Archive for August, 2004

A Tale of Two Babies

My wife gave birth to our first child Sunday at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. What a great institution. The nurses were smart, empathetic, and good-humored. Our obstetrician was the best, most mindful physician I’ve ever met, Dr. Tracy Zinner. Simply outstanding.
This woman was admitted a few hours after our daughter was born. The local news jumped all over the Brigham adminisitration for sending her home, but I’m not sure what they should have done differently. She wasn’t having contractions. They sent her home until she started steady contractions. Instead, several hours later, she gave birth on her bathroom floor at home. Every pregnant woman’s nightmare, but not exactly the hospital’s fault.

2004 Boston Film Festival: Sept. 10-19

Though the summer blockbuster season is coming to a close and the Fall glut of Oscar contenders is still a few months off, moviegoers in the Hub still have something to be excited about: the 20th Annual Boston Film Festival is just two weeks away.
Last year’s incarnation featured the debut of Ridley Scott’s excellent Matchstick Men, starring Nicholas Cage, Sam Rockwell, and Allison Lohman and writer/director Tim McCanlies Secondhand Lions, with Michael Caine, Robert Duvall, and Haley Joel Osment.
Though the official schedule has yet to be announced, a press release on the festival’s official site details what are sure to be some of the highlights of the week-long celebration of film:

This year’s selection of films includes “The Woodsman” (USA) directed by Nicole Kassell and starring Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick and Benjamin Bratt, “Being Julia” directed by Academy Award winner Istvan Szabo(Mephisto) and starring Annette Bening and Jeremy Irons, “Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession”(USA) directed by Xan Cassavetes. “Overnight” directed by Mark Brian Smith, “Dear Frankie”(U.K.) directed by Shona Auerbach, “Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst”(USA) directed by Robert Stone, “Silver City”(USA) directed by John Sayles and starring Richard Dreyfuss, Chris Cooper and Daryl Hannah, “Bright Young Things”(U.K.) directed by Stephen Fry, “September Tapes” directed by Christian Johnston, the 2004 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize winner “Primer” directed by Shane Carruth as well as the 2004 Sundance Documentary Audience Award winner “Born Into Brothels” directed by Zana Briski and Ross Kaufman.

As with last year’s festival, the films will be screened at the Boston Common and Copley Place theaters. In past years, tickets have been available at the theaters and via Fandango about a week ahead of time.

Self assembled furniture for everyone!

IKEA finally (as of July 28th) opened in New Haven, CT. Only 2.5 hours away!
Who’s up for a road trip? I think we need a U-Haul.

What is the point…

of this article?
Seriously? An article in the NY Times Sunday magazine about…. what? That the Red Sox have a fan base so completely devoted to our team that even when we hate them, we love them? That such love and devotion and hope has come with very memorable, even storied, moments of utter agony? That we have constant dialogue about our Sox, to the point that even while our newly beloved Pats were on their way to 15 straight, we as a sports region were very caught up in the trade-that-wasn’t? None of what he writes is new, nor is any of it really timely – especially coming at the tail end of a week where the Sox have cut the Yankees’ lead in the AL East in half, and even Eric Wilbur is becoming a late-season optimist.

Begging For Change On The Streets

Boston City Councilor Maureen Feeney is making a push to limit street soliciting, according to today’s Globe:

Feeney said she would like to institute regulations similar to those in Chicago. Charitable organizations there have to apply for permits to solicit funds, and they have to specify dates and intersections.
”I know for a lot of groups they really do need to solicit,” Feeney said. ”But there should be some mechanism in place to know whether solicitors are representing real organizations or whether it’s just a couple of kids with cans.”

This is an excellent idea, and one that is long overdue. In fact, I’d like to see it extended beyond the streets and on to the sidewalks. Panhandlers are a fact of life in any big city, including Boston, and true charities should almost never be limited in where and how they can solicit donations.
But few things get to me more than seeing groups of kids running around begging strangers for donations to their track or swim team. Haven’t they ever heard of booster clubs?
When I was in school, we had fundraisers to support our extracurricular activities. If we needed new uniforms or equipment or funds to travel to a regional tournament, we’d suck it up and go door-to-door, selling candy, or wrapping paper, or even fresh fruit. It was hard work, but it was honest and we never failed to raise enough money. I don’t think I could have imagined standing on a street corner begging passersby for change.
Feeney definitely has the right idea. Putting limitations on soliciting is the first step toward moving these poor kids into true fundraising, and away from begging.

Mmm… tasty

Saturday night, my boyfriend and I celebrated our anniversary at Fiore in the North End, which we picked solely because it had valet parking, and Saturday, if you remember, it was raining in monsoon-like proportions, and we didn’t want to have to search for parking and get totally soaked.
It was pricey (valet was $20 to begin with…) but it was tasty. Our waitress was fantastic and the food was absolutely delicious. We split a buffalo mozzarella salad for an appetizer, and then I got this seafood dish whose name escapes me that consisted of clams, mussels, calamari, shrimp and lobster tail in a delicious tomato sauce, and my boyfriend had steak with those big mushrooms… Uh… The name is totally on the tip of my tongue. Starts with a P? And then for dessert I had tiaramisu and he had this sherberty thing. Sorry I can’t be more specific but we had finished the bottle of wine by then, and well… I’m a lush. Heh.
250 Hanover Street
Boston, MA
P: 617-371-1176
F: 617-371-1129
Dinner: Monday thru Saturday 4:00 – 11:00pm | Sunday 12:00 – 11:00 pm
Lunch: Saturday 11:30am – 4:00pm
Late Night Bar Menu: Wednesday thru Saturday 10:00pm – 12:30am

More layoffs in our economy

So I will re-enter the world of the employed on September first. For this I am pleased. Two and one half months almost exactly between lay off and accepting an offer. I am pleased with my offer and the company and I look forward to this new experience. With all the talk of the decline of the quality of jobs in the US, to come away with an increase in salary is exhilerating for me.
However, the news isn’t good for Boston as a whole. There are tons of layoffs and lost jobs with the Big Dig slowing down and the Fleet/Bank of America fiasco.
I know what being laid off feels like. I know what the job hunt looks like.. especially here in Boston. It aint pretty folks.. there is hope out there. Chins up folks! Treat your job search like a full time job and you’ll get somewhere. I am living proof that persistance pays off.

Charter Schools: Shoe on other foot

Last night, the first hour of WBUR’s On Point program was a discussion of the recently-uncovered report on charter school performance. Apparently, fourth-graders at charter schools across the US are, on average, testing poorly compared to those in regular public schools. The charter school proponents on the show, and those calling in, made all of the same arguments public school teachers have made when attacked by the charter school and “school choice” zealots in the past:

  • Each school serves unique needs.
  • Test scores don’t capture the full picture
  • We don’t have enough money.

As the poet wrote:
You used to ride on the chrome horse with your diplomat
Who carried on his shoulders a Siamese cat.
Ain’t it hard when you discover that
He really wasn’t where it’s at
After he took from you everything he could steal.
How does it feel?

Just exactly how rockstar do you have to be …

to get to change their logo for you?

I guess about as rockstar as Prince. That’s just freakin cool. Sadly, I don’t have any tickets to see him this week :(

“Where Do I Go To Get My Name Back” or “Killing the Messenger” — Which Is It?

From today’s AP Story:

The state Department of Education has found no evidence that a Boston principal encouraged fourth-graders to cheat on a statewide exam, her lawyer confirmed.
The state investigation supports the findings of Boston Public Schools, which has reinstated Antoinette Brady as principal of the Eliot Elementary School in the city’s North End.

In letters to state officials in May, fourth-grade students claimed that Brady told them to change their answers.
The students’ teacher, Jennifer P. Day, had them write the letters after they allegedly told her Brady had suggested they change their answers. The teacher then sent the letters to the state, and the investigation began during the final week of the school year.

Day, who was not rehired for the fall, said she feels bad for the students.
“I wouldn’t want to be a kid in that school,” she said. “They told their version of the events, and the district didn’t believe it.”

So either Day, now looking for work, is a nutty liar who convinced fourth graders to try to get the principal fired… or she is a whistleblower who got fired for bringing attention to a principal trying to game the system. Sheesh. Either way, a bunch of nine-year-olds are in the middle.

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