About Me

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A simple, tax-paying, opinionated American. I roam the streets of Boston at all hours of the night; slip on the sidewalks and drive through the pot holes. I find myself challenging the opinions of others on a daily basis. I despise anyone that opposes Cape Wind. The recession has had no effect on me except to shorten the lines I wait in at Privus, The Nile, Joshua Tree, and Target (people can only afford Wal-Mart). I make a lot of wise remarks, enjoy witty battles, and say it like it is. I'm a Democrat, a procrastinator, and I spend way to much time talking about both. I am me.

Friday, February 13, 2009

On the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority

I've been sitting on this topic for a few days now; wanting to cool down long enough to give the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, hence forth referred to as MTA, a fighting chance in this blog.

The story begins with a beautiful Tuesday night in the glorious city of Boston. After getting my shisha fix at Nile, and enjoying the company of Big Mama (Danielle) and various other characters. Upon my departure, I back my car out of the snow bank I'm forced to park in due to the fact that the plow workers apparently believe in letting nature do the work for them. Once free from the clutches of the Snow Miser, I spin the snow off my tires and continue down Commonwealth Ave. While driving, watching out for kamikaze Indie bikers, and embarrassingly trying to skip over Birtney Spears' Womanizer on my iPod, I also have to avoid crater like pot holes that make the grand canyon look like Joe the Plumber's butt crack. I grin and bare it, and proceed to Storrow Drive via the Boston University bridge. Cones, three police cars, and a detour sign barring my entrance and mock my very existence; forcing me to cross the Charles and proceed down a self guided tour of the MIT campus. I finally reach the on-ramp to 93 south and proceed down into the Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. Tunnel, or as I call it, the anilingus-money pit-asbestos filled dungeon of Boston. Thinking I'm in the clear as I come around the corner, I'm greeted with the flashing lights of over six troopers spread generously through the two left lanes. I being to feel my blood boil.

Herded like a sheep to the slaughter, I'm forced to flee the tunnel, most likely for fear of falling debris, for some imaginary construction that is taking place SOMEWHERE in the tunnel. Thankfully we pay those fearless police officers overtime to guard the tunnel against anyone able, or willing, to break through the barricade. As I continue on my journey, a ride that should only take thirty minutes, I'm forced to breach the surface in the Harbor District. What do I do now? Follow the detour signs you say? Well, funny you should mention them, but apparently in their haste to complete the Big Dig they forgot to place any detour signs directing poor lost sheep to their destination. After gallantly parading around the beautiful Harbor District and removing my fingernails from their death grip on the steering wheel, I've forced to take the Mass Pike. Now, being a person of the 21st century, I very rarely carry cash and I usually throw change out the window. I found myself wishing I didn't give Zeek that 75cents to wipe my window down with spit and newspaper. I manage to fork up the $1.25 toll at the first booth with some change I found between the seats and start to rummage for more while driving to the next money-sucking-leech at the next booth. 53cents is all I managed to find so I began flushing the anger from my face in order to attempt to be nice to the over-payed gate keeper. After pulling up I immediately began to wish I had a vagina and a set of double D's. The man, like most toll takers, was marginally unkept. In about his forties, his hair looked like bad bed head with enough grease to power a small car. Staring at him, covered in black soot, from wiping his face after handling dirty money all day, I began to explain my predicament to the man in power. Upon receiving my grandly delivered and beautifully articulated speech, the man grunts and says "I didn't force you to come this way".

The flood gates opened, and the wraith of God was unleashed from my mouth. After telling the man that I was now entirely supportive of him losing his job to the Fast Lane technology and that I hoped an oil tanker would careen into his toll-kingdom setting him ablaze, he proceeded to tell me that I needed to mail a check within fourteen days or I would receive a $250 ticket in the mail. Clutching my 53cents in pennies with the grip of death and the fury of an abusive Chris Brown, I demanded the man take the pennies so the toll would be for only 72cents instead of $1.25. When he began to taunt me with "You're going to send in a check for only 72cents?" I thanked the state of Massachusetts for having strict gun control laws because I would have taken natural selection into my own hands. As if writing a check for $1.25 is any better then writing one for 72 cents! After wishing him farewell, and a horrible case of tertiary sifilis, I sped off onto 128 South with complete fury.

What is with all of the construction across Massachusetts? Every night half of 93 has lights, cones, and cruisers with NO ONE working. 128 has been undergoing construction at the median for over two years with hardly any progress. Since when has it been common practice to begin every construction project at the same time? Don't even get me started on the Big Dig. After some research I discovered that there is not a single state highway not currently under construction with a project that has been taking place for less than two-years. Thankfully Deval Patrick and President Obama are homies; so we should see some of that stimulus money finally helping to complete the ample projects underway before our roadways crumble underneath us.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Bittersweet Life

Yes, the title is stolen from a My Favorite Highway song, but the topic is hardly copy written.

I've never been a stranger to revelations, but this one left me especially breathless; gripping the steering wheel and taking the long way home in order to better arrange my thoughts. Being the self-proclaimed "enlightened" individual I am, my eyes are always open to the meaningful in the mundane and that's how this next topic came about. What is more mundane to us than life? We sleep, eat, have sex, laugh, and love (not always in that order) but rarely do we ever take notice of the complexity of our time here. Keep reading; this won't be some hippy rant, I promise.

Being a "Generation Y: Millennial", I walk my carbon-foot-printing self through my day to day life, better equipped than all passed generations for the arduous journey. I take pride in what my generation is helping to produce; the first black president, equality for all races and orientations, and Facebook (you know everyone can at least agree on this one). But I also see us not rising to our full potential. With all of the resources and knowledge we possess, we are still victims to the status quo. What do I mean by this? Well, the vast majority of us live the same day everyday; like that awful movie "Groundhog Day" with Bill Murray. After high school, we go to college. During the week we go to classes (and those of us that aren't blessed with a hedge fund also work), and during the weekend we party. Repeat the process over the course of four years and you have a standard college career; an amazing one at that. But what then? A nine to five, chained to a desk in a plether swivel chair with an adjustable back contour? Well, for most of us, yes.

Life doesn't need to be so tragically boring and self centered. We constantly devalue some of the most important and fulfilling attributes of our own lives. We now live in a society where our connections and resources are unlimited. I can, with just a few clicks, know the goings-on of the kid who dressed up as my high schools mascot; with pictures to illustrate. It's a world where people never leave our lives. But even with all this human interaction, the vast majority of us grow colder and colder to our fellow man all the time. We lock our doors, close the blinds, and shut our eyes to everything outside of our day to day life. Are we really such recluses? You're probably saying no. But, when was the last time you helped someone without any ulterior motive? Or did more than just talk about global warming? We are a generation of grand ideas and dreams, but why is it so difficult to take these things off the drawing board and get our hands dirty? It's time to bring more to the table. Don't live the status quo; make connections, be a force, laugh a lot, realize the majority of people are good, and stand up for what you believe.

Life isn't passing me by; it's running to keep up.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


I've been classified as somewhat of a "serial dater". What is a "serial dater" you may ask? Well, it is someone who dates on a fairly regular basis without settling down. Now, let me define what I mean by dating for my fellow men that seem to be confused on the subject. Dating does not consist of asking a female to "Come to a party"; it's important for her substantiate that you are not a serial killer with a degree in roofies before a party is an acceptable outing. Number one rule to live by? Don't text your dating candidate at 3 a.m. asking them "What are you doing?". I've been informed that the female sex knows what we're up to; thanks Sarah.

So now that we know what dating isn't, what IS it exactly? Well, to me, it is the best phase of the relationship machine. Both parties are testing the waters; primped, prepped and on their best behavior with all of their flaws buried deep beneath a velvet sheet of humble charm. Guys have on clean shirts and their friends dress shoes while girls rock their most "come hither" outfits with shoes that make us marvel at their pain threshold. Sounds like the making of a magical evening. Now comes the hard part; where do you go?

Usually the responsibility falls to the man to pick the location; this is the first time (but far from the last) that the woman will highly over-estimate our romantic capacity. A few quick pointers guys: avoid anything sports related, involving your family, offers a value meal, or requires padding; save the latter for after shes already seen you embarrass yourself. So what does that leave? Well, now that you know that a Hersey Pie after your king size number two from Burger King doesn't classify as dinner and dessert, let's cover some ideas that will keep her in those seductive outfits for weeks to come.

The most important thing to remember is that women want the dreaded "R" word; romance. For some of us gentlemen this comes easy; for others it's like walking with both shoes on the wrong feet down an icy Allston sidewalk. Don't worry though; if you're actually taking her on a date you're already a better candidate then half of the other guys shes met that still think it's socially acceptable to "holler at a biddie". So what works? Well, first impressions are a critical aspect of the dating process. Pull out all the stops for the first date; make sure the place, or places you select are interesting but allow for ample conversation. For example, going to the movies is an awful first date; you sit next to a woman you just met, in the dark, with the Dolby Digital roaring on all sides, while you shovel fist fulls of popcorn into your mouth and wipe the salty-butter residue on your pants. Save this for at least the third date. I would recommend a trip to the Improv Asylum in the North End for a show and a few glasses of wine or their lovely bucket o' beer if that's more your style. After the show, if you're really classy, why not treat her to some fine dining at anyone of the North Ends fine dining like Dolce Vita or Tresca. Or for those of you with a more modest wallet, head to Mikes Pastry for cannoli's or biscotti; who says you can't ball on a budget.

As a true blue mama's boy, the best piece of advice I can give is to treat woman with respect, always pay for everything, open doors, and always tell her how beautiful she looks; beautiful, not hott. Follow these guidelines and you will be beating the women off with a stick. And yes ladies, I am single and accepting dates.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Higher education: The pursuit of intelligence or a 3rd mortgage?

You graduate high school and you... go to college. What else is there? You spend senior year of high school going through the rigorous application process; writing essays, touring schools, having meetings. Finally, it pays off; a thick envelope, fresh with the mail room clerks saliva and stamped by an over jealous postal employee. An acceptance! And to your dream school no less.

Here is where my issues with higher education begin. The price tag. Colleges and universities increase their tuition about 8% every year. Over the course of every 9 years, college tuition will double. Now, the question I ask myself is, is this really worth it? I highly value education; a self proclaimed know it all my whole life has always led me in the pursuit of knowledge, but is this cookie cutter style learning really worth it? Half the time spent working towards a college degree will be spent completing courses that have nothing to do with the field of study. In some very infuriating cases, you will be forced to take a class for the mere fact that what you need is not available. Excuse me for being a little bitter after being forced to take "Roman Literature" because the "Chemistry Lab" I needed to take is full.

Does this seem like a complete waste of time to anyone else? If I'm paying $6,000 per class, I'd really like to take a class that gets me one step closer to getting my degree. It is important to be well-rounded but there needs to be a limit. The system is flawed and has been for some time. The problem is no one questions it. Students continue to go through the motions and, step by step into financial oblivion. With the financial crisis raging in America, and forecast to continue for years to come, I find myself asking if I will be able to get a good enough job to handle my $500 a month college loan payments.

Education, limited to only the high classes and the aristocracy, did not become readily available until the Age of Enlightenment. During this glorious time, reason and knowledge reined supreme. And the kicker? It was a free exchange of ideas. With the worlds current idea of factory style learning, or the process of sticking as many people in a room with the same curriculum and hoping that a few of them are good enough at being sheep to absorb it, leaves much to be desired.

So what is the answer? Well, it's a difficult nut to crack but it all starts with curriculum adjustments and an overhaul of the tuition system. With government and state funding being cut, so are financial aid programs and scholarships, preventing many from pursuing higher education. Teach what needs to be taught and learn what you need to succeed.

Don't go with the motions.