What I Learned from Blogs This Week

Administrative Stuff
I’ll be putting up a few items on the Virtual Assignment Desk for next week.  If you register at the WorcesterActivist site, you can update this as well. 

If you don’t have a blog but want to report on something, let me know and I’ll post it here.  Also, please feel free to send in nominations for “What I Learned from Blogs This Week.”  I tend to collect news-ish items during the week, but please let me know if I’ve missed anything of note.

Contests & Other Publicity
Hearts for the Arts tonight

Center for Nonviolent Solutions annual meeting on Saturday morning at the WPL (via 508)

Worcester Tree Initiative on Sunday from 4:00-5:30 at QCC, regarding It’s All about the Trees!

 Arterial Street Sweeping next week.  (I was going to make a joke that included stents, but I’ll refrain.)

Worcester Arts & Culture Connection

News from Kate Toomey

Think Local, Thank Local campaign

Low-cost rabies clinic – April 10

Edgar Allan Poe/Big Read festivities.

Shameless Begging
As some of you know, the Regional Environmental Council is holding the 21st annual Earth Day Cleanups on May 1st, and for the third year in a row, I’ll be site coordinator for the Swan Avenue/God’s Acre site. 

A regular reader and future volunteer has taken extensive pictures of the area, which will either make you really want to help or (much more likely) scream in horror.  (The “free beer” washer has been number one on my list of things to get rid of since I started the cleanups, so if you’re interested in having that as a conversation starter in your home, or if you need some used PVC pipe or a couple of used wood pallets, let me know and I’ll bring them to you!) 

If you like reading this blog and you have a few spare hours on the morning of Saturday, May 1, please consider helping us. 

For interested volunteers, my husband has offered to discuss tree species (in addition to the previous offerings of Millerite theology, which is extremely important in relation to God’s Acre, and the Irish language).  Those who are interested in discussing which nighttime soap showed the most compelling insight into the eighties — my votes are either Dynasty or Knots Landing — can come work on my side of things.

You can email me if you’d like more information on the cleanup.

What I Learned This Week
Best mall idea of the week.

Jeff discussed two different online jerks (in a period of less than 24 hours), why that building on Mill Street won’t get a tenant anytime soon, more toxic players, anonymous pontificating, an excellent post about Taxi vs. Livery, CSX, and the reason five minutes were added to this morning’s commute.

Bill on another digital billboard rejectionwishful thinking, 47 Mason, and affordable housing.

Lance: Scott Brown’s legacy, wicked bad day, and dubious amendments.  Also, bringing new meaning to “ready for you”, which is so awesome I cannot express it in words.  (I think by now everyone knows how much I adore Lance’s blog.  Seriously, it’s all I can do to keep this weekly roundup from turning into a lovefest of No Drumlins posts.)

Tracy on the auditor’s report, the FY11 budget, NCLB, the power of no, and turnarounds.

Dee on Dress for Success, Macey Sign article (with a mention of Virginia Ryan), salutes to the WPD, happiness, and Saigon at Canal Nightclub.

Awesome post about volunteering at AAS.

Washburn & Moen fire in pictures and video.

Ada Lovelace, Seuss-isms, pills, saving the Google students, community service, the things I see in my nightmares, Coney Island, BBQ, and the potentiality of brick ovens.

Quote of the week: “There’s a big difference between being a resident and being a citizen of a community.”

The Week in Southwick
The Leicester Historical Society is going to be having their annual meeting/banquet on May 18th (it’s incorrect on the website), featuring the totally incredible Albert Southwick.  (My husband called me the other day and all he needed to say was, “Steak or haddock?”  Seriously, with Albert Southwick in the same room, I would be able to live without food for a week.)

Also — appropos of a comment to his column this week — you can find a reference to the Northborough mastodon here and a fuller account of it here.  (I was actually confused by the commenter’s reference to a Northborough mastodon, because I’d only ever heard about the Shrewsbury mastodon.)

Masterpiece Theatre: Past and Coming Months

Can I confess that I’ve never seen a version of Emma (except, of course, Clueless; no, I haven’t seen the Gwyneth Paltrow version because I try to save up Jeremy Northam for special occasions).  I haven’t read a lot of Jane Austen, but I’m familiar enough with the basic plot: Emma’s a know-it-all who fancies herself a matchmaker and is completely clueless about how she’s destined to marry her best friend.

There was a lot I didn’t necessarily love about the current Masterpiece Theatre production, but I couldn’t stop watching, either. And much of that was due to the utterly charming Romola Garai, who was just so fresh and brought a lack of obnoxiousness to a character (Emma) that could so easily be annoying.  Also, it seems that Masterpiece Theatre is doing its part to keep Michael Gambon employed in between Harry Potter movies; three cheers for that!

I would like a word about Jonny Lee Miller as Mr. Knightley, however. I caught Miller in a production of Byron on Ovation a couple of months ago, and I think that he’s actually a very engaging guy, but I don’t think he’s right for period pieces. He’s a bit too modern, and he tends to feel like the best-dressed guy at a costume party, as opposed to someone who could have actually lived 200 years ago. 

(The real reason I watched the Byron miniseries was that Philip Glenister was playing Lord Byron’s manservant. Let me tell you, the main problem with that miniseries is the main problem with every television show ever: not enough Glenister. If PBS is hard up for money, I’ve got a recommendation: create a subscription channel that features everything Philip Glenister was ever in and call it “Pure Animal Magnetism TV.” Half the female population would watch…and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting would never need to rely on the fickle ways of the federal government ever again.)


On a related “extremely attractive men I don’t see enough of” note, Rupert Penry-Jones, who I thought was pretty decent in the too-short Masterpiece production of Persuasion, and who is also married (in real life) to an actress whose character was the worst aspect of one of my favorite shows.  But we won’t hold any of that against him.

So, Penry-Jones starred in a production of The 39 Steps.  (This is the part where I confess that I really don’t like the Hitchcock movie, despite the presence of Robert Donat, who was in one of my favorite movies of all time, and Madeleine Carroll, who was in my absolute favorite movie ever.)  So it was touch-and-go whether I’d actually watch this version.

The problem with reviewing this version is that Penry-Jones is so distractingly beautiful that I have no idea whether he’s a good actor.  I can tell you that the plot (especially the ending) is different from the Hitchcock version, but I haven’t read the book, so I can’t tell you which version is more faithful to the book.  I thought it was more watchable and enjoyable than the Hitchcock, but much of that could be due to the leading man.

(For a short time, you can still watch all of The 39 Steps if you missed it.)


On Sunday, Masterpiece will be presenting Sharpe’s Challenge, which I caught on BBC America a while ago, but which I will definitely watch again.

If you’ve watched Sharpe before, you know the routine: Sean Bean’s Sharpe is war-weary, he’s got to find his missing sidekick, Harper, while wearing a jacket with a ridiculous amount of buttons, etc., etc. 

This time, though, Toby Stephens, my absolute favorite bad guy, is playing yet another bad guy.  (It’s also interesting to note that Stephens and Bean both played bad guys in Bond movies…)  I could watch Toby Stephens read the phone book as long as it was done with an evil voice and a maniacal twinkle in the eye.

And everyone knows Daragh O’Malley is extremely easy on the eyes, so just watch it and let me know how you like it.

Boston Globe Union Email

I suggest mes amis at the Telegram (and I know you all read this blog, because otherwise we’d never see this) draft something similar to this. 

(If I may take a moment to comment on the Globe, I think it’s perhaps a sign of hard times for the newspaper industry that they had to move their awesome religion reporter to be the city editor, but perhaps it’s also a sign of the Times [Co.’s greed, that is].)

(And I know that it’s been a while since I posted something long…and I promise the posts are coming…)