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Aug 31, 2017

Throwback Thursday: 1985

     😅😋😍                                                                                                 "Hey," I said to Diana, "if you get a chance while you're in the states...didn't you say your sister kept that newspaper clipping of us in high school, the one of us at the tennis courts with my dog?"
Michelle DiPoala, left, and Diana Tramontano, both of Roxbury, chat Tuesday afternoon at the Roxbury tennis courts off of Route 67. Meanwhile Grover tries to take in a bit of the conversation.

#HireAWriter



"I was a rocket ship filled with untapped potential. 
With Year Up, now the sky is the limit."

Dear marketer,
Advise hiring a writer if your transit marketing campaign
forces awkward metaphor and leans on tired, old cliche.
You probably spent a lot of money on this stuff.
It should be better.
md

Aug 30, 2017

God is no longer an explanation of anything,

but has instead become something that would itself need an insurmountable amount of explaining. 

God used to be the best explanation we'd got, and we've now got vastly better ones. God is no longer an explanation of anything, but has instead become something that would itself need an insurmountable amount of explaining. So I don't think that being convinced that there is no god is as irrational or arrogant a point of view as belief that there is. I don't think the matter calls for even-handedness at all.” 
― Douglas Adams

Aug 28, 2017

The Great Purge: The Monday After

Dear Diary
Monday. Today I woke up late, ate a buttery English muffin, dropped a whole thing of iced coffee all over the kitchen floor (same floor I'd just washed yesterday, natch) and then I did nothing of any value to anyone the whole rest of the day. Except for cleaning up the spilled iced coffee. If I'd put the coffee into my body instead of onto the floor, maybe I'd have gotten more done today. But here's what I've been doing all week...
  • I re-arranged the porch furniture and fixed it up so it looks nice. Joe's been enjoying sitting out there of an evening, with his feet up, enjoying our little urban oasis. I brought one of my stone gargoyles out there to sit with my little plants (basil, thyme and rosemary). 

Aug 27, 2017

Peaches!


The peach trees are full and gorgeous. Heather and Thalia say they're gonna pick soon!
I said, "I'm gonna just stand underneath this one with my mouth open."

Just to clarify, I took these photos from the window of the piano room.
This little tree has grown tall since we moved in!
I think he must like the piano.

Aug 24, 2017

Hey, that's perfect for Throwback Thursday

Centre Pompidou, Paris (mid-2000s)

Diana's son is 12, and I only just met him yesterday.
I did everything possible not to make the kid feel weird when we met for lunch.
From his babyhood I've thought he had the eyes of an old soul.
Nice to meet you, son.


I visited Diana in Paris, way back in the early 2000s, just once.
This is us, the only photo from that visit (taken by her *asshole husband.)
We forgot to get a photo yesterday.
We look just like we do here, only twenty-something years older.

The 90s were so weird
I loved the ribbed mock turtleneck I'm wearing. 
It was so soft, and it traveled well for my job at the time.
I also bought one in black, red and hunter green.
This one is the color of vanilla bean ice cream.
I insisted on rocking "The Jennifer Aniston" on my head.
Someone should have punched me in the face.

*I'm sure his friends think he's great. But we have never gotten along. 


Aug 23, 2017

The Originals: "I Can't Believe I Fell For Another Damn Vampire"

Jenny and I are both binge-watching The Originals on Netflix. I called her today to find out where she's up to in the series. I myself have finished all four seasons in record time. I do not recommend pursuing such specious glory. You will rot your brain, plus your eyeballs might fall out the front of your damn skull. It's just that it's hot out, and I am unemployed at the moment. (Please hire me.)

Aug 14, 2017

I need to tweet Hal Sparks that this shit really happened today


"Small black coffee, please."

"We don't have small, we only have medium."

"...that's impossible."

(blank stare)

I tried again, "What's the smallest size?

"We just have the one size."

"What is happening right now?" For a good three seconds I thought I was on a reality show. Like Hal Sparks was going to come out from the back and give one of his comedy lectures. When I say that I need to tweet that dude, it's because he did this material years ago and I have never had it happen in real life. Here's the thing, and I'll put Hal's bit at the end: a size Medium is, by definition, the one in between the smaller and the larger sizes. I THOUGHT EVERYONE KNEW THAT.

SMALL CAN FUCK OFF THOUGH, RIGHT?

By the way, Medium has a real purpose in the beverage industry. We NEED Medium so we can feel like we are treating ourselves by ordering the not-smallest size. Everything else is so lean, money is so tight that we never get to do anything indulgent. So we should be ordering the small but we can go big today and get Medium. We can also feel righteous about not being a tubby little piggy and getting the LARGE when we haven't earned it.

But that's not at issue here, because this coffee place only sells the one size. Why say "We don't have small" and start right off confusing me? I haven't had coffee. Right now I'm like a baby when you shine a light in its eyes and you're holding hostage my coffee while you make me play you in a game of 20 Questions that I don't understand.

Trust Me, I'm A Writer

I'll detail what you did wrong. It's okay, I can help you improve your Customer Experience (CX). What should have happened is this:

"Small black coffee, please."

(Holds up the only cup to show me) "This is the only size we have, but I could just fill it up part way if you'd like?"

But let me tell you why it's egregious to start the transaction on a negative, not just for me but for the greater good of society. If the first thing out of your mouth is a negative ("we don't...), you're souring the customer's entire feeling about your store. Straight off, there's a problem. Guys, we got enough problems. The least that you could do as a small business in America is train your staff to make every transaction, especially coffee, should go smooth like Snoop. Why give me this gatekeeper puzzle. I'm going to buy a coffee here today. Your goal is to make me want to buy a coffee here tomorrow, too, and then pick this place when it's my turn to lead writer's group next week. You should want me feeling warm fuzzies about the day's first accomplishment: coffee. What you're doing is sending me out the door perturbed, and then the first rando that tells me to smile is in real danger of getting that one-size coffee in his smug face. So you see, your Customer Experience (CX) Fail is going to get a jerk burned with black coffee, and get me arrested for FuckThisShit. Do better. It's for America.

Retail Marketing 101: Turning a Problem Into a Promotion

Just in case you are hearing "stock more size cups," let me be clear: don't. It's fine. What I am saying is, do not make your store logistics into a problem for the customer. Sell the "one size" coffee but why not use the "we only have one size" thing as a marketing tool. It will cost you nothing to stick the cup on a funky little display with a pleasant-looking sign (write it ON THE CUP) saying "One Size!" and make a joke about it. Something like "One size fits most! But you tell us when to say when!" People love stupid old-skool shit like that. Go real old-skool: you can have a jar of coffee beans on the counter and make a contest out of guessing how many beans are in the jar. Raffle a branded cup or make it a charity donation thing. Customers love when you are a giving brand.

But back to the real point...

Are you guys saying that modern day "Medium" is re-defined as being anywhere between ten ounces and fourteen ounces? If we're refining the language, then somebody put it in Urban Dictionary or something. We re-purpose words all the time, but don't just assume that the wordsmiths among us (hi!) won't pick a fight over the technicality that you cannot have a Medium unless you also have one size smaller, and one size larger, to bracket that shit. ∎

"The only way that glass of iced tea 
is a Medium 
is if it can talk to the dead." 
- Hal Sparks



Say No To Every Nazi

Right now a growing Trump-emboldened militia has been marching for their right to rid America of "defectives." These are people who have been riled up by the KKK (it is astonishing that actual Klan members are still around in 2017) and other extremist leaders, and they see Trump as their savior finally empowering them to "take back their country," a paranoid call so absurd that it would be funny except that they literally want to kill my friends. These dangerous people have heard the "Make America Great Again" dog whistle and now they are acting out on the notion that their time has come at last. It's okay now to hate freely. They have no hoods or cloaks this time. They are proud of their racism, and view any who oppose them as traitors and "libtards."

These are people who view the concepts of diversity and equal rights as a a direct threat to them, personally. "You will not replace us! Jews will not replace us" is their paranoid battle cry. Hey guys? No one is trying to replace you. That's weird. Your heads are not right. You sound insane. You look crazy. What kind of choice is this to make for yourself? For America?


Charlottesville

This past weekend they came to Charlottesville. They came to march against freedom, in the name of freedom. They came brandishing torches and waving the flag of both the Nazi party and the Confederates who fought against American values. They honor those Confederates as their patriarchal forebears whose segregationist traditions they seek to revive and strengthen, violently if necessary. They came with torches and battle cries and they claim they are fighting for their "rights" which extend to mean "kill Jews" and "kill black people" and by the way, they believe they should have the "right" to incite this kind of violence completely free of consequence. They call themselves white nationalists. The press calls them Alt-Right. Mr. Trump has obliquely suggested that there are "many sides" to the unfolding story that led us skidding sideways into August 2017.


Women's March - Boston
January 21, 2017
Boston

These toxic torch-bearing individuals claim they're coming to Boston next weekend. Boston, as much trouble as we still have here with race relations, always gears up. We do have big problems here, but the difference is that we, as a community, strive to do better. We want to be better.

It's Monday. A whole new wave of anger, fear and disappointment has been surging all weekend. Right now, people are canceling plans so that we can gather at the Boston Common again on Saturday, August 19th. Now I need to get a Sharpie and write my mom's phone number on my damn arm again, so they can notify her in case something happens to me. I gotta go back down there again and say "no" to Nazis, because enough people voted for Donald Fucking Trump. True to his barely coherent bloviating barrage of campaign promises, here we are barely six months into this fiasco of a presidency and I have to go out to the Boston Common next weekend and literally object to Nazis.

Nazis.

Future grandkids (yours or not) will ask about what is happening right now. They'll look up from their 6th grade homework and ask their elders what it was like going to school in 2017, they'll ask what it was like before Trump. They'll have questions. They'll ask what you thought, what you did, how you voted. Are you paying attention to what you think, what you are doing, and how you are voting? What's your story?

Divided America

I keep thinking about a friend I used to have. We are no longer friends. This friend "broke up with me" on Facebook. Her parting shot was a reply to my outrageous suggestion that America can do better. She wrote, "Supporting a racist doesn't mean a person is a racist."  To which I replied, "In my opinion, it does."

I stand by my words. So too did she, and that was the end of things. This is the "divided America" that we now navigate, where people are convinced that this is all fine. This is all okay, you can reasonably support outwardly vocal racists without taking on the mantle of responsibility for their violence. Where it's reasonable to shrug and say "oh well" when Nazis literally march for the right to exterminate non-whites and Jews, and anyone who says "hey, that's really not cool, like, at all" becomes the unreasonable one, the "libtard."

If you're not against racism, then you're for it. This is no time to shrug and say "oh well."

Gear up, friends.

Pick a side.

It's on.∎

Boston always gears up.
(Photo: Uncredited from the Women's March Boston site)

What Story Will You Tell A 6th Grader?

[Mrs. Dorozinky's 8th Grade Class, 1984
St. Margaret's School, Waterbury CT]
I'd say that 6th grade was approximately the age when a poor-to-middling American Catholic school began to escort my group of plaid-clad, doe-eyed whelps outward into the news and show us how current events connect us to history. We had brains of soft clay when we first began to engage with the outside world. I respect teachers in general, but threefold for those Catholics that helmed the U.S.S. Gen X from 4th through 8th grades. It was a wild, windy, sticky affair.

Aug 13, 2017

These People Are Nazis. We Had A Whole World War About This.

Dear Everyone,
Please stop staying "Alt Right" like it's an actual platform.
There is no "Alt Right." 
The term you're looking for is
WRONG.

Aug 12, 2017

Thrift Stories: Nobody Wants This Jacket? Edition

I saw this jacket at my favorite thrift store for $4.
I'd never fit into it, even at my smallest, but I asked my Facebook friends if anyone wants me to get it for them.
Nobody said yes. Bitches be trippin'. This is a great jacket.

...hey, the new guy at the mattress store is super into it.


Where did I get this?

Having a smoothie at Union Cafe.
I took out my iPad and headphones...
...and this small white cat figurine.
WTF?
Where did I get this?

Oh no! A purple Croc egg fell out of its nest



Aug 10, 2017

Hey, Old Friends!

Mary stopped for lunch on her way back to New Jersey.
(Photo: Mary Katherine)

Aug 9, 2017

Aug 6, 2017

Happy Birthday, Lucille Ball

You fantastic, immortal superwoman.
The world would be so beige without your brilliance.
Happy Birthday, Lucille Ball!

I admit that I was skeptical about this "garden in a can" thing.
But...
Porch basil! 

Aug 4, 2017

Polish Mustard

When we finally do leave city life for a more serene lifestyle, the one thing I'll miss terribly is food shopping in the city.
We'll have to stock up on staples from our favorite little markets and bodegas.
Tonite I'm making Joe a real Polish dinner.
He is so excited for brats & cabbage.
Mustard is important.