Friday, April 28, 2006

Whiskey in the Jar

So Colin made Kristen and I a whiskey sour. It made my stomach sour. How the hell do people, (you know who you are) drink entire bottles of the stuff? Jaysus. I think I'm still tasting Jim Beam in the back of my throat.

...shut up.

Well. It's back to beer tonight anyway because I am too poor for the hard stuff.

Been Caught Stealing

You know you're in trouble when Katie Couric makes you her personal bitch.

My friend Steph told me about Kaavya Viswanathan's interview on the Today show on Wednesday, of which I can't find a transcript. She said that Katie had her Serious Journalism on, confronting Viswanathan with multiple examples of how her book, How Opal Mehta got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life was essentially the same book as Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings, both by Megan McCafferty.

Of course, I do not endorse plagiarism. It is wrong to steal ideas from other people. But, unlike the girl who ripped Beth, Kristen, et al. off word for word, I do think that Viswanathan didn't mean to steal the phrasing that McCafferty used. It doesn't make it right, of course, but I can kind of relate. This girl got a book deal at seventeen years old. She wrote most of her book during her first year at Harvard. At seventeen, you're still learning how to write, how to find your own style and voice. I still struggle with this even at twenty-four and after four years of college. When I read an author I like, my words kind of take on that cadence, my word choices tend to change a little. It is a subconscious thing, one that I don't mean to do. The difference is, at twenty-four, I know this about my writing, and know to go back over what I wrote and say, "Self, hmm, that sounds an awful lot like a Nine Inch Nails song, or a Tom Robbins novel. Rework it." When Viswanathan wrote her novel, she was seventeen. She was going to school at Harvard. She was under a world of pressure I can't even begin to fathom since nobody's offering me a book deal. (Assholes!) I think if I had the potential for huge fame, had a contract for $500,000, and writing 50 pages a day, I would lose that perspective and just try to be the best writer I could be. At seventeen, I probably would have fallen back on the style of someone I admired, and not had the time to go back and review it. If my editor wasn't familiar with the work, it would be easy for it to get in.

I don't think Katie Couric should have ridden this girl like a show pony on national television. I think she's young, I think she got blinded by the idea of being a Successful Writer, I think she got stressed and it got away from her. I think she should go away for a while. Maybe go to Emerson and develop a little more as a writer, and come back when she's got her own voice, or at least a better sense of revision.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Principally Gay Dinosaurs

A Globe article gives mad props to the principal in Lexington, Joni Jay, who is standing her ground on allowing discussion of same-sex families to happen in her school.

A few weeks ago, a set of parents protested the use of books about gay couples in instruction, making the 50-year-old Jay a target of radio talk-show hosts and Internet blogs for the second time in a year.

Today, two sets of parents plan to file suit in US District Court in Boston against the principal, the superintendent, and other school officials. The suit, according to the parents' attorney, will contend that the school system violated the parents' civil rights because they weren't notified about the books or discussions in class. Jay and other school system officials have maintained that the material was about families, not sexuality. Jay supports the school system policy to discuss same-gender couples as part of lessons on diversity.

I am glad that Jay isn't caving to the pressure. It seems that many school districts fold as soon as a parent threatens legal action against a lesson he doesn't like. It would be one thing if the school system endorsed same-sex couples, or discussed the particulars of same-sex couples' mating activities. The book just points out that same-sex couples exist. Wouldn't a parent rather a child find this out in a classroom rather than on Will and Grace? The article says that a number of same-sex couples live in Lexington. Wouldn't a parent rather avoid an awkward conversation when a child says, loudly, in public (because that's what they do) "Why does Jimmy always come to baseball practice with those two men?" Does the father say, "They're just friends?" "Jimmy's parents are godless Sodomites who are going to hell?"

I can understand that this is an uncomfortable topic for many people. Lots of people believe gay relationships are wrong. I don't get why they're wrong, but that's me. But I don't think ignoring the fact that gay relationships happen is the way to handle this. The Lexington schools don't endorse gay relationships. They just say that gay people can have children and make a family as well. A good parent would see that the topic came up in the classroom, and sit a child down and have an honest discussion about the parent's beliefs. What's next? A lawsuit about dinosaurs? Dinosaurs go against the Bible. As Bill Hicks pointed out:

"Fundamentalist Christianity. Fascinating. These people actually believe the world is twelve thousand years old. Swear to God! Based on what? I asked them. 'Well, we looked at all the people in the Bible, and we added them up all the way back to Adam and Eve, their ages-- twelve thousand years.' Well, how fucking scientific! Okay. I didn't know that you'd gone to so much trouble there. That's good.

You believe the world's twelve thousand years old? 'That's right.' Okay, I got one word to ask you. A one word question. Ready? 'Uh-uh.' 'Dinosaurs.'"

I saw the father that the article mentions on channel 7 last night. He was arrested for trespassing when he refused to leave the school.

A year ago today, David Parker, whose son was then in kindergarten, was arrested for trespassing when he refused to leave school grounds until Jay and other school administrators promised to excuse his son from classroom discussions about same-gender parents. Parker's son had brought home a diversity book bag" that included ''Who's in a Family?," a book that shows pictures of same-sex parents along with other types of families.

He had the douchiest expression on his face in the file footage of his arraignment. He smirked like he'd gotten away with something, and gave a thumbs-up to the camera. It made me sick. Parker's waiting to be made a martyr, waiting for Pat Robertson to take up his case against the Sodomites of the Lexington Public School System, waiting for Fox News to call him up. He's sticking it to that woman principal who loves the gays. For his son. He's probably one of those fathers who forces his son to play and love football when the kid would rather read a book or draw flowers because he's scared to death the kid being sensitive makes the kid gay.

It makes me sad for the people who actually practice what they preach and believe about tolerance. Five families asked not to receive the books. I'll wager that many more families let their kid read the book and had a discussion about it at home, where judgments on other's behavior belongs.

So good on you, Joni Jay and Joseph Estabrook Elementary School. Stick to your guns, go through the courts. I wish you the best.

Birds! Beavers! Bears! Hooray Nature!

My hometown approved the $8 million bond to preserve the open space. Kudos to you, voters! (Of which I am one, but I was not present.)

The deal quashes a proposed 168-house development that had received preliminary approval from the Planning Board, despite impassioned opposition in the community. In all, it could forestall development of at least 400 potential house lots that would instead be reserved for hiking, fishing and hunting.

I still believe there should be some kind of park or trail system should be added to allow the people of the town to enjoy the property that costs them $150 a year extra in property taxes. It would still allow the Nature Conservancy to "preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive" while allowing people the opportunity to experience the nature they pay to protect.
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Let's hear it for cute fuzzy animals and the people who protect them, even if it was due to fiscal reasons.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

::shrug::

Has everyone else been paralyzed by malaise lately? I'd really like to be sure I don't need to seek professional help. Lately, I've felt like a little hamster in a wheel. I run furiously but don't get anywhere. I get up at 7:25, shower, make coffee, listen to NPR, get dressed, drink my coffee, get on the T, listen to the same playlist on my iPod on the T, come to work, email, blog, work, then go to the gym, then go home. I watch the same television shows. Fridays I go out with the girls, which is good. Weekends are spent watching the Food Network. Same shit. Different week.

To be honest, I'm not sure what would break up the malaise enough to make me feel better. I don't want to date anyone right now after the dramatics of March. For Christ's sake, I just went to Italy, and I'm still feeling like I'm in a big rut. The money situation sucks and shows no signs of getting any better. (Seriously. Freelance proofreader for hire here! Ask about my competitive rates!) I love all the people in my life, but something is missing from my little existence. Would I feel better if I were getting published? Maybe it's some sort of emotionally instinctive head-in-the-sand maneuver since I'll be moving next month and I'm dreading that? Or am I in some emotional refractory period from March? Can emotional exhaustion have a delay, like the flash and boom of the explosion the trigger event so closely resembles?

Lord, I have resorted to rhetorical questions again. I leave you with this:
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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Happy Birthday

Just a shout-out to my little brother, who turns the best age ever, 21, today.
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I fear for his liver. I remember 21-22 being the worst years for drinking, drinking too much, and ending up barfing into my garbage can because I had the spins so bad I couldn't find the bathroom. Either my liver is slowly turning into one of the model "horrors of alcoholism" livers they show in medical textbooks and DARE classes, or I'm being more responsible. I believe it's a combination of the two. I don't drink the excess much anymore because my old body can't take the all-day hangover. At 20, 21, 22, I was able to bounce back pretty quickly. But at my advanced age (24.5) I cannot do that. I must instead lie on the couch, moaning, and watching "I Love The..." reruns on VH1.

To my brother, I would like to impart some lessons learned:

  • There is no shame in sleeping it off in the car.
  • Beer before liquor, never sicker. Liquor before beer, never fear.
  • Greasy food before and after heavy drinking helps.
  • Never, ever, EVER drive a car drunk. EVER. This one I didn't even need to learn firsthand.
  • Beer pong is hard. It gets easier the more you drink. Then it gets harder as you can't stand up.
  • Never choose a time when you're hammered to discuss important emotional concerns.
  • Get ready for pictures like these.
  • Sit upright for as long as possible to avoid the spins. Because once the spins start, you're going to barf.
Seriously. Happy birthday. Be safe, and have a great time.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Just Walk Away From This Clown

I think one of the main reasons that men think women hate sports is because of the sexist attitude men tend to infuse into sports. It's not inherent in the game, but the talk of Hazel Mae's tits and Tina What's-Her-Butt's smile add a certain something to some commentary of the game for men-- a little sex with their sport. I can't begrudge them that. I get to ogle Varitek's ass for nine innings-- I can't complain when men get to see tits in a nice blazer.

What I do not approve of is Barstool Sports' blog posting pictures of Kelly Clarkson in her bathing suit, and encouraging her to "walk away from the buffet table." Part of the knuckle-dragging post:

I thought that Kelly had turned the corner since her chunkier Idol days. There have definitely been times when I've seen her perform and thought that she pretty decent looking. She was never going to be a Beyonce-type but when she has her act together, Kelly has a cute, girl next door thing going on.

Okay, Kelly Clarkson? Isn't Star Jones. She's a girl of a normal weight. If you go to any beach, you'll find "girls next door" who are fatter than her running around in bathing suits. Kelly Clarkson is what human girls who eat food look like when they haven't been airbrushed into Photoshopped replicas of themselves. The girl is maybe a size 8. She was maybe a size 10 when she was on Idol.

I understand their blog doesn't necessarily have to relate to sports, but calling a girl in a bikini "fat" when she has an ounce of cellulite isn't cool.
Unfortunately, this pictures have pretty much killed that little bit of me that once found her attractive. Just a brutal, brutal collection of pictures. I doubt that the paparazzi would even dare take these pictures- they're just too disturbing. Some war photographer, who's used to the carnage of the battlefield, must have been on vacation at the same beach and had a strong enough stomach to take a few pictures of this natural disaster.

Oh my God. For real? Is this high school? I've met teenaged girls who are less catty than this clown. Of course, I am sure the models for Barstool Sports are just giving it right up to this undoubtedly hot guy who just sits around badmouthing women in the guise of "humor." Of course, I'm a big fattie because I'm not laughing at her too. Fuck off. Grow some thumbs and evolve, gentlemen.

Swamp or Suburbia

My hometown is a podunk town. As a kid, this drove me batshit. I couldn't ride my bike to a friend's house because my nearest friends were ten miles away, and my Mom feared I'd be mauled by an animal on the way there. I didn't have the option of getting ice cream on a hot summer day unless we had it in the house or my Mom felt like driving us to an ice cream stand. Now I love going home to the bucolic splendor of West Greenwich. I love the trees, the turkeys that use my backyard as a mixer venue, the weird animal tracks that crop up in the snow.

Now the Providence Journal reports that the town is considering taking out an $8 million bond to keep a large parcel of open space from being developed into housing. As a kid, I would have relished the opportunity of a huge housing development. Maybe a Dunkin Donuts would have opened up I could have walked to. More kids in my school to either torment me or be awesome. But, now that I'm an adult, I want my little town to stay as quaint as possible.

It's unrealistic to hope that dirt roads and prancing deer will always be a part of my town. West Greenwich is centrally located, and now is home to two giant corporations. There is plenty to attract the REI-loving yuppies to my town, and they're coming in droves. Which is fine, but the school was approaching capacity when I was there, and that was seven years ago. There's a huge amount of public works projects that would have to happen to support such a huge population boom. Kids are going to be sitting on the football field if they don't add onto the school.

I don't think that the land should be left alone, however. I think a public park would be great in that area. It's quiet, far from the highway, and could be a nice place for people from Providence (or even Boston) to visit. Maybe a sort of Alton Jones type place, but without charging people tons of money to enter. Some hiking trails and public programs would be less costly than building a new school, and would still attract tourists to spend money in our town.

I don't want another subdivision with the verb/noun combination in my town. (Whispering Pines, Fox Run, etc.) I'd like a place where all frazzled city-dwellers could spend a day or two in the splendor of West Greenwich's woods, not just me crashing at my Mom's house.

Too Soon!

Friday night I went to the movies. I usually don't do this, but any time that Dennis Quaid and Hugh Grant are in the same two-hour film, I really can't resist. I got to the theater early, and before the previews even began, there was an advertisement for United 93.

According to Rotten Tomatoes, this is the bestest best movie ever made. According to the widows and mothers of those on the plane, they're just tickled pink that this movie has been made, that it's true to the events and people on the plane that was destined for the White House until the passengers mutnied and crashed the plane in Pennsylvania. This wasn't so much an advertisement for the movie as it was damage control. People have booed the previews of the movie, saying "Too soon!" to the screen as it plays. Some reviewers say that we need this movie to remind us, that we've become complacent in the past four years since 9/11.

I think it's too soon, and I was one of the people booing the screen. I think if we haven't sentenced the one guy who was involved who is still alive, it's too soon. If we haven't caught the head of the organization responsible for the attacks, it's too soon. The reviewer in the article I quoted above cites people not booing Michael Moore's documentaries as an example of what rubes we are, but that's different. Moore's documentaries are documentaries. They are not fictionalized accounts of events-- he uses real film to prove his point. Moore's documentaries are also about things that are happening now-- our violent culture, or our ineffective administration. Yes, terrorism is still a threat, and United 93 wants to remind us. But this is in the news every day. As a country, we're still figuring out how this happened, why it happened, and how we can prevent it from happening again. I don't think a fictionalized story will advance the debate. It seems like an attempt to make money off our confusion, and it sits badly with me. I mean, when Schindler's List came out, people had their panties in bunches about that, and it was released fifty years after the holocaust. We need time to process this shit before we have to see a Cover Girl ad about how they gave the stars that "fresh-faced terrorist victim" look. Too soon to mix Hollywood with tragedy.

Many of you will disagree, and that's fine. But, as Annette said, thanks for reminding me of one of the worst days of my life, Hollywood. I'm not ready to live it again. Using my mind to imagine the choices those people made is bad enough.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Don't Hate on my Mad Paint Skillz

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Though you may not believe me, I assure you I did not deface Saint Peter's. I did say "goddammit" a lot in one of the most holy places in the world. But I did NOT stick my chewing gum on it.

Happy Weekend, y'all.

Open Letter to Mitt Romney

(Found this on Universal Hub.)

Mitt:

I am tired. It's Friday, I have to get up early tomorrow to buy Kelly Clarkson tickets. I can't get a good head of rage going about the expansion of abstinence-"also" sex-ed you're pushing because I am tired of yelling at you on a bimonthly basis for some stupid shit you've done. But Mindy Fried states my concerns eloquently:

''A Woman's Concern uses an abstinence-only until marriage sex ed curriculum," said Mindy Fried, whose daughter is a Boston Latin freshman. ''They're driven by a right-wing, Christian agenda, which to me is problematic. They talk about condom use being ineffective, so the curriculum is really misguiding kids. Most parents of course want their teenagers to delay sexual experiences, but that's not a reality. We need a curriculum that's broader than abstinence-only."

I shall put it less eloquently. Go fuck yourself. Seriously. All the way to Washington D.C. You're a chauvinistic, rights-squashing asshole. The bottom of the barrel yuppie dregs. As Pink says in her new song (a scathing indictment of the Bush administration, but applicable here) "What kind of father would take his own daughter's rights away?"

You don't have a daughter. That explains it.

"Sincerely,"

Amy

Just One More Hit, I Promise I Can Deal With It

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OHMIGOD, YOU GUYS, KELLY CLARKSON IS COMING TO TOWN AND I FOR ONE AM TOTALLY AND UNCONTROLLABLY EXCITED FOR THIS EVENT.

Shut up. She's awesome. No, really. Really. Did you hear? She won a Grammy. Oh no wait. She won TWO. I mean, I know the Grammies aren't super-awesome judges of musical talent, but...

KELLY CLARKSON IS AWESOME.

I voted for her on the first American Idol, mainly because I thought that was it. We found one Idol and we were all set. And we may as well have, because Kelly is the only one anyone I talk to knows anything about. Fantasia? Where is she? Carrie Underwood is all over country radio, but I never hear her stuff unless she's singing on American Idol. Ruben had a stroke and has been dead for two years, I think, and Clay is busy putting his fluids on men's clothing. But Kelly? Somebody (Guarini, I'm looking your way) dumped her. And the girl was mad. Then she wrote some songs (she's got writing credits on many of the album's songs), sang the hell out of them, and appealed to everyone's inner 16-year-old, whether or not you're 13 or 30. She's got less whine on her the Levigne does, a better voice, and she's got a reputation for giving American Idol a finger or two when it's back is turned.

And now she's touring. And you'd best believe I'm buying tickets first thing Saturday morning. I may even buy a tour shirt. Because I am too old to give a shit if I'm cool or not. I like Kelly Clarkson. Shut it, hipsters.

I am also seeing Nine Inch Nails in June, and perhaps the Indigo Girls in July for my birthday. I am nothing if not diverse. Or bipolar. I haven't figured out which yet.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

STFU

Okay, boston.com, let me tell you something. (I am doing a lot of "telling" today. I shall "show" in some artsy piece later.)

I do NOT CARE about the birth of the "Infangelina." Nor does "the world." Holy fucking shit. Are you kidding me with this? The world sits, glued to its televisions, awaiting breaking news of the Brangelina fetus getting smacked on the ass and named "Qelcome." How do I know this child's name? My coworker had a vision. And she also envisioned the Infangelina being encased in plastic like a famous piece of art.

This should be a ludicrous wandering of a young mother's subconscious. But it actually sounds plausible. Angelina squats in some muddy pit in Africa to birth the harbringer of a new, superior human race. Suddenly, a group of CIA operatives (headed by Kiefer Sutherland) grabs the baby and brings the screaming, wet newborn into a huge military plane to whisk it back to the United States for genetic testing.

"The President needs to know if this is, in fact, the most perfect human specimen to ever exist. I'm sorry, m'am. It's for national security."

"MY BABY. NO!"

Brad, who unknowingly went out for a motorcycle ride hours ago, is not available to help Angelina. When he arrives, he finds Angelina whimpering beautifully in the ditch, begging him to leave her, and go save the baby, Qelcome.

Come on. Do you know what "the world" is actually waiting for?
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How about an end to world hunger? I bet that kid is really waiting for that more than the birth of the Infangelina. If he's still alive. I'd wager the 800 million people who suffer from malnutrition and hunger are slightly less concerned with the birth of one baby.

Perhaps the millions of people suffering from AIDS is slightly more excited by the prospect of a cure than wondering whose nose the Infangelina will have. Especially in Africa, where more than two-thirds of the world's AIDS cases are.

Or, perhaps many people are really looking forward to the cure for cancer instead of the first pictures of the baby being released to US Weekly.

I know it's supposed to be a quippy, breezy entertainment piece, but come on. I am not waiting for this birth above all else. I wish her well, but let's get real. We're waiting to see what Iran does with it's growing nuclear capacity, what China will do with human rights, if Donald Rumsfeld will resign or if he'll continue to be attacked and just snipe at everyone who asks him questions until 2008. There are more important issues at hand, is what I'm saying.

But, boston.com, kudos on removing the Cingular wallpaper.

Epistle

Dear Sallie Mae,

Are you on the motherfucking rock? You must be. Because there is no way that a sober person would demand of someone who lives-- in Boston, Massachusetts-- making less than $30k a year to pay 367 dollars PER MONTH for their student loans. But this is what you asked of me when I checked my payment amount for next month.

Let me tell you something. I have other loans to pay, Sallie. You aren't the only loan company in town. I'm also paying $75 a month to Citibank and the Federal government, EACH. With your huge spike in my payments, I would have spent over $500/month in student loan payments. I'd also like to, you know, pay rent and be able to afford groceries.

I don't live an extravagant life, Sallie. I am not rocking any Gucci or Coach, not taking many trips abroad, not living in a two-bedroom apartment by myself. I want to have the basics. Food. An apartment. An occasional classic dress from J. Crew. The ability to join the girls for a drink or two at the end of the week. I cannot leave my house at all if I'm paying about half my monthly income to you.

Thankfully, I managed to talk you down this morning, and you put me on the four-year graduated repayment plan, giving me until 2008 to pay less (and me faking my death in 2008 when the payments are nearly $500 for JUST your loans). I won't need it that long. When I get promoted (hopefully soon) I will have a little more money, and will be able to shell out the extra $100/month to you. But I am frightened to learn there isn't an income-sensitive repayment option open to me as a private loan holder. It's unfair, frankly. I make my payments (only one late one in three years) and you get more money from me in the long run from interest payments if I drag this out. We'd both win. I don't have the IRS threatening to garnish my wages (I hope they use parsley!) and you have more money to loan to other desperate college-bound students.

So I hope you get off the rock, and I do hope we can work something out that doesn't involve me moving back to my Mom's house or marrying for money. If I must stand on television, humiliated, and have a telethon, so be it.

Sincerely,
Amy

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Safe/Sorry

Now I know I get nothing along the likes of Basegirl or Cursed to First's web traffic. I don't talk about the Red Sox that much, because that is their niche and I don't know as much as they do. Since the weather department over at Channel 7 has calmed down a little bit (I sure hope they hire somebody else soon or else Pete, Chikage and Terry are going to drop dead from exhaustion) my Google hits from that have slowed down. But I have a respectable chunk of readership on the internets, and after the whole froofra about plagiarism over at Kristen and Beth's blogs, I want to tell you that if you steal my work, I will hunt you down and make your life on the internet a living hell. I will sue you if you don't take it down, I will contact your ISP to get you banned from the Intraweb. I paid $70,000 to practice writing for four years, and I'm VERY protective of my material. If you have any questions or doubts, contact me. I don't mind if you share it, but attribute it to me. Or I will do the cyber-equivalent of breaking your knees.

To remind you of this, I have now got one of those cool Creative Commons notices in the sidebar. It will stay there. Read up. Be a good person. Do the right thing.

Are we clear? Okay then. Carry on.

Inappropriate

Okay. So I found this cool site with funny liberal t-shirts. This one in particular caught my attention.
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Okay. As a magnet or a t-shirt for an adult, that's funny. But this? This is not funny.
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This is a BIB. Talking about abortion. ON A BABY. It's like those pro-life bibs that say "Thanks for not aborting me." Too soon, parents! Too. Soon. If your kid can't form a sentence or a syllable pattern that sounds like language, he can't have an opinion about Roe v. Wade.

This is why the Conservatives think we're horrible. But on me? That shirt would be awesome. Because I can form sentences (as long as the Sox aren't giving me palpitations) and I certainly have an opinion on Roe v. Wade.

I'm Not Even Supposed to Be Here Today

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The man with the worst job in the known world has quit.

Seriously. This man has been made a fool of about three times a week on the Daily Show, and has been the mouthpiece of supreme evil/stupidity for the past three years. His job is to make a statement that means and reveals nothing, say he has "no comment" or "isn't sure" when journalists lob him some softball questions in a mask of "hard-hitting journalism" and then leaves. How does Scott live with himself? He's stood up for Dick Cheney and Scooter Libbey in the CIA leak case, talked a lot of smack about finding out who's responsible for leaking that information, and finds out the President did it. Wow. I'd be pretty fucking pissed too.

Apparently, Scott is not pissed. At least the President hasn't picked up on it if he is.

"I thought he handled his assignment with class, integrity," the president said. "It's going to be hard to replace Scott, but nevertheless he made the decision and I accepted it. One of these days, he and I are going to be rocking in chairs in Texas and talking about the good old days."

"Hey, Scott."

"Hi, Mr. President."

"Aw shoot, Scotty, I ain't been President on about six months now. You can call me 'Mister Former President.'"

"Sure, Mister Former President. Would you care for a scotch?"

"Now Scotty, you know I don't drink the hooch."

"I cannot confirm or deny the President's problems with drugs... Sorry. Old habits die hard, sir."

"Heh heh. HEH HEH HEH. Hey, remember that one time I made you lie about blowing that broad's cover?"

"Yes, sir."

"And remember that other time? That other time I made you lie?"

"Oh, Mister Former President. There were so many."

"There sure were, Scotty. There sure were."

(Pause.)

"Can you believe they put a liberal broad in the White House, Scotty? Especially such a dikey one?"

"Oh sir. I am so glad I quit when I did. You're just such a troublemaker."

"Aw, Scotty. I sure do miss ya. Let's just sit and rock, and think about the good ol' days."

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Boom

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Bad ass.

I didn't take the day off of work today because I am a diligent worker. Also, I didn't feel like making another round trip to Rhode Island after a delightful weekend at home and a lovely Marathon Monday. But after my Mom and I had dinner (at Aunt Carrie's, natch) on Friday, I asked if we could drive by the old bridge so I could say my good-byes. Yes, I know it's an inanimate object. Shut up. I was sad when I got rid of my license plates too. You can take the girl out of Rhode Island...

We drove over right before sunset on Friday night. It had rained, but as we got on 138 the clouds broke up a little bit. The road is wide and curves a little, so I drove fast to get to the bridge. It appeared on my right, and my Mom and I craned our necks to look over.

At the Narragansett side of the old bridge there was a construction field office and several huge cranes in Crayola primary colors. Huge fences and prominent signs warned people to stay off the bridge. We ascended the Verazzano bridge, my mother begging me to keep my eyes on the road in front of me. I did, but took several long looks at the weathered blue steel beams that held the old bridge up for so many years.

The grating that scared the bejesus out of many Rhode Islanders, both young and old there was gone. Nothing but the big support beams remained. It was frightening to actually see how little separated the hundreds of thousands of motorists that used the road from plunging into the ocean below.

"Ooh, that's freaking me out," my Mom said, turning her head toward me in the driver's seat. "I had it in my head that it would be like what I went over it when it was open, and there's nothing there, and my brain can't get over it. Augh!"

We descended to the Jamestown side of the bridge, where another field office and cranes sat. The clouds settled over Jamestown as I missed my exit and headed for the far side of the island near the Pell Bridge to Newport. I got off the highway and got into Jamestown before I found a place to turn around.

"I think I came here with your father once," my Mom said, looking at an old building as I sped past, heading for a large driveway to turn around. "I think I rode over the Jamestown Bridge on his motorcycle."

"Really?" My Mom is prudent nearly to a fault.

"Oh yeah. I did a lot of dumb stuff when I was a kid. I rode over that bridge in all kinds of bad vehicles."

I got back on 138 and went by the bridge again. On the westbound side of the new bridge the old one isn't very visible, so I looked off into the water below.

Fare thee well, Jamestown Bridge. You served the people of and visitors to Rhode Island faithfully for many years. Enjoy your rebirth as a reef for fish.

Confidential to Boston.com

Dear Boston.com,

You are my home page. I like your content, and always have. Then you redid the page, which I didn't like, but the content was still good, and I eventually got over it. Then you made me sign up to view this content, which sucked, but at least I didn't have to pay for the privilege. But this? This is a bit much, don't you think?

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Dude. You look like American Idol exploded all over my monitor. All you need is a few Coke and Ford ads and a hammered ex-pop star blathering to make me feel like I'm watching Taylor Hicks assault me through the television. Dial it down a bit. I had Cingular, and it sucked, and no matter what you, Ryan Seacrest or anybody else tells me will convince me otherwise. Get back to the content, or at least get rid of that offensive orange border.

kthnx,
Amy

Friday, April 14, 2006

I Do What I Want When-Evah I Want

Screw you, bitches. I'm going home early to celebrate the Lord Jesus' dying for my sins by aborting fetuses, having premarital sex with contreceptives, and enjoying the rock'n'roll music.

No, I'm kidding. I'm having dinner with my Mom and then going to play with my friends' puppy. Sweet.

Have a good Easter, y'all. Because, as my roommate says, "I am Jewish, but I love Cadbury Eggs."

See you on Tuesday, because I'll be busy stuffing my face while other people run on Monday.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Adventures in Wingmanning

I love Cosmopolitan magazine. It's vapid, porny, and stereotypical to enraging extents. At least once an issue, they have some comment about talking to a guy about sports "even if you're not an expert, know if the local team won its last game." I'm thinking, "For real? In 2006?" and of sending Kate White one of the Homegirls t-shirts that reads "Bigger fan that my boyfriend" because this is true of me and my ex, and true of most of my friends' boyfriends. Heads-up, Cosmo: Girls like sports now. Girls compete in sports. You know, Mia Hamm? Danica Patrick? Fearless females, which is your motto? You have "fun" in your motto too, and I guess if "fun" means "sparkles" maybe those chicks aren't your girls.

Anyway. Other than that bone of contention, I am usually fine with the content of Cosmo. Yes, it says the same thing every month. "Have Amazing Orgasms!" "Touch Him Here!!" "Get Amazing Hair!" This month's salacious article was "8 New Places to Have Sex." Colleen pointed it out to me, and I said, "I bet one of them is in a kitchen."

In front of the fridge. See?

But. This month in the little "grab bag" columns toward the back, they had advice on how to snag a guy at a bar. Usually, the advice is "make eye contact." (Which I need to be reminded of. Something about it freaks me out, which limits my ability to do come-hither eyes, which is already impaired by the off-kilter glasses sitting on my face.) This month, the advice was to talk to a hot guy's wingman.

Sounds fine. I wish I had the article here so I could type it out, but I don't carry Cosmo around with me. It basically boiled down to immediately approach the object of your affection's friend and tell the hottie's friend that you think the hot guy is hot. Then walk away.

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Allow me to do a reenactment of this.

Vapid Girl: Hi.
Wing Man: Hey.
VG: Nice bar.
WM: Yeah. I come here a lot. Do you?
VG: Sure. Hey, your friend is really hot. What's his deal?
WM: Um...
VG: Like, is he single? Dating anyone?
WM: Um...
VG: Well, it was great talking to you. I'll be back with my friends if you need me. Later!


Now, Cosmo says that if the wingman is a "good friend," he'll tell his buddy that you were asking about him, and you totally want to jump the hottie. Hottie will come over and you will make tons of babies. I find this scenario highly implausible. First of all, if you walk over to the wingman, the wingman will think you are interested in him. Even if he's got no arms, he'll think you're into that. It will, after about .005 of a second, become apparent that you do not want to talk to the armless wonder, and are after the hottie he's drinking with. This transparent and sneaky maneuver will piss the wingman off, and he will call you an uppity, shallow bitch. And you? Will not make babies with a hottie.

Imagine, if you will, a dramatic enactment of this maneuver if attempted by a dude on me and my friends.

Vapid Boy: Hello.
Amy: Hi! How's it going?
VB: Great. Hey, who's the blonde?
Amy: Uh... my friend Kristen.
VB: What's her deal?
Amy: She's... wait, are you using the Cosmo trick on me?
VB: Um... I don't know what you're talking about.
Amy: Because as long as Varitek's not up, she'll talk to you her own self, asshole. I'm here to watch the game, not be her wingman.
VB: I just thought...
Kristen: What?
Amy: He thought I was here as wingman!
Kristen: Dude, as long as 'Tek's not up, I'll talk to you.
Amy: That's what I told him!
VB: [Senses he's in way over his head]
Amy: Next time, sack up and talk to a girl yourself, jackass. Or at least bring someone over here for me to talk to. God.
Kristen: Oooh, 'Tek's up!

I'd say that if you're into someone, try talking to them. If you're me, you'll find out the guy is gay. Or, as the words Sebastian put in my mouth go, "Wow, he's probably really emotionally manipulative. Hott."

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Malaise

I have nothing to say. I mean, yes, there is baseball at Fenway today, but the situation sucks. Instead of sitting in a bar, I will be sitting at my desk, without Jerry Remy or Don Orsillo anywhere within earshot. I can watch the game in 2 when I get home, but it's not the same as knowing you're skipping work to enjoy the official beginning of the Red Sox season. Our boys are back for summer, and I will have ample opportunity to watch games in bars (especially since I won't have cable at my new place) other days, but it is sad to miss the first. But I have to save my vacation time for moving and my birthday in July.

It seems odd that I should be struck with malaise at this time of year. Trees have buds on them, waiting to explode into leaves. Flowers are coming up from the ground. I am wearing my super-fun wedge sandals again. I'm just bored. I can't pay attention to anything, I can't decide what to do with myself. I don't know if a class or a hobby would help, but I feel stuck. I'd hoped my trip to Italy would kind of shake me loose from my rut, but it honestly feels like I never left, what with all the dramatics that ensued when I got back. Should I move? Should I take up knitting? Should I quit my job and become a Narragansett Beer promoter? I know I should be writing something, but nothing seems to be happening. This blog's content sucks. I am capable of better, and it's disappointing to say the same thing over and over. "Hey, George Bush is a moron." "Look at this cool picture of Rhode Island." "I got screwed over by a boy. Again. Some more." "I saw an asshole on the train. I KNOW!" I don't know if I'm forcing myself into writing stuff for this site when I have nothing to say. Should I write on here less, and write only when I have something that's eloquently put?

See? I've resorted to rhetorical questions. I'm going to try to hire a mover now.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Rhody History Goes Ka-Blooey

The ProJo has an interesting article documenting the history of the Old Jamestown Bridge, which is expected to be blown up a week from tomorrow (4/18), not tomorrow (4/11) as I originally reported. Maybe I'll just have a stomach bug for the next few Tuesdays? Because this article even says where to watch the bridge be blown up, and I'm very tempted.

In other interesting Rhode Island news, I found this website on my internet travels last week. Art in Ruins chronicles some of Rhode Island's most famous abandoned buildings, redeveloped buildings, and posts sad pictures of actual demolitions of historic landmarks. It's sad, but beautiful as well. I'll post some of my favorite images below. All are from Art in Ruins.

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The Old Jamestown Bridge, with the New Jamestown Bridge in the background. I remember thinking how cool it would be to be able to run and climb on the steel beams as a kid.

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This is the steel grating that the article mentions. It was both cool and frightening. We didn't go to Jamestown much after my Dad died, but I'd remember going to an outlet and peering over the car door to look down. Since you'd be going about 45mph, you'd look down and feel like you were being supported by nothing. The car felt like it was on ice even in warm weather, and it made humming noise like a jet engine. The new bridge is solid concrete, so there is no scary noise unless something's gone all wrong.

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The Old Narragansett Brewery. I just love this image, how big and light it is. I also very much enjoy this part of the story that Art in Ruins posts:

In 1959, the company celebrated brewing one million barrels, and the company employed 850 workers by 1965. The brewery provided steady pay, good benefits, genuine friendships, and free beer. Employees were not only allowed to drink during the workday; it was encouraged. Anyone caught drinking a soda would be quickly handed a beer. Asking for a draft in a bar in the area would automatically bring a Narragansett. If a worker spotted someone drinking another beer in a bar, he would ask, "Why would you want to keep someone working in Holland instead of the people in your own neighborhood?"
I knew I liked that beer for a reason. Sadly, this building has been torn down. Fuckers.

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This is from the Ladd School in a town near mine. For some reason, no one ever dared me to go here on Halloween or anything, and I don't know where it is, exactly. But there is NOTHING freakier than an abandoned school for the retarded and morally deficient where allegations of sexual and physical abuse ran rampant. Just look at the pictures. Mortifying. It's still there, and I'd completely go in and look around. In broad daylight, of course. Stories of hauntings abound, and I would not want to fuck with an abused spirit. Yikes.

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And, in the fun but creepy category, pictures of Rocky Point before it got sold off and torn apart to make room for (you guessed it) condos. I never went here because my mother was convinced I'd meet my death on the rickety rides, but I am sad it's gone. Again, cool pictures. If this site sold prints, I'd be out a lot of money.

MVP

Also, I totally forgot about this until now. The greasy haze is just beginning to lift after doughboys and clamcakes.

Friday night, Alicia, M, S, and I decided to head to the Local. Alicia came over first to use the bathroom, and greeted me with this tidbit.

"Tom Brady is at the Fireplace."

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The Fireplace is visible from my apartment. Tom Brady was in my neighborhood! Just eating dinner! Alicia walked by, did a double-take, and our hot QB made eye contact, then pulled his baseball cap down over his beautiful eyes to hide his identity.

I called Kristen with this information, and her shrieking was audible from the phone in the other room. She'd left the neighborhood, and paid dearly for it.

I did not, however, run across the street and throw myself against the window like a puppy begging for adoption. We left for the Local, and I could see his broad shoulders from across the street. Yowza. I *may* have screamed out "Tom Braaaady!" when I left my house, but that's been known to happen when he's not within earshot.

I live on hallowed sports ground, y'all.

Weekend Update

Dear Super Douche on the T,

Shoving your girlfriend into the T, while pretending to be a champion of chivalry by hollering "Move into the car, everyone" into the jam-packed train, isn't cool. It is especially uncool when you lean against the door and hold the bar, shoving your elbow into your bored/annoyed/homicidal girlfriend's face, thus proving that you do not, in fact, give a shit about your girlfriend, but really enjoy hearing yourself talk. Girlfriend is certainly the luckiest girl in the world. Not.

Sincerely,
The dorky girl rolling her eyes

***

There are a myriad of reasons why I'd like to call out sick on Tuesday. Of course, the Red Sox open Fenway Park Tuesday afternoon. But down in my fair home state, the old Jamestown Bridge is due to be blown up. How cool would it be to watch a bridge explode? Why can't they do this on a weekend so I can rubberneck?

I did have a fine weekend. Saturday was mellow, and Sunday I spent a Very Rhode Island Sunday with Alicia. We went to Thayer Street to run an errand, then to McCoy to take in a Paw Sox game. Since it was snowing in Rhode Island on Saturday, it had turned into a double-header. We stayed for the first game, which the Paw Sox won, then realized we'd lost feeling in our extremities and headed for the car. We then drove to Haxton's to buy 'Gansett, then headed to Narragansett to see the beach. The water was clear and blue, and we walked barefoot on the beach until we lost feeling in our toes again. We made a stop at Aunt Carrie's for chowder, then hit the best grocery chain in Rhode Island, Dave's, and returned to Boston, happy to have spent a day where our roots are.

This week I cannot spend any money until Friday when I get paid. This is sad. But my favorite day is coming up (Marathon Day!) next week, so I have something to look forward to.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Rando

Baseball in April is cold. Even the umpires made a dubious call to end the game because it was so cold. Go PawSox!

This is the longest Friday in history. It's only 3:30 and I'm making involuntary motions to call a bartender over like an infant nursing in his sleep.

Bathing suit shopping season is here. I am in a deep debate with myself about whether or not I am in any kind of shape to work a two-piece. I have paunch, yes, but will it look better in a cute little bikini top and hip-slung bottom than in a tankini? The jury is out. I will have to round up my close friends and have them be honest. Not cruel, just a simple authoritative "NO" if the modeled bathing suit is offensive.

PSA Time: I've recently had reason to doubt my status in the STD-Free club (@#$&%) and I visited my very lovely gynecologist for the complete workup. Everything came back fine, but if you have any reason to doubt, please go and get checked out. This site has a list of places in the Boston area that will test you for cheap if money's an issue. If you're lucky, they'll be like my gyno and give you a Disney princess band-aid!

When the weather gets consistently warmer, I'm in trouble. I hate all my spring clothes, and I haven't even worn them yet. If anybody needs a freelance proofreader, email me!

3:45? Jesus. I'm going to stab myself with something to wake up.

3:58. Wailing head against desk to end this suffering.

Okay. I am going to read my archives or something. I want to leave now.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

That Wizzing Sound You Hear

Is the sound of Bush's already-dismal approval ratings falling even farther into the doldrums with the news that he approved leaking information about Iraq.

Good God. This administration is like a Jacob's ladder of stupidity. It just. Never. Ends.

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Viewing Today

Now this is a smart move for Meredith Vieira. Because, let's face it. If you've spent the past nine years listening to Star Jones and Joy Behar bitch and fight with each other, you've paid your dues. Meredith is also a local gal, so good on you, Meredith. Just don't get too "real" on us.

BASEBALL GAME!!

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Today I jump the Goodship Work half an hour early, borrow the HMS Dented Minivan and sail the concrete seas down to the strange land of Pawtucket, Rhode Island to see the (Paw) Sox season opener. I am unreasonably excited. And if you haven't been to Pawtucket to take in a fine minor league baseball game, you have not yet truly lived.

Check it. Yes, you have to drive to Rhode Island. But it's the third exit in the Ocean State. You don't even have to go into Providence, so you may as well just be in South Attleboro.

Parking is $2. If you get there early enough, you can park on the street. Good luck with doing anything for $2 at a Boston game.

The most expensive tickets are $9. I don't think beer costs that little at Fenway.

The Xtra Large Tron (I wouldn't call it Jumbo) has the coolest smiley faces that wave their robot arms victoriously when the Sox score a run. Doing an impersination of this is hilarity of the highest order.

McCoy is really family-friendly, so you can watch kids get really excited about baseball without fearing suffocation in the tiny seats at Fenway. The kids I babysit, who are baseball neophytes, ask me every time I see them when I'm taking them to a PawSox game. Watching kids dangle beach pails down into the PawSox dugout for autographs is adorable. (And by "kids" I mean "me.")

I pray to the Gods of Beer that they have 'Gansett. Because I will make my friends sleep in a dented minivan in the Quebecor parking lot until I sleep it off if I can have 'Gansett on tap.

It's very exciting to think you may see a rehabbing major leaguer up-close. Last year we had the pleasure of seeing Kapler when he returned from Japan. While it is sad that the major leaguer is hurt, it is awesome to see them so clearly. The Paw Sox website reports the Fat Man himself, David Wells, may pitch tomorrow.

The french fries? Awesome. And cheap.

Pawtucket is the home of Baseball's Longest Game. They celebrate this by selling large sodas in commemerative cups that I think every household in Rhode Island must own by state law. I have one from a couple years ago, and my grandmother has one from the early '80s.

It's always a privilege to be able to say, "Oh, I saw him in Pawtucket" when the newest newbie gets brought up, and cheer him on when he makes something of himself. I will send along well-wishes to Mssrs. Cla Meredeth and Manny Delcamino. (Yes, I know his name is Delcarmen.)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Single Life

I didn't want to say anything until it was signed and sealed, but I finally have good news on the real estate front.

Not only do I have a place to live, but I am living alone.

Not only am I living alone, I am living alone in the Back Bay.

Not only am I living alone in the Back Bay, all my utilities are included in the rent, which is only slightly more than I'd planned on spending living with another person.

Of course, it's a studio. Of course, it's a basement studio. But I don't care. Well, I mean, if I'd had the choice of living in a basement or having the penthouse for the same money, I'd care, but... you know. It gets good light from the fairly large windows, it has a kitchen, and I can get a cat, so when I talk to myself (as I like to do) I won't look completely deranged. Also, I fear the vermin that could take up residence in my basement fortress of solitude unless I find a fierce jungle cat to live with me and eliminate them. And KITTY!!!!!!!!!

It kind of happened by accident-- I was looking through craigslist, and saw a listing for a studio in Beacon Hill. I called the guy, who said the place on craigslist was a giant hellhole, but that he had a couple studios I might be interested in. I went to see him, figuring he'd show me complete crack dens and I'd begin my search for a two-bedroom with renewed fervor. Fortunately, he showed me a decent place. There's an alcove that will fit my bed, a closet (which I do not have at my current place), three windows in a bay-like shape, small built-in shelves, a bar-type surface, a tiny kitchen with a stove, four burners and a decent sized fridge, and a teeny bathroom. After thinking it over, I decided to take it.

So I am moving out of the 'burbs and into the city. I've never had a Boston address-- I've always lived in Brighton (which is technically Boston, but my address labels always read "Brighton") and Brookline. If there was any way I could have stayed in Brookline, I would have. My peeps and the family I babysit for are there, as well as my Local, which will still be my Local, dammit. But if I had to choose another place to live, I'd chose Back Bay. It's near work (no more T!), my gym, the Esplanade (gotta buy new Rollerblades), the grocery store, Storrow Drive, etc.

I am excited, but a little apprehensive. Who will give me the Heimlich if I start to choke to death? Who will distract me from my feelings when I am left to deal with them? What if the rats (which there is no evidence of, I checked the corners for poo) are so large they eat my jungle cat whole? What if, in the words of Kristen, I am having irrational fears? I have to cut myself some slack. The place is nice, my friends will still like me if I don't live around the corner from them, and even if it ends up being a calamity, I can always move out. If it's something I don't like, hey, I found out I hate it, move on. But I suspect I will greatly enjoy a room (literally) of my own.

Meh

Katie Couric is leaving the Today show. Yawn.

Katie suffers from the Oprah disease of being "real." Listen, I know you're loaded. You make millions of dollars to show up and hyena-laugh at Matt Lauer. Don't try to be all "every-woman." You are not. Also, she doesn't even stay around for the entire Today show. She leaves about halfway through to go do cardio or something.

I have a thing against morning programming anyway. It's too fluffy, too nice-nice for me. I also associate it with hospitals. Every time my Mom's had surgery, I've had to sit through the entire Today show in the waiting room. Last time they had a great story about a woman being diagnosed with cancer, then her father's cancer relapsing, and it was just lovely to listen to in a waiting room while my mother was being operated on. And I feel like Katie just doesn't care, and hasn't since she got famous for being the lady with the legs of steel that tells housewives how to dress by suggesting $400 dresses for the mother-on-the-go. Not. real.

So fare thee well, Katie. I have no reason to watch CBS, so have at it.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Your Kids May Not Become Giant Punkasses...

If you keep them active.

So if your kid is too fat to fit in the car seat but somehow manages to survive to adolescence before slamming head-first through the windshield, you'd better get them off the sofa before they're drunk, high, aggressive, sexually active school-skippers.

Jesus Christ, America. Turn of the electronics and go for a walk. God.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Alma Mater

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Um.

I do not like hearing the phrases "tragic accident" and "Emerson College" in the same sentence. Because as much as I shriek with laughter when the alumni office calls and asks for donations, as much as I rag on my classmates, and as much as I rag on the fact that the dorm had a display celebrating the collegiate experience of Henry Winkler, I love that fucking school. I loved my professors, I loved what I learned there, I love it's hip urban location, even if that meant not living on-campus. Then they try to build a dorm so everyone has a space on-campus and this happens.

My coworker came in from lunch and told Kristen and I that her mother had called to ask if she was okay. "Do you work on Boylston Street? A crane fell and crushed some cars." We figured out it was Emerson, and we met Annette at the bar to watch the first couple innings of the Sox opener.

"The streets are closed. Even part of the Common is. Three people died, at least."

"The crane fell over?"

"No," Annette said, "it fell off of the building."

"Holy shit," I replied. "how is there not a giant hole in the street? That's a tall building."

"I dunno. I couldn't see in since they had the whole area blocked off."

My thoughts are with the families of the people who got killed or hurt in this accident. Talk about not knowing what hit you... it's horrifying.

The Smiles Returning to Faces... It Seems Like Years Since it's Been Here

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Manny Ramirez is excited it is time for a baseball game. And if this picture doesn't make you excited for a baseball game, you are dead on your insides. The bustle of Fenway games returns next week, along with hot dogs, beer, and Sweet Caroline. I make my first pilgrimage to McCoy for the PawSox home opener this Thursday.

Baseball Game! Hooray!

Your Kid May be Too Fat If...

He or she can't fit in a car seat.

For real? Kids should not be fat. By nature, young kids should not stop moving. They run themselves silly. Trust me. This weekend I played "football" with the kids I babysit, and I'm still sore. I didn't watch much TV until I got older. When I was young, I was outside on my bike, or climbing on my swingset, or sledding, or knocking my brother down into a snowdrift. And at that time? I was skinny. Neither my brother or I are the poster-children for scrawny people now, but as kids we were average weight.

As I continue to watch the difference between households where the television is always on and households where the television is on for an hour a day, I am seeing a marked difference in how healthy the kids of those households are. I am going to have to get myself over my television watching habits now, so when I have kids I won't miss endless lazy Sundays with the tube.