while I was there, and I have to share it.

So Cole has a car that he doesn't use very much, and he just keeps it in the parking garage near his and Heather's apartment. His car happens to be an old, gigantic, sea-foam colored shit-blaster with the license plate "Sea Cow". Yesterday he used it for the first time in a week, and noticed something stuck under the windshield wipers.

It happened to be a burned CD, in a cow-patterned case, entitled "Mooosic". Under the title was a little inscription that read, "A gift to the Sea Cow, for making my days at the Woodmont Parking Garage a little bit brighter."

I don't even know what to say about that, except that it seems that someone in the Woodmont Parking Garage has a lot of time on their hands, and likes fun projects.

Incidentally, Cole is upping the ante and putting a new double CD under his windshield wipers for the mysterious "mooosic" person to pick up, entitled "SeaD Foam". I guess there are two people in the same garage with time and and penchants for fun projects.

The whole deal is very dubious, and since they're inside the Beltway I can't help but think there may be some sort of Deepthroat-type secret communication afoot. Maybe Cole will end up with some sort of encoded CD with NSA information inside.

Off topic, why is Avril Lavigne always singing about how she knows about life, and how it's so tough and hard? She's a teenage pop-queen from Canada. It must be hard for her, having legions of teeny-bopping followers that treat her words as gospel, not to mention living in a country whose biggest problem is an inferiority complex. Oh, and by the way, how's that socialized health-care working out? Maybe she can work out her angsty depression for free.

Back to driving now, because wouldn't you know it, we just hit the New Jersey Turnpike and its fucking perennial traffic.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Bethesda

Today Joc and I went out for lunch with Tali, and a few of her friends from UMD. Afterwards we retired to Tali's house and enjoyed a lengthy food coma while watching Olympics, hanging pictures, and enjoying a visit from Nicole.

After we had spent the least amount of time necessary before eating again, Tali, Joc and I went for Indian food in Bethesda.

While walking back to our car after dinner, a woman pulled up and asked us, somewhat frantically, "Do you know where Montgomery Avenue is?"

We thought about it, and admitted that we didn't know. She tore off down the street. After a few minutes of walking across a street and through a parking lot, a car again pulled up next to us and rolled the window down. It was the same woman, who obviously didn't realize that we were the same pedestrians.

"WHERE IS MONTGOMERY!!!???" she screamed at us.

We shrugged, tried not to laugh directly in her face, and said "we still don't know." After that she kind of freaked out and then sped off.

It got nice and cool out here after yesterday's 100+ degrees.

The Red Sox have won 11 out of their last 15 games, which is pretty hot. I haven't been watching that much, being in California and then Maryland, but it's reassuring each time my automatic text message from the Red Sox buzzes in my pocket to tell me they've won. I'm excited to get back up to Boston and get in gear with things.

Tomorrow we're going on the Jocelyn reality tour, going all over College Park and U Maryland to visit her old haunts. Then we're driving back up to New Haven, trying our best to avoid the vacation traffic that marred our drive on Friday.

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Adam's Morgan Smells Like Smoke

We were in the District last night, and in a surprise move to me, they have not yet banned smoking in bars and restaurants. New York, Boston, and pretty much every other major metro area in the US banned it two years ago or more. I was quite surprised.

It had been a long time since I had come home from a night out smelling like smoke. Nasty.

Also, it had been a solid two years since I had set foot on the DC Metro system, and I forgot how amazing it is. It's quiet, fast, carpeted, and on time. They have little signs that say exactly how much time until the next train arrives. Spectacular.

We're spending the day with Tali (and perhaps Nicole) as well as with Joc's friends who live in Bethesda.

Hopefully it won't be over 100 degrees again.

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Friday, August 20, 2004

Driving

Wow. Jocelyn and I just rolled into Bethesda, MD, and we are officially wiped out. We left this morning from New Haven at 9:30am, but hit ridiculous amounts of vacation/college students moving in/Friday traffic and the normally five hour drive lasted well over nine.

We reached our breaking point in Delaware and had a collective anxiety attack during our fourth hour of bumper to bumper traffic on I-95. We pulled off to a mall to buy an atlas to try and navigate an alternate route, as well as regain some sort of sanity.

After an hour on access roads we crossed the Sussquehanna River and were able to view the I-95 bridge and see that traffic had eased up a bit. We got back on the interstate and made it down to Maryland in a few hours.

A few thoughts that came up during the drive down there, as well as in the last few days:

We passed so many college students driving to their schools to move in. Wasn't it not long ago that I was driving up to Tufts, or Joc was driving down to UMD? How is it that our little brothers are about to travel up north for their respective Freshman years? Very strange.

I hate it when you're standing at a desk in a hotel, a store, or any other place where you wait for service, and the person behind the desk treats anyone who calls as more important than you. I'm fucking here. They're just on the phone. I made the damned trip. Talk to me.

Also, without any kind of segue, what is the deal with cursive? I spent all of fourth grade learning it, and now I don't do jack shit with it. I realize that in the past, before typewriters and computers, penmanship was of the utmost importance, but now it's rather useless. Moreover, who decided that they should just tack on an extra bump to the letters 'n' and 'm'? Why not just the normal amount of bumps?

GW Bridge

Yes! Nerdiness to new heights! I am officially writing this while stuck in traffic on the GW bridge, as Jocelyn and I make our way down to Maryland to visit her friends from school. Yes, I'm using my cell phone as a conduit to connect to the internet with my computer.

This traffic is horrible, and Joc is getting restless. Many of the cars around us are clearly heading off to college, stuffed with bags and dorm room essentials, tattooed with various college stickers.

This traffic is horrible! We've been stuck in it for the last 40 minutes and we're not even on the bridge yet. Damnit.

Jocelyn and I are talking about how annoying this whole thing is. Granted, New York is a cultural, artistic and commercial center for America, but it's just too much of a pain to pass through to get anywhere. New York is great, but sometimes it just pisses me off. Plus I hate the Yankees.

I went to the new Ikea in New Haven yesterday. It's such a spectacle. It's enormous, and the place has been open for the last month and still the parking lot is completely full at all times. Their stuff is cheap, though.

Alright, time to go. I have to be a more supportive shotgun to my driver.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Hitchcock, Highway 1 and Muir Woods

This morning we left our camp and started West to intercept picturesque California Highway 1 to take us back down to San Francisco. Before we could get there, however, I noticed signs for Botega Bay and I couldn't shake the feeling that I knew that name from somewhere. It didn't take long for me to figure it out--Botega Bay was the town in which Hitchock's The Birds was set and shot. Needless to say we ventured there, only to find that the town itself is not in much better shape than it was at the end of the film.

Yes, there were lots of birds there, for those of you wondering. Smart asses.

Meanwhile, the place was kind of a dump. We ate lunch and then made one stop that I couldn't resist:
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Yes, that is the schoolhouse that the birds stake out, and that is the road that the hapless school children run down to flee their mysterious attackers. And yes, I did make Phoebe run down the road, reenacting the escape of 'Tippi' Hedren and company.

After that we finally did make it to Highway 1, and the views were indeed beautiful.
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After a serious gas scare (there really are no gas stations on this road, for those of you planning to make the trip yourselves), some minor squabbling, some major squabbling, and a lot of driving, we made it to the Muir Woods.

There were lots of tall trees.
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Let it ring out throughout the land, today and forever, that August 17, 2004 was the one and only day that Clay Marshall hugged a tree (literally or otherwise).

Anyhow, we're back in the city now. Clay and I fly back to Boston tomorrow night where we will make a 15 minute pit stop at my house before we drive down to New Haven: the staging area for my weekend trip down to D.C. with Jocelyn.

Lots of moving around.

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Safari West

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As I mentioned before, Monday night we arrived at a place called safari West, where you "camp" out in the middle of a 400 acre wildlife preserve featuring a number of species from the African savanna and beyond. We slept incredibly well, until the lemurs and the parrots started screeching bloody murder at the crack of dawn. Bastards.

We then went on a guided "safari" through the preserve and came into incredibly close contact with zebras (above), 7 elk species, giraffes, and the very deadly Cape Buffalo.
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Much to Phoebe's and my amusement, there was a group of yarfy, middle-aged, touristy types that dressed in full safari gear as if we were truly in the Serengeti. This, of course, only furthers my lifelong thesis: people are dumb.

Coppola

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On Monday we continued our tour of Napa Valley wineries. In addition to the usual fare, we came upon the vineyard that was bought by Francis Ford Coppola in 1975. Not only was the design spectacular, the winery itself housed tons of Coppola film memorabilia--the desk from The Godfather, Kilgore's surf board from Apocalypse Now, a shelf full of Academy Awards, etc. Very cool.
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Last Few Days

A lot has happened in the last few days, both in the world and in my world. The US Olympic team is still underperforming. President Bush declared he would realign 60,000 US troops, many from bases in Germany. Does anyone else have this image in their head of military trucks rolling off into the horizon, leaving a dusty, eerie silence that is then finally filled by one man yelling "They're gone! Let's go militarize the Rhineland!!!"

So I have a lot of pictures and stories to share, but I think I'll give each subject its own post.

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Monday, August 16, 2004

Scream Team

I really haven't seen a lick of Olympic coverage yet, but this morning I read that the US men's team lost to Puerto Rico yesterday. Puerto Rico! I love it! Now I'm sure that the PR team had some good players and I know that I'm going to stereotype horribly, but in my high school, which was made up of a little under 50% Puerto Rican students, I never met one that was over six feet tall.

It's just spectacular. Allan Iverson's face on the cover of our newspaper is classic. I'm unbelievably amused by all of this. Now don't get me wrong, I am rooting for the US in almost every sport, but I love a good Goliath slaying no matter who it is.

Larry Brown told the media, "They played as a team...they played so much harder and so much better than we did that the result isn't a surprise at all." That pretty much summarizes everything I hate about the NBA, and by deduction, the US men's basketball team. They play no defense, they rely on one or two star players with little or no support from their bench, and they only play hard for the last ten minutes of each game.

My problem with players coming straight out of high school to the NBA has little to do with missing a college education, because for the most part a college education for a varsity Division 1A athlete is bullshit. It has to do with the fact that they go from high school, where very few teams play as a unit, to the NBA, where very few teams play as a unit. They completely skip the best, most exciting, most passionate basketball in the world--NCAA basketball.

Anyway, I just can't wait until the US team plays its next game. I hope they lose to a team of eleven-year-old pygmies from Cameroon. Now it's time for Clay and I to go to a spa for a massage. Hah!

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Napa

The view from the patio of the Ferrer Vineyard.
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We left San Francisco this morning and headed north to Napa Valley and California wine country. After a visit to a winery, which included a lengthy tour that we eventually bailed on, we rolled into our new accommodations.

We're staying in a bungalow-like cottage that sits on a golf course. We're so close that if someone hooked a tee shot a little too much, it would come crashing through the windows. It's one of many similar structures that are all satellites to the one giant "mansion" that lies at the end of a long tree-lined driveway. I feel pretty strange being here, to be honest. The mansion is pretty ritzy, with expensive cars parked all around it and perfectly groomed lawns leading to endless stretches of tennis courts. I really wouldn't be surprised if the theme music from Beverly Hills, 90210 just started playing out of thin air and the whole gang showed up out of nowhere.

In another brilliant chapter in my unending saga of nerddom, I realized within an hour of being here that they had wireless internet and immediately slapped down the $10 for a day's worth of service.

I haven't seen any of the Olympics, but for some reason I don't seem to care that much about it. I guess I'm just more of a Winter Games kind of guy.

In other news, my brother Clay has pretty much lost it.
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Granted, this much time alone with family in such close quarters can drive any person crazy, but just look at his eyes and you can tell that something in him has snapped. He threatened to kill each of us at least five or six times during a single game of hearts tonight. He also chased my sister around the bungalow in an hour-long chase that involved each of them being locked into bedrooms multiple times.

Tomorrow we're visiting more vineyards and then going to Safari West. I don't really know what to expect. We're "camping" (in quotes because my mom mentioned something about our tents having hard wood floors) and will apparently be sleeping among an assortment of transplanted animals from all corners of the globe. Strange. I'll hopefully have pictures, unless my brother, inspired by the various wildlife around us, decides to kill us all in our sleep in some strange Lord of the Flies scene.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

I've been duped!

For our last performance at camp I made a slideshow of pictures of all the kids set to music that we play on the big screen. A number of parents came up to me and asked me to email them some of the pictures, and I did so yesterday before I left.

What I didn't know was that in that list of emails were the emails of three of my students, and since I sent them the pictures yesterday I've already received four responses back. I'm afraid what this might lead to. So far their responses haven't been more than:

HEY TRAVIS!!!!! :) :) :) :)

I'm pretty sure this is one of the unwritten commandments of teaching--never let students get your email. There was a guy who worked with me last summer who made the mistake of giving out his IM name, and after that he was never the same.

California Love

Now let me welcome everybody to the wild, wild west.

Seriously, though, after a rather grueling flight that seemed to never end we rolled in to SF at about 12amPDT, so 3 for me and my body. I think I'm getting sick, but I can never tell with the dry, recirculated air on planes.

On the plane there was a guy from Boston that had three children, none of whom was over the age of four. He was wrangling them, carrying them in car seats down the aisle, cleaning up their urp. It was spectacular. I was having a horrible flight, but after watching him go about all of that without freaking out I felt rather sheepish complaining.

In other news, this hotel has wireless internet, and I am a nerd.

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Friday, August 13, 2004

CBO Report

Ah hah.

Tax code is so hard for people to figure out, myself included, but hopefully this bipartisan report from a former Bush economist will shed some light on the subject.

It's not that the richest 1% isn't paying enough. It's that if anyone has to pay more, it logically should be those that can afford it the most.

Job creation is way under par, and perhaps it is because the majority of new jobs are created by middle-class small business owners, not corporate tycoons shipping their operations overseas.

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Thursday, August 12, 2004

Wine Country

As I alluded to in my previous post, I will be in California visiting my sister as well as a handful of vineyards until the 18th. I promised myself a month ago that I will write here every day, and I plan to continue that for the most part while I'm away. Who knows, maybe I'll even throw in a picture of me sucking dry a cask of amontillado. I just hope I don't get walled in by some psycho like that poor Fortunato fellow.

"You've done it, Mr. Thompson!"

That line, of course, comes straight from spirited mouth of Seaman Beaumont in the John McTiernan film of Tom Clancy's The Hunt For Red October.

If you knew that already, I love you forever and want to make Connery-quoting babies with you.

But in all seriousness, I have done it--despite my last name being one other than Thompson. Less than thirty minutes ago I completed one of the most ridiculous work periods of my life. It was worse than college, when I had a number of lengthy papers due, several finals to study for, and repertoire I had to teach 10 people individually for a concert that was looming near. It was worse than in high school, when I successfully completed the entirety of my AP English coursework in one weekend. (And yes, it was the last weekend of the year. You didn't even think otherwise, did you?)

For the past two weeks I have been bitching, moaning, wailing, whining, and plain old sulking about the work load I took on in such a short period of time. I decided it would be in my best interests, financially at least, to work my regular 8 hour-a-day teaching job while at the same time shooting, editing and distributing video of children's theater. I have not been a happy camper, especially when dealing with my own actual campers.

I won't get into the unseemly details of this business, because, well, I've already done that. I will, however, just say that on average my workday started at 8:30am and ended around 2am. I know I'm a raving pansy compared to some of you that usually work longer than I did each day, but this is my space and I just don't care for you and your smug senses of superiority.

But today, my friends, today it all came to a spectacular end. Not only did my kids put on a face-melting show this morning, but just minutes ago I also pumped out the 66th and final DVD that I needed to make. Tomorrow I'll finish up camp with a fun, games-only day, drop off a large box of parental pride (in disc format), and then hop on a 6:30 flight to San Francisco to visit my sister, all the while yelling "come on, Big D, fly!"

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Major Signs That I'm Tired Of Teaching This Summer

5. I openly discuss how much I hate certain children with my co-workers.
4. Sometimes, in private, I refer to the children I teach as "little bastards."
3. If a child I don't care for is talking to me, and another one that I love comes up, I will pretty much just start listening to the child I like.
2. I've started daring kids to do things I shouldn't dare them to do.
a. Example: "Hey, Joe. I dare you to like that greasy spot on the window." Etc.
1. I've begun lying to the children.
a. An example:

Yesterday I was having a hard time controlling my class because one kid refused to do what I asked everyone to do. I told him that I would take away some of his swimming time if he didn't listen to me. He responded by telling me that he didn't care if I took away his pool time, and that he hates swimming.

This is when I departed from the shallow waters of sanity and dove, head first, into the deep end of preposterousness. The class around me was still restless because this one child insisted on making a scene in the middle of the room. It was the last class of the day, my classroom was hot and humid, smelled like kid BO, and was about to lose it. In reality, swim time is the only viable penalty available to me, but as you are about to see, I was rapidly departing reality.

"If you hate swimming, then maybe I should make you go into the pool if you don't listen to me."

When the child started telling me that I couldn't make him go swimming, I decided to delve into the specifics of what his In Loco Parentis form allows me to do. Now, anyone over the age of 12 knows that an In Loco Parentis form does in no way give authority to get rid of your own frustration and anger by threatening to force a child to go swimming. Luckily, this kid was only 8. I was able to convince him to sit down and be quiet with the rest of his classmates by lying to him openly.

There you have it. My last day is Friday. I'm really not a bad teacher, but for some reason I think I'm at the end of my rope right now. In fact, my break time is ending in less than five minutes, and I have to go back out there and face the music--literally. (I teach music).

Some Reading

A big part of me feels like a jackass for posting other people's articles here, both because they are not my original thoughts and because it's kind of a cheap way to go about creating a post. Nonetheless, here is an article that caught my eye today. Pardon me if its theme seems entirely repetitive of those that I have posted here before, but I guess in this election year the endless talk of our American "culture war" is everywhere--even on this lowly site.

The article is from the current issue of Time Magazine and is written by Joe Klein. It discusses the veracity, or lack thereof, of the popular notion that we are a polarized nation in the midst of a "culture war". Are we truly split down the middle, each side dangling its legs off the edges of the political spectrum, or do we just feel like it because the opinions of the select few seem to bombard us from every angle? Oh, and I think I may have let out an audible yelp of joy when I read the Jim Lehrer shout-out. You go, Jim.
Click Here

It's a nice idea, similar to Barack Obama's keynote speech at the DNC a few weeks ago. We are all Americans, despite our beliefs and political affiliations, and that should--at least in some small way--be a comfort in such an argumentative climate.

At the same time, we clearly have our own opinions. I am most certainly a liberal leaner: I make up my own opinions about issues, "hot button" and not, and it so happens that they often happen to skew towards the left. Growing up in New England I am certainly not alone in my leanings, but sometimes even here there is a sense of shame the accompanies the term 'liberal'. I'm reminded of another recent article I read by Anna Quindlen about the "L" word.

We liberals have fallen on hard times in recent elections...we are not supposed to say our name...But it's worth remembering that today's moderate values were the liberal notions of yesteryear. Social Security. Integrated schools. A war on poverty...We liberals have been shamed into thinking our vision failed, when in fact it has simply been absorbed into the national self-portrait. From the idea that a woman ought to have the same legal rights as her male counterparts to the belief that workers should count on being safe from hazardous conditions, formerly liberal principles have become bedrock democracy.

To be sure, we don't all think alike. We're not quite that Orwellian or Huxleyan (not a word) yet. In many ways I hope I understand the conservative views that normal Americans feel strongly about. I also have no shame in the fact that my conservative brother calls me a "bleeding heart liberal". (He does, thankfully, feel I don't quite warrant his ultimate insult: "tai chi liberal").

Winston Churchill once said "Any man who is under 30, and is not a liberal, has not heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains."

The fact that we don't all think alike is not a weakness, and it most certainly should not be a selling point for radio hot-heads or ego-driven filmmakers

Today on NewsHour Jim Lehrer had five different commentators, all of whom had their own niche along the political spectrum. They sat and talked about their opinions, listened politely to the ideas of others, and managed to remain civil for an entire 30 minute segment.

We as a people should celebrate our beliefs and have discussions, not yelling contests.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

More Kid Ridiculousness

Today on the way to the pool, one of our "not so bright" kids turned to my teaching partner, Nicole, and exclaimed:

"We had a bee hive in my back yard, and it was as big as my dad's fist in my bush."

O, peculiarities of syntax, why must you make what children say seem so bad?

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Monday, August 09, 2004

Misunderstanding The First Amendment

I heard this on the radio while on the way to work this morning. Quite true.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Momentousnessification

I'd just like to say that as I near the first full month of entries here, I'm glad I'm doing this. It forces me to write every day, even if what I do write is simply spectacular drivel. I would also like to say that, thanks in no small part to my shameless promotion of this site, I have received my first comment comment from a complete stranger.

Thanks, everyone, for taking any kind of interest in what I put down here.

T

Sunday Morning Thoughts

It appears Maggie may have peed on her bed last night.

I don't know how the word "caramel" somehow found its way into the "tomato/tomahto" family. It's spelled caramel and it's pronounced "kar-•e-•mel". This whole pronouncing it "kar-•mel" is bullshit. This isn't like "tomato", which has a vowel that one can pronounce either soft or hard. People are actually dropping a syllable from the word and thinking it's okay! No longer, my friends. The revolution begins here.

The movie Billy Madison is playing on tv right now, and I just realized that I've been sitting here meticulously picking out the grammatical errors in it. What the hell is wrong with me?

I think Bob Vila just looks like a pudgier Steven Spielberg.

Example
These cows are made out of butter, and if you look closely enough you can see butter statues of Lewis and Clark on the other side of the butter campfire. That's more of an observation than a thought, I suppose.

I'm clearing up my room, trying desperately to get my stuff together for my ongoing move, and I found a whole stash of Canadian twonies in my desk. I have no idea when I'll go to Canada in the future, but these add up to $26CAD, so I can't just throw them away. At the same time, it's too small an amount of money to go get exchanged. These kind of things drive me crazy.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Driveways and Discord

I think I may have inadvertently begun a feud of Hatfield/McCoy proportions with our neighbors this week.

Nish and I, essentially having two apartments in the month of August, are moving in night by night to our new place in the North End. The idea behind this came about because the 36 hour move-athons I've been part of in the last three years were pretty much in the top five of the worst days of my life. We figured that if we just do a little bit each night, late so the roads aren't busy, we can do it without too much pain.

The other night I was trying to find a place to put my car in front of our house so we could load it up. There were no spots on the street, so I decided I should quickly park in the driveway next to us. We're pretty sure the house to our right is some sort of parent-less, juvenile halfway house or some shit like that. Our neighbors have been complete assholes about us "borrowing their concrete" for a few minutes to do stuff, but I figured it was worth a shot.

When I got back down to my car, about five minutes later, there was a car on the street blocking me in the driveway. I figured it belonged to someone across the street, so I honked my horn twice in a span of ten minutes. Finally, out of the house next to us, came this disgruntled kid and his girlfriend, screaming about this and that.

"You pahk in my fuckin' driveway!? And then you honk your horn?!"
"I'm really sorry," I replied. "I didn't know this was your car."
"Of course it's my cah. It's my fuckin' driveway!"

The above exchange repeated itself a few times until I gave up on apologizing, and jumped in my car.

Tonight, not wanting to piss off the dickheads next door by using their driveway, I double parked on the street in front of my house for five minutes. This is a terrible pain, because each time a car comes down the street I have to take my car around the block and back so they can get through. I did this twice in about five minutes, but somehow as I ran back upstairs to grab the keys to the new apartment I hear someone laying on their horn outside.

Sure enough as I run outside, it's the jackass and his skanky girlfriend, flashing their brights and honking loud enough to annoy everyone on the entire street. I didn't have it in my heart to try to remedy the situation, so I just shot the guy a pissy look and drove off.

I really wish I had done something worse, but then again I've been working with kids for nine hours a day over the past five weeks, so my expletive vocabulary is seriously out of shape. If I could have had that moment back, I definitely would have used my favorite curse word. Yes. The C Bomb. Maybe next time.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Work

In a bold and possibly fruitless move, I've decided to take my work to... well, work. So now I'm teaching music, and with any few minutes of down time, I'm creating menus and links for DVDs. I just have to keep the grubby kids away from the computer.

I'm in the calm of the storm right now. I kind of freaked out the other day and felt like I couldn't handle all the stuff that needs to get done by next Friday. Right now I'm feeling alright, but it's not an alright that comes with being satisfied with how much work I've actually accomplished, it's more a calm that comes because I have no other choice but to be calm for a few days or totally lose it.

Ok, kids are screaming, that usually means I need to go see what's going on.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Brunettes

Finally! I mean, how many of these women to I need to be in love with before society has tributes exclusively for Hollywood brunettes?

Walter Cronkite

One of my very favorite parts of listening to NPR is the occasional audio essay by broadcasting great Walter Cronkite. They are few and far between, but he chooses his topics and timing well, and the finished product always gives me a sense of longing for his brand of journalistic integrity.

It is odd that I feel a wave of sentimentality for an era of reporting that ended the very year I was born, but Cronkite speaks with such authority and candor that he makes the news anchors of today seem like either brainless puppets or whiney, loudmouth idiots. Perhaps I see him in the often flattering light of old age, a time in which even the most controversial figures can be looked upon by a majority of people in a reverential and admiring manner. Regardless, his commentary on this, the 40th anniversary of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, was riveting. Listen here: Part 1 and Part 2.

There is no doubt that the essay is pointedly topical considering both today's political climate, as well as last week's terror alert, but Cronkite somehow delivers the message with a sage-like authority that I believe transcends political persuasions. In the LBJ/McNamara phone conversations that make up the basis for the commentary, you can hear the vague and incorrect intelligence reports, the politicization of war, the tactics of fear, and the terribly familiar underestimation of enemy will and tenacity.

If only Walter Cronkite was the media voice of our time now, rather than Bill O'Reilly and Michael Moore. Perhaps it would not change popular opinion in this era of extreme partisanship, but it would certainly bring back at least a fraction of dignity to the broadcast media.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Schedule

My schedule for the next week and a half:

7:30 - Wake up
8:30 - Be at work
5:30 - Come home
6:00 - Travision Work
8:30 - Move stuff into new apartment
10:00 - Travision Work
2:00 - Bed

I realize that compared to some people I know who work multiple jobs this does not seem that bad, but to me it's pretty rough. Not to mention that it's fucking HOT now.

Monday, August 02, 2004

More Nomar...

Reaction here still spans the spectrum of emotion. On one hand you have Dan Shaughnessy, whom I hate, but who sheds some light on the privacy of the clubhouse in his Globe article. On the other hand you have these crying kids that worshiped Nomar in this article.

I still stand by my original reaction, but it's going to be a while for all this to die down.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Nomar

NOMAR IS GONE.

I actually didn't find out for a while. I was in Providence with Jocelyn, out of communication and ignoring all print, radio and television media outlets, when my phone showed two new voicemails. One was from BJ, telling me that Nomar had been traded. His voice had a strange tone to it, like he was half happy and half sad. Maybe he was just in shock. The next message, however, had a distinctly different tone. It was from my sister, Phoebe, who is a lifelong, diehard Nomar fan. Her room in New Haven is one enormous collage of Nomar magazine covers, Boston Globe pictures, articles, interviews, and other paraphernalia. She has been known to refer to herself as Phoebe Garciaparra at times. Needless to say, her message was an almost indecipherable series of sobs and attempted sentences interrupted by more sobs.

When I found out, I was, for the most part, glad. Nomar has never been what I would consider a real Red Sox player. He was a professional who put on the uniform, worked hard and wanted to win, but he never had the spirit that defines the fan favorites. He, like Ted Williams in his day, had trouble talking to the media and trouble talking to the fans. He played hard on the field, but when the game was over you got the sense, especially later in his career with the organization, that he just didn't care that much.

After a series of injuries in the past few years, it's become apparent that he is never going to be the same player he was when he was winning batting titles and hitting home runs like a champ. Perhaps it's because of these nagging injuries, perhaps it's because of Mia Hamm, but he just isn't the same. His previous aloofness has turned into an apparent disregard for the team and the game. Read Sportsguy's article here for more on this.

I was not sad when I heard the news of Nomar going to the Cubs. I do have to admit, however, that after I heard Phoebe's lachrymose message I felt a tinge of regret. Not for the Nomar of today, but for the Nomar of the late 1990s. When the ball was hit into the hole and he barely gloved it, but somehow turned around mid-air and threw a rocket to first base to get the runner, it was spectacular. When he was hitting well and could seemingly drop a hit anywhere on the field or off the wall, usually on the first pitch, it was beautiful. And when he still had discernible affection for the Boston fans, saluting them and throwing balls and bats into the crowd on the last day of the season, it was memorable.

Who knows what will happen now. Perhaps he'll waste away in the National League, lasting another few years in mediocrity. Or perhaps he'll be part of that long and unending horror story that is Red Sox history and enjoy a renaissance, having the best years of his career somewhere else only to return and beat the Sox when it really counts.

I'll miss the old Nomar, but I'm pretty sure I won't have another thought about sulky, distant, apathetic Nomar. Happy trails, sir.

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