Merry Christmas!

For those who celebrate that kind of thing, anyway.

If it were just one store doing it, just one store, I’d think they’re off their rocker, and wouldn’t shop there. And if two stores, two stores put up Christmas displays, in harmony, I’d think they’re both crazy and walk on out of there. And if three stores do it, three, can you imagine three stores with pre-lit Christmas trees in the middle of Indian Summer all decorated out, I’d think they’re getting organized and in cahoots with each other.

But if all these stores – can you imagine, I mean, I’ve seen all these stores all decorated up with Christmas goods, and walking by pre-lit Christmas trees, and I keep walking out – well, friends, you may think it’s a movement. The overly commercialized, anti-Halloween massacre movement, pushing out all the goodly chocolate of the night and wiggling skeletons and scary masks from the stores, just to sell you more strands of lights practically all year round.

HT 2 UH from AppleFoot as well for spotting Sears’ pre-lit trees complete with legwarmers.

All I want for Christmas is my back…

Links for July4th around Boston

Don’t forget to check the websites for updates (especially traffic nightmares) before you make plans in the Boston area’s many July 4th celebrations.

Happy weekend!

Backup Blogging

No, not blogging about backups, although I promise to do that real soon now. But blogging a backup of things I’ve meant to blog but never quite did.

  • What is going on with Starbucks? Not that they’re my favorite coffee company – that’d be Peet’s – but their stock prices, their coffee quality, and now the breakfast sandwiches are going to go away this coming fall! I actually like ’em quite a bit, although the cheese & etc. is never quite straight on the muffins. P.S. I’m surprised FF’s default spellchecker doesn’t know the word “Starbucks” too. Mebbe their developers just are too much the Jolt or DD drinkers, I guess.
  • Busy, busy, busy with too many different projects at work, including some that take, ahem, an inordinate amount of overhead time. Sigh.
  • Did I mention we bought a MacBook Pro? Shiny. Finally sharing iTunes/iPhoto etc. properly. Now to actually, y’know, loadup all the past pictures and then do something kewl with them. Oh, and back them up in an organized fashion.
  • The new fridge is nice. A very expensive way to temporarily fool yourself your kitchen is remodeled. Note to fridge shoppers: most of them are pretty much the same, with minor differences. Actually shop in person, and pick the one with the most convenience shelves that’s in your price range.
  • Gotta love those politicians, spending all that money to send everyone 2 separate letters telling them they might get that economic stimulus check. I was amazed – we actually got one! A real live check, too, since they seem to forget I did direct deposit last time. Just in time to potentially influence voters, too. Amazing!
  • Joyous Summer Solstice! It was such a beautiful day – and such a beautiful evening the next – that I completely forgot to logon to commemorate in a timely manner. I only hope the sun will forgive me for that.
  • Looking forward to seeing a number of friends this weekend, and had the first summer dinner last weekend with other friends, which was quite delightful. I love summer air – it feels softer, somehow.

We’re fine. We’re all fine here now, thank you. How are you?

Happy Patriot’s Day! (Observed, late)

For those fortunate enough to be in the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts, (I hope you) celebrate(d)! It was an especially nice weekend weather-wise too – this week (a local school vacation week) promises to be a first blast of summer.

For those in the US but not in MA (or ME or WI), well, you’re missing a great holiday along the lines of the fourth of July, except the 19th of April came first.

For those outside of the US, Patriot’s Day is the actual spark that began the whole American Revolution thing. For some of that which has followed – some would say especially the past few years, the best I can say is the old phrase oft quoted, that democracy is the worst form of government – except for all the others.

In any case, I give the true spark of the origins of our country to Concord. For those not familiar, Google or your favorite search engine will offer a basic background, although detailed and properly-researched stories are not simple to find. Mental note: create a website that links to the best background sources for Patriot’s Day someday.

Short short version: troops of the British regular army (often wearing red coats, but not by any means all) marched out of Boston towards Lexington and Concord in the wee hours of the morning. Several staunch colonial patriots rode around to give the alarm, which summoned many of the local militias to their town commons. Now a lot of other things happened that day; but these are the things that strike me.

At dawn, Captain John Parker and some of his militia stood in a line on the far side of Lexington green. The redcoats marched up, and demanded they disburse. The militia briefly stood their ground, and then – we’re not quite sure how or who – shots were fired. Several militia were injured or killed, and the rest dispersed. Now this was clearly a serious incident, given that army troops shot and killed a number of (effectively) civilians. But at this point, the protest against the British government was still basically peaceful, and if this were all that happened, the revolution could have begun later.

About 7 marching miles later, the redcoats dispersed through the town of Concord, searching for military supplies. A number of troops also marched briefly across the Old North Bridge, where they saw a large number of militia men organized in several companies. Since the actual redcoats at the bridge were widely outnumbered, they retreated back across the bridge and took up a defensive position. The militia troops advanced on the bridge, calling for them to leave. As the militia got to the other side of the bridge, the redcoats opened fire – at first individually, and then in volleys. The militia returned fire, less organized, but in a fair volume.

While the encounter at Lexington could possibly have been ignored – a single mistaken volley to disperse uncooperative civilians – the full rank of militia firing back at the army troops could not. That was the act of an organized militia specifically declaring war upon an occupying army.

The differences in the original conflicts in Concord and Lexington are clear products of the fact that Concord is further away from Boston. Many more militia had had a chance to gather. Plus, the redcoats had actually burned just a few supplies in the town of Concord, which left the large militia that had gathered to wonder if their town was being burned down.

In any case, if the organized but very brief conflict at the bridge hadn’t been enough, the large numbers of militia troops from across New England that had gathered by mid-day ensured that the events of April 19th would be heard ’round the world.

P.S. Note: please do not confuse Patriot’s Day with, um, Patriot Day. Very different things.

My Mid Summery-Day Commute

A few observations driving to work mid-day the day before Patriot’s Day (actual).

  • How long does it take to build an Appleton? Seriously: just how long has there been a long row of contractor’s trucks parked atop the peak of Appleton St., on the Boston side? At least 2 years. They coulda built a whole new section of Tory Row by now, and it’s hard enough to drive up that street after shopping at the Fancy Stores for nibbles on my way into work.
  • Who’s getting buried today? Not to begrudge the funeral procession on Mt. Auburn their due respect at all, but I waited for a detail cop (actually doing useful traffic direction work – imagine that!) to wave me on as no less than 4 cycles and one police car (Cambridge, I think) escorted a hearse, limo, and count them: about 3 funeral-marked cars. Musta been someone important.
  • The tourists were out, at least a few. Sadly, there were no where near enough Bostonians jogging Memorial as I would have expected at 12:15p! That’s good, because a pair of construction workers were eating lunch on the bikepath across from Mahoneys, excuse me, across from yet another Harvard building.
  • I did not specifically see people smiling, but then again I was driving to work. I also did not appear to be stuck behind any of the gross of MA licensed drivers who are reportedly 100 years of age or older, nor did I see any buses on fire, Fung Wah or otherwise.
  • I did not eat any Solyent Green. Although I have seen an unusual number of references to it, without having seen the meme until I Googled it just now. Are people worried they’ll be eating a touch of the great Charlton Heston (R.I.P) in their Wheaties this week?
  • I also did not see any electric longboards chugging uphill on Appleton St., either, although this link is worth a read. Although I suppose the Tories discourage that kind of behavior in their neighborhood.

Who’s all going to what Patriot’s Day celebrations? I salute all the reenactors who help bring this important holiday to life, especially the early risers and them’s that celebrate it on the day, as opposed to just doing it right before the Marathon.

Joyus Vernal Equinox!

With thanks once again to the sun to coming back to us here in the northern hemisphere, bringing with it (in the Boston area at least) lovely if occasionally very wet weather. Happy and healthy travel to all those celebrating spring holidays this week and the next!

Happy Evacuation Day!

Since I’m something of a local history buff I like to commemorate local holidays, even if they’re only celebrated in Suffolk county.

Wikipedia has a reasonable description of Evacuation Day, but I’ve really come to like the historic details and deeper research that J.L. Bell provides in the excellent Boston 1775 history and gossip blog.

I’m never really sure how much of the modern celebration of Evacuation Day is because of it’s history, as opposed to it being co-located with St. Patrick’s day, since Boston was the first city to have a St. Patrick’s Day Parade, at least on this side of the pond. It often feels like it’s still a local holiday (all Commonwealth government offices get it off) mostly so that locals can attend the parades.

Wow! There’s actually an entire domain name devoted to the celebrations in 2007, although don’t bother clicking through, since they never really updated the site or provide much information about the Boston aspects, more focusing on the cannon’s journey thereto. But you do have to check out the Irish Stormtroopers.

Joyous Winter Solstice!

Yes, I’m actually on time, since it primarily happens on the 22nd this year! It was actually a pretty good day, if rather short…

We all will be looking forward to more daylight, although it takes a while to really start making a difference. Unfortunately it looks to be warm tomorrow, so the top layers of snow will likely be melting, with deleterious effects on sledding enjoyment on our the nearby hill. Drat, that reminds me, I need to shovel the edges of the driveway so I can actually see!

I can’t actually decide which sun milestone I like the best. I love christmas trees, so the long night just means that much longer that we can have the lights on. But I also love sunlight, so there’s something really appealing about having a long enough day that you can actually do almost everything you want to do, and then enjoy the sunset as you have your second dessert just before going to bed. Ah, well, I’ll just have to enjoy both of them!