Thursday, August 30, 2007

Take that, skinny people!

"For all those people out in Somerville complaining against fat people, you are just jealous. Fat people are hard to kidnap."

(Read in my local paper today, The Somerville Journal, in a section dedicated to transcribing the voice mail rants of local residents.)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Department of Mysteries Part 1

As I drove down Route 2 from Arlington to Cambridge tonight, en route back to Somerville from Trader Joe's, I was met with the sight of a small group of people standing on an overpass, holding unreadable poster board signs and waving rainbow flags. I sped by at 60 miles per hour and wondered to myself, "What kind of statement was THAT?"

Who decides to call up a group of friends, or maybe use a service like Meetup, to encourage a group of people to gather on a bridge to hold homemade signs and wave at cars? And who is sitting at home when they get that call and says, "Yeah. That sounds like a good idea. I just happen to have some poster board here. I'll be right over."

What change were they trying to encourage? What solidarity were they trying to build? What point were they trying to make? I just don't understand.


This brings me to another uniquely Massachusetts (New England maybe?) gig that I have never understood. People standing in groups on street corners and outside of subway stops holding signs for their candidates. How is this supposed to make me want to vote for anyone? Maybe it is supposed to inspire the following inner dialogue: "Oh, that candidate has a really attractive man holding a sign. He must be the candidate for beautiful people. I'm a beautiful person, so I'll vote for him!"

When I first moved to Boston, I actually did this for a Latina who was running for Mayor back in 1993. I thought it would be a good way to meet like-minded people. It was the dumbest, most isolating thing I've ever done. After calling the campaign office to volunteer, I was invited to join a group of people on a street corner somewhere in Boston (I don't remember where). When I arrived, I was given a sign to hold. That's it. No introductions to the people, no instructions on what to do or not to when interacting with drivers and passers-by, nothing. And then I stood there. Shy. Not talking to anyone. The other groupies who were also there largely talked to the other people they knew. And no one talked to the people on the street who we were allegedly trying to reach with our "Vote for Rosaria" message.

I have a friend whose husband is running for City Council in Cambridge. I think I'll ask her for her opinion on this curious practice.

Monday, August 27, 2007


Two adolescent boys sitting in the stands at the Pawtucket Red Sox game last Tuesday. I sure wish I had heard the preamble that led to this:

"So, you said you've been getting panic attacks? What is that like? Is it, like, right before you go to sleep?"

"Nah, it happens right before I have to go to (football) practice. I can't explain, it is too complicated."

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Is there anyone out there in the Blogosphere who is selfish in her/his use of time? Is there anyone out there who can teach me to put ME first - more consistently than I do? Please? I don't even begin to understand how or why dropping my car to get fixed this morning is stressing me out so much.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Anti-Anti Defamation League

The Boston Globe is reporting today on a controversy involving the well-respected Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Apparently, the Armenian community in the United States is angry that the ADL refuses to acknowledge mass killings near the turn of the last century as a genocide. As reported in the paper, ADL Executive Director, when asked if the killings were genocide, replied "I don't know."

I actually respect that response. This is a highly charged geopolitical topic. And I get the argument that vacillating does enormous harm. I understand what is happening in Darfur is terrible and horrifying. BUT, this issue is about a horrible thing that happened almost 100 years ago. It isn't happening right now. Armenian lives aren't at risk while leaders have intellectual and cowardly debates about the definition of genocide. And I think it is unreasonable for the Armenian community to organize against the ADL's meaningful No Place for Hate program because of the organization's ambivalence. Calling a "I don't know" response "Genocide denial" puts the issue in a black/white realm, when it really is shades of gray.

Who defines what a genocide is? Every one of the entries at call it "The systematic and planned extermination of an entire national, racial, political, or ethnic group." But, what makes something an "official" genocide worthy of coordinated intervention? And, what are the sociopolitical and economic implications of calling something merely "mass killings" when someone else wants to call it "genocide?" What about the sociopolitical and economic implications of the "mass killing" versus "genocide" discussion on something that happened over a 15-year period almost 100 years ago? This is the nuanced conversation I'd like to see reported.

Want to read the story yourself? Visit this link.


Huckleberry is the name of my cat. Shelley is the name of my turtle. And Gobbler is the name of my dog, an adorable black pug.

Okay. I don't have a cat. Or a turtle. Or an adorable black pug.

But I DO love picking out pet names. This hasn't always been the case. I got ownership of my first cat when I was around 4 years old. Handicapped by the pressure to pick the "right" name, the cat became affectionately known as "Blankety-Blank." My next cat, a white bruiser, was named "Coconut." Cute, right? I was probably around 7. (I got a new cat after I discovered Blankety-Blank's rotting carcass in the bushes at the home of one of our neighbors; he had clearly been hit by a car, or maybe mauled by Sasquatch.)

I think the seeds of my affection for clever and ironic pet names can be traced to my dad. While my people were primarily cat people (with a rotating cast of hamsters, guinea pigs and bunnies), my dad once brought home a three-legged dog he found by the side of the road. We called it "Tripod." A dog we got while on a camping vacation was named "Wimpy" because it cried whenever I locked it inside the family tent. And, my childhood best friend's brother's friend once had a dog named "Deeohgee" (say it aloud -- you'll get it.)

BMG and I are getting a kitten, and he will be named "Huckleberry." I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


My sister, E, and I spent a summer working at a YMCA camp in Penn Yan, NY. On a night off, we drove to an area summer concert venue for a Peter, Paul and Mary concert. We had lawn seats, and picked up KFC for our dinner picnic. (This was no Tanglewood!) When we settled into our lawn seats, we realized we had not been given plastic sporks* with which to eat our mashed potatoes and cole slaw.

Hmmm. What to do?

We ate the mashed potatoes using drumstick bones as utensils.


*For a brief history on sporks, which BMG claims were invented by KFC (not true, although they did popularize them), visit this link.

A love note

My darling blog,

We have been apart for nearly three weeks now and I miss you desperately. Since we've been apart I have struggled to stay grounded. Our relationship helps me remember who I am and what is important to me. You encourage me to stop and breathe. When we are together, I stop to consider what has happened to me during the day, and to set goals and intentions for the type of life, day, hour I want to have. When I rant about the news, I get in touch with feelings I normally consider taboo. Remember when I expressed my sadness about my niece's cerebral palsy? Being able to say I'm angry or sad helps me be a whole person.

Clearly the time between us reveals that I am not dependent on you, Dear Blog. But I miss you. I want you to be more a part of me and my routine. I pledge my connection with you will be stronger. I hope you will be patient with me as a I work through the issues that have created this distance, so we can be together forever.