Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"Soaring at the Midnight Sun" Sarah Palin's goodbye poem

This is just too funny for words. The Sarah Palin farewell speech as read by William Shatner. (You have to sit through an ad first, but it's worth the wait.)

Quiz for people who know everything

This came via email. Not that I needed the lesson (the lesson being I don't know everything...if I know anything, I know that!) but there you have it. And here it is:

These are not trick questions. They are> straight questions with straight answers:

1. Name the one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends.

2. What famous North American landmark is constantly moving backward?

3. Of all vegetables, only two can live to produce on their own for several growing seasons. All other vegetables must be replanted every year. What are the only two perennial vegetables?

4. What fruit has its seeds on the outside?

5. In many liquor stores, you can buy pear brandy, with a real pear inside the bottle. The pear is whole and ripe, and the bottle is genuine; it hasn't been cut in any way. How did the pear get inside the> bottle?

6. Only three words in standard English begin with the letters "dw" and they are all common words. Name two of them.

7. There are 14 punctuation marks in English grammar. Can you name at least half of them?

8. Name the only vegetable or fruit that is never sold frozen, canned, processed, cooked, or in any other form except fresh.

9. Name 6 or more things that you can wear on your feet beginning with the letter "S."


1. The one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends: Boxing

2. North American landmark constantly moving backward. Niagara Falls -- The rim is worn down about two and a half feet each year because of the millions of gallons of water that rush over it every minute.

3. Only two vegetables that can live to produce on their own for several growing seasons: Asparagus and rhubarb.

4. The fruit with its seeds on the outside: Strawberry.

5. How did the pear get inside the brandy bottle? It grew inside the bottle. The bottles are placed over pear buds when they are small, and are wired in place on the tree. The bottle is left in place for the entire growing season. When the pears are ripe, they are snipped off at the stems.

6. Three English words beginning with "dw": Dwarf, dwell and dwindle.

7. Fourteen punctuation marks in English grammar: Period, comma, colon, semicolon, dash, hyphen, apostrophe, question mark, exclamation point, quotation mark, brackets, parenthesis, braces, and ellipses.

8. The only vegetable or fruit never sold frozen, canned, processed, cooked, or in any other form but fresh: Lettuce

9. Six or more things you can wear on your feet beginning with "S": Shoes, socks, sandals, sneakers, slippers, skis, skates, snowshoes, stockings, stilts.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Frenzied Waters

This site is pretty cool. Extremely creepy, but cool. Warning: Don't visit this site if you don't like the idea of seeing yourself in the past tense. But if you can get past that, it's actually pretty clever. It works in conjunction with your Facebook account. Simply go to the site where you'll see this video with four bottles bobbing in the water. If you want a generic sneak preview, click on one of the three to the left. If you want the personalized version, click on "My Story" and follow the prompts to access your Facebook information.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dot-Dash-Dot or was that Dot-Dash-Dash?

Apparently spelling is not all that fundamental, especially if you're doing it in Morse Code.

There is a Pittsburgh landmark, the Grant Building, that since 1929 has used Morse Code on its beacon to spell out Pittsburgh. At least that was what everyone thought. According to Scott Carmichael on Gadling, a travel blog, for 80 years it's been spelling out something else.

No more Rock of Boston

The Rock of Boston is rocking no more. Another local institution is closing its doors, as WBCN is putting away its drum kit and guitars, according to

Truth be told, I haven't listed to 'BCN for quite some time. I migrated over to 'ZLX when the rock music I grew up with became classic rock. But it was the first station I listened to when I arrived on these shores (OK...I came over from Western Mass., but I think you need a visa to travel from Western to Eastern Mass. these days...) in the days of Charles Laquidara and the Big Mattress, and it was years before I changed the dial, following him and the Mishigas madness to 'ZLX.

At the risk of further dating myself, my first true Boston experience was through 'BCN. Shortly after I moved here, John Lennon was killed. I was living in the dorms at Northeastern and a bunch of us joined a candlelight procession from the Commons down Boylston Street to the radio station. It was the moment when I truly bonded with the city that I have called home ever since.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Saying goodbye to the Bay State Banner

The Boston Globe reported today that the Bay State Banner is ceasing publication. As they put it, they are hoping to find investors, so maybe something will happen, but these days that's unlikely.

This is a sad day for Boston. The Banner served an underserved community with grace and dignity. They were a true part of the fabric of the community and will most definitely leave a hole. It's probably safe to say that the Miller family were merely the custodians, the neighborhoods they served were the true owners.

It's also a sad day for me. I wrote some of my favorite articles for the Banner, and learned tons about journalism and Boston, and gained confidence from working with Yawu Miller and Kay Bourne, the editors I worked with at the time.

I remember talking one time to Kay about covering an event. I was concerned that I would be the only white person there and would not be able to interview anyone. First she admonished me for using the term white, "that's a political point of view," she said rather abruptly. Then she reassured me that no one would care: "What they are going to see is your notebook. Once they see you are representing them, they will begin to trust you." And she was right. People saw me not as that crazy white chick infringing on their space, but as the reporter from the Banner. It was a valuable lesson, and one that I never forgot.

Whether I was assigned articles or uncovered the stories myself, they each became a part of me, from the cosmetics entrepreneur who modeled her business plan on Bobbi Brown ("What would Bobbi do?" was her mantra) to the man imprisoned for life for murder seeking to get his sentence commuted.

It was an honor to write for the Banner, and while it doesn't look good, hopefully they will be able to find a way to continue their mission. They will be missed.

Tuesday Quote of the Week

"Chance furnishes me what I need. I am like a man who stumbles along; my foot strikes something. I bend over and it is exactly what I want."
~~James Joyce

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Green Chartreuse

So, I was talking to this woman yesterday who was in town visiting from North Carolina. Not that this is integral to the story, but she was.

She was visiting her son and they were at the bar of the Cottonwood Cafe where he worked (or was a regular and/or where he once worked--I didn't catch exactly what) having predrink drinks, as they put it. He knew the bartender, and I just happened to be there having lunch (just lunch, not prelunch lunch) and dropped in and out of the conversation, which veered every which way, from work to napping to sleeping habits to family.

The talk turned to unusual liquors and how long it took the bar to go through this and that. (If you go there, don't order the Harvey's Bristol Cream--that hasn't been touched in years.) She then told this story about her father: She said when she was young, her father would take her out to dinner periodically and would always order green chartreuse after the meal for the two of them. She said it was awful, and she could never drink it, so he would drink her glass as well. (He knew what he was doing when he ordered it for her!)

After he died, she said, he had had a half a bottle left, so she poured it on his grave. What a touching tribute, I thought, until she added, "No one else was ever going to drink it!"