Friday, February 29, 2008

Tarnishing the American dream

Yestereday, the Associated Press (AP) reported that for the first time in history, more than 1 in every 100 American adults is in jail or prison. Statistics show that 1 in 30 men between the ages of 20 - 34 are incarcerated while the figure for black males in that same age group is 1 in 9.

What should one conclude from such figures? For me it is a stark reminder of the socio-economic inequities that exist and the adverse consequences that impact us all. Aside from the financial burden which finally has forced many conservatives to reevaluate this problem, what has been the cost in terms of ruined lives and lost opportunities for individuals and families? When one reads that more than 2.3 million people are in jail or prison and that minorities are so disproportionately affected does this mean that racism abounds? Does this mean that opportunities and chances to participate in the American dream are only accessible if you are white and make a certain amount of money?

I don't have answers, but I believe these issues are symptomatic of larger problems. When more than 2.3 million lives are spent behind bars that impacts millions more (mothers, fathers, sons and daughters, etc). Forgetting about these people will not make the problem go away and does not make America a better place to live. We are free but we are also compassionate - we need to identify ways to make more opportunities available to everyone; we need to reach out beyond our own neighborhoods to build bridges rather than errecting barriers; we need to realize that we are all conncected and while our indvidual fortunes / misfortunes might only affect us and our families - collectively they affect us all.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I want my FNX

Today was my first of three days off before I start my new job on Monday, and I was fairly productive running a bunch of errands. However that meant I spent most of the day in the car. I have been walking to work for nearly 10 years so it was odd for me to hear the voices of DJs I once upon a time listened to every day. I was especially pleased to listen to Julie Kramer. She DJs for 101.7 - WFNX from 10am - 2pm each weekday and during the lunch hour hosts the Left Over Lunch; check out today's line-up it was excellent. This afternoon I drove around a bit just to keep listening to Julie play her magic. I'm still humming the Smith's "Girlfriend in a Coma".

I'm going to have to make it a point to listen to FNX on my PC more often since I don't regularly find myself in a car. I'll have to check out some of the programs I use to like listening to like Loveline and 1 in 10, because this was the perfect therapy for fighting GetMeTheHellOutOfHere Syndrome.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Fighting GetMeTheHellOutOfHere Syndrome has been tempting all of us who suffer from getmethehelloutofhere syndrome with beautiful pictures from Brasil. For those not familiar with getmethehelloutofhere syndrome, it can be best described as a mental health disorder that begins to manifest itself shortly after the holiday season and grows into a full-blown epidemic in New England by early March. Those who suffer from the syndrome will tell you it is part depression, part cabin fever, mixed with an intolerable level of frustration from being cold 24/7. Personally, I blame this epidemic for single handedly causing so many surly faces and making the rest of the country think Bostonians aren't friendly; we are really misunderstood because the medical community refuses to diagnose this horrible condition.

Anyway, kudos to for doing their part to try and help Bostonians think of something other than depressingly low temperatures.

Rio de Janeiro is truly a blessed city with dramatic landscape and actual jungles that creep through a city that rivals New York City in size (actually it is larger than NYC). One of Rio's most famous attractions Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf) also is featured with a series of pictures that showcase the view of many of Rio's beautiful beaches. The image at the top of this entry is of Sergio and me atop Sugar Loaf when we last visited the city in November of 2006. Iguazu Falls on the Brasil / Argentina border has to be one of the largest waterfalls in the world and is an excellent place to visit for a weekend. Niagara Falls is 1/5th the size of Iguazu which boasts a 500' wide mouth and 2,300' drop to create the largest waterfall I've ever seen. When Eleanor Roosevelt visited the site it is noted that she exclaimed, "Poor Niagara!" I would have to agree.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Night out with friends

This Saturday a group of us went to dinner at Masa in the South End. Two very good friends and their wives came down from NH to have a night out on the town. It was so great to catch up with all of them because we really do not see each other with the regularity we would like due to distance, schedules and the fact that we just don't pick up the phone as often as we should.

It was so great to see everyone. The food as is generally the case at Masa was good enough. I had not been to the restaurant in a few years mostly due to similar past experiences but when one of my friends inquired about the place - I thought it worth giving another try. I think everyone enjoyed their meals, but next time I'll speak up and make an alternate suggestion.

After dinner I suggested we grab a drink around the corner at 28 degrees, but due to recent issues regarding overcrowding they were only allowing people in if they had dinner reservations. Too bad, because I think they would have loved it. After some shuffling around we ended up at the lounge in Club Cafe. I found the situation very funny - two of my straight buddies from NH and their wives ended up in the city's largest gay bar, but the seats were comfortable, the liquor free flowing and the location was right.

All told, I had a fantastic night out with them, and I hope we can do it again.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

George Bush Hates Seasame Street

After listening to George Bush speak (or rather try to speak)for nearly 8 years, it is obvious that the man never watched Sesame Street. Phonics and other linguistic basics taught to generations of Americans through educational programs like Sesame Street on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) were either never a priority in the Bush family or were perceived to be only for snobbish Liberals.

President Bush's disdain for Public Broadcasting and any kind of funding for the arts was reaffirmed when he submitted his 2009 budget which drastically cut funding for the seventh year in a row. The Boston Phoenix wrote a scathing review of President Bush and the right wing's hostility to the arts after he submitted his budget which called for "zeroing out" public broadcasting. The irony is that many of these PBS / NEA Haters are supremely patriotic and one would think they would want to recognize our cultural contributions alongside our civil accomplishments. Considering the billions of dollars earmarked for the military the sum of money requested to invest in PBS and NEA to promote educational programming for our youth and fund cultural programs makes his budget cuts seem unpatriotic and mean-spirited.

Click here to contact your senators and representatives and urge them to reject President Bush’s proposed art cuts. They are malicious and need to be stopped.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

An evening at the ballet

To celebrate Valentine's Day which occurred earlier this week, I attended the performance of Boston Ballet's Romeo and Juliet on Friday night. I thoroughly enjoyed dressing for the ballet, sipping champagne in the beautiful foyer of the Wang / Citi Center before the performance and taking my seat to see what turned out to be one of my favorite visits to the ballet.

This was my first visit to the Boston Ballet in about two years, and I think it was my favorite performance to date. I freely admit that I lack the eye and training that some of my more 'cultchad' friends have, but this was not my first ballet, and I can recognize good choreography, costume / set design and execution when I see it.

This was probably my favorite portrayal of William Shakespeare's story. I would have never guessed that I would prefer a ballet's interpretation over a play but the orchestra and elegance of the dancers really made it more romantic and ultimately tragic.

I had two favorite dances - the first occurring in the opening scene of the second act when a troupe of court jesters danced in the middle of town and the second occurring in the third scene of the same number act when nearly a dozen ballerina's danced before Juliet in her bedroom after she had drank the friar's potion to fool her family and avoid marrying Paris.

I lack the eloquence of the Boston Globe review which described the production as, "the whole package - elegant dancing, eye-popping pageantry, and vivid storytelling." However, I could not agree more. I'm excited to return to see another ballet - it is really such a wonderfully special way to spend an evening.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Rock band Boston has more than a feeling about Huckabee

Gay news blog, Towelroad, is reporting that the rock group Boston has ordered Republican Presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee to stop using their song while campaigning.

Initially reported on the D-Listed website, the band is quoted as saying, "Boston has never endorsed a political candidate, and with all due respect, we would not start by endorsing a candidate who is the polar opposite of most everything Boston stands for. In fact, although I'm impressed you learned my bass guitar part on 'More Than a Feeling,' I am an Obama supporter."

I love it!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

New restaurant on the block - banq

Another restaurant just opened on Washington Street in the South End's trendy SOWA District; making it the 4th restaurant to open in a two block radius in the past 6-9 months.

The restaurant's playful name, banq, is no doubt in deference to the building's original tenant the Penny Savings Bank which first opened their doors in 1917. After years of neglect, the building was remodeled and expanded in 2007 to accomodate two commercial spaces (of which banq is one) and 20+ condominiums.

This part of the South End has seen the greatest change in recent years and the location combined with the beautiful architecture of the building made this an obvious target for developers. I have yet to go and try out the place but I'm excited to check it out. Experience has taught me to hold off and wait a few months to ensure the kitchen and wait staff are in sync before I go and try my first meal, but I might check out the bar which looks very appealing just to see what the place is like.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A bittersweet parting

It has been slightly more than a week since I gave my notice. Last week I spent much of my time talking to co-workers who wanted to hear about my new job and to wish me well. It was really an affirming week and made me feel very validated. This week I have spent most of my time transitioning processes and responsibilities to ensure that as problems, tasks, requests (etc) arise my staff is able to manage without me.

I did not anticipate the affect my resignation would have in the office and as a result there has been a lot of work (much more than usual). My notice seems to have forced managers to re-evaluate their priorities, and all week I have been reviewing or commenting on various processes / projects that will occur after my departure. I really don't mind and feel like I have excelled under the increasing pressure.

I have very much appreciated the kind words that my manager and senior staff have shared about my tenure at the firm and the way I have handled myself since resigning. It has truly been a bittersweet week. However, their attention has made me realize how hard I will have to work at my new job to earn the same level of respect I currently enjoy.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Saying Goodbye

Earlier this week I tendered my resignation after I received a job offer from a large, international professional services firm. I have spent nearly four years at The Bostonian Group and enjoyed working with some really great people, but this opportunity was too good to refuse.

As much as I enjoy the people I work with at The Bostonian Group, this opportunity will allow me to join a well-respected international consulting firm and let me contribute to their national healthcare practice. I will be based out of the Boston office but I will be working with a virtual team that works out of several different offices. My first day will be Monday, March 3rd, but after talking to the on-boarding staff it sounds like my first week will be spent going through a fairly extensive orientation process that starts in Boston and continues in Atlanta, so it is unlikely that I will meet anyone from my team until the week of March 10th.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Act Relative to Gun Use No. 2290

It has been brought to my attention that on Tuesday, February 26th, 2008, an Act Relative to Gun Use No.2290 comes before the Senate and House of Representatives in the General Court in the State House Building, Beacon Street at Park Street, Boston. This Act will be presented to ban the use of Assault Rifles.

Everyone who knows me - knows that I am not a fan of the NRA and believe that the fact we even hold a discussion about defending an individual's right to own an assault rifle is borderline immoral let alone bad policy. Unfortunately, I can not attend this meeting, but I have sent off an e-mail to Mr. Al Medeiros and I would like to ask you to consider doing the same. Please consider sending the following e-mail to voice your support of the Act Relative to Gun Use No. 2290. - (attention: Al Medeiros)

Dear Senators and House of Representatives,

I am writing to you today to ask that you ban all Assault Rifles
according to the Act Relative to Gun Use, No. 2290. I cannot be
present on Tuesday, February 26, 2008, at 1:00 p.m., to speak but am sending this email to register my hope that you will take correct action and vote to ban these weapons in Massachusetts to make it safer for us all.

Thank you.
(your name here)

In the event that you can attend this hearing and would like to show your support for banning all assault rifles according to the Act Relative to Gun Use, No. 2290, you can go to the following address:

Beacon Street at Park Street
Room 1A at 1:00 p.m.
Boston, MA

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


After talking to many friends and some serious soul searching I cast my ballot for Barack Obama today in the MA State Primary election. The truth is I'll be happy to support Hillary Clinton if she ultimately gets the party nomination, but the idealism and message of Barack Obama ultimately appealed to me. I disagree with Barack Obama on a number of issues but I can not overlook how inspiring he is and how much Senator Kennedy's support for Senator Obama influenced my decision to trust the junior senator from IL. I'll be up late watching the results pour in and can hardly wait to see how all this plays out tonight.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Super Tuesday Jitters

In all my adult life I can never remember a time when I have been so confliicted about who I would support in a Presidential primary. I think that the problem is that I am so accustomed to voting against a candidate it is almost a novelty to be voting for someone. However, it is the eve of Super Tuesday when voters in 24 states go to the polls (including my state - MA), and I am sitting in my apartment still obsessing about who to vote for.

My head tells me I should vote for Hillary - she is battle-proven and has the experience that I criticized our current President for lacking when he came into office. However, my heart tells me that Obama embodies all that is great in the United States and can not only unite but lead this country as the voice of the next generation.

Tonight the news showed Obama on stage with Senator Kennedy, Senator Kerry and Governor Patrick in MA making a last ditch effort to win the state tomorrow. I am not easily swayed by endorsements, but because I am so conflicted and I respect those three men so much it is hard to erase the image. Either way history will be made with this year's nominee, and I can hardly wait to see how this ultimately plays in the general election.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

F*cking Matt Damon

Both Sarah Silverman and Matt Damon are local celebs who have made a name for themselves in recent years. I am a fan of both Sarah and Matt but I had no idea they knew each other or ever worked together until now. The video is very tongue and cheek and typical Silverman. I think it is a riot and is for obvious reasons getting a lot of hits on YouTube.