What I Learned From Blogs This Week

I’ve put up a couple of items on the Virtual Assignment Desk for the coming weeks.  I am going to the Council meeting, but won’t be able to make the inauguration.  I’m also thinking of keeping a scorecard of important Council votes for the next couple of years that could be spun into a voting guide, so I welcome any thoughts about what might constitute ‘important’ votes. 

Tracy reminds us to contact School Committee members with our thoughts on the state’s RTTT MOU.

Dee Wells posted some thoughts from Virginia Ryan on Worcester retirees’ increased Medicare costs.

Bill discusses more rumors of Best Buy’s impending move here and here, with Sam’s Club thrown in for good measure.  (Also, Worcester compared to the usual suspects here and here.)  More rumors about the former ShBooms site from Paulie.

Jeff on Pharmasphere; you can get more analysis from him for free than you can from the Telegram for a dollar.

Sean is going to begin regularly analyzing Robert Z. Nemeth’s columns; if he succeeds in convincing Rose to use spell check, however, I’m not going to have anything left to talk about!

 Daily Worcesteria (Jeremy) updated his pictures of North Lake Ave to show where it’s wearing away.

Cumberland Farms has an updated logo.

I would love to see more people blogging, especially about topics and events that the news media doesn’t cover.  (Yes, Emily, I’m talking to you!)  So, if you’re on the fence about whether to start a blog, consider taking an event from the Virtual Assignment Desk (or something from this wonderful list) and writing about it.  Be sure to contact Jeff so that you can be included in the Worcester Blogroll.

Comparison of WBUR and WGBH morning lineups

This is for T-Traveler, who recommended The Takeaway.

6am-7am

From 6am-7am, ‘BUR offers Morning Edition and ‘WGBH offers The Takeaway.  This is, however, before I wake up in the morning, so I’ll discuss The Takeaway when it appears again at 9am.

7am-9am

The ‘BUR and ‘GBH morning schedules overlap from 7am-9am (Morning Edition), so it’s really a matter of whether you prefer Jordan Weinstein or Bob Oakes (Delores Handy sometimes subs).  I think I can speak for all of humanity when I say that Delores Handy‘s continued employment at WBUR is proof that miracles exist, because nothing else can explain her presence in a medium that relies solely on clarity and quality of vocal presentation.  Also, I don’t understand why Oakes cannot pronounce his own last name correctly.  (My husband refers to him as “Bob Eukes.”)

Advantage: WGBH, because of the Handy factor.

9am-10am

At 9am, ‘BUR offers BBC Newshour and ‘GBH offers The Takeaway.  I tend to listen to the World Service for half the day via podcast, so the presence of Newshour on WBUR does nothing for me unless I’m in the car.  The Takeaway (also available by podcast, although I find their RSS offerings a bit confusing) is hosted by Celeste Headlee and John Hockenberry, though Hockenberry was on vacation this week, so I also listened to a show from last week in addition to a couple from this week.  The show has some interesting stories that are marred by one host or the other wrapping up a segment with, “So, what’s the takeaway?” or “The takeaway is…”  I get it.  The show is called “The Takeaway.”  Enough with the branding. 

But the frequent use of the word “takeaway” is a small price to pay for the quality of the content.  This program is what the blah Day to Day wished it could be.

This is a tie.  It really depends on whether you prefer a lot of world news in your day (BBC Newshour), or if you like an interesting take on the day’s news that will have 5-10 minutes of world news content (The Takeaway, which frequently uses BBC correspondents).  

10am-noon

From 10am-noon, ‘BUR offers On Point with Tom Ashbrook and ‘GBH offers The Diane Rehm Show.  I’d never heard the latter and actively avoid the former.  I also hate the interview-for-the-first-half-hour-and-then-take-some-callers-who-fawn-over-the-guest-and-add-nothing-of-substantive-value format of both of these shows. 

I never understood why WBUR chose a show hosted by Tom Ashbrook over a show (The Connection) hosted by Dick Gordon; I’ll just blame it on Delores Handy.  Alex Beam refers to Ashbrook as “yappy.”  He’s more like a know-it-all tween who interrupts the conversations of adults; occasionally he contributes something of value, but mostly he tries to prove how much more he knows than his guests, and he has none of Dick Gordon’s talent at drawing the best out of callers.  Where Dick Gordon would smoothly move a caller to some sort of point, Ashbrook can only cut off people mid-sentence and continue in a run-on fashion himself.  That I was able to listen to him for two hours for the past two days is a testament to the same will that has allowed me to listen to five minutes straight of Metal Machine Music.

Within the first few minutes of listening to Diane Rehm, I started wondering how old she was.  Her halting voice is due to spasmodic dysphonia, and she also has the best hair of anyone on radio.  I’d take her slowish speech and pretty interesting guests over the blowhard that is Tom Ashbrook, but I’m not a fan of this format, so I’d likely never listen to this unless there was a guest I wanted to hear more from, or unless I was in the car.

Advantage: WGBH, because of Ashbrook.  (In reality, this is the point where I’d start listening to Gareth Mitchell and Mark Coles on the World Service.)

 noon-1pm

Emily Rooney is going to be starting a radio program to compete with Robin Young in the noon to one slot, but in the meantime, you get to hear Radiolab.  Radiolab reminds me a little bit of This American Life, except it’s about science and the hosts aren’t annoying in the least.  (Sorry, not a TAL fan; every story sounds like urban legends told late at night in dorm rooms across the country: “Did you hear about that girl in the cafeteria who never had anything but chicken for dinner?”)  Radiolab is pure radio magic, and I’ve already put it my RSS reader in anticipation of Emily Rooney replacing it.

I’ll reserve judgment on this hour until Emily Rooney debuts, but she’s going to have a really tough time competing against Robin Young.  I think Robin Young’s warm voice and personality really work in the noontime slot, and I enjoy listening to her.  So — I’ll give you my review of Rooney in a few weeks’ time.

Committee Agendas redux

So I took Tracy’s advice and emailed the City of Worcester webmaster.

He recommends clicking on the City Council Agendas link from the Stay Informed menu on the right part of the page.  That will cut out one click in the path to get the agendas.

He also let me know that the calendar feature allows them to attach a .pdf (like the Inauguration information) but not to link to .htm (which is the format of the agendas).  This is a bummer; I really like that the agenda is in .htm format, mostly because it’s easier for me to view it on our Mac at home, which hiccups whenever it tries to open a .pdf from our (very beta) browser.

The Senate and Governor’s Race

Jeff Barnard asked:

Has the Republican Party become such an unfocused mess that they can’t even mount a campaign in one of the most important contests in Massachusetts that’s come up in a whole lifetime? 

I don’t necessarily have an answer to this.  I’m not a Republican and don’t follow their internal party activity.

But I think that they may be focusing their efforts on the Governor’s race, and rightly so.  The Senate race is to replace Ted Kennedy, whom a good amount of the voting public looked upon favorably; those voters likely want “more of the same” (liberal, bring home the bacon to MA, etc.) and aren’t as likely to pick someone who’s more conservative and who would not be a part of the Democratic majority in the Senate.  Why should Republicans focus efforts on something they know they won’t win, when they could pour money into a race that they have a much greater chance at?

Especially with an appealing candidate like Charlie Baker, who seems to have some sort of handle on what to do with health care.  (Disclaimer: I will not vote for Charlie Baker, so the previous sentence should in no way be construed as an endorsement.)  Let’s see how much money the RNC will throw Baker’s way.

And where would that leave Tim Murray?  Yvonne Abraham had a great column a few months ago about Murray — how he wasn’t going to leave the Patrick administration and that he was definitely going to run for re-election.  In Abraham’s words:

That’s how it usually goes with our state’s second fiddles. They show up where the governor can’t, leading unglamorous working groups, presiding over those somnolent Governor’s Council meetings on Wednesdays. They all want to be governor one day, and Murray admits he is no exception. But their fortunes are directly tied to their number ones. That’s good if your governor is insanely popular. Patrick isn’t. 

It’s been interesting that a columnist in the Globe — and not the Telegram — expressed exactly my thoughts.  The coming governor’s race is going to be brutal.  Not only is Deval not popular, but he’s perceived as incompetent.  I think Tim Murray has hitched his wagon to a bum horse, and I don’t know where one can go after serving one term as Lieutenant Governor (with previous weak mayor experience).  I could be wrong — perhaps Murray’s loyalty will serve him well — but let’s see how much support the Republicans throw Baker’s way and how that will affect Tim Murray’s political career.

Update, 10.14am– Appropos of nothing, did anyone else see this article in the Globe today, which mentions Murray’s campaign has not reported occupation or employer information for 28% of donors?

I Brake for Trolls

Darlene, we’ve got to stop meeting like this.

I can’t tell whether you’re Rose Tirella, Q’s best friend, or if you just hate Hall & Oates with a passion that rivals my husband’s.

In any event, please keep commenting, because I love writing whole posts as riffs off your comments.

To one of your comments — “So what’s the point of this rant?” — I believe that you mean this wonderfully well-written letter, and not this post, which is a reminder that I need to do more library tips

“Do you think that anything you or anyone else says about this matter will influence any decision on what happens?”  I believe I actually said in the aforementioned awesome letter that I didn’t think it would convince anyone but that I found writing the letter cathartic.  Thanks for asking! 

Now, if it’s a question of why to blog at all…Tracy and I were discussing  blogging last week, and she said that her husband hears far fewer rants about educational policy now that she has a blog.  Similarly, my husband doesn’t have to listen to me whispering sweet nothings about Mike Germain into his ear right before we go to bed.  Now I write posts for the world to read, and instead I not only get feedback like yours, but I also receive one-sentence emails from my husband like, “Don’t you ever use spell-check?” and “Less, not fewer.”

In other words, blogging saves marriages.  (Also, keeping thoughts like “If Albert Southwick were 60 years younger and could do major plumbing repairs, you’d have no shot with me” to yourself will add at least a year to any marriage.)

To your comment “It’s in the hands of lawyers… they’re a lot more savvy in such matters than any mis-informed and know-it-all blogger”  — I will say this: one of my parents is an attorney, and one of my siblings is finishing the last year of law school.  So, that makes me a lawyer twice removed.  Or a know-it-all blogger.  You decide.

And finally, “You and everyone else have to get over it. There’s more important things to worry about. Right?”  No matter what the decision regarding One Montvale, I am sure that the City of Worcester will provide new examples of suckitude for me to continue to write about for weeks to come. 

On a more serious note, thanks to everyone who has commented on my posts.  I continue to be overwhelmed by the kindness, respect, and constructive criticism so many of you have shown me.

The Power of Wishful Thinking

I agree completely with Jeff regarding the PharmaSphere situation.

I don’t know when “If You Wish It, It Will Come” became the mantra of the City Manager’s Office, but this reminds me of one of my most unfavorite Dianne Williamson columns of all time (September 19, 2006), in which Dianne extolls the wonders of Tim Murray:

Not one for grandstanding, he often operates under the radar, but his fingerprints are stamped on Worcester’s most important initiatives: CitySquare, the promotion of commuter rail, the successful partnership between the City Council and City Manager Michael O’Brien.

More than three years ago, Tim Murray was getting a big “mission accomplished” on CitySquare, credit for “promoting” the commuter rail (note that Dianne couldn’t lie and say that more trains were running, or that the service was more reliable), and a wonderful relationship between the City Council and the City Manager.

A wonderful, non-combative relationship between the Council and City Manager has gotten us to the point we’re at now: CitySquare is still just around the corner, three years from the writing of the column quoted above; the City Manager continues to receive high marks in his review despite the people of Worcester not having the right to know about what Officer Mark Rojas may or may not be accused of; the City has invested $2.5 million (not to mention $2m in road improvements, and selling a building for $1) in a project that may generate 40-50 new jobs, 51% of which are supposed to go to Worcester residents.  At least the train schedule is a bit better!

So, let’s talk job creation.  The City of Worcester has paid $2.5 million (excluding loss on the building, road improvements, and any money from the feds or the state) for 50 jobs (I’ll be generous) that have not yet materialized.  That’s $50,000 per job. 

But wait!  Only 51% of those 50 jobs need to go to Worcester residents.  So, for 25.5 jobs that may or may not ever come to fruition, we have paid approximately $98,000.  That’s not counting road improvements, and that’s not counting federal and state dollars.

Anyone want to go in on creating Pyramid Investments?  Or at least starting a countdown to Spring 2011, when PharmaSphere will be “selling product“?  (Does anyone else think their whole business sounds and looks like Logan’s RunCarousel!)

Finding Committee Agendas on the City website

I’m not a big fan of a lot of the navigation within the City of Worcester website, and my feeling was confirmed last week when I spoke with a fellow attendee of the Economic Development Committee and she said that she couldn’t find the agenda on the city website.  

I can’t blame her — as far as I can tell, it takes five non-intuitive clicks to get to a committee agenda. 

The city should provide the link to the agenda in the “More Information” section of the calendar item — see this calendar entry for the Inauguration for an example of what should happen for every meeting.  You should also be able to click on Mayor & City Council, then Standing Committees, and get an agenda for a selected committee.  Alas, that’s not the case, either. 

Here’s how you find the committee agendas: 

 

Step 1: Click on the Mayor & City Council link in the City Government section of the left menu. 

  

  

   

   

   

   

Step 2: When you are brought to the Mayor & City Council page, click on the Agendas & Minutes link in the Related Pages section of the left menu. 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3: When you are brought to the Agendas & Minutes page, click on the Standing Committee Journal Archive link in the middle of the page (right part of the screen).    

 

 Step 4: When you are brought to the Standing Committees page, select the committee of your choice in the Related Pages section of the left menu.  (Note to the city: the completely undescriptive “Related Pages” should not be the heading for half of the left-menu items.) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 5: You’ll be brought to the Agenda & Minutes page of the committee you selected.  Click on the link for Current/Upcoming [Committee Name] Agenda to get the agenda for the latest meeting.  The drop-down lists by year contain minutes for the committee meetings. 

 

A letter regarding Montvale

I’ve had Montvale on the brain, and I decided to put up a draft of a letter I’m planning on sending to City Councilors (list here) later this week.  I’m not sure it will convince anyone, but it’s somewhat cathartic to write in a more rational manner than is my wont.

Dear Councilors:

I am writing to urge the Council not to expand the Montvale Historic District to include the tennis court at One Montvale Road.  I am not a resident of the district; nor am I a personal friend of Ms. Todd or Mr. Tibrewal.  I write as a resident of Worcester who has grown increasingly frustrated at the need to involve city government in what is essentially an issue of taste. 

The residents of the Montvale Historic District who support expanding the district to include the tennis court property have two arguments in favor of the expansion. The first is that the parcel of land has historic significance and that the property was mistakenly not included in the district when it was established in 1993.  The second is that the district needs to be expanded in order to protect the historic district’s integrity and to preserve the feel of the neighborhood. 

Regarding the first point: of course, parcels of land themselves can be considered historic.  Take, for example, the Hill of Tara in Ireland, which is being threatened by the encroachment of the M3 highway, or the Wilderness Battlefield, a Civil War battlefield where a Wal-Mart is being proposed.  Both of these are cases where the land itself holds historic significance, and where development on that land would cause permanent cultural damage.  

The tennis court site at One Montvale Road holds no such historic significance.  This parcel of land was not part of the original historic district plan because it was not part of that property at the time the house was built; there is no other historic event that occurred on this property that would warrant its inclusion in the district.  Regarding the assertion that it had been mistakenly excluded, according to the minutes of the Historical Commission Meeting of 11 October 2007, Shantia Anderheggen , author of the Proposed Montvale Local Historic District Preliminary Report, had been contacted and indicated that the boundaries had been carefully examined; one can only conclude that this property was excluded on purpose.  If the Montvale Historic District is expanded to include this property, the integrity of the district, far from being assured, is in fact compromised.  The City of Worcester would be making a statement that the residents of an historic district are the ultimate arbiters of what does and does not belong in their district; actual historic significance would be secondary to the will of the neighborhood.

I am sympathetic to the concerns that the residents of the Montvale Historic District have about the potential for change in their neighborhood.  Many Worcester residents, myself included, have seen significant changes to our own neighborhoods in the same time period that the Montvale Historic District has existed.  On my own street, we have had houses shoehorned into any lot where a house can fit, with little discretion paid to anything but the profit of the developer.  The Montvale residents have successfully prevented a new house would not be built in their neighborhood, made sure that their neighborhood does not get overrun with traffic during the rush hours, and negotiated with an important non-profit to ensure that the integrity of their neighborhood is upheld.  The difference between most residents of Worcester and the Montvale residents is that we do not have the luxury of living in an historic district; many of us do not have the financial or political wherewithal to challenge changes that will affect our property values or neighborhood’s quality of life.

James Crowley made the statement (quoted in Dianne Williamson’s column of 20 December 2009) that his neighbors are “committed to Worcester even though they ‘could live in Westboro’ or a surrounding suburb.”  Previously, in the Telegram article “Montvale proposal on hold; Councilors to visit historic district” from 25 March 2008, Crowley said that “People in the neighborhood are committed to the concept of a historic district. If the district is not protected, the people could lose their commitment to it. (The historic district) has been a good thing for our neighborhood and for the city.”  It is good to see that his and his neighbors’ commitment to both his neighborhood and this city has grown in the past year and a half. 

But the goal of this city and its government should not be merely to appease its more appealing residents in order to stave off an exodus to the eastern suburbs.  If that were the case, Ms. Todd and Mr. Tibrewal are just as redeemable: they are young and hardworking and (perhaps best of all) have willingly chosen to live in Worcester, despite having no family ties to this area.  Let’s leave likability and sympathy out of this. 

The question at hand is whether an historic district needs to include buffers that hold no historic value; whether neighbors have the right to dictate to other neighbors which backyard accoutrements are acceptable; whether it’s acceptable to include a piece of property in an historic district only so that the Historical Commission, rather than the Zoning Board, can decide on what can be included there.  Of course no one wants to see his neighborhood negatively impacted, but the appropriate place to address those concerns is with the ZBA, not by adding a property to the Historic District.  We cannot and should not use those districts for purposes other than those for which they were created.

Signed,

Nicole, Worcester

The print media’s Montvale coverage

Because my blog is sometimes nothing more than an ode to Jeff Barnard (also, because I’ve been working on a letter to the City Councilors about Montvale and figured I may as well share my research with someone who cares), here’s the T&G and WoMag complement to his summary of Montvale blog coverage:

December 3, 1991 — T&G — Montvale activism before the historic district, “Park Avenue groups oppose new zoning”

March 24, 1993 — T&G — preliminary approval for establishment of Montvale Historic District, “Council attacks pothole scourge

April 30, 1993 — T&G — “Preservation Worcester gives out annual awards to four city projects” (including Montvale; how times have changed…)

September 29, 1996 — T&G — the advent of the no-right-turn signs onto Sagamore on the evening commute, “Traffic problems get neighbors’ blood racing

December 16, 1996 — T&G — “More than 400 tour historic city houses

March 22, 2002 — T&G — “Plan for new home in Montvale rejected

December 6, 2004 — T&G — “Holiday history; Visitors stroll through city’s landmark homes

October 19, 2007 — T&G — “Earful of anger for AAS“; first mention of the “old cork tennis court”

October 24, 2007 — T&G — brief mention in “Historic building sits amid Water Street work

March 13, 2008 — T&G — “Expansion proposed for historical district; Montvale residents, AAS clash over plan“; article includes:

Robert E. Longden, a lawyer representing the American Antiquarian Society, said only those buildings, structures or sites that have architectural or historical significance are supposed to be included within local historical districts. He contends the tennis court lot does not meet the necessary criteria because it was not part of the setting of either the Daniels House or Lyell house when they were constructed.

The heirs to the Lyell property also have said no mistake was made in leaving the tennis court property out of the historical district because no effort was ever made to originally include it within the district.

March 17, 2008 — T&G — “Move is afoot to enlarge two historic districts

March 18, 2008 — T&G — “Beware attack of the 6-foot history fiends“, Dianne Williamson’s first column on the issue

March 25, 2008 — T&G –“Snob zoning has no place in America“, Dianne Williamson’s second column on the issue

March 25, 2008 — T&G — “Montvale proposal on hold; Councilors to visit historic district“; money quote from Mr. Crowley (cue Ozzy Osbourne, please):

“People in the neighborhood are committed to the concept of a historic district,” Mr. Crowley said. “If the district is not protected, the people could lose their commitment to it. (The historic district) has been a good thing for our neighborhood and for the city.”

March 26, 2008 — T&G editorial, “Not so fast; Committee was right to block historic district ‘end run’

March 31, 2008 — T&G — op-ed by Crowley, “AAS should be subject to same scrutiny as others

April 3, 2008 — WoMag editorial — “West side story

April 16, 2008 — T&G — “Dispute finds middle ground; Historic district, AAS compromise

April 19, 2008 — T&G editorial, “Welcome agreement; Compromise defuses Montvale Road dispute”

July 25, 2008 — T&G — “Antiquarian society’s plans are approved

end of 2008 — WoMag — “Best of 2008“, under “Most unlikely NIMBY protest” (note to the editorial staff at Worcester Magazine: if Jeff Barnard does not get “Best non-Worcester Magazine blog” this year, I’m going to pour two litres of Diet Moxie down Jeremy Shulkin’s throat the next time I see him.)

October 25, 2009 — T&G — “Tennis court brouhaha is at love-love“, Dianne Williamson’s third column on the issue

December 3, 2009 – WoMag Worcesteria column

December 16, 2009 – WoMag, “The people’s court

December 20, 2009 — T&G — “No love lost over this tennis court“, Dianne Williamson’s fourth column on the issue

December 24, 2009 — T&G — “Homeowners hit tennis court vote; Historic-district conflict may escalate

The Benefits of Being Romanian

Part of my ethnic background is a small group closely related to Romanians.  Our language is considered a dialect of Romanian, but our clothing, food, music, and most of our culture doesn’t really align with that of the Romanians from Romania.  My ancestors were transhumant shepherds, from a place in the Balkans that is decidedly not Romania; our days as shepherds ended when my great-grandfather left his flock and came here to work on the railroad.   (My husband is also descended from transhumant people, and it is on that rock that our relationship is built.)

If you asked me what I am, I would say “Romanian,” though that’s not really what I consider myself.  (I will note that my father does consider himself to be Romanian, and he and I disagree on whether our ethnic background includes us in the larger Romanian umbrella.)  If I felt like you might be interested, I might try to explain my ethnic background further.  At that point, you’d say, “Oh! You’re a gypsy.”  But I’m not, and that’s why I usually stick with calling myself Romanian.

There are limited benefits to being part of an ethnic group no one has heard of.  Sure, it’s exotic to say things like, “Researchers think that there are less than 300,000 of us worldwide!” or “My native language is almost extinct!”  But then I read an article in a British newspaper that says that my culture is essentially dead, barring the occasional festival in a country I’ve never been to, and I wonder if all of us get miscounted because we refer to ourselves as “Romanian” to get out of a long explanation. 

When people think of Romanians, if they do at all, it’s usually in the context of a late night when you’ve turned on the History Channel and they’ve got a documentary on about the Real Dracula.  I get a strange thrill akin to ethnic pride when shows like that come on.  I love movies like The Prisoner of Zenda and The Merry Widow, featuring Ruritania or Marshovia as stand-ins for Romania (or a country immediately bordering it).  This is not to say that the Romanians have no flaws — they have a tendency to scheme and are (in my opinion) a touch duplicitous, and are way too fond of sauerkraut for my taste — but there are definite benefits to being Romanian.

Shortly after I graduated from college, I took a trip to Italy with some of my friends.  We’d made reservations at a cheap hotel in Florence, but when we got there, the gentleman at the desk showed me the reservation book.  Someone (probably with a last name similar to mine) had called and first changed the number of people in our party and then cancelled our reservation altogether.  The notes were right there in the book, so it didn’t look like he was scamming me.  He had no rooms available for us at one of the busiest parts of the Italian tourist season.

Then I took a look at the side of his desk.  There were some pictures that looked suspiciously like Romanian countryside.  “Are you Romanian?”  I asked.  “Because I’m Romanian!”

“I’m not Romanian,” he replied excitedly, “but I love Romania!  I go there three times a year.”

The next thing we knew, we had a room at his sister’s (nicer, better-situated) hotel, for the same rate at we would have paid at his place.  Ah, the benefits of being Romanian.

The best part of being Romanian (or, at least, claiming to be Romanian) is that the Romanians are the most musical people I have ever encountered.  Any occasion can cause them to burst out into four-part harmony, there’s a song for everything, and I believe everyone in that country claims to be a poet as well.  Perhaps it’s natural for a people who have been overrun by so many foreign empires and dictators to turn their sorrows into song, but my experience has been that many of the songs come out of a real joie de vivre and not sadness. 

Naturally, the Romanians have a lot of Christmas carols, and those carols are what I grew up with.  I don’t always know the words or tunes of some English and American carols, but it doesn’t bother me because the Romanian carols are the best in the world.  (I always like to say that the Romanians love singing so much they have carols about caroling, and here is the proof.)

If you only hear two Romanian Christmas carols in your whole life, you should listen to this clip, which includes my two favorites.  The second one (about the 2.45 mark) is the one that we have to listen to over and over again in the car, because it’s our sons’ favorite.

Merry Christmas, everyone!