Thursday, October 30, 2008

Just in time for Halloween

A very unusual tide occurred up in Boothbay Harbor on Tuesday.

Evidently low tide became high tide within minutes. And this didn't happen once, it happened a few times. Like six or seven times.

Up, down, Up, down, Up, down, Up, down, Up, down, Up, down - within minutes.

And guess what? Apparently it's just a mystery of nature.

Which alternately freaks me out - it's like the start to a Steven King book - and then it also makes me feel reassured that we don't in fact know everything, because sometimes it feels like we think we do.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

If $23K gets you a liquor license, I wonder how much a whole casino would cost...

At the beginning of the affidavit in the Dianne Wilkerson matter, the FBI agent Krista L. Corr says that she has not "included each and every every fact known" to her regarding the investigation (pg 1, line 18-19).

Oh yeah?

Agent Corr then later alludes to Wilkerson's trip to Foxwoods (pg 12. lines 21-23) and to her being encouraged to go to Foxwoods by the "CW" (pg 15, lines 8-10) after being given $3000 in cash.

Hmmm. I wonder - is Agent Corr trying to lead us to the Wilkerson-Used-Extortion-Money-To-Gamble-At-Foxwoods-Oh-My theory?

OR are a few of those "each and every every fact known" facts that might include a casino at Crosstown? If Wilkerson was willing to take $23K to obtain liquor licenses, I wonder what it would cost to get a casino?

I mean, the mayor is all about bringing a casino to Suffolk Downs so all Wilkerson would have to do is say 'Hey! What about Roxbury? Why don't we get one?' From what I read in the affidavit she likes to play that card to get her way.

Well, I bet that when this is all over some of those facts that Agent Corr is keeping to herself will have something to do with casinos in Massachusetts and Wilkerson trying to figure out how to get herself a slice of that pie and exactly who to lean on for it.

I am jus'sayin'.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Best comment of the week - and it's only Tuesday

From UniversalHub's comment section on the Dianne Wilkerson story:

I laughed out loud at that one. You know why? 'Cause it's f*cking true!

Ah... hahahhahahahah....

Oh Dianne.

Didn't your mother ever teach you that just because everyone else is doing it, that doesn't mean you should do it?

Taking bribes is tacky. And there really is no way to gracefully come back from it. Especially when you've been photographed stuffing your brassiere with hundreds and with fifties.

Stuffing your bra? Please. That is SO high school, not to mention it looks utterly ungraceful on film.

I read the entire affadavit and a couple of things:

1. "Heightened" is spelled incorrectly on page three, line 15.

2. Who is Ron Wilborn? Is he the "CW"? And has anyone heard of the Back Bay Entertainment group?

3. Page 12, line 25 - good to know that backdoor deals are still done at the Parker House. At least that part hasn't changed.

4. A question: Item 29 (page 12, line 21) is her trip to Foxwoods. It just says that she went and ate and gambled. No mention of where the gambling money came from, so we can't say it's extortion money, and gambling is legal in Connecticut, so why that notation? I wonder what information they are leaving out.

5. I would bet that almost every elected official is right about now saying "oh f*ck". And trying desperately to remember every last interaction they had with her.

Eh, really it was just a matter of time. I really think that the shelf life of a politician is about 8 years. After that they all succumb to the corruption of politics and go rotten.

Ye Olde Boston

Today was Ye Olde Boston Food tour for me and Pam.

I snapped a few photos, and was reminded of a few things that I really love about Boston.

A few weeks back I got a book to review from Turner Publishing that contains about 200 historic photographs of Boston.

I love these kinds of books, and this is a particularly good one. It's mostly photos I hadn't seen before and it put me in the mood to track down some of the scenes to see how much has changed. I am also that kind of a person who examines each photo closely to read each sign, look at each outfit, marvel at the differences between now and then. I still haven't gotten through the entire book. Even better there isn't lots of writing to interfere with the photographs.

I am going to try to get a few comparison photographs, but for today it was all about the food.

Friday, October 24, 2008

You can pick your nose, and you can pick your friends....

But you can't tell people how to vote.

You can however send them over to Ballotpedia to help them figure out how they'll vote. The three (Massachusetts) ballot questions are explained in a way that is easy to understand, with the arguments for and against each.

And then don't forget to use that new found knowledge when you hit the polls on Tuesday, November 4th.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

How many of YOU are there?

This site is weirdly addictive, but then even weirdlier the addiction passes kind of quickly. And gets sort of boring suddenly. But addictive at first, I swear.

(click on the logo)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Where to go when you gotta get OUT.

Sometimes I find that I have to get out of the city. I live in a very densely populated area and every now and then hearing my neighbor "ah-choo" through the walls gets on my nerves.

A few weeks back I was invited to tour the Orchard House in Concord, one time home of Louisa May Alcott and since it involved two of my most favorite people on earth I of course said yes immediately.

The drive out to the house was unbelievably calming, there is something that makes my soul thrum to see the blue sky and orange leaves and high white clouds.

The tour was actually part of a Hood alumni event. I didn't go to Hood but both my darling friend and her mom did and since they know what a bookworm I am, thought I'd enjoy the outing.

Boy did I ever!

The little brown house in the country. I immediately wanted to move in. Little Women is one of my most favorite books and I try to read it at least once a year, usually in the winter.

I don't know what it was about this time around, but I really did not want to leave. I was ready to duck into a closet and hide myself until after hours. However I am pretty sure that our tour guide Betty would have been onto me in about one minute.

I've never wanted to go back in time as much as I did in that house at that moment.


After the tour we headed off to the Colonial Inn for a little alumni chit chat, a little bite of food and a glass of wine.

It was so lovely.

I love fall in New England. Sometimes it's far too easy to get swept into the tizzy of things that don't really matter that seem to take over one's life every now and then and usually by Friday. Going out into the country, or at least outside the city limits, seems to be a very good way to remedy that.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Too much news.

I really can't stand local newscasts anymore. Well, really it's just Channel 7 news that I can't stand. They have obnoxious graphics, dumbed down reporters, too much fluffery, and a really morbid delight in reporting shootings and murders. And what the HELL has happened to Francis Rivera over the years. Poor thing with that face that keeps getting tighter and higher.


So I put together a very rough idea of how much news (local & national) each local broadcast station puts out in a day and threw it into an Excel chart. This is totally unofficial - I literally scanned through the daily T.V. listings and totted up the hours mostly in my head.

But I would say it's about right. Except for the 9 hours on Monday with NBC - I think that strictly speaking it's 7.5 hours of news. I have to double check that.

And I would probably just add up Channel 56 and Channel 7 together, since basically it's the same newscast. Which works out to about 50-ish hours of local fluffery over two channels in a seven day period.

In total, over a one week period, it worked out to about 180 hours of news. Uh, if you can call it news.

What I love about baseball.

Ok you know what, I am not much of a baseball fan. It's not that I don't like baseball or anything, it's just that I am not that into it.

It's like a really great guy who is so great on paper, but who you just don't click with in real life, no matter how hard you want to. That's how it is with me and baseball.

So Thursday night when I switched off the tv after the news, pretty much the sports reporter was saying it was all over for the Sox and aside from a small twinge of sadness I felt for Red Sox nation, I mostly didn't care.

And then Friday I didn't really catch up on the news too much. No one in the office really said anything about it, and when I sort of heard other people talking about the game I kinda tuned it out like I usually do.

So at lunch time when I went to the library I FINALLY saw the sports pages and realized that the Sox had indeed won!

I expressed my amazement at this fact to the librarian and the woman in line behind me starts giving me a detailed account of how the game was turned around. This is a woman I often see at the library - she wears a really tight head covering and has a mouth full of gold teeth and apparently is a sports fanatic. Well, maybe just a baseball fanatic.

I got an animated play-by-play, which was kind of wasted on me, but which was hugely entertaining, even more so when the librarian started offering supplemental highlights.

So now I am hoping the Sox take it all.....the......way..... if for no other reason than to go back to the library for more recaps!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bork! Bork!

Ugh. This debate is making no sense to me at all. It's a pissing match.

Things would get a LOT more interesting if they both just started slapping each other because you know they are just dying to.

And also I quite enjoyed the part where they were both asked to say the same negative things to each other's faces that they say in their ads, and neither could. Now THAT is real life.

With this debate I am definitely seeing things in both candidates that I don't like. And what good is a debate these days anyway? They don't answer the questions, they spin them and dance around them and spew out the lines that they think will get them the vote.

The two candidates can say whatever they like now, but after the election who or what is going to hold them accountable for their campaign promises?

That's right. Nothing.

And for some stupid reason I can't get the Swedish Chef out of my head. With McCain as the Chicken and Obama going Bork! Bork! Two points!

Skyyyyyyyyywriter in fliiiiight! Afternoooon delight!

It was a gorgeous sunset this evening.


I sure am glad you were born on this day!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hello Mr. Bluejay!

Last year there were two bluejays hanging out over the winter.

This year it looks like there are four. Today they were splashing about in the birdbath and eating up the seeds I left out.

I tried to get a photo but they sure are jittery birds and the minute I even think about sneaking out onto the deck they fly off.

So here is a photo I found on Flickr to give you an idea:

You should go check out tanager55's photos, they are amazing, especially if you like birds. And photos.

And if I can ever get my own photo, I will be sure to post it. But I suspect I will have to mix some of the birdseed with a sedative in order for that to happen.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Maine Attraction!

The Evil Twin and I went uptah Maine for part of the long weekend and I think I must have said "It's the Maine Attraction!" more times that Rainman said "Ten minutes to Wapner".

I was positive the State of Maine Tourism used that slogan in their advertising, but turns out that the Evil Twin was right and the slogan is "It must be Maine".


Aaaaaaaaanyway. Random Maine photos, with commentary:
(click on the picture to see the big version)

Hampton is a popular place, but the tollbooths were pretty clear.

For a change I wasn't driving so this isn't as dangerous as it usually is for me....

I think that even when I am 97 years old I will still try to get a trucker to blow the horn.

Me & The E.T.!! Our destination was Hallowell, the smallest city in Maine. It is that kind of place where you visit then think about constantly and contemplate moving to. It is a very pretty city.

Most of the downtown buildings were brick, while the ancient homes that dot the city hill were wooden.

Water Street, Hallowell ME

The last rays of the sun. The Kennebec River.

More downtown Hallowell.

And then back on the road to head to the Nutty Professor's house in China. Mostly what we were also doing, aside from driving & eating candy & making farting noises, was leaf peeping. I am pretty sure that the term "leaf peeping" is just a cute term to use, because technically we weren't peeping, it was more like glancing, or gazing...

View from the porch at the Nutty Professor's house. Very conducive to leaf gazing.

We spent the night in China and then went and explored Hallowell again in the morning. We then went to Boothbay Harbor for the afternoon, before toodling home this evening.

All in all I have to say that Maine is a pretty awesome state. I know there is this terrible stereotype of the old Maine fisherman sittin' on a porch saying "ah-yup" and "ya cahnt get thayah from heeyah", but that's just to keep the stupid tourists from making dumb conversation.
The folks I had the pleasure of hanging out with were true Mainers who entertained us in high style. I haven't had a laugh like that in forever, and I am pretty sure that I have eaten about 57,000 more points that Weight Watchers allows.

But I am ready to go back for more. Tomorrow even.

Who's with me?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

History. And the funny way it keeps repeating itself.

C'mon really - raise your hands if you were truly surprised by the massive Wall St failure. Ok, ok, for the idiots in the back with your hands up, I have a bridge for sale down in New York for a buck. I accept cash and Paypal. Thanks.

But for serious, people can't be all that surprised. It's a fundamental law of physics that whatever goes up must, eventually, come down.

And also, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Which means that if you are going to make huge risks to make huge piles of money that is great, because frankly yay capitalism. However at some point you stand to lose those piles of money. You might not, but the risk is that you might.

And when you lose it, that should be tough titties for you. Not a $700 billion dollar bailout, with CEO's walking away with millions in their pockets.

Some of those same CEO's appearing in front of the House hearing on this major economic clusterf*ck looked like they were trying to cover up the fact that they got caught jerking off in the executive washroom by the cleaning lady. Embarrassed to have been caught by the "little" person, somewhat arrogant because after all everyone else was doing it, and somewhat petulant at having to explain themselves to anyone except to other CEO's.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me present to you the hardest working wankers on Wall Street! Now, or soon to be, appearing either before the House or in a Frontline special!

(For detailed compensation information, check out this great NYT interactive. Very interesting. Especially if you are wondering why Mr. Pandit is included on the list for only $250K.)

But you know what, this isn't anything we haven't seen before. The history of Wall Street, of most financial streets, is pocked with craters of busts previous. Wherever and whenever the chance to make money presents itself, there is going to be those who push and pull and scheme and wheedle and connive and grab until the money is more than gone.

Yep there goes history, repeating itself. The years might be different, the climate different, people different. But the plot and the characters are the same. LBO's, Enron, dot com, debt investments, it's all the same thing at the end of the day. A bunch of wildly overcompensated guys grabbed the money and ran, however this time there were also lots more ordinary people trying to get their grab at the stash, who instead wound up with Monopoly money.

If I had any money to bet, I'd bet that not one of those CEO's gets up and says "yeah, I hosed y'all. Thanks for the cash. C ya!". Nope. They will all think that they worked really hard to earn that money, and that they deserve to keep it. Personally I think that they all deserve a kick in the butt. But that's just me.

Oh and also, did you happen to hear that Iceland is trying to stave off bankruptcy? Yep. The Prime Minister Geir Haarde was on television today explaining how he had tried to reach out to friends of Iceland (namely Russia) for financial help, however having been turned down, he was now looking for new "friends" of Iceland. Yipes.

That sure can't be good.

But then again, really what I am worried about. I live within my means for the most part. I mean I am ALWAYS skint, so I can't imagine being more skint. And I am having a hard time thinking of something I have now that I would really miss if I didn't have it. Perhaps the Champagne Supernova. She might be a sh*tbox, but I love her. Still, if I had to go without a car I would survive. Well food too, but I could probably live on Ramen, after all these years and millions of packets of the stuff, I am STILL not sick of it. Um, what else... I don't want to lose my job, that is for sure. I guess if I lost my job that would worry me.

But eh, I'll cross that bridge if and when I get to it.

Until then GO SOX.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Darn Mercury in retrograde

I had to go to the main post office tonight and let me just say that it was Masshole Mania out there tonight.

First of all I got cut off on Frontage Road by a Vespa with a death wish - no directionals, no brake light, just major Massholitude. Seriously who rides a scooter like that? Suicide by scooter is what that is.

Then coming down A Street the car in front of me suddenly veered sharply to the left in order to swing wide to the right and pull a u-turn. Good thing the Champagne Supernova stops on a quarter.

And on Washington Street some bozo in a massive testostertruck came bombing down the bus lane and nearly smashed into the car in front of me when he realized that he need to take a left on Mass Ave and not a right and had about 7 feet to do that. I really thought that the car in front of me was toast. It was all screeching tires and sharply swervy driving.

Blech. I can't wait until un-retrograde.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Wait. What?

Apparently I totally missed the news on Friday, and most of this weekend, because I just now found out that OJ Simpson was found guilty on a total of 12 charges that included armed robbery and kidnapping.


I am surprised that he is going to jail. I fall into the category of people who think he probably killed Nicole Brown and when he was acquitted I will admit that I was sort of surprised. Only because it seemed to be a crime of passion and they seemed to have had a pretty passionate relationship and love makes people crazy and, well, we all know how that ends. Although I think there is something a little plain old crazy about OJ. Perhaps from the football, or the Naked Gun movies, or from all the models...

So when he got off on that I figured he was like one of those people like John "the Teflon Don" Gotti who can get away with that sort of thing.

However I am not so sure on this one.

I think that he is guilty of being a major macho a**hole who stormed the hotel room of a sleazy collectibles dealer trying to get his hands on stuff he considered to be his own personal, private, property.

It is certain that OJ went about getting his property back all the wrong way, and he certainly deserves punishment for what he did, because it was against the law. But now he faces the possibility of life imprisonment. Which seems a little off to me. It seems like he is actually being punished for something he was already tried and acquitted on. Which is wrong.

And now he is going to jail at least until December 5 because of what the AP describes as "a tussle between two dysfunctional middle-aged men." After that he might go to jail for a lifetime.

And while I think he is guilty of murder, there are 12 jurors out there who thought differently and I have to respect their decision, no matter how much I disagree with it.

Which is why I hope that the judge in this case hands down a reasonable sentence for the crimes that OJ was convicted on. And not on the crime he got away with.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Whoo hoo Thanksgiving!

I want all Shamrag readers (yeah, all 7 of you) to go over to UniversalHub and vote on a poll.

On this poll: click here

Honestly, and technically, Thanksgiving COMES FIRST. How weird would it be if shops started shoving Valentine's Day down our throats in December?

Pretty weird.

Although this year I predict Thanksgiving is going to be big. No one has any money, it's too expensive to travel, and you don't have to buy anyone any gifts. Much more fun to stay home, stuff yourself with turkey, and watch a little football. Or what have you.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Say buddy, can you spare a stamp?

Hello lovely readers of Shamrag - I need a stamp from all of you!

What I need you to do is to stick the stamp on an envelope, put a get well card in the envelope, and mail the card & stamp to my neighbor Mrs. T.

Poor Mrs. T had a nasty fall in her house this past weekend, resulting in a badly bruised shoulder and a gash in her head requiring stitches.

As of last night she was feeling quite banged up, but otherwise in ok spirits. However the thing she said to me was that while she felt ok, she was terribly lonely.

And that, my friend, broke my heart.

As you may know from previous posts, Mrs. T lost her husband of fifty years last year. Since then she has struggled mightily with the loss. They used to do everything together and so I think that when she fell, and there was no one there to help her up again, it both scared her and totally reminded her of her loss.

SO, all I ask is that you send her a get well card, or a thinking of you card, or even a post card. You have NO idea how happy that would make her.

Not only that, but you don't have to sign it or explain why or anything. Just an anonymous note to let her know that she is not so totally alone in the world. Just email me for the address.

Plus, not that I don't already, but I will definitely love you more for it. 42 cents more.