In the middle of a snowstorm in the Northeast, it’s hard to imagine how it ever made sense for Sister Verna, Sister Lena, and Sister Elizabeth to move from Hawaii to East Syracuse, NY in the 1960s to teach me and my scores of Catholic schoolmates reading, 'riting, 'rithmetic, and 'religion. I know they didn’t have access to all the great data we 21st century humans have at our fingertips about world climate stats or how to lose 50 pounds with this one simple trick, but surely someone explained that a perpetually wet and more often than not cold village in central New York State wasn’t going to be Hawaii.
First of all, if you move anywhere from Hawaii, you’re probably taking a step down. That said, there’s no reason to move to Siberia.
On the other hand, some people really believe in suffering. The Franciscan nuns of my childhood are kindred spirits with triathletes and wrestlers trying to make weight. Denying their basic human desires by taking vows of poverty, chastity and obedience is evidence enough of their willingness to inflict suffering on themselves, so why add being perpetually cold and damp?
You note that when I moved from Syracuse I ended up in Boston, where the weather isn’t much better. True. But if one must live in the cold and rain, it might as well be in a city that has major league baseball. This might explain Richard’s decision to move to New England from Olde Englande (probably not), but even he couldn’t take it any longer and now finds himself in San Diego. On a windswept day in February, that’s a move that seems perfectly sensible.
Xander Bogaerts may be everyone’s favorite Red Sox player, what with his leading the league in hits and ability to speak more languages that several dead popes. Plus, there’s this: Xander admitted, during his 20-plus game hit streak, that if he didn’t get a hit in the first two at-bats he was definitely thinking about it by the third at bat. “That’s refreshing,” Joe Castiglione kept telling us. Is it?
I was there at Fenway on June 3rd when his 26-game streak was about to end. He went down in his first two at-bats, was walked in his third, and got one more opportunity with two men on and two out in the bottom of the ninth. Here was Xander’s chance to be a hero: a home run would tie the game; a single would extend the hitting streak; a walk would load the bases with Big Papi coming up. (Big Papi!) With the count three and one, Xander fouled off a tough pitch that looked, felt, and smelled like ball four. Well, at least it kept his chances at continuing his damnable streak alive.
At this point, the catcher for the Blue Jays called time and went to talk to his pitcher. I wasn’t privy to the “conversate” (as I’ve heard people call it), but I can guess what the catcher said: “This guy wants a hit more than anything, so don’t throw him a strike.” Sure enough, the next pitch was up in Xander’s eyes, and he swung at it anyway, striking out to end the game.
If Christian Vasquez had been on deck, I’d have understood, but it was David Ortiz!
New clubhouse rule: no more hitting streaks, as they tend to interfere with sensible at-bats late in the game.
Back when the sitcom Cheers was the most popular show on TV, we in Boston all knew that it was modeled after a bar called “The Bull and Finch Pub” in the Back Bay neighborhood of our very own city. If you ever went into the Bull and Finch, the first think you’d think is “What the hell! This doesn’t look anything like the bar in Cheers. And where are Norm and Cliff?”
In a fascinating case of uncanny coincidence, there appeared in Boston, around this same time (the 1980s and early 1990s), a new establishment called “three CHEERS bar.” I may have the letter cases not exactly correct and I can’t replicate the font size, but the general idea was to draw your eye toward the word “Cheers,” so that tourists might mistakenly think it was “The Cheers Bar.”
This signage subterfuge was not lost on me. For example, I recently acquired the trademark of “Samuel Addings,” which is also the name of my beer-brewery-to-be. If the stars align properly, I’ll be able to serve my beer to “Gradiate Students” at my own (for-profit) University named “Harfard.”
Usually, when I come into Boston and need to park, I make use of quarters. This has been extremely inconvenient for me. First of all, I don’t get paid in quarters. Sure, back in the 1970s when I was an altar boy serving funerals while people around me wept, I was paid in quarters, but back then you only needed a couple of nickels to park, so the quarters weren’t all that convenient either. Plus I didn’t have a driver’s license.
Well wouldn’t you know it but just the other day I found myself in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston needing to park, and came upon a metered space that loudly advertised that I could pay by phone. In this case I had quarters, but I wanted a more convenient way to pay than by using the coins I had at the tips of my fingers. I decided to download the very convenient ParkBoston phone app, which took only about five minutes longer to install than it would have taken for me to inconveniently reach into my pocket and pull out six quarters.
After spending another 5 or so minutes establishing my user name and password, I paid for my parking right there on my phone, which included a 15 cent “convenience” charge.
The only inconvenient part of the 10 minutes I spent paying for parking is that I now have these six quarters weighing me down.
The New Look, Feel, and Smell
Suddenly, just when you were finally getting comfortable with my website, I go and reorganize information into 3 columns instead of just two, add links to other sites (right hand column, scroll down a bit), and install a tag cloud (just below it) that's claims to be unused. Why?! “The next thing you know he’ll be running ads!” Read On
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Produce This Audio Play!
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