Tuesday, April 28, 2009

And I am happy.


A quick update from my earlier posting at 2:00pm regarding the weather in Boston today... Now it is 5:00pm

And I am wicked happy.

Then there were 59...

Today's surprise announcement from Senate Republican, Arlen Specter, that he is changing his party affiliation brings the number of Democrats in the U.S. Senate to 59. Specter will likely remain a conservative Democrat not necessarily aiding many of Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid's, pet projects, but it remains both a surprise and a blow to the Republican Party.

Today, Sen. Specter said that he did not leave the Republican Party - rather the party had left him. These are sentiments that have been voiced for the past few years by many moderate Republicans and most recently by Sen. John McCain's daughter, Meghan McCain. Perhaps this will serve as a wake-up call for the Republican Party - but I doubt it. Obama's appeal to moderates and the Republican Party's continued embrace of the far right mimics a trend that saw the same thing happen to the Democrats in the 1980s when Specter first came to the U.S. Senate. Then, several high profile (mostly Southern) Democrats switched their party affiliation.

6pm Update:
I am posting an update to my initial entry which is above, because of comments I've since read on the Huffington Post which validate my thoughts.

Sen. Snowe from Maine issued a public statement saying that the news of Specter's departure was devastating. You can read more by linking here.

By contrast Repubican Party Chairman Steele derided Sen. Specter's decision saying he only did this because he would not win the Republican Party Primary in his re-election bid in two years; essentially calling him a RINO - a derogatory term that means, "Republican In Name Only".

Not to be out done, and because all ego maniacs crave the spotlight, Rush Limbaugh made it a point to say good riddance, and then he suggested that Sen. John McCain and his daughter Meghan McCain (see her mentioned above in my initial posting) should also join the Democratic Party. So much for the Republican Party's leadership taking this seriously.

South End rumor, new owners have bought space formerly known as The Dish

There is a rumor that the restaurant space occupied by The Dish until it closed in January of this year, has recently been sold. The Dish was a popular neighborhood restaurant on the corner of Shawmut and Milford Street but it's tiny size probably worked against it during the colder months when their street patio was not available for patrons. I'm hopeful that another eatery will open in its place. Perhaps a delicious sandwich shop or bakery to compliment Formaggio's across the street.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Buh bye cold... hello spring

Signs of spring started to appear in Boston about two weeks ago, and last Friday, April 17th, when Boston cracked 70 degrees for the first time many of the magnolia trees lining Commonwealth Avenue went into full bloom.

However, starting this past Friday, April 24th, when Boston hit 80 degrees the city erupted. Everyone (myself included) has been dining al fresco, joining friends on their roof decks and patios for cocktails and walking around the city just to be outside enjoying the warmth.

Spring has sprung, the non-stop chirping of birds and the trees now covered in leaves have done more to fend off any possible relapse of GetMeTheHellOutOfHere Syndrome until next winter.

Current weather conditions in Boston: 83 degrees and sunny
Tuesday's weather predictions in Boston: highs nearing 90 degrees!

And I am happy.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Flashback Friday: October 20, 2004

The Red Sox and Yankees meet for the first time this season at Fenway Park tonight. To draw some inspiration and to help keep the Red Sox 7-game winning streak alive, I thought I would post this photograph from October 20, 2004 when the Red Sox did the unimaginable and rallied to make the greatest come back in sports history; defeating the NY Yankees in a best of 7 series after dropping the first 3 games and earning their victory on enemy soil.

Good luck Red Sox and happy memories to Red Sox Nation with this flashback.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

113th Boston Marathon this Monday

Marathon fever hit Boston earlier this week and the street's of Boston's BackBay neighborhood are filled with excited runners, visitors and enthusiasts to watch the world's oldest annual marathon. Unfortunately, the good weather we have enjoyed the past few days appears to be on its way out so I'll keep my fingers crossed for the marathoners and the 500,000+ people the city expects to come in and cheer on runners.

Marathon Monday (held each Patriots' Day) is a unique holiday universally celebrated in Boston but little known beyond the city limits. Tomorrow I will not be blogging. Rather I will visit a local bar to watch the Red Sox game which begins at 11:05am before I walk over to Mass. and Comm. Ave. to cheer on those running in the 113th Boston Marathon.

Having lived in Boston for more than a decade, this weekend has a lot of meaning and is a wonderful time to be in the city. I would love to welcome people to come and experience Marathon Monday once in their life. It is a fun and unique experience that illustrates Boston's fierce pride and tradition as well as the city's love for sports and athletes in general.

If you would like to learn more about the 26.2 mile route or the storied history of the world's oldest annual marathon, The Boston Globe has a great spread which includes: an interactive guide that breaks down the course mile by mile, photo galleries and videos as well as a spectators guide. To read more link here.

About the Boston Marathon:
Begun in 1897 and inspired by the success of the first modern-day marathon competition in the 1896 Summer Olympics, the Boston Marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon and ranks as one of the world's most well-known road racing events. It is one of five members of the World Marathon Majors, which also include: London, Berlin, Chicago and New York City.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hitting the gym

It has been nearly a month since my last 'work out' entry. At that point, I had just completed my initial trial pack, and I re-signed for another 10 sessions with my trainer, Stu. I mentioned that my clothes were starting to fit me better, and I noticed subtle changes in my physique. Since then, I have remained fairly faithful working out regularly.
Today Stu focussed on working out my legs and now that I've been out of the gym for several hours I can feel the fatigue. Stu had me run through a series of circuits for 90 minutes that included weights, plyometrics, crunches, suicides and several other exercises that kept me gasping to catch my breathe. I've noticed that as I've gained strength, Stu has increased the intensity of our work outs. I suppose I should look at this as getting more value for my money - after all the workouts now make my introductory sessions seem pretty pathetic. When I think back to some of my earlier entries like "My Aching Muscles", I'm almost embarrassed by how out of shape I had allowed myself to get. To the casual observer I don't think people realized how weak I was both with regards to muscle tone as well as cardio. Fortunately the regular visits to the gym, which started mid-February, have really made a difference.

Zakim Bridge lights go back on tonight

Hooray! The Boston Globe is reporting that after the April 9th announcement by the Massachusetts Turnpike that the Zakim Bridge would no longer be lit at night due to budget cuts, there was a huge public outcry and enough donations have come in to ensure the bridge can and will remain lit at night. The familiar blue lights will reappear starting tonight.

Photo from The Boston Globe and staff photographer, Evan Richman.

What are Values? (part II)

Earlier this week, four significant memos written by the Bush administration between 2002 and 2005 on the interrogation of terror detainees were released. Among the interrogation documents released, was a list of 13 techniques authorized by the Justice Department for use by the C.I.A. on high-level suspects. The NY Times details some of the methods in their article on Friday, "Interrogation memos detail harsh tactics by the CIA". However, the reason I am writing this entry is not to dwell on techniques approved by the Bush administration and applied to unsavory characters, but to revisit a blog entry I wrote in November 2007, "What are Values?".

I know that many Americans have no problem with the thought of the U.S. torturing individuals or using any necessary means to secure the greater good for the public. Although I think I can make a strong argument that torturing people is not an effective way to get reliable information, I wanted to respond to the news of these memos for a different reason. When I think of men torturing people, I conjure up images of communist Russia and China or rogue nations like Chad, Syria and Iran - these are places where liberty is unknown. For reasons rooted in our Judeo-Christian culture and our founding political ideals (the very things that make us such a unique and special country) I can not imagine an America that would engage in serious dialog about ‘acceptable torture techniques'.

There should be nothing acceptable about torture. Are we a nation that hold our ideals true or do we only speak of these values (i.e. sanctity of life, rights of all individuals, etc…) when we are correcting our children or in our respective houses of worship? I expect our country to walk the talk and lead by example – not footnote exceptions for torturing individuals when our very ideals become inconvenient. I can not reconcile the image of a United States that condones torture with the image of my country when we are at our best. Martin Luther King appealed to the better side of Man in his "I have a dream" speech. I have chosen this excerpt which I think better expresses my fears and hopes for a better America.

“In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”
Martin Luther King – I Have a Dream, 1963

Thursday, April 16, 2009

April 17th - Day of Silence


Friday - April 17th is The National Day of Silence. The purpose of this day is to bring attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment, and I have decided to participate in my own way.

On Friday, I will not post on my blog, answer personal e-mails or log on to twitter. I understand that many people might not understand the point of this day. However, to those who would read my blog and feel that way all I can say is that I identify with this issue on a very personal level that I would rather not discuss in such a public forum. And if this is how this movement wants to draw attention to this problem then I want to show my support.

Want to learn more? Link here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Susan Boyle - Britain's Got Talent

Few have the looks of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt but it does not stop people from making snap judgements on an individual's ability based on how they present themselves.

Check out Susan Boyle, a contestant from Britain's Got Talent. Susan's rather homely presentation belies a voice that belts out Les Miserables "I dreamed a dream" like a pro - amazing. Check out the video by linking here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Alvin Ailey Dance Theater

Every year the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater comes to Boston for one week of breathtaking performances and each year I purchase my tickets to see one of the performances. This year I am going to see the show on Thursday, April 30th and I can hardly wait. If you've never seen the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, do a search on YouTube or Google Videos. I think even on the small screen the music and dance will capture your imagination.

If you've never been - consider spending some of your hard earned cash to come down and see the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater at the Boston Opera House. Tickets can be purchased online here.

About Alvin Ailey:
Alvin Ailey was an African-American choreographer who founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York. Ailey's career as one of the nation's most prominent choreographer's was cut short when he died from AIDS in 1989. His choreographic masterpiece Revelations is believed to be the best-known and most often seen modern dance performance. You can see this beautiful dance if you link here.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Willie Wanker and the Hershey Highway

Ryan Landry has been cranking out one parody after another and his latest creation, Willie Wanker and the Hershey Highway, will open April 24th and run through May 24th. You can buy tickets online here.

The twisted take on the Ronald Dahl classic, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" is sure to be filled with witty and sarcastic dialog. You can read more about the show, the cast, and the Gold Dust Orphans by linking to their homepage here. If you've never been to a Ryan Landry show or if it has been awhile - check it out and stop by the Ramrod Center for Performing Arts for a show. All performances start at 8pm.

Flashback Friday: Boston Red Sox

As I mentioned late last week in my entry, Fenway Park, the Boston Red Sox and the team's ballpark, Fenway, symbolically represent the very heart of Boston.

With the 2009 season starting this week it seemed only appropriate to flashback to an earlier era in Red Sox history. The photo of Clemens (pre-steroid) in 1983 contrasts with the Red Sox new ace pitcher, Josh Beckett.

It is hard to believe that Clemens joined the Red Sox some 26 years ago, but it is even harder for me to get my head around the fact that Josh Beckett was only 3 years old then.

Good luck Red Sox...

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Lights out for Zakim Bridge

The Boston Globe is reporting that in an effort to save money the MA Turnpike Authority will no longer light the Zakim Bridge at night. I recognize that in tough economic times budgets get tightened, but I think this is terribly sad. The bridge is a symbol of the "new" Boston and is beautiful at night. Read the article from the Boston Globe, here.

Picture is courtesy of The Boston Globe and staff photographer, Evan Richman.

60 and fantastic

It is a beautiful day in Boston... now if the Red Sox could just get a few more hits to come back and beat Tampa Bay in their home opener series to start the 2009 season.

Layers

Sometimes I wonder if residents of Boston are aware that there are alternatives to brick for building materials. Much of this city is built with brick and while the city is beautiful - a little diversity is also greatly appreciated. That is one reason I think I like this photo so much. You can see the top corner of the Louis Boston building in front, New England Life Insurance Building is the greyish building just to the right, followed by the Houghton Mifflin building (a personal favorite) with the decorative rounded top and the distinctive Hancock skyscraper is the last of the "layers" in the picture. It appears as if the photo was taken from the corner of Newbury and Berkeley Street looking south. The photograph is from Saturated City.

I have followed this blog ever since I was contacted by Alex Miranda. His photograph incorporates one of my favorite buildings in Boston but I've never noticed it from this angle on Newbury Street. If you would like to see more of his photosgraphs visit, www.saturatedcity.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Thank you Vermont

Today Vermont became the fourth state to legalize gay marriage (and the first to do so with a legislature's vote). The House recorded a dramatic 100-49 vote, the minimum needed, to override Gov. Jim Douglas' veto. The vote followed a much easier override vote in the Senate, which rebuffed the Republican governor with a vote of 23-5.

Utah can kiss my ass


www.utah.travel

This morning I saw an advertisement on MSNBC from the Utah Office of Tourism encouraging viewers to come and visit the state of Utah.

However, as the advertisement played all I could think about was how the Mormon Church spent an estimated $25 million in the battle to end gay marriage in California. Now I recognize that there is a separation of Church and State. However, separating the Mormon Church from the fate of Utah is like separating the Catholic Church from Rome, Italy. Both churches are inexplicably tied to their respective homes.

I decided if the Mormon Church thought it was appropriate to spend $25 million dollars to ban same sex marriages in CA, it would be appropriate for me to contact the Utah Office of Tourism to let them know how angry I was with the actions of the Mormon Church. Earlier this morning I sent the office an e-mail to let them know I would not consider spending any of my money in their state. Moreover, I would encourage everyone I know to boycott the state.

If you would like to contact the Utah Office of Tourism the address is below. Please consider sending a quick e-mail and encourage your friends to do the same.

Utah Office of Tourism
Council Hall/Capitol Hill
300 N. State Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84114
Phone: 1-800-200-1160
E-mail: travel@utah.gov

Monday, April 6, 2009

Thank you Iowa

On Friday, April 3rd the Iowa State Supreme Court unanimously overturned the state's law banning same sex marriage on the grounds that it violated the equal protection clause of the state's constitution. This is a new legal argument, which until now had been based on the fact that same sex couples were being denied due process. Regardless, of the reasoning, I was pleased to see a state that in 2004 had voted for George Bush now stepping forward and joining MA and CT in the 21st century.

The Daily Beast has a nice spread briefly explaining what happened in Iowa, the implications and next steps... Link here to read more.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Good news... Motley lives!

Back in January I wrote about Motley closing in my blog entry, "Motley to close its doors".

I was really bummed about the news and had not ventured down Tremont near the store, because I was afraid to see it sitting vacant or worse... as another nail salon or real estate office. However, today was so beautiful that I spent much of the afternoon walking around the South End and I happened near Motley only to see that they had a huge sale sign (all jeans are $39 right now). The person working there this afternoon said that the store was purchased from the original owner and would remain open for business.

If you've never been to Motley, you should definitely check it out. It is a tiny, tiny store located at 623 Tremont Street. You can also check them out online at ShopMotley.com.

Did I happen to mention that I scored some great jeans and they were only $39?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom


Today is my mother's birthday and I wanted to recognize her. She is one of my absolute favorite people and a personal hero of mine; in addition to being a great Mom.

Stupid is a dominant gene

A collection of clips that will make you laugh if you have a twisted sense of humor as I apparently do.

video

Flashback Friday: Harrison Avenue

The South End has probably changed more than any other downtown Boston neighborhood. Real estate values remain high even during the current housing crisis. I found this picture of the Boston Elevated Railway Central Power Station which resides on Harrison Avenue. The picture was taken in the mid 1990s and depicts how much of a wasteland "SoWa" South of Washington remained until recently.

Now this section of Harrison Avenue is vibrant. During the day, thousands come here to work in the refurbished mills that GTI Properties purchased in the mid-90s and renovated and at night many come back here to live (like I do) and play.

This particular block of Harrison Avenue hosts the BSC South End as well as Rocca and Gas Light - two respected South End restaurants. I've included a quick video of the building which is currently being renovated and will hold an antiques fair every Sunday to coincide with SoWa Open Market.

video

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Fenway Park

If Boston were a living organism, it's brain would be Harvard University (or perhaps M.I.T. depending on who you asked). However, no one would dispute that the heart of the city would be Fenway Park.

Today, Boston.com has a series of photos showing some of the updates and changes that will greet fans when they first enter Fenway Park for the home opener on Monday, April 6th.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Spring fundraisers in Boston

The Taste of the South End
Last month I wrote about the AIDS Action Committee fundraiser, Taste of the South End. This is one of my favorite fundraisers, and I try to attend it every year.

I was surprised when a friend sent me this video from YouTube. At the end your's truly makes an appearance. True to form, I'm shoving food down my throat. However the memories of the shrimp ceviche tacos from 28 degrees are happy ones so I don't mind.



The Men's Event
This Saturday, I will be joined by friends and nearly 1,500 Gay men as we all descend upon the Marriott Copley to attend the Fenway Health Center's annual black-tie extravaganza, otherwise known as The Men's Event.

If you don't have plans as yet - it is a great time and money goes to a very worthwhile organization. You can link to the Fenway homepage and still buy tickets if you like.

About The AIDS Action Committee of MA
Founded in 1983, AIDS Action Committee of MA is a community-based health organization whose mission is to stop the HIV/AIDS epidemic by preventing new infections and optimizing the health of those already infected. AAC provides free, confidential services to 2,500 men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS. If you like, you can make a donation to the AAC here.

About The Fenway
The Fenway Institute operates the nation's first community-based HIV research program, which has been conducting long-term epidemiological research since 1985. Fenway Health is affiliated with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. If you like, you can make a donation to the Fenway here.