Month: October 2004

  • Red Sox Victory Tour

    I’ve been waiting for this moment all of my life.

    Ok, maybe I’ve only been waiting since last week, when I actually began paying attention to the Red Sox. In any case, the Sox have one the World Series, the Curse of the Bambino is finally broken, and now Red Sox Nation can finally get some sleep (though not tonight).

    When the game ended around 11:45, I began my own personal Sox victory tour, beginning by biking down Mass Ave into Harvard Square, where the streets were blocked off and the Harvard University pep band was leading the festivities. I then proceeded farther down Mass Ave to central Square where I slapped hands like a rock star with revelers standing outside of bars and on street corners. When reached the Mass Ave bridge over the Charles River, I walked my bike with the crowd making their way into Back Bay and soaked in the Boston skyline. Once I reached Beacon St., I made my way to the Kenmore Square/Fenway area, the Center of the Universe for Red Sox fans.

    I didn’t have my camera with me, but if I could have taken one picture, it would have been of the 30 police in riot gear standing out of view on a small side street just off Kenmore Square. I turned the corner and there they stood in a tight group, looking incredibly intimidating in their black body armor. Seeing them didn’t make me want to linger too long, so I cruised the rest of the way along Comm. Ave until I reached Allston.

    So now I’ve got my visa stamped to show that I’ve spent time in Red Sox Nation the last couple weeks, but now I’m ready to move back into normal life, to get some rest before giving my Dreamweaver workshop early tomorrow morning.

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  • Fargo: A Profile through Postcards

    Robert alterted me to this Fargo site created by James Lileks, a Minneapolis Star-Tribune columnist born in Fargo. The way he weaves his written reflections together with historic postcards is an excellent example of online place-based writing, and I think I’ll show it to my students next sememster as they’re writing their essay on where they are from.

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  • A Winning Weekend

    It’s been a banner weekend for sports fans here in boston. Not only was the annual Head of the Charles Regatta taking place Saturday and Sunday, but most of the major sports teams added to their W columns in impressive fashion:

    • The Red Sox won twice against the Cardinals in the World Series
    • The Patriots won their 21st game in a row
    • Boston College beat Notre Dame for the fourth straight time
    • The New England Revolution won their conference semifinal game against Columbus
    With all this winning going on, it’s easy to forget about the showdown next week between the other Boston team–Team Kerry– with the Bush League. In the long run, that’s the only W that really matters.

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  • Bush vs Kerry/Texas vs Boston

    Last night I went to sleep to the sound of thousands of elated Red Sox fans pouring into the streets to celebrate the greatest series comeback in baseball history. A similar scene erupted when the Patriots won the Superbowl earlier this year and when Brazil won the world cup a few years back. The density of the neighborhood makes it possible for people to congregate easily like this, to move quickly from their living rooms into a shared public space of celebration. Occassionally these scenes can turn destructive, even violent, as it did in January when a Northeastern student was killed during the post-Superbowl revelry near Fenway. This time the police were out in force well before the game started, having cleared cars from Brighton Ave by early evening.

    In a email this morning, my friend Andrew remarked that it would fun to have a Massashusetts-Texas World Series match-up to parallel the election. The symbolism would be fitting, since the Sox and the Democrats both have a history of near-misses and painful losses. Lets hope they both can can overcome their curses.

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  • Birthday Leaves Revisted

    Last year on my 30th, I wrote about spending the morning at Mt. Auburn Cemetery; this year I revisited birthday leaves by returning the Consecration Dell to see if the leaves and the water had composed a similar scene. This time around, the pond was less uniformly green, but the leaves still embedded themselves on its surface to great effect.

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  • Destination Map

    You need Java to see Globe Applet.

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  • (Red Sox vs Yankees) vs (Bush vs Kerry)

    This evening two rivalries went head-to-head for the viewing loyalties of Bostonians: the Red Sox/Yankees playoff game in New York and the Bush/Kerry debate in Arizona. I generally have a low tolerance for both baseball and political rhetoric, but in the end the debate prevailed and I settled in to listen to it on the radio.

    However, consuming a presidential debate alone isn’t healthy (it’s like drinking in this regard), so I took the hot tip I got from Rebecca, one of my Kennedy School of Government informants, and joined the packed-out crowd of political junkies watching the debate at Harvard. The audience responded to the candidates with cheers, boos, hisses, and an occasional Yeehaw, texas style, making the event an interactive affair and a good people-watching venue when the debate lagged.

    On my biked ride back, I stopped on the Anderson bridge, as I often do, and stood staring at the still black waters of the Charles, which were broken only by the reflections of lights from the boat house, the dark forms of trees lining the river, the passing headlights of cars on Memorial Drive. I stopped caring about either contest for a while and just enjoyed being where I was, on a bridge between Cambridge and Boston, enjoying a mild fall night, about to get on bike to cruise home. I couldn’t stay long since it was already late, but it was nice, for the moment anyway, to feel something with out rivals.

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  • A Corner of Beacon Hill

    A Columbus day stroll through Beacon Hill brought me to this very pleasant dead end.




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  • Reluctant Activists

    Yesterday afternoon, Jonathan, Marlene, Steve and I spend the day ringing doorbells in Plainstow, NH, trying to put in a good word for John Kerry. I think most of us were reluctant activists going into this venture, but by the end of the day we were glad to have done our part. I, for one, enjoy neither politics nor canvassing and I’m not happy about the choices we’ve been given in this election. However, I feel strongly enough that we need a different president that I decided (with the prodding of Bob Massie) that I should try to participate in the democratic process (however flawed) by spending the day in NH (since my vote doesn’t count for much in MA).

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  • Writing like an Ant

    The other day I was sitting on our front porch enjoying the mild evening weather, and I began to watch the labors of single ant, hard at work on the wide cement railing. As far as I could tell, his primary task was to move wood shavings from the base of the column where they were piled to somewhere in the flowerbed about eight feet below. To do this, he would pick up a load, jog to edge of the railing, and toss the wood shavings off the precipice. He repeated this over and over, once piece at time, for the 15 minutes I sat watching him, and he was still at it several hours later when I returned.

    Sitting here at Cafenation this morning, I know there is a moral to be learned from the efforts of this little ant, some inspiration I should gain from his single-minded diligence. I have my own pile of drafts and ideas for my dissertation sitting here in front of me. Perhaps all I need to do for a couple of hours is find a few things to throw off the precipice. Don’t worry about where it’s all going–just get stuff and chuck it. Don’t even wonder why you’re hurling the stuff. Just enjoy the work of grabbing armloads of ideas and words and throwing them over the edge. I’m pretty sure the dissertation’s down there somewhere, so I’ll just trust that I’ll be able to find everything when I get there.

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