On Group Blogging

Carrie had created a site for Worcester group blogging on posterous on Sunday afternoon, and had a great amount of success with contributions in just 24 hours.

I had (and continue to have) no luck accessing posterous on a Mac, which is (unfortunately) a dealbreaker for me, but that in no way diminishes what Carrie has created.

There are plenty of people out there who read this blog, or other blogs, who might like to contribute something to a blog, but who don’t really want to have to worry about having to post daily or weekly.

You might be missing posts like these (goodness knows I do), and you might be willing to contribute to a series of posts about sidewalk-shoveling (or lack thereof) but don’t know how to go about that.

Among other things, that’s what the Worcester bloggers posterous site is for.  You can find out more here.

Jeff is irreplaceable, and, if there’s one thing I appreciate more and more each day, it’s that for a few years there was someone out there snapping pictures and writings posts, short and long, funny and angry, in a voice uniquely his own, in a voice I miss very much.

I’ve said this to journalists who’ve asked, and I believe that Mike said something similar as well: there is no Wormtown Taxi beat.  There is no assignment editor telling one person to start snapping pictures of Phil Palmieri’s unshoveled sidewalks, another person to write a short rant about Jim Polito, and a third to eviscerate a columnist at the local daily.

I miss those things.  I miss the bump installation crews, I miss the camera phone pictures, I miss someone referring to MOB as the “City Dictator.”  I miss knowing that someone out there was posting four or five times a day.

I think you do, too.

I am not the next Jeff Barnard.  No one is.

But if you feel like there’s a need to confirm whether a prominent city official has shoveled a sidewalk, if you feel the need to complain about something you heard on AM radio during your morning commute, if you’ve heard about a great local band, then we need you to contribute.

Start a blog, or get your feet wet with the Worcester bloggers on posterous.

Edward C. Maher, of interest

Eric’s post on North Main in general and the AT&T building in particular made me think of Edward C. Maher.  Well, every time I see that building, I think of Maher, but I’m not sure everyone’s familiar with him, so what follows are links to familiarize those of you who aren’t acquainted with his vision.

If there’s anything you hate about the downtown, you’re likely not a fan of Edward C. Maher.  If you’re grateful that Notre Dame des Canadiens was preserved from the original mall’s wrecking ball, you can thank Edward C. Maher.  If you think Union Station is a multi-million dollar white elephant, you’ve got a compatriot in Edward C. Maher.

Maher died six years ago at the age of 85(To access this link and subsequent links, click here first.)  Among other things, Maher can be credited (or held responsible, depending on your point of view) for the Galleria (and its associated buildings and garages), the Pearl-Elm garage, the Centrum, Plumley Village, and, yes, the AT&T building.

This Mark Melady interview from 1994 with Maher is of especial interest, if only for his prediction that Union Station would “be a $30 million white elephant.”

This is a summary of Home Federal Savings & Loan, of which Maher was president from 1951 to 1979.   When he passed away, a column and editorial eulogized him.

Quick Question on Meadow Lane

Q’s post on WorcesterPolitics reminded me that I’ve never really understood the Meadow Lane situation.

Who’s responsible for plowing the Burns Bridge (that is, the Route 9 bridge that crosses Lake Quinsigamond)?  The state owns the bridge, the city is the nearest abutter (at least on the Worcester side of the bridge), and yet I noticed that the sidewalks on the bridge were pretty well cleared after Sunday’s snowstorm.

If I were a resident of Meadow Lane, I would ask why the state seems perfectly able to clear sidewalks on at least one property it owns, but seems more than willing to pass the buck on the sidewalk along Pleasant Street.

Does the city exempt the state from shoveling sidewalks that abut the courthouse and make the nearest neighbor — that is, the hotel — plow them out?  I don’t think so.

Does the city exempt the MassDOT office on Belmont Street from shoveling its sidewalks and instead make the nearest neighbor — that is, the Medical School — do the job instead?  I don’t think so.

So why is this case any different from those?

A weather event begins

We may be experiencing a blizzard this evening; up until a short while ago it had been a light snowfall — but with very gusty winds.  The snow is coming down much heavier now up here in the western hills of the city.

Here are a few video clips from the late afternoon as things got started:


Please be careful out there, folks.

Question of the Day

Is there any vote Gary Rosen cast as a City Councilor that he doesn’t want to retract?

First it was four votes on the tax rate.  Now it’s the sidewalk-shoveling ordinance.

What’ll we hear next?  “I’m taking back all the combs I gave out over the years because I’m balding”?  “I’d like to recall every pun I made between 2004 and 2008 because I’ve become allergic to cheese”?  “I’m going kosher, so I request that no one use the words ‘Gary Rosen’ and ‘hot dogs’ in the same sentence”?

I’m thinking we can just change the name of the column from “The Rosen Report” to “Taking Back the Vote” and no one will notice the difference.

Let’s talk TV

It’s been a while, so let’s catch up on everything that was on Masterpiece for the past few months.


First, the bad Chris Eccleston was about fifteen years too old to play John Lennon.  (Yes, I’m being nice, he was about twenty years too old.)  Halfway through this, my husband asked me why I was watching it, since I really dislike the Beatles.  But I really like Eccleston!  And I was waiting for it to get good.

Sadly, it never got better than horrible.  I spent the majority of my viewing time counting Eccleston’s wrinkles and wishing that he’d spent a couple more seasons as the Doctor.

Then, the decent.  Try as I may, I watch Wallander and somewhat enjoy it but it’s not something I particularly look forward to. 

If you’ve never watched Wallander, it’s about this Swedish detective who (on a good day) has issues with and (on a bad day) is estranged from his daughter and father.  When he’s not extremely disgruntled, he’s depressed.  And to top it all off he drives a Volvo wagon.

I thought the second episode in the series, “The Man Who Smiled”, was quite good, but even I found it hard to put up with Wallander’s moodiness this time around.

And…the great. 

I heard from a reader who took the first season of Lewis out of the library and wasn’t much enjoying it.  (He said that he felt he wasn’t really feeling Oxford as a place; I think as the series goes on, the presence of Oxford becomes more prominent.  Hang in there!)

I love Lewis, but I think it is perhaps due to the sheer animal magnetism of Kevin Whately.  (Incidentally, I believe my weird attraction to nondescript middle-aged men is also why I think Bradley Walsh of Law & Order: UK is so cute.  Tell me I’m not the only one who think it’s adorable when he pushes his glasses onto his forehead.  And if you think my crush on Mike Germain is bad, at least you didn’t have to live through my Tom Hoover crush, which my husband still reminds me about.) 

Anyway, Lewis was pretty good this season.  The first episode, “Counter Culture Blues“, featured Joanna Lumley as a rock star making a comeback, and I thought it was great.  The next episode had the ultra-dreamy Nathaniel Parker, but it wasn’t terribly wonderful.  The last episode — about whether Dr. Hobson was a murderer — was the best of the lot.

[As an aside, Lewis and/or Philip Glenister fans should run out and borrow Island at War.  At least two of the main actors in Island at War — Clare Holman and Laurence Fox — are in Lewis, and Glenister is, as always, playing the bad guy with a heart of gold.]

Sherlock was awesome.  Bret and Victor wrote better posts than I ever could.  I spent the whole time wondering why Benedict Cumberbatch isn’t the Doctor.

The promising…The Classic schedule for the year looks pretty good.  This looks good as well.


Lately, I’ve been on a Ray Winstone kick. 

I’d taken Vincent out of the library to get a Glenister fix, but Winstone is the star of that, and was so good.  Vincent is about a PI, but really it’s Ray Winstone playing a typically Ray-Winstone-y tough guy with an ex-wife whom he still loves and who does things he knows he shouldn’t do.  After you run out and watch Island at War, do yourself a favor and watch Vincent. 

So I’ve slowly been working my way through the Winstone canon.

I watched the Winstone Henry VIII.  I can’t recommend this one.  Winstone is not right for the role — he’s too short and too Cockney — and neither are most of the people in the cast.  Sean Bean was the bright spot in this, and he was on screen for approximately five minutes.  Clare Holman (Dr. Hobson in Lewis) played Catherine Parr, and she was quite good as well.  Do yourself a favor and listen to Wolf Hall on audio instead.

My husband has been trying to convert me to Robin of Sherwood for years.  My standard response was “Prince Michael of Moldavia can never be Robin Hood!”  Which I think speaks more to my encyclopedic knowledge of 1980s nighttime soaps than anything else.  (To be fair to my younger self, anyone who watched episode after episode of this might seriously question whether Michael Praed can act.  Or whether I have any taste in television.)

Sometime in the middle of King Arthur, the husband reminded me, again, that Ray Winstone was Will Scarlet in Robin of Sherwood, and we took the first two seasons out of the library.

Hey, guess what?  Michael Praed can act, and he might even have a sense of humor! 

The best thing about Robin of Sherwood is that after the first episode or two, I started thinking, “You know, I think Praed might be the best Robin Hood ever!  And Judi Trott is Maid Marion!  I’ve never seen a better Little John…”  And pretty soon, I agreed with my husband.

Robin of Sherwood, with its British-TV-circa-1983-production-values, predilection for Saxon shamanism and nuns who are secretly Satan worshippers, and flaming arrows, is by far the best representation of Robin Hood ever.  (To be sure, there are individual achievements that might best RoS — Alan Rickman’s Sheriff of Nottingham comes to mind — but overall, it’s head and shoulders over everything else.)

The collateral damage of watching hours upon hours of Robin of Sherwood are not immediately evident when you first take the five DVD set into your hot little hands, though. 

You need to realize that Clannad singing “Robin, Robin, the hooded man” is going to be in your head for a minimum of three weeks. 

You will definitely think, “Hm, they could have just taken every script in this season of RoS, added a Tardis and a sonic screwdriver, and it could have worked for Doctor Who.”

And you’ll start wondering why the heck Michael Praed didn’t have a huge career.  Really, he might have actually made a decent James Bond.  (Then again, I’m someone who thought Timothy Dalton could’ve been great with the right scripts.  Don’t trust my taste!)  Couldn’t he have been hired for a few Masterpiece Theater period pieces?  You’ll start wondering if a producer might have the foresight to bring him and Judi Trott to actually make a decent Robin and Marian…

In other words, watch Robin of Sherwood.

A few thoughts about last night’s vote

I don’t have an opinion one way or another about last night’s tax rate vote.  But I would like to point out the following:

1) A vote one way or the other will not ultimately change the 2011 election.  While people are still whining about an 84% Council pay raise from four years ago, felt-tip pens across the city still keep magically bubbling in the same names that voted for the pay raise.   

Do we really think that this is going to be the tipping point to throw out certain incumbents?  Lo dudo mucho.

2) Shaun Sutner asked me if I had a category on my posts for Mike Germain.  I haven’t, because I believe that would definitely put me in “restraining order imminent” territory.  However, the following Germain-isms, some of which were covered in Jeremy’s excellent liveblog, just might put me over the edge.  (If you’re following on the video, Germain comes on around the 2 hour mark.)

“It’s a $31 argument.  That $31 does cause a lot of emotion.”

“I don’t want to do it, but I have to do it.”

“I’m always the guy who comes in sixth place.  This is political suicide for me, but I really think  it’s the right thing to do.  I’ve never come in fifth, I always come in sixth, which means next year, I’m probably coming in seventh.”

Oh, MG, you’ll always be first on my ballot!

(In all seriousness, if someone could do a Jordan Levy/New Order remix, surely we can remix Mike Germain with Animotion.  Make it happen!)

3) Let the record show that this was, if nothing else, a sign of Joe O’Brien’s organizing skills.  We saw this a little bit six months ago with his ensuring that $20 million would go to schools (in addition to $20 million for streets and sidewalks); see the 8:05 mark on this Daily Worcesteria coverage of the May 25th council meeting

You can agree with the vote or disagree with the vote, but make no mistake about it — the vote went the way it did because of JOB’s lobbying and powers of persuasion.

4) Bill Eddy’s “one community” speech (1h57m mark) was actually quite good.  If he keeps this up, I’ll have to take back everything I ever said about him.  Well, almost everything…

Just when we’d mastered the pronunciation of “Roxburyry” . . .

An anonymous source reports that “Roxburyry St.” is no more –it’s now “Roxbury” again.  There’s a great big gap between the “y” and “S”, which tells you that they merely removed two letters.

I would normally take this opportunity to congratulate the DPW&P for correcting their error in less than two months.  But simply removing two letters still leaves us with a street sign whose letters are too short to meet MUTCD requirements. (4.75 inches instead of 6 inches.)

Unfortunately, it would take a power greater than this blog to make that happen.