Friday, April 13, 2007

Piling on

Really not a whole lot I can add to the whole Don Imus debate, other than that I probably haven't thought about the man that much in more than 10 years.

Did he deserve to be fired? I really don't know, but I know that I don't feel sorry for him at all. What does drive me crazy about this whole debate is the people who try to confuse it with freedom of speech issues and the roles played by Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. Imus has a right to say whatever hateful, racist, misoygnistic things he wants to, just as the private company that signs his paychecks has the right to fire him. As long as the government stays out of the picture, the Constitution, freedom of speech thing doesn't come into play.

Otherwise, I've read a bunch of other articles that articulate some of my thoughts a lot more clearly than I can. You can find them here, here, and here.

There's also a good Ellen Goodman column in the Globe today.

WBZ nightime talk host Paul Sullivan also deserves praise for his recent shows on the Imus subject. Unlike the majority of radio hosts, Sullivan listens to his guests and callers and does his best to inform people rather than spout rhetoric. He uses his everyguy persona well, and is especially effective at being a voice of reason during the discussion of divisive issues, whether it's the Iraq War or the Imus firing.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Battle of the cardboard wills

Yes! I won! Take that, evil recycled-goods picker uppers!

Ever since the baby shower, it has been a battle of the wills between myself and the city's curbside recycling contractor. And this week, they blinked, picking up all the cardboard piled in front of the house with the exception of a single, oversized Graco stroller box, which I will except as one small, final act of defiance in an other wise total victory. And only yesterday morning, as I was lugging the boxes of cardboard out to the curb for the third recycling pickup in a row (recycling is picked up every two weeks), I was convinced that it was all going to end badly. The only conclusion to the contest I could imagine was my running down the street, red-faced, in my bathrobe, pajamas and slippers, dragging smushed up boxfuls of Fisher Price Rainforest Collection bouncy seats, tummy gyms, and swingy things behind me, and tossing the smaller boxes that held rattle, winkles and Glo-worms at the back of the recycling truck.

Me screaming - "For God's sake, have a heart - we're having a baby!" Braveheart-style at the truck while the other workers attempted to slow me down by tossing empty five-gallon Poland Springs jugs at my head.

Luckily, that scene was avoided, although I'm sure it would have been a tremendous hit with Mrs. Nosy Neighbor down the street.

I suppose I should provide a little history and context for my imaginary battle, since, according to Mrs. Endangered Coffee, I brought this upon myself, Don Quixote style, tilting at cardboard windmills. I was told that the city sent us a notice in the mail several months ago explaining the new recycling procedures - the main point being that cardboard would no longer be picked up unless it was neatly broken down and tied together into some sort of two-foot by two-foot square. Around the same time as the receipt of the recycling notice, we had our baby shower. which means we got many, many lovely things, almost all of which came in cardboard boxes.

Recycling week one - I pretended that I had either not heard or completely forgotten about the recycling notice. Huge mounds of boxes stuffed in other boxes - all obviously larger than two-feet by two-feet - dragged to the curb. I cross my fingers and head to work. Come home on my lunch break - trash gone, little blue recycling boxes emptied, huge mound of boxes spilling everywhere on the sidewalk. I kick boxes, shake my fists at the long-gone recycling truck, and drag the boxes to the back of the house.

Recycling week two - I take a slightly neater approach this week, although still refusing to break boxes down to a two-foot by two-foot neatly tied square (what the hell, don't they just crush all of the boxes anyway), I try to package them a little bit neater. Also, there is a very slight chance that I may have left some plastic and other noncardboard type trash peaking out of the top of the boxes during recycling week number one. Leave slightly neater mounds of cardboard boxes on the curb, cross fingers, and head to work. Come home for lunch, and slightly neater than first week pile of boxes are left blocking the sidewalk. I actually take things a little more in stride this week, with no kicking and only moderate cursing.

Recycling week three - Almost give up before I start, and consider backup plan to take cardboard to offstreet site for (legal) disposal. Instead, I decide that I will keep lugging those damn bouncy, swingy, strolly thing boxes out to the curb every two weeks, until BB EC graduates from high school if need be, until they are taken away. I am not normally that competitive, but given a petty and juvenile challenge, I will prove up to the task. So, once again, try to make boxes look a little neater, drag, cross fingers, work, etc., etc. Come home from work, and all the boxes are gone with the exception of the aforementioned stroller box, which, seeing as I have declared total victory, I happily breakdown into a two-foot by two-foot square and put in a recycling bin.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Slowly being pulled into the web

Okay, I'm slightly more interested in the Red Sox season now.

Of course, it helps that today is the home opener.

And the Red Sox are winning something like 37-1.

God, I'm such a homer.

Anyone else have any thoughts on the new radio play-by-play guy? I don't find him too offensive although he does sound like he has what Mrs. E.C. would call the "fake man voice". Also, even though I haven't listend to a lot of innings on the radio yet, I've noticed that he uses "so and so is cartwheeling to the plate" a bit much.

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Friday, April 06, 2007

It's still nothing like really being pregnant

Oh lord. I was going to do a post on how blogging has become my form of nesting over the past few weeks as Mrs. E.C. gets ready to give birth to Baby Boy E.C., but I was thrown all out of sorts when I came across this website.

I did the normal Google image search to find just the right picture for this post, when I came upon the above image. HaHa, I thought, someone else has a sense of humor about this becoming a Dad thing. Then I clicked on the web link, and discovered that the photo of the "empathy belly" was meant to be taken seriously. Further proof that, as openminded as I try to remain, there are all kinds of alternate universes out there that I know nothing about.

So now I know, if I fail as a dad, it will be because I didn't have an empathy belly. In all fairness, I have been doing a decent job of gaining an empathy belly the old-fashioned way - through the heavy consumption of cheeseburgers and marshmallow-filled candy bars.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

The worst highway in America (or at least the North Shore)

Any road with a speed limit over fifty miles per hour should not be a quaint reminder of olden days. Any road with a speed limit over fifty miles per hour should be a well-honed marvel of engineering designed for nothing more or less than getting vehicles from point A to point B as quickly and safely as possible. One such road that meets this criteria is unwieldly sounding conglomeration of Rtes. 95 and 128 running from the South Shore to the North Shore.

Now, it may be a bit tricky to explain to out-of-staters that this highway with two designations is one road for a good stretch of miles, but as long as Rte 128 is piggybacking on that wonderful Interstate of Rte. 95, I have no other complaints.
But once 95 and 128 decide to go their separate ways, 95 sleekly whizzing north toward New Hampshire and 128 lazily winding its way up to Cape Ann, that's when the problems start. You've been driving north along on a three-to-four lane superhighway and suddenly the road splits, with Rte. 128 North merging down to two lanes. Now, on a non-rainy day, traveling in the lefthand lane isn't all that big of a deal, if you can overlook the fact that a highway probably shouldn't have banked curves strasight from Daytona Speedway,but as soon as that first drop of rain falls, you're screwed.
Potholes quickly fill to the depth of Lake Erie with a steady stream of feeder rivers taking up at least half of the lane. For safety's sake, you consider moving over into the righthand lane, where at least the water isn't rising up to your windshield.

But driving in the righthand lane of Rte. 128 is never a good idea. Apparently, whoever designed this road during the Truman adminsitration didn't feel the need for acceleration lanes. Which means that every car traveling in the right lane has to battle merging traffic that has, on average, ten to fifteen feet, to get up to speed. Now, I'm no expert in mechanical physics, but I'm pretty sure that most cars, even really fast red sports cars, need more than ten or fifteen feet to hit 60 miles per hour. There are even some onramps where there isn't even the ghost of an acceleration lane. Nope. There are actually stop signs. Stop signs to get onto a major highway. Nothing like testing your reflexes trying to judge when you can go from a deadstop into speeding traffic.

I have no idea if the state has any plans to turn Rte. 128 into a modern highway, but I have a feeling that if it does, it could be a very long and annoying project. Last summer, MassHighway spent months on a project that caused miles-long back ups during the day for several months as they took down old highway signs and replaced them with virtually indistinguishable new highway signs. I can only imagine what kind of confusion a real construction project would cause.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

Red Sox half-hearted season preview

Dice-K mania, curt's blog, J.D. Drew and Julio Lugo.Honestly, I can't remember the last time I was this unexcited about a Red Sox season.
It's not all that unusual, for the past couple of years, it's taken longer and longer for me to get hooked on the imminent season, although, there is usually some point during spring training, everything will click, and I'll let out a big Ahhhh, Baseball ... sigh.

One of the big things that comes me more and more from giving myself over every year is the constant change of players from year to year. Like Jerry Seinfeld said, you're not rooting for players, you're rooting for laundry. Since Nomar was traded in the middle of 2004, the Sox have been on a seemingly endless quest to sign every ballplayer who has remotely considered playing shortstop. But, whatever, that's the price you pay for being a modern baseball fan.

Then there's the fact that I don't particularly find this year's edition of the Hometown Team very likeable. As opposed to most of the blowhards who call into sports talk radio (another topic for another day), I like Manny, and not just because he's good at hitting a baseball. I'll take Manny and his mid-inning bathroom breaks and Ebay salesmanship anyday over the boring "hard work and dedication" of Jason Varitek. Seriously, if Manny gets traded away this year, David Ortiz is pretty much all that separates me from being a Mets fan.

As for the non-Dominican players on the roster, well, there's Schilling. As Mrs. Endangered Coffee says everytime she sees him on television, "I don't really like that guy", and rather waxing poetic about the bloody sock and how the curse would have never been reversed had he not bravely sallied forth to the mound that fateful October night, I just go "yeah, he's kind of a blowhard". And there's Jonathan Papelbon, the wonderful young closer who could be the next, well, the next Curt Schilling, I guess. And Josh Beckett, who comes across like an older Jonathan Papelbon, or a younger Curt Schilling.

Finally, there's the way the media treat the Red Sox (especially when the Yankees are in town) like they cured cancer and landed on the moon. Which is fine on the sports pages, but when even the local newspapers use the top of the fold on the front page to do man on the street interviews on why the Yankees suck, it gets to be more than just a bit embarrassing.

And still, there is a certain poetry to the game, the green grass on a summer day, the crack of the bat, etc. that will unfailing draw me in. After all, I've been rooting for the same laundry for 30 years. It's probalby too late to stop now.

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