Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Teixeira to the Yankees, My Head to the Oven

It looks like the Sox just lost the Mark Teixeira sweepstakes. John Heyman is reporting the deal is 8 years, $180 million with a no-trade clause.

At $22.5 AAV, the Yankees offer was worth an extra $1.25 million of the Sox (who reportedly offered 8 for $170M). The no-trade clause is another big bonus for Teixeira. The Sox have a standing rule that they don't offer no-trades.

So this sucks. Going over $20 million per year for Tex is way too much for his body of work, but the Sox have a huge hole in the cleanup spot after running Manny out of town. With Ortiz and Lowell question marks due to health, the Sox are suddenly facing a power outage.

So who's next on the wish list? Are we about to welcome the Bobby Abreu era to Fenway? I certainly hope not, although a stop-gap guy like Abreu may make sense if Joe Mauer is the next great hope next offseason. Other short-time solutions include Ken Griffey Jr . and Jason Giambi. That's some gamey meat right there.

Longer-term, what about Adam Dunn? His power is certainly welcome, but he's best suited as a DH, and we already have one of those. Even if you did play him in the outfield, you'd slow the growth of Ellsbury. But he could spot JD Drew during one of his several trips to the DL.

The irony is rich: The guy best suited for the Sox is the one guy they can't sign. Manny Ramirez winning two World Series for the team is no longer enough for us; a guy's got to run hard down the line, too.

The Sox could try a different tack and land some pitching help. Jake Peavy talk is about to heat up, I think. D-Lowe sightings, too. Derek was another guy the Sox talked down on his way out of town, all but calling him a drunk. I don't know whether that will have any impact on whether he'd sign here again.

You also have to wonder: Did John henry's statement  last week, essentially exposing Scott Boras as a liar, piss off the super agent to the point where he courted a Yankees offer similar enough to the Sox's offer? The details coming out of this deal will be fascinating. Look to see if the Sox were given a shot to match or surpass the Yankees offer. If not, you can bet that Boras was looking to embarrass Henry.

Banana Fort!

Man, Japan is really a world away. How can you not love shit like this?

(h/t to Jascha for pointing this out. Via Gizmodo)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Go see Milk

I went to see Milk  last night with my friend Nicole. Great flick. One of the year's best.

Milk is director Gus Van Sant's presentation of San Francisco activist and politician Harvey Milk, the first openly gay officeholder in America. The film follows Milk (Sean Penn ) from his initial introduction to long-time partner Scott Smith (played ably by James Franco ) in New York, though their arrival in San Francisco and abrupt introduction to the prevailing attitudes of The Castro. It's a traditionally Irish, working class community none-too-pleased with it's gradual transformation to a Gay Mecca. As Milk opens a camera store and introduces himself to a neighbor, he's told in no uncertain terms that he's not welcome. Nightly beatings administered to gay men by police officers show that The Castro in 1971 is not yet the safe area it will become.

Those initial setbacks and slights lead Milk to form a gay-friendly neighborhood business group. It's a savvy move by a man who at first seems a little burnt out and slackerish. The neighborhood's changing population rallies behind local gay and gay-friendly businesses. Soon, the Teamsters are asking Milk's group to support their boycott of Coors beer. Almost immediately, Coors is cut out of the area's bars and clubs, and the company accedes to union demands. Milk, though still a hippie, decides to take his newfound clout to City Hall, and runs for a seat on the Board of Supervisors.

He loses. A lot. The film, which certainly details with loving care the gay rights movement in the 70's, has at its core a character study of a man who's doggedness never leaves him. Harvey Milk's rise in politics comes after years of setbacks and failures. His stubborn refusal of incrementalism (a tack supported by The City's Advocate newspaper and biggest gay political players) moves Milk from Laughingstock to gadfly to insurgent to potent political force.

Arriving to City Hall with Milk is working-class politician Dan White (Josh Brolin ). White is an earnest guy who is clearly outmatched by the office he holds, and by the players around him, especially Milk. Milk immediately takes to White, trying to navigate the flustered Supervisor into his own way of thinking, and offering to trade support for White's vote on a gay rights ordinance. Milk backs out on the deal, infuriating White and setting into motion the emotional spiral that leads the the story's tragic ending.

Brolin gives White gentle treatment. He conjures a villain driven to desperate action by his own inner turmoil and inability to cope with the politics of his time. It's a subtle performance that may be lost in the thicket of strong work by the rest of the cast.

As Milk's star rises on the left coast, there's trouble brewing in Florida. Religious Singer and all-around nut Anita Bryant spearheads ballot initiatives to refuse gay and lesbian citizens to rights. Successful there, Bryant begins working across the country to repeal laws that protect gay rights.

Milk sees in Bryant's movement a chance to curtail to rollback of rights, and picks a fight to get her into the state. It works, and the second half of the film is powered by the movement against Prop 6, a state ballot initiative that would allow schools to fire gay teachers. Milk, having moved from well-meaning but sloppy activist to slick political operator, has Mayor George Moscone on his side as they work against the measure.

Milk's personal life is strained by the constant campaigning and activism, and the easy-going Smith becomes estranged from his partner. After Milk reneges on a promise to quit poliitcs, Smith leaves him. It's an emotional split left understated by Van Sant. Penn and Franco present a couple with unfinished business, and their interactions after the break-up are filled with longing and frustration.

If Smith offered Milk a chance at a quieter life filled with love and companionship, Emile Hirsch's Cleve Jones gives him a different opportunity. Jones is introduced as a young trick cruising when he first meets Milk. Over time, Jones is transformed by Milk from uninterested kid to disaffected rioter to potent activist. Where Smith offers Milk the chance to remain himself, Jones gives him the chance to create a lasting movement.

A second lover, Jack Lira (Diego Luna) is a frustrating, needy character disliked by Milk's staff, and sometimes by Milk himself. Jack's constant demands for attention and reassurance are symptoms of a larger problem, which leaves Milk utterly dejected during the difficult Prop 6 battle.

Penn is clearly inspired by the material at hand, and brings to the screen a Milk that is full of life and mirth. His performance underlines Milk's single-mindedness in acheiving fundamentally simple goal: To earn the same rights for everyone. The impish charm deployed by Penn serves well for a politician different even by the standards of a city that gave the world the Merry Pranksters and Emperor Norton.

As the movie came to it's tragic and inevitable climax, a woman behind us began crying in the theater. I mean sobbing, right through the credits. It was a powerful movie, and Van Sant's treatment of Milk's fate was deftly handled, but you know it's coming, so what's with the waterworks? When we turned around, we saw that she was in her late teens or early 20's. She was too young to remember Milk and must have never learned about him in school or elsewhere.

A lot has been made about the timing of Milk's release, and the crying girl made me wonder whether there's something to the idea that releasing Milk in the summer could have helped with California's Prop 8 battle. Would a movie about the struggle for gay rights have helped defeat th proposal? Maybe so. The portrayal of the gay rights movement is central to the theme, but it's presented as an almost inevitable conclusion for a society moving towards more rights for everyone.

The film's mantra is progress. It does not tut-tut anyone or present a syrupy dissertation on why it's important to support gay rights. Van Sant believes his audience already knows it's important, and that level of trust makes for a stronger story. A lesser film would have been seen as an attempt to sermonize and manipulate, and produced an anti-gay backlash. A late-Summer Milk release? We'll never know.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Stuck In My Head: Eli "Paperboy" Reed and The True Loves

Eli "Paperboy" Reed and The True Loves are a local act, and they are fabulous. I went to school with one of The True Loves. Ben Jaffe and I have been introduced at least five times, and he can never remember that we've met. Oh well, he's a nice guy and makes a hell of a jerk chicken. And his music kicks ass.

BONUS: I couldn't have a post with "Paperboy" in the header and not include a link to the old Nintendo game , which I obsessed over when I was 10. Enjoy.


Friday, December 12, 2008

The People In The Neighborhood

I have finally cleaned up the blogroll, getting rid of some stuff I haven't read in years. I moved it all into one category, saving only the incomparable Univeral Hub and the always-spot-on-except-about-casinos Media Nation from the old Boston list.

I've also added a few friends and their new sites to the list.

  • Jonathan Messinger's Shoot the Messinger is always a good read. If you wanna know about politics, writing, or the Boston Celtics, he's your guy. 

  • My pal Stephen is a college administrator, and has started Face Space is Crazy as a way to talk with the young'uns about keeping themselves from getting killed, exploited or otherwise saddened by social networking.

  • Color Collecting is a group effort by some friends to photograph the bold and evocative things all around us. Really cool stuff.

  • My buddy James just started up Daily Snaps, a Tumblr site where he sends a pic a day from his cell phone camera. He has a knack for wordlessly finding the witty in everyday life.

  • The News Peg is John Huston's feisty blog about all things Oak Park, his little corner of Chicagoland. Be sure to check out his "Face to Face" segments. This sort of creative, fun endeavor is what newspapers across the country should be doing, instead of crying in their beers about classified ad revenues.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Stuck In My head: HoneyHoney

honeyhoney - Little Toy Gun video

Sure, they seem a little image-conscious, but I like what I've heard thus far from HoneyHoney . They are signed to Kiefer Sutherland's new music Label, Ironworks , which explains how this teensy tiny lead singer could get the drop on Jack Bauer in the old West.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Gene and I, We're On A Mission From God

I had a weird dream last night:

I was at a diner, eating Boston Cream Pie and talking on the air with some radio program that was broadcasting live from behind the counter. The hosts kept calling me John from Winthrop, who was a guy that regularly called in, kind of like Butch from the Cape used to call WEEI. They had me sparring on air with another regular caller. At one point, I told them that I wasn't this John cat, and they were like, "So why did you let us go on and on like that?"  While answering, I accidentally dropped an F-bomb; I said, "You guys always assume that I'm him, so I said to myself 'Fuck it, just go with it.'" 

The radio guys were cool about it and said they bleeped it in time, but my friends Jason and Lisa said, "We totally heard it," and freaked me out that the FCC was gonna come look for me. Then they left, because Jason had to say goodbye to someone in Winthrop.

After that, I was working with Gene Hackman, who was trying to get revenge on this Burger King that had fired him. We ended up stuffing the end of a garden hose through a window, so the water would mix with the grease on the floor and the manager inside (played by William Fichtner) would slip and fall.

Except that there was too much water, so it was gushing in like there was a water main break or something, and people were getting swept away and hurt. Just then Jason and Lisa came back, and they had stolen an MBTA bus. We all got on the bus and sped away, but we wanted to help everyone trapped in the gushing waters at Burger King, so we stripped down the bus and converted it to look like a garbage truck, that way we could get around without the police getting wise. We went back and fixed the water problem, and then me, a bunch of my friends, Gene Hackman, and the crew at Burger King all got together at these long tables, like in the Harry Potter movies, and had a big meal. I woke up just as my cousin Rachel came out to serve us all chocolate chip Rice Krispie treats that were round like rice cakes.

 Of all that, I can explain the pie, because I had slice of Boston Cream at Kelly's Diner in Ball Square a couple of weeks ago. The rest? No clue. 

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Who's a Happy Dog?

I was out in Fitchburg for a wedding about three weeks ago. The wedding and overall weekend was great. While there, I couldn't help but notice there were quite a few dogs running around in the hotel lobby. On Saturday night, this sign showed up at the elevator bank:

Yeah, that's right. You read the top of the sign, and you think, "That doesn't mean what I think it means." The good people at the ICSB knew that disbelief would be the default position of any reader, so they used a little space at the bottom of the sign to say, "Yes, this means exactly what you think it means."

Also note the paper sign hanging to the side. There was a line of dogs and owners next to the registration desk when we checked out, all heading into a little room behind the counter. That, apparently, is where the magic happened.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Stuck In My Head: Camera Obscura

Maybe I'm a little late to the party, but I've been obsessing over Camera Obscura the last couple of weeks:

I don't know whether it's a function of getting older, or an expanding musical palette, but I find myself listening to more and more jangly indie rock than I ever used to. I feel like I need to crank through "Run To The Hills " every so often just to keep some cred.

Friday, November 14, 2008

At Least Buy Me Dinner First...

So it's happened: The Turnpike Authority has recommended increasing tolls on the bridge and tunnels by $3.50, and the Weston and Allston toll plazas by $0.75. I head to the office twice a week: They want to pull $626 a year more out of my pocket. That would be $1,690 a year for a full week's commute. Seriously, guys, what the hell?

Everyone understands that the Big Dig has royally screwed the state's finances. We get that, and we understand we have to pay off the debt. What we don't understand is why half of us are being asked to take this one for the team. Spread the pain a little, for God's sake.

Why not add open road tolling to 93 and create some equity in the tolling scheme? The open system would allow everyone to maintain highway speed, so there's no additional traffic. Last time the Globe asked, Turnpike Chair Andy LeBovidge said they didn't want to incur the expense of putting them up. I imagine he had a good laugh after hanging up with the reporter. He won't do it because he, Transportation Secretary Bernard Cohen and Governor Patrick are scared shitless of a real fight with the legislature. A fight they'd win.

Look, I've outlined  how I feel about this before: Either remove the tolls and get the money through the tax base (likely a gas tax), or toll everyone, which means hitting up the South Shore and 93N corridor. As it is right now, half the state is paying for a project that more directly benefits the other half:

View Larger Map

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Flirting With the Oldies

I voted this morning. I was the 151st vote cast in my precinct. There wasn't a line checking in, but I had to wait behind two people to check out. The guy in front of me, clearly an octogenarian, gave the septuagenarian poll worker his address.

Man: 10 Thorndike Street

Woman: Did you say 10, honey?

Man: Honey?! I am on the market.

Woman: (giggles like a school girl)

Man: I need someone to cook for me.

Woman: (stops giggling) I don't cook!

Me, to the old man: I think you blew it.

Man: I think so, too. (Leaves)

Me, to the Woman: I thought he had a chance.

Woman: He thought so, too, but I don't cook and I don't clean windows!

Vote for Barack Obama!

On my way to the polls now. Go Barack!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Shave and a Klan Rally, Two Bits

I got a haircut at a venerable barber shop that's been on Broadway, Revere since before I was born. I went in, got a cut, paid, and was walking out.

Just then, the old man who's name is on the awning yelled something to me. I was already out the door, so I couldn't quite make it out. It was either:

"Vote for the right guy!"


"Vote for the white guy!"

I'm working hard to believe it was the former, but I'm kind of thinking it was the latter. Either way, I need a new barber.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Killing Them Softly

In 30 seconds, and with no spoken words, Obama delivers the most punishing closing spot I've ever seen:

Monday, October 27, 2008

Facing Defeat, The McCain Camp's Soul Searching Begins

Steve Schmidt as Otter
John McCain as Flounder
Moderate Republicans as Boon
The Republican Party as Freddie's Car
Hugh Hewitt as D-Day
and a special appearance by Sarah Palin as Bluto.

Friday, October 24, 2008

McCain's Strategy For the Final 10 Days, Explained

Having thrown three Hail Marys already (Palin, Suspension, Ayers), John McCain has a new fourth down play to turn the tide and win this election:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Live from Wasilla...

Here's a prediction for you: Sarah Palin will be a successful television personality within the next two or three years.

While I think she would be a disaster as a vice president, there's no denying that the woman has an incredible back story and is charismatic. Hell, even Lorne Michaels sees it:
She could pretty much do better than development. I think she could have her own show, yeah.
And after yesterday's news that she fleeced the RNC for $150,000 for new clothes and makeup, you have to think her establishment party support is drying up quickly. As Marc Ambinder explained, that $150,000 could have bought the campaign a week's worth of TV spots in Colorado, a state McCain is reportedly abandoning.

So the question is this: Does she have the time and temperament to do all the work she'll need to rehabilitate her image in the next four years? I say she has the time but not the temperament, because I don't think she views petty score-settling, expenditure padding, and telling provable falsehoods as real liabilities.

She'll lose the next governor's race, if she runs at all, and wash out of politics. Soon after that, BAM! She'll show up on cable as a reliably non-political talk show host. And she'll be good at it. No hard news, but not blurry-lens softball interviews, either. She could make herself a niche as a Red State soothsayer on cultural issues.

Or I'm wrong and she's the GOP contender to beat in 2012. At least I have four years to disavow ever saying this...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mother-humpin' Moose

All in all, Sarah Palin was a good sport on SNL. The opening sketch seemed a little stilted, but the Weekend Update segment (above) was fantastic.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Citgo Fire: A Sign Either Way

The Citgo sign caught on fire today. Is this a metaphor for the season going down in flames? Or are the Sox about to catch fire and once again come back from a 3-1 deficit?

(h/t: Universal Hub )

*Photo lifted without permission from WBZ, but I link to their article, so hopefully that's good enough for them.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

French Toast

When Adam says it's time to dust off the ol' French toast alert system for the storm coming Saturday, I listen. You'll see the alert widget in my sidebar all winter.

If you aren't from Boston or don't read Universal Hub, the French Toast Alert System provides you with a color-coded reminder for when a storm's a-comin' and you need to stock up on milk, eggs and bread, lest you be snowed in and have to eat the children.

Of McCain and Money

funny pictures

A thought about the McCain gambit: A big part of suspending the campaign and pushing back the debate has to do with money.

What does he hope to gain from suspending his campaign?

  1. This back his "putting country first" argument.
  2. Delay the debate until Oct. 2, which would conveniently postpone of cancel the Vice Presidential debate.
  3. Put Obama in a position to also take ownership of a politically risky bailout plan. McCain was needed to secure Republican votes for the measure, so this move helps him spread the risk.

Fortunately, most observers and voters have called this for what it is: A naked political ploy. But I think there's one other reason that could have a hand in this. Money.

Obama has more cash than McCain, and is spending that fortune to get his message out to voters. McCain can't hope to compete with  the resulting flood of Obama ads.

To neutralize that advantage, McCain needs to dominate national news coverage. He's succeeded in the past, most recently and spectacularly with the Sarah Palin pick. The fact that she's tanking now almost doesn't matter, from this perspective. He got two solid weeks of campaign buzz and momentum out of that.

The drawback for McCain, of course, is that this is tantamount to blowing hard into a toy boat's sails. It gives you a strong push forward in the water, but it slows to a stop almost as quickly. So you need to blow again. And harder. This gambit is another hearty gust from the senator. Unfortunately for him, it doesn't look like it's working. He may have blown a little too hard and capsized the boat this time.

(That's my tortured metaphor: John McCain blows. A lot.)

So what happens next? We'll see if people internalize this move the way McCain wants them to—as an act of integrity—or for what it is: A last ditch effort to get some free pub for a campaign that's faltering under a losing issue. This could be the move that decides the election.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I am Crazy Glue

Lunch was almost uneventful today.

I wasn't hungry, so I went to Starbucks to talk with a friend and do a little writing. Apparently, someone slipped some Freak Juice in my espresso, because they soon started flocking.

Everything was fine for most of the hour. But then a regular walked in, sat down in the club chair next to me, and starts talking, angry.

"Fucking women, man. Unfuckingbelievable! They are goddamned unbelievable!"

What the Hell do you say to that? I thought he was just being rueful. He was in earlier, talking to a friend about a divorce. They went outside to talk further and had just come back. Maybe this other guy's wife had taken him to the cleaners?

I tried to laugh it off. "Heh, really?"

"I'm serious! Don't ever get fucking married! Goddamned women!"

"OK! Well, I gotta get back to work. Talk with you soon!"

So I fled the scene and drove back to work. I walked into the building just behind a woman in hippie sandals and a long, flowing skirt. She headed down the hall as I walked into the elevator. Just as I was about to make a clean getaway, she came barreling back down the hall and stops the doors.

"I guess I'll try another floor."


"Hah, OK. What floor would you like?" I asked, since I was standing next to the buttons.

"It doesn't matter."


She went on: "The bathroom on this floor is not very appealing right now." And she started to laugh.

"Ah. Fair enough." I said, and then started at the floor indicator, praying to God the doors would open and I could get out of the box of crazy. I swear it took an hour to get to the second floor.

This is why I work from home three days a week. Yeesh.

Alaska: The Road Warrior with Snow

Chris Rock  follows Bill Clinton on Dave Letterman and lays into him, Hillary, and Sarah Palin. Funny stuff.

(h/t: Ta-Nehisi Coates, whose blog is a must-read)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Pedestrian Art

Technical difficulties at work led to a rare mid-day StumbleUpon fest. It led me to this collection of  pedestrian art.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Jane Swift, Stooge

Former governor Jane Swift has come out of the shadows as a John McCain surrogate. She took a starring role in McCain's "Palin Truth Squad" presser and proved to the listening world that she's an idiot.

Swift seized on Obama's use of a common idiom "lipstick on a pig," and repeatedly insisted he was talking about VP candidate Sarah Palin. Jake Tapper has the gory details:

Speaking on behalf of the McCain campaign, former Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift tonight flatly stated that Obama had called Palin a pig.

"[T]he formation of the Palin Truth Squad couldn't have happened too soon, as we saw when Sen. Obama in Lebanon, Va., this evening uttered what I can only deem to be disgraceful comments comparing our vice presidential nominee Gov. Palin to a pig," Swift said.

"Sen. Obama owes Gov. Palin an apology," she said.

Asked why she was so confident Obama was "comparing" Palin to a pig, she said Palin was the only one of the four candidates on both parties' tickets who wears lipstick.

"She is the only one of the four candidates for president, or the only vice presidential candidate who wears lipstick," Swift said. "I mean, it seemed to me a very gendered comment."

Josh Marshall has more.

You've been gone all this time, Jane. Did you really return to become a shill and a liar? Do we need to call Christy Mihos to come chase you out of public life again?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Play With the Seals!

My friend Nicole and I went to the New England Aquarium this past weekend. I got her two tickets to the “Play With the Seals” program. We were allowed into the Harbor Seals Habitat to goof off with the big furry guys for about an hour.
The program is designed to both educate the users and provide stimulation for the seals. Apparently, seals are very bright and get bored just swimming around. If you've ever been to the aquarium and seen a seal swimming in a circuit, that's them being bored.

We were given a couple of toys to play with. The first was literally just a garden hose.
Sure, it looks kinda lame, but when Nicole sprayed into the water, the seals came swooping in. They love the sensation, especially since they are finishing their molting season, which makes them feel like crap. The spray is like a little massage for them.
The other toys were “fishcicles,” which were ice toys filled with cut squid and a rubber chew toy. It looked gross.
But as the ice melts, the squid becomes exposed, and the seals WENT NUTS tugging and digging for that squid. According to Paul, the seal caretaker, the toys help the seals retain their ability to forage for food.
In all, it is a fabulous program, and definitely worth experiencing. Maybe instead of ripping off ideas for their ad campaigns, the aquarium could let more people know about these programs.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Mass. to Fast Laners: Drop Dead

Never be a sucker. Because if someone ever marks you as a sucker, they will always treat you like shit. Today's case in point: The Turnpike Authority's plan to jack up tolls on Fast Lane users.

See, people along the 93 corridor are not suckers. They said "Fuck no!" to tolls along the highway, and they got what they wanted. They pitched a fit at the very notion and the state backed off.

But Fast Lane users? Suckers. We've already agreed to pay to use the highways and bridges we need, so in the state's eyes, we'll pay for the entire burden of projects across the state.

If you live in Mertowest or the North Shore*, you're a sucker. If you live on the South Shore or the 93N corridor, you're a free rider. To illustrate the point, I made a map. Free Riders in Green. Suckers in Blue.:

View Larger Map

I have no love for tolls. I was psyched at the 2006 plan to get rid of them. But if we're going to have tolls, then let's put them where there's 1) demand for the roadway and 2) spreads the onus of using the highway system over the most number of people. If that gets more people along 93 to take the commuter rail, then great. But at least it shifts the burden to everybody taking a major highway into Boston. Toll everyone or no one. Take your pick.

*That's one thing that's annoyed me about this debate. People who live on the North Shore are not getting a free ride. We pay tolls coming over the Tobin or through the Sumner and Williams tunnels. If you ever bothered to look at a map, you'd see that 93 pushes significantly inland. Chealsea, Revere, Saugus, Everett, Malden, Lynn, etc. are all tolled heavily to come into Boston. Just remember that when you talk about this stuff.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Old Man Oneupsmanship

Overheard in a Revere Diner this A.M.:

Peter Boyle Lookalike: What's with the jacket? What are you, in Florida?

Member's Only: It was cool out when I went out this morning.

Peter Boyle Lookalike: I was out at six, and it wasn't cool.

Member's Only: Well, I was out at five.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Whoa, THIS is What Real Governance Looks Like?

Another day, another example of Gov. Patrick taking a politically tough but important stand. Can there be any question that he's got a position secure in a possible Obama administration? There's no way we would see such political courage unless there was significant political cover.

Today it's police details. The governor is pushing to reduce the use of police officers to direct traffic at construction sites on state roads. It doesn't do anything about police use on local roads (which accounts for over 90% of the roads in the state, apparently), but it gives municipalities some political cover to save some money.

I don't have a problem with police details in the abstract. I do believe they help keep things orderly around a construction site, and it gives the officers a way to make some extra money while in a position to continue to help the community. All these cops who make serious money on details are going to go work second jobs elsewhere. Cities and towns may miss them when they're gone.

But the money at stake is too high, especially now, when we're going to go through another round of revenue shortfalls.

The governor's other big stance came yesterday, when he blocked pension increases for retired state employees. Again, it's tough because retirees are feeling the pinch, just like the rest of us. But the state just can't afford it this time.

Add to that the serious work being done to address the debt loads of the various transportation departments, and we are seeing the rarest of things: A governor working as though he has little time left in office to effect change, and a bureaucracy and legislature that doesn't realize he's already got a foot out the door (and thus are still willing to deal with him). If an Obama victory moves from a likelihood to a fait accompli, maybe things will change and the lame duck status will kick in. And hey, maybe he isn't gunning for work in Washington, which would be all the more extraordinary. I'll believe it when I see it. Most people agree with me, too.

For now, Patrick is working hard to make up for a disastrous first year in office with a breakout sophomore season. Can he see it through before the last Acela leaves for DC?

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Good Riddance Wonderland Dog Track

View Larger Map

Suffolk Downs and Wonderland may merge, which is a great, great deal for the city of Revere.

All of a sudden, this blighted albatross around my home town's neck may disappear and finally meet the fate we all want: Redevelopment.

Personally, I would love to see dense mixed use on the 36-acre lot, similar to what's being planned on the other side of the Wonderland T station. Open a mix of stores, restaurants and a bar in a spot next to a T stop and across from Revere Beach.

There are some thing Revere should definitely require as part of the deal:

  1. Require the developer to build a commuter rail station. Revere is completely bypassed by the commuter rail, which partially splits the city from it's waterfront. A commuter rail station would fit perfectly at the Wonderland site (which is adjacent to the tracks) and  give people from boston and all along the north shore greater access to the beach and shopping areas. It'll also provide Revere residents with a fast commuting option to North Station.

  2. Connect the proposed commuter rail and Wonderland stations. Have the developer build an enclosed foot bridge and people mover, which could both connect the stations and offer the development unfettered foot access to the beach. Win-win.

  3. Require locally-owned and original dining options. One upsetting byproduct of smart growth has been the generic dining options installed as eateries. Some places have made great decisions to involve local establishments. Station Landing at Wellington Circle, for example, has a new Pizzeria Regina, and people love it. Work with the developers to keep rents down in the retail sections, and demand they give local owners preference in opening businesses. No one is gonna take the Blue Line to Revere to eat at a Friday's.

  4. Keep the buildings closer to the street. Have the buildings front North Shore Road and VFW Parkway, and put the parking in the back. That will keep the tall buildings away from the Sagamore Street residential area, provide a friendlier walking destination, and tie in better with transit traffic to the site and beach.
The state could make some smart decisions here, too:
  1. Secure rights of way to connect the Blue Line with the Commuter Rail line for future expansion into Lynn , Salem, and Peabody. Creating a connector between these lines would greatly reduce the costs of any future Blue Line expansion.

  2. Demand Level of Service upgrades for Route 1A, North Shore Road, and Butler Circle. Presently, the roadway is snarled with commuting traffic, even with a mostly dead track across the way. This could be as simple as eliminating the lights between Wonderland station and the dog track.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

More doobies for movie crowds, please

So I saw Pineapple Express last night. Funny stuff, and definitely holds up as both a stoner movie and action spoof. James Franco was great, and Seth Rogen was his usual slacker self. The movie doesn't overreach, and it doesn't disappoint.

But. I watched it in the Revere Showcase cinema, and it felt like I was intruding on the Class of 2008's two-month reunion. People were turning the corner into the theater, scanning the crowd, and wildly gesticulating to their friends. Some were vulgar, others were throwing their hands in the air in universal "what up" gestures.

Ah, but here's the thing with stoner movies: These kids were quiet and VERY ready to laugh, because they were all stoned. What looked like it was gonna be a long night of asshole jocks talking shit to the movie and everyone moving up and down the aisle ended up being a quieter crowd than any I've ever seen at Kendall (Not that arthouse types are better behaved than 17-year-olds. They aren't).

This and this alone is reason enough to decriminalize pot.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Introducing the Manny Burrito Bet

After a vigorous exchange of opinions about the Manny-plus-the-cast-of-It's-a-Mad-Mad-Mad-Mad-World-for-only-Jason-Bay Deal, we have come to this: Gambling.

My buddy Pete has bet me a burrito that Bay will have 10 more combined runs and RBIs than Manny. I took the action. If I lose, Pete gets some Anna's Taqueria love. If I win, I get a commensurate gut bomb somewhere in Chicago.

I'll track the players'  progress in a new sidebar feature to the right. Keep in mind, Bay had 136 R+RBI to Manny's 134 as of last night. So remember to shave two off the season totals if you wanna keep track that way.

Can't wait for that burrito...

Thursday, July 31, 2008

That's it? We trade Manny for a bucket of balls?

So we give up Manny, plus cash to cover his salary, a mixed-up reliever with potential closer's stuff (Craig Hansen), and a projected third outfielder (Damien Brandon Moss) for ONLY Jason Bay?

There had better be more to this deal than this, or else the Sox just hosed themselves because they couldn't handle a little whining. Good grief.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Good God, kids are evil

I was sitting under a pavillion on Revere beach, having finished work
for the day. I've got nothing to do, so I kind of zoned out for a bit.

Out of nowhere there's a flash in front of me. Some kid is hauling ass
on his bike and jumps the four steps at the end of the pavillion.

He missed, spectacularly. The bike landed, pitched and twisted right,
tossing him left. He landed on hus arm and ass.

I sat up, startled, and started to stand to to see if he needed any
help. He was alert, but just sort of lying there.

That's when his friends started to laugh at him. He quickly popped up
and did that thing where you're laughing, too, but are so totally in
pain. He mumbled something about the steps being high as the girls
were still cackling, and his older buddy recreated the landing.

Good times.

Vegans and Honey: A winning combination?

My friend Nicole (happy birthday, by the way!) was a vegan before most of anyone had even heard of the word. But she eats honey. I asked her, years ago, why she thought it was OK to eat honey. Her response?

"Fuck the Bees."

Well, Slate published an article today that sort of agrees with her. As my four loyal readers know, I'm no fan of bees, so enjoy that golden sticky goodness.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I Was Cut Off By Whistler's Mother

You know how sometimes you can tell when a fellow driver is gonna be a problem? Today was one of those days.

I was coming down the American Legion Highway in Revere when I saw mid-80’s shit brown Chevy Celebrity with its right blinker on, tailing an oil truck. I knew without seeing the driver that he or she was old. I knew that he or she was about to become a problem when the blinker turned off.

Her car (right lane, now next to mine) started to lurch towards me. I hit my horn. She looked at me, and I could now see that she was ancient. I mean, older than anyone I’ve ever seen try to drive a car in my life. She clearly saw my car next to hers. She didn’t stop. I slammed on the brakes, and she glided in front of my car with about two feet to spare.

Then she stopped. At a green light. On a highway.

Apparently, she wanted to turn left, but didn’t make it to the turn lane. She just stopped in front of me, next to the turn lane. I hit my horn. Several others behind me followed suit. She wouldn’t move.

After about 15 seconds of sitting at a dead stop in the middle of the highway, she cut her wheel and inched toward the turn lane. Then stopped. Then inched up again. Finally, there was enough space and I pull around her and shot down the road.

When I looked back, I could see she hadn’t stopped. She was now trying to plow through the opposing traffic to make it onto Revere Street. All I could see were taillights flashing and bumpers rising abruptly, trying to pull their cars to a stop.

I hope she made it to wherever she was going, and I hope her car immediately exploded after letting her out, like in the Blues Brothers.

I would happily pay more in gas tax if we could have a reliable shuttle service for seniors who can no longer drive.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hooray Public Health Care!

Health Care for America NOW! is an advocacy group that wants to introduce public insurance as an option in America. It's what works in the rest of the world, and it's time to try it here. That'll require a change in law, which means it'll take some serious leadership (Read: A new presidident who's open to new ideas, and a Congress interested in solving the problem). In the meantime, it's decided that a little humor can go a long way in framing the issue. Slate has a short and good primer about how the HCFAN and the private insurance comanies are lining up for this fight.

But it's the right plan. Private Insurers rail against socialized medicine and say the market is the answer, so why not put the theory to the market test: Offer all americans the chance to keep their current insurance, try another private insurer, or sign up for public insurance, and see which one wins out. Public insurance plans, like Medicare, are famously more efficient and result in lower health costs for it's clients. Maybe that'll force Blue Cross and the rest to finally pony up and take care fo their customers. And it not, no problem. We'll have an alternative other than our employer's choice for our health care.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Meanest Thing I've Said All Year

About a friend of a friend of a friend, and is best taken out of context:

"Lesbian or not, that's a hard face to look at in the morning."

Thursday, July 17, 2008

OMG, Human Trebuchet!

How much would you pay to do this? I say I'd go $100, easily.

(h/t: Deadspin, via Weird Asia News)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Jeter Sucks: The Statistical Inquiry

jeter error

I'm not saying Derek Jeter sucks. Science is saying Derek Jeter sucks:

"...Jensen's methods ("for each grounder ball-in-play—g-bip—we have the—x,y—coordinates in the field where the g-bip was fielded" and on and on) are grounded in the familiar language of the sabermetric literature. Mostly, though, the paper didn't provoke much intrigue because Jeter's badness is already an axiom of said literature. In fact, debunking the conventional wisdom about the Yankee captain's fielding prowess has become a standard method of proving the validity of a new fielding statistic. That places Derek Jeter at the frontier of new baseball research."

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Dancing = Happy

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

I know, I know, things on the Internet are offically over once the New York Times sinks its teeth into them, but I stumbled onto this video last night, and I still wanted to share it. I don't know why this makes me so happy, but it does. Enjoy.

But it was only a fever...

Maybe everyone already knows about this, but check out this online version of Oregon Trail. It's like fifth grade never ended.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Meanest. Brother. Ever.

Holy cow, this kid is evil. Funny, but evil.
(h/t: guzer.com)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The New England Aquarium: Biting Ideas from the Web

The New England Aquarium got a nice boost from the Boston Globe today. The paper wrote a short article touting the fish house's new ad campaign, which adds shark-y elements to some of Boston's landmarks, like sharp teeth to the Hatch Shell. Other elements include fake youtube videos of a shark chasing a duck boat.

Clever, right? Not so much.

The teeth ad here:

Is a total rip-off of omnomnomnom.com, a Web site devoted to putting teeth into regular photos, like this:

I realize ad agencies will routinely steal ideas and gags from people all the time. But I think it's a shame the Globe would highlight this campaign as being especially creative without mentioning where the Aquarium got the idea. To be generous, the ad agency have come up with this on their own. But the similarities are striking.

And also, what's up, Globe? Have you really been reduced to writing briefs about ad campaigns? Were you really that swayed by the press release? What's next, a ribbon-cutting at a new Arby's?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

If you're gonna join the army...

...figure out a way to join the British Army.

Friday, June 27, 2008

An Open Letter to Boston.com

Dear boston.com,

We've known each other for a number of years now. When you're at your best, you're a fun mix of news and silly workday diversions. But you're hardly at your best anymore. Sorry, bro, but it's true.

Look, I understand that you're a Web site that doesn't understand how the Web works, and I'm sure that gets you down sometimes. So please, allow me to help you. I have five suggestions for you. Pick just three of them, and I'll walk the streets in a sandwich board advertising your site (which isn't an effective way to increase traffic, but I wanted to use an example you'd understand).

  1. Stop spamming my RSS Reader. I know you're really excited about your “Most e-mailed articles,” and I'll tell you, I was happy to add that RSS feed to my list. But I just found 60 stories in the feed at 8 a.m. That's after reading all the items I had at 1:30 a.m. How do 60 stories become “most e-mailed” in the dead of night? Aren't you sort of stretching the concept? Are you following the “Dictator wins 102% of the vote” standard of superlatives?
  2. Give me links. I know, I know, everyone yells at you about this. But people aren't saying it just to pick on you. It's super annoying to read about a Web site in your articles and not have a link to get there. Now, this isn't an invitation to over-link to every other word in the article, which is what other bad newspaper sites do. Just, you know, find that balance. It's not that hard.
  3. Fix your photo-based features. You know those fun picture tours you do? Like “Outdoor Patio Dining In Boston” and all that? I'll take one for the team and tell you: We hate them. No, not the idea; the idea is fun. It's the execution. Use a flash-based element to change the pictures so I don't have to reload a new Web page every time. There are ways to do this and change the ads, so you won't lose any revenue. Are you seriously going to ask me to click though 62 pages to look at Red Sox picks and vote for my favorite players? What am I, a link-clicking monkey?
  4. Put the blogs where I can find them. Where do you hide all your blogs? As an example, Ty Burr and Wesley Morris do a great job with Movie Nation. It's a fun read, and the Take 2 video clips are an interesting addition. So how come you bury these guys and their online efforts, huh? How come? Maybe a “Blogs” tab on your top navigation would help. Just sayin.
  5. Stop booting me from reading articles to force me to sign in. OK, so I go through my 60-odd “Most e-mailed articles” this morning, and I select a few to read. But look at this! After the first few I select, the rest are Boston.com member center prompts, and once I log in, every damned tab redirects to the same story. Is it that hard to remember which articles I wanted to read? Are you forcing me to randomly sign in so I can lose my stories and then have to look for them on boston.com? Gah!

I still love you, boston.com, and I hope you don't take this too personally. Just, you know, shape up a bit. We're all rooting for you.



Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bird Stares Down Revere Man

"You know what I hate most in life? Birds. I'd rather face a guy with a knife."

I went to a diner this morning for breakfast and the paper. While there, a bird got trapped inside the diner's little glass foyer area. The cook freaked out and closed the door, turned around and said the above to me and the waitress, the only other people in the building. Yeesh.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008


A bee fell from a tree and landed on my windshield yesterday. I was about to get out of the car and go to work, but stopped immediately. I had a bad experience with a hornet when I was a kid, so bees sorta freak me out.

But the bee was a little lazy or lethargic, and was just sort of hanging out on the windshield. So I grabbed my camera and took some pictures.

Then I opened the door and ran away. Stupid bees.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Kevin Garnett: Breaking down the breakdown

Kevin Garnett deserves every accolade he's getting today. Slate decided to go a slightly different way, embracing the Big Man's deliciously weird post-game interview with Michelle Tafoya. Great read. Here's the video:


(photo h/t: Celticsblog)

Man, that was a beat-down for the ages. As a casual Celtics fan, this was amazing. I can't imagine how the die-hards feel today!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

10 Dimensions?!?

Holy crap.

Back to the Future with a Reel Mower

Treehugger had a great post about using a reel mower to cut your grass. I just bought one a month ago, and I love it. I'd recommend it to anyone.

People get a little freaked out by the thing. I think it's because they remember hauling out their dad's rusted out, impossible to use mowers and left them behind long ago.

The first time I took the mower out, a neighbor yelled out to me, "What is this, back to the future?"

There are a number of reasons to get yourself a push reel mower:

  1. It's quiet. This could be the biggest personal benefit of a reel mower. You can cut the grass and think at the same time.

  2. It doesn't take longer to cut the grass. Gas-powered machines require a little prep time and down time before a cut to check for fuel, oil level and cleanliness, and after a mow to clean out the cutting area (spark plugs detached, please!). A push reel can go as soon as you touch, but will take just slightly more time to cut the grass. Raking afterwards can take time, but you can solve that by getting a bag for your push reel. Yeah, they make them.

  3. It's cheaper. All you need is the push mower and a little WD-40 to keep things loose. Occasionally, you may want to sharpen the blades. Gas mowers use, um, gas, and I hear that can get pretty expensive these days. You also need to get tune ups and oil changes. And they cost more to buy out of the box.

  4. No pollution. Seriously, if you're considering getting a push mower, isn't that a big reason why?

But there are some issues to consider:

  1. It takes a little more physical effort to use. It's only slightly more work than pushing around a gas-powered mower, but it's still more work. It's the same as a hard walk or slight jog, and you can control the exertion by controlling your own speed and effort. I'm very much overweight and out of shape, and can definitely feel the burn, but it's not a deterrent at all.

  2. It doesn't cut the perfect lawn. If you're looking to model your lawn after the putting greens at Augusta, you're our of luck. Reel mowers, by their design, can't catch really tall blades of grass or weeds. It also leaves wider edging than a gas mower (maybe two to three inches total). You'll need to follow up on these errant strands with your weed whacker. If you do, buy a cordless model. Just as powerful as your gas-powered whacker, but not as heavy.

  3. Expect to rake. There are bags for reel mowers, but the word on the Interwebs is that these bags aren't so efficient. I still haven't gotten around to ordering one, opting instead to rake my lawn after a mow. The whole process takes me only an hour, compared to about 40 minutes to mow with a gas-powered mower. Had I a bag, there'd be no time difference.

  4. People are somehow threatened by push mowers. My mother and sister told me I was crazy for getting one. My next door neighbor offers me her gas-powered mower every time I go out. The guy across the street heckled me. You need to really stand strong in your convictions if you're gonna do this.

So go get a reel mower! It's quieter, it's free exercise, and it's better for the world, damn you.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Either people have too much time on their hands, or the good people at the gummi factory should have thought this through a little better.

(from Consumerist via Buzzfeed)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tim Russert RIP

He was a hero of mine and will be greatly missed.

Monday, June 09, 2008

What just happened?

Don't follow politics but wanna sound smart? Slate gets you up to date in eight minutes:

Science explained! Think of it as a creepy Euro party...

This is brilliant:

(h/t: Matt Yglesias)

Friday, June 06, 2008

Got an extra $1.4 billion you need to spend?

You can always do this:

Thankfully, both pilots ejected and were uninjured, according to Wired's Danger Room. Still, yeesh.

They're piling us like cord wood on the Blue Line

Globe Photo by Bill Greene

OK, so which is most retarded part of the Globe's Blue Line seat story?

1. The basis of the story is that "many passengers have found themselves alternately fidgeting and slipping since the T began introducing the cars in February." The support for that statement? Four people complaining during the reporter's ride-along with the unwashed masses of the North Shore.

2. Breathlessly reporting that a driver "conceded that many passengers are, in fact, slipping" with this graf:
"Some people do have that problem," he said with a laugh before zipping to the turnaround at the Wonderland stop.

3. The driver had to be quoted anonymously because of T policies that bar employees from talking to the press. This is a story of such urgency that we had to resort to anonymous sources. I sympathize. This is clearly the most explosive revelation in a major newspaper since the Pentagon Papers. Or last year's high-end stroller expose.

4. The scientific survey of pole gripping:

A ride on the new Blue Line cars this week revealed what appeared to be a higher percentage of seated passengers clutching the metal poles than on other lines.

Really. That's in the story. A page one story.

5. Ignoring a more relevant and interesting story revealed by riders and the T's spokesman: People are complaining, and the T is admitting, that people are falling over from hard stops on new equipment. Has anyone been injured? What about the equipment is so different that it causes hard braking? Will operator familiarity ease the problem, or is it an equipment failure?

Ah, but that's for another day. A reporter has to follow his gut, and this reporter's gut told him to feature the middle-aged lady whining about the seats because they have a great photo for it.

6. After heading out into the trains searching for piles of riders on the floor, the reporter waits until the 22nd graf to get the T's official number of complaints about the seats. We read for a screen-and-a-half before we're told there have been seven complaints about the seats in the last four months. Seven complaints. That's a little less than one every two weeks. I can see why we had to rush a reporter out onto the train.

Personally, I like the new cars and the new seats. When you walk into one of the car, you look at all the surfaces and realize a T worker could walk in and wash the entire interior with a garden hose. That makes me happy.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Obama wins!

Andrew Sullivan has linked to this a couple of times, but he's right: It sums up how I feel perfectly:

Monday, June 02, 2008

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Olbermann scorches Clinton

Keith Olbermann unloaded on Sen. Clinton over her incredibly stupid and insensitive assassination comment. It's 11 minutes of fire.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Green Will Make Your Head Hurt

Wired has a great package up online that challenges some of the most revered ideas of environmentalism. If our overarching goal is to reduce global warming, then we will have to accept some things we have resisted for a generation, like nuclear power, genetically modified crops, and actually buying a used Civic instead of my beloved Prius.

Monday, May 19, 2008

X > Y

Radar has a pitch-perfect whine and defense of Generation X posted online.

You've earned your retirement, boomers. So rest assured that your babies are in good hands as you go. As a member of the nowhere generation, now come of age, I'm proud to announce that our time has arrived. We may not be the next Greatest Generation, but we're pretty good at calling bullshit.

Definitely cranky, but that's sort of our mode, isn't it?

Friday, May 16, 2008

A Beat Down For Our Time

Love him or hate him, Chris Matthews can help put things in perspective. He spent five minutes putting a hurt on a third-rate radio host trying to compare Barack Obama to Neville Chamberlain:

Every once and a while, it helps to ask people if they're full of shit. You'd be surprised how many ways they can say yes.

(h/t: TPM)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Friday, April 11, 2008

Overheard at Fenway

From the asshole drunk college kids sitting behind me:

"So I went to take the train at 3 a.m. last night, and guess what? There was no train."

"I live near there! You could have stayed with me."

"I didn't know you then."

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Facebook: For the ego that needs a beating

I signed up for Facebook. This is my second go-around with the site, to be honest. I tried it out for a week last year and didn't really like it. But a lot of people I know are using it, and I like to keep up with things.

Anyway, they have these targeted ads on the site. Facebook has decided that the targeted ads I want to see are from a "Thirty Plus" dating Web site.

Thanks, Facebook. As if I don't already feel like a weird old-man-stalker type using your site.

Friday, January 25, 2008

State of the Thunder Cats

Did you hear the governor last night? Massachusetts is on the move! So the governor's secret is out: He's actually Lion-O from the ThunderCats:

So if Massachusetts is the ThunderCats, who's Mumm-Ra, our sworn enemy? I say New Hampshire. I'm sure Dan Kennedy would say it casino gambling. The firefighters would say its Mayor Menino, although I think he's the perfect Snarf.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Memo to Tom Reilly: You suck

Lost in all the talk of the Big Dig settlement is this: Tom Reilly was ready to settle for less money than is needed just to repair the shoddy work left behind in the project. What in God's name was he thinking? And he wanted to be governor?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

I am an iPod Jedi master

Guilty admission: I got a compliment on my iPod’s diverse music selection, and I have been gloating over it for two days.

(Yes, I am a dork)

Two friends of mine threw a fantastic New Year’s party in the Back Bay, and asked that people bring their iPods along to dock with their spiffy new stereo. That way, everyone could play DJ. That’s a fantastic idea and it’s something I’ll include in all future parties.

So I brought my iPod, and dropped it into the dock to play some Fratellis. After a while, I forgot about it, until someone got their hands on the thing and made a bitchin’ On-The-Go playlist that everyone loved. As I left the apartment, the music was still going, so I asked my friends to hang onto the iPod til the next day.

Yesterday afternoon, I got a text:

"BTW, I’m not giving your iPod back."

My heart went soaring.

I don’t know why, but it feels like a confirmation that years and years of collecting music has led to some sort of accomplishment. Stupid, I know, but hey, it feels good to think I’m some sort of Ahmet Erteg√ľn in waiting.