luscious_purple: Boston STRONG! (Boston Strong)
And now, everyone who was born in a year beginning with 18 is dead. Since today is the day after what would have been my grandmother's 127th birthday, it seems appropriate somehow.

Today is also the fourth anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, right around the corner, practically, from the building where I rented a room in an apartment during the summer of 1979. I have the Netflix DVD of the Mark Wahlberg movie at home, but I don't think it's going to get watched this weekend, not with the new Doctor Who episode tonight.
luscious_purple: The middle class is too big to fail! (middle class)
So, I voted. It was about five minutes before the polls closed, but I got there to cast my ballot for the municipal election. We have city council elections in the odd-numbered years; the school board and county posts happen in even-numbered "midterm election" years.

Usually the actual vote takes about 90 seconds, and then some volunteer makes you sit at a table and fill out a really long questionnaire about "community issues" that takes 15 minutes. Fortunately, my precinct was out of copies of that form, so I didn't have to slog through that particular chore.

Since moving here 16 years ago, I've voted in most of the city elections. I didn't vote when I first got here in 1999 because I'd literally been here only two months and was still completely uninformed. Also, there was one year when my early-evening dental appointment ran overtime and I couldn't get to the polls in time.

Still, I take my franchise seriously. I read the candidates' biographies and Q&As in the local paper. I voted for a mix of incumbents and challengers, but in the end the incumbents won (it was a race of 11 candidates running for seven council seats). Ah, well. Turnout was pretty pathetic as usual for a city contest, but next year, when the White House is on the line, the crowds will be overwhelming. I don't see why other people don't exercise their right to vote every year, but, hey, I did my time writing get-out-the-vote editorials for small-town newspapers back in the '80s. I did what I could do in the pre-Internet era.

Anyhow. In other election news, my friend Leslie was just voted in as a school board member in the New Jersey town where she lives. Congratulations to her! Up in Massachusetts, my hometown's Republican mayor was reelected, and my mother's hometown got a new mayor, a guy I once met at my cousin Steve's house (his wife and the mayor-elect's wife are longtime friends).

And so we move on to the Big Enchilada. I am so disgusted with the GOP's hatred of Barack Obama that I never plan to vote for a Republican again. There have been a few times in past years when I have voted for a moderate Republican -- when I lived in Connie Morella's district and I wanted to reward her for voting against Bill Clinton's impeachment, when John Silber was running for Massachusetts governor and I couldn't in good conscience inflict him on the rest of the state, and once when the Democratic candidate for state rep or state senator was anti-choice. However, now that the party has moved SO far to the right, I can't envision a similar scenario occurring ever again. To all the people who say "Vote the person, not the party," I respond: If you consciously choose to associate yourself with assholes, what does that say about YOU?
luscious_purple: Boston STRONG! (Boston Strong)
Did you see that Super Bowl victory??? A whole decade later than the last one, but hey, I'll take it!

The boy toy and I stayed home, and he made cepelinai because today was "World Zep Day." Basically such things are big, meat-filled potato "zeppelins." It worked for me.

And now I need to focus on getting my freelance article done despite all the other recent distractions.....
luscious_purple: Boston STRONG! (Boston Strong)
I guess I shouldn't complain that LJ doesn't have much content on it if I don't contribute some of that content, eh? Ah, well, here are some ramblings.

Last Friday night was Halloween, and here at my humble condo we had one trick-or-treater. ONE. Maybe next year, when Oct. 31 falls on a Saturday, the boy toy and I should just go out somewhere and not bother with the candy thing. I mean, I *want* to give out candy as payback for all the candy I got as a kid (not to mention all the Girl Scout cookies, magazine subscriptions, and high-school musical tickets that I peddled door to door). But, hey, if the world doesn't want to accept my karma....

Earlier this week I was shocked to learn that the older of the two "Car Talk" guys died. The boss I had at the job in the mid-1990s hated to drive in DC but loved to listen to "Car Talk." (He was one of my better bosses over the years. When I returned to DC after my mother died, he and his wife picked me up at National Airport and drove me to their apartment for dinner, and then drove me home.)

And now I'm getting tired, so I will just list some links about Tom Magliozzi and also about former Boston Mayor Tom Menino, who was apparently quite beloved.

http://www.npr.org/2014/11/03/357428287/tom-magliozzi-popular-co-host-of-nprs-car-talk-dies-at-77

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/06/08/154576808/car-talk-guys-are-retiring-but-their-best-stuff-will-be-rebroadcast (from two years earlier)

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/11/03/361190483/fans-and-colleagues-remember-car-talk-host-tom-magliozzi

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/2014/10/31/menino-last-tour-boston-funeral-procession-route-announced/uoYR65HKQsuB6eZPA3DNYK/story.html

http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2014/10/30/tom-menino-heart-extended-lgbt-community/FjJ3aLYvw4CFmAXDWl8wJM/story.html

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/10/30/thomas-menino-boston-longest-serving-mayor-has-died-age/zAuWXQ4ccPJSv7uuW0kcDK/story.html

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/2014/10/30/kid-from-hyde-park-tom-menino-campaign-for-boston-city-council/oH3g8CRtYP7Sznv5d5IcVO/story.html (I need to finish watching this 30-year-old documentary preserved on YouTube!)

One more death: the guy who invented Corning Ware.

As far as the midterm election goes ... the less said, the better. Disgust, anger and worry are all among the emotions I've felt following the results. After I voted Tuesday morning, the boy toy and I drove out to Antietam National Battlefield for the afternoon. He had never seen Antietam, I hadn't been there since 1996, the weather was gorgeous, and it seemed far more meaningful than listening to the chattering class all day long.
luscious_purple: Boston STRONG! (Boston Strong)
Relive it here. And here.

Can't believe it's been 10 years since that fully-eclipsed-moon magical night when the Red Sox finally won the World Series.
luscious_purple: Boston STRONG! (Boston Strong)
Game 1 of the World Series is in the books and it is a SOX VICTORY!!! Boy, those Cardinals need to learn how to catch a ball. This ain't high school, gentlemen!!

Now, I am just finishing off my second bottle of Sam Adams Octoberfest tonight, but I must say, this is one weird (NSFW) music video about Massachusetts by some Norwegian group. Now, that's NOT Boston City Hall, people don't refer to "the Massachusetts" and "the Suffolk County," and the "perfect harmony" bit certainly glosses over the whole Boston busing crisis. And where the hell did they find Pingryville? Even I had to look that one up!
luscious_purple: Julia, the Maine Coon Cat (Julia)
The boy toy and I got home around 7 o'clock last night. Yes, it was a night for dance/music practice, but once I got past the threshold I did NOT want to cross it again. I drove a total of 1,172 miles in five days! Thus, I felt a powerful, overwhelming urge to be stationary for a while.

I know that it's a stereotype that cats shun their owners when the people come home from an extended trip. However, Julia ran to greet us at the door and let out a stream of vocalizations that could only mean in kitty language, "Where have you BEEN all this time? I *missed* you SO MUCH!" She came up to both of us for skritches and petting. When I flopped down on the bed and extended my right arm to stretch it out, Julia laid her body against my arm with her head perfectly positioned next to my hand for the neck skritching. Awwww....

Anyhow, we had mostly fabulous weather. One brief cloudburst in New Jersey on the way up, a few sprinkles in the morning on the way back ... otherwise, it was GORGEOUS weather: bright, sunny, ideal temperature, low humidity, nearly cloudless skies ... to me, that was EXACTLY how summer SHOULD be!! Gosh, I miss New England summers!!!

I will write more later, but I just wanted to drive home the point that one of New England's major supermarket chains and one of the supermarket companies here in the DMV (the new slang for DC/MD/VA) are EXACTLY the same:

luscious_purple: Paint Branch UU Chalice (Paint Branch Chalice)
... when I was reminded why the windows in the future educational center in the Very Prestigious Institution (the project that I am working on for the V.P.I.) are blast-proof. Something about high-value targets across the street and all that. Especially high-value on April 15 every year.

Seriously, I am still heartbroken over yesterday's Boston Marathon bombings. Despite 20 years in the Maryland suburbs of DC, I still consider myself a Massachusetts person who happens to be living down here. If you know me in person, you have probably noticed that I tend to get prickly when somebody disses the Bay State in my presence.

So, even though the cynic in me wants to say "gee, every night in American cities at least three people die in drive-by shootings and that does NOT make huge banner headlines," I grieve for the dead and injured and have nothing but disgust for the coward(s) who planted the bombs and (presumably) took off before they exploded.

I still lack Internet at home, so I have to get out of here for the evening, but here are links to a couple of wonderful essays about the deep affection for Marathon Mondays: Dan Kennedy and E.J. Dionne. I too remember standing in Kenmore Square or along Brookline Avenue to cheer on the runners -- first the elite, then the average Joes and Janes who flocked (or staggered) by a couple of hours later. (One summer I also sublet a room in an apartment about a block from the second blast site. Crappy building back then, but tony location.)

Last night after dance/music practice I had mixed feelings while watching CNN: I was proud to see photos from my favorite college newspaper shared on the news network, but saddened at the occasion that brought it about.
luscious_purple: The middle class is too big to fail! (middle class)
Yesterday the boy toy and I went out for a celebratory brunch at Denny's, and later in the afternoon I ended up taking a short nap.

(OK, so it was part celebratory and partly because the boy toy wanted to try out the "Hobbit" menu. We both recommend the pumpkin pancakes.)

Seriously, I know that I haven't been commenting much about politics in this election cycle. Someone in my precarious financial situation is bound to be more focused on survival than someone who's observing from a more comfortable, stable spot. I think that comes straight out of something I learned in Psychology 101 or one of those other nearly forgotten "core courses" in college.

A few interesting links I've been reading over the last couple of days, some thanks to [personal profile] twistedchick and others I found on my own:

http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2012/11/why-republican-party-needs-ditch-happy-meal-conservatism-if-they-want-win

http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/sarahposner/6593/the_great_religious_realignment

http://www.religiondispatches.org/books/sexandgender/6452/preaching_to_the_%E2%80%98moveable_middle%E2%80%99%3A_bishop_gene_robinson_on_marriage_equality_and_the_election

http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/joannabrooks/6594/the_speech_mitt_romney_never_gave

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-burnett/top-ten-reasons-romney-lost_b_2087664.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/decision2012/republicans-face-murky-political-future-in-increasingly-diverse-us/2012/11/07/3b71e4f2-28e7-11e2-96b6-8e6a7524553f_story.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/post/gay-marriage-republicans-should-move-on/2012/11/07/5eaf988c-28ed-11e2-96b6-8e6a7524553f_blog.html

(If any of these links don't survive my cutting and pasting, please let me know and I'll fix them.)

Bottom line is that, even though I consider myself a liberal Democrat, I would be happy to see the Republicans ditch the wingnuts and become a more diverse, if still conservative, party. I don't think the one-party-only mentality is good for small-d democracy.

Reasonable people can debate the size of government, the priorities of government, how much money should be allocated to various priorities, etc. etc. etc. and hash out their differences and come to a reasonable compromise solution in the best interests of the country. Unreasonable people hurl gigantic flaming buckets of dog poo at their "enemies" (i.e., people who don't think exactly like them) and then expect the enemies to vote for them out of shock and awe.

In my humble opinion, the GOP needs to take the fringe jobs out to the woodpile for a talk (is that the right metaphor?). If the tea partiers are going to be that intransigent, then maybe it's time to make the tea party into a formal Tea Party and get their own ballot spot for their purists. Because most Americans don't share their raging anger.

It's human nature to react negatively to "my way or the highway" thinking. Heck, I react negatively to that no matter who is thinking that. In 1990, when John Silber got the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in Massachusetts, I voted for the moderate Republican candidate, William Weld. I'd seen Silber up close and personal during my BU days, saw his intellectual arrogance, and refused to help inflict his attitude on the general populace.

Will the Republicans go back to the days of (gasp) Reagan and his friendship with Tip O'Neill, or Ted Kennedy's friendship with Orrin Hatch? Probably not if Mitch McConnell (ugh) has his way. Maybe he's afraid of the tea partiers challenging him in the GOP primary in 2014. Sucks to be him, I guess.

Here's one last interesting essay directed to the "right wing fanatics who put party before country, conspiracy before reality, and ideology before science and intellect." If you continue to put party before country, don't expect the country to agree.

Whew...

Nov. 7th, 2012 01:26 am
luscious_purple: Daily News: Mitt Hits the Fan (Mitt hits the fan)
I've been monitoring the election results all night, but I didn't crack open a beer (Sam Adams, of course) until CNN called the election for Obama around 11:18 p.m.

This was the fourth election in my lifetime in which a Massachusetts candidate ran for president as the nominee of a major party. Granted, during the first such election, I was in diapers. In the second and third such elections, I hoped and hoped for another victory so I could savor what my parents had favored, but I got my hopes dashed.

I could not stand Romney, not one bit, but it still felt a bit weird to see "Boston, Massachusetts" up in the corner of the screen while he was giving his brief speech (with his plastic face).

But now that's past, and I am admiring Our 44th President once again. Signed, sealed, delivered, he's ours!

Tonight was great on many fronts. Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts! Tim Kaine in Virginia! Jerks like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock defeated! Marriage equality passes in Maryland and Maine! I feel immensely relieved.

Well done, America.

Now, let's move forward!
luscious_purple: i'm in ur fizx lab, testin ur string therry (string therry)
Not only did Massachusetts have 12 congressional seats during my formative years of 1963-1983, but it had 16 seats at the time both of my parents were born. Sixteen seats!!! And at the same time that Massachusetts had 16 seats, California had only eleven!!!!!

I wonder how the Massachusetts redistricting will play out next year. One observer already has his predictions.

Maryland and Virginia won't be gaining or losing any House seats this time around. The District, of course, doesn't get the dignity of full voting rights in the House.
luscious_purple: Baby blasting milk carton with death-ray vision (death-ray baby)
So it turns out that the state (commonwealth) of my birth is going to lose yet another congressional seat. Damnation. I remember that when I first learned about politics, Massachusetts has 12 seats in the U.S. House. After the next redistricting, it will have only nine, for a decrease of 25 percent in my lifetime. It's not as if the Bay State is any smaller, it's just that other parts of the country are bigger.

I wish the law was that states would have one congresscritter for each 500,000 residents, or something like that. Then we would just increase the number of representatives in the House instead of doing this stupid decennial reshuffling. Comments on that thought experiment are welcome (I certainly don't expect to see such radical change in what's left of my lifetime).

Interestingly, according to the map that goes with the previously mentioned story, the congressional losses and gains are all along the old Northeast/Midwest vs. South/West dynamic ... except for Louisiana, which is losing one seat. The head of the Census Bureau "would not speculate on whether the slow growth rate was related to the 2005 hurricanes," but you can draw your own conclusions.
luscious_purple: OMG WTF BBQ (OMG WTF BBQ)
Some of you who lived in Massachusetts, oh, about 20 years ago might recall a particularly draconian revenue-cutting referendum on the 1990 state election ballot. It was third on the ballot that year. I can't remember the specifics of that proposition, but I do remember the prediction that its enactment would triple UMass tuition -- and remember, I was a second-bachelor's-degree student back then, totally dependent on student loans and a couple of part-time jobs (one good, one shitty).

I was very, very touchy about the subject (and warned my friends to keep a certain loudmouthed libertarian woman from eastern Mass. away from me at NJAC). I was so worried that I wrote to my state representative at the time, who was a conservative Republican, but also a former teacher at my high school (and the father of one of my classmates). He actually phoned me at my mother's house to chat with me in a friendly way, though I don't think either of us changed the other's views.

Opponents of the revenue-slashing came up with a fabulous slogan -- "Question 3: It goes too far." The thing was voted down, UMass tuition didn't triple (although it went up some), I graduated, everything was fine.

Now comes the 2010 version, also named Question 3, proposing to cut the state sales tax by more than half. I don't live in the Bay State anymore, of course, and I don't vote there either. But I still care about UMass, and about the schools and other public services in my hometown, and I fear what will happen to them if this ill-thought-out thing passes.

From afar it's difficult to gauge whether there's an effective oppositional campaign geared up, but in today's climate I'm worried that reason will be drowned out. As Steven Pearlstein was writing today, "Does it taste like fruitcake, yet?"

Random bits

Sep. 5th, 2010 06:05 pm
luscious_purple: i'm in ur fizx lab, testin ur string therry (string therry)
BU student falls to death at hotel. I guess this is why the screens were riveted onto the window frames at Warren Towers (the huge 18-story dorm there).

UMass-Amherst mired in second-tier status -- this is sad, and there is no excuse for it. I did what I could while I was still a Massachusetts resident.

Dammit, the Red Sox were ahead and they STILL managed to lose their third game in a row to the White Sox. *grumble* We're never going to get back into the wild-card race now....

Well, I guess I should go enjoy what's left of another gorgeous afternoon.

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