View blog reactions Waiting for Speedway Fowler: August 2007

Thursday, August 30, 2007


The End?

Saturday, August 25, 2007


The Hippest New Food Place...

... or something like that.

It's Connecticut Muffin, a breakfast/coffee chain which is not based out of Connecticut, but in fact originated in Brooklyn. They've been in business for a while, but are just starting to get that cult vibe.

The chain has since expanded into Connecticut - there are now two CT locations - and is making its way northeast, I guess, and has become a favorite of New York's morning crowd. Could this upstart be a future challenger to the Dunkin Donuts crown?

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Main South

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Whitinsville - August 2007

Sunday, August 19, 2007


More from the Ireland Archive

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Cool Spray-paint Stencil

This appears on the traffic light control box at the I-290 Kelley Square off-ramp.
Worcester could use more guerrilla art like this.

Monday, August 13, 2007


REVIEW: Bull's Head Ginger Ale

I found this small-label ginger ale in a store in northern Vermont.

Like Moxie, BullsHead is one of the oldest soft drinks in North America.

From its appearance, I expected a clean, crisp, VERY gingery Ginger Ale; perhaps more like a Jamaican ginger beer.

The color is a light golden-yellow, lighter in the glass than in the bottle... somewhat reminiscent of the mass-produced ginger ales like Canada Dry or Schweppes, but even lighter in color.

The taste test surprises, though. It's a very sweet, sugary soft drink, with less ginger flavor than expected. Certainly less than, say, Chelmsford Golden Ginger Ale, which used to be made by Canada Dry and is now produced by Polar.

There is surprisingly little carbonation. BullsHead tastes almost like a fountain drink.

Not very robust. A very mild ginger ale.

NB: BullsHead was recently sold to new owners. its' good too see a small company like this surviving in this day and age, so, despite the underwhelming nature of their product, I hope the company continues to prosper.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


REVIEW: Reese's "Elvis Edition" Peanut Butter Cups

There isn't a lot of banana-flavored candy out there. I know the old-fashioned candy-necklace features a banana-flavored element, and I think Dum-dum lollipops have a banana version. But that was about it... until now.

Reese's Special Edition ELVIS Peanut Butter Cups admirably fill a heretofore unknown void.

Unpackaged, this looks like an ordinary, run-of-the-mill peanut butter cup - but it's not.

Next to it's peanut butter center is a ring of artificially-flavored banana cream filling.

It's a fantastic combination, and the sweetness of the banana helps cut the heaviness of the peanut butter. it's a lot easier to eat two of these than two ordinary peanut butter cups. Reese's has a winner here... and I bet the Elvis Edition remains in regular production. 8.5/10: The King would approve.


Getty Station on Highland Street

This gas station shut down suddenly last week. So suddenly that one customer was taken off guard.. and left this message:

"You have my car, the Honda Accord, locked up. No way to reach you. I am calling the police NOW."


What Goes Well with a Cold Beer

Tortilla chips! I have found the best brand is Calidad, which is out of Texas. I think you can find them at PriceRite.

I also really like Bakerfield Biscuits Brand Bean Dip - which is a boutique brand (sort of) owned by Dwight Yoakam. They used to have these microwavable dips at WalMarts... but I haven't seem them there lately. Comes in regular and Mexican-style.

And for salsa... a lot of people make their own, but I've never done that. I should try it. This taste-test says the best mass-market salsa is Herdez...

And I can't argue with that. Herdez, especially Herdez chipotle, is really good, but the addition of some homemade ingredients (garden tomatoes, etc) would make it even better.

And the beer? That's another story. Whatever works for you or your wallet. I have nothing againstg mass-produced beers like Bud. I also like serious beers like the kind served up at The Moan and Dove.


Canadian Thunderstorm

Saturday, August 11, 2007


The Border

The Border, part 1
Derby Line Public Library

The Border, part 2
Haskell Opera House


Cool "UFO" video from Haiti

This looks like an application for a job at ILM!

Friday, August 10, 2007


St. Benoit by Kayak

Thursday, August 09, 2007


The Insanity of Kids' Sports

Saw this great article in Thursday's Wall Street Journal.

All Soccer, All the Time?
How Not to Kill Kids' Love of Sports
August 9, 2007; Page D1

Katie Roper's daughter Ellen likes to play lots of sports -- soccer, basketball, softball and swimming. But even at Ellen's tender age of nine, that's getting hard to do.

Kids in her swim program are dropping other sports to specialize in competitive swimming year-round, and Ellen is having a tough time keeping up. The year-round swimmers tend to beat others badly, says Ms. Roper, of Los Altos, Calif. "I'm sad that soon she'll be discouraged and probably want to quit a sport she loves."

As millions of kids take to fields, courts and rinks this fall, as many as half to two-thirds are destined to quit sports by their teens, largely because they're not having fun, studies show. A trend toward specialization -- pressure for kids to play just one competitive sport year-round -- is one reason, researchers say.

Many kids thrive in competitive year-round programs, learning advanced skills and enjoying expanded opportunities. But the programs can be a bad fit for others, fostering stress and an overemphasis on winning, says a recent focus-group study of 67 school officials, coaches, parents and teens led by Daniel Gould, director of the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports at Michigan State University. Such strains are linked to higher injury risk, reduced motivation and burnout.

For parents who want their kids to embrace sports as a path to lifelong fitness and fun, the trend calls for new vigilance. Here are some early-warning signs that your child may be burning out:

• It's no fun. A child who grows bored, resists practices and games, feigns illness or injury, or retreats to the back of the line in drills, is at high risk of dropping out. Jeffrey L. Brown, a Harvard Medical School psychologist, also cites fatigue, performance worries or a lack of concentration in other activities.

The challenge for parents is to help children hold on to the joy of participating while others are focused primarily on winning. Switching to a community, YMCA or recreational league program can help. But it's usually best to finish the season, says Marty Ewing, an associate professor of kinesiology at Michigan State. Exceptions might include cases when a child is clearly in over her head and can't focus, or is so mismatched with a team that she's at risk of injury.

• Teammates aren't compatible. Camaraderie is a big source of the fun in sports and its absence can signal trouble. Joy Wyatt's daughter showed early aptitude for gymnastics and worked hard, at age 8, to prepare for her first competition. But when she was forced to sit out with an injury, her teammates were unsupportive and unkind, says Ms. Wyatt of New York. Put off, she decided to quit at the end of season.

• Cheating rears its head. If your child complains about cheating or starts cheating himself, burnout may loom. Blaming a bad call for a loss or error may signal that a child is frustrated, anxious or too focused on winning, Dr. Ewing says. It also may be a clue that you're hovering too much: An in-depth 2006 study of four junior tennis players at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, found parental pressure to win was by far the biggest reason players cited as the cause of cheating.

• Your involvement eclipses your child's. A 2006 Norwegian study of 677 soccer players ages 10 to 14 found children who felt heavy performance pressure from parents and coaches were overconcerned about making mistakes and harsher in their self-criticism.

If you see such emotions in your child, Michael Checchi advises, "take a hard look in the mirror." When Mr. Checchi's son showed early talent for baseball, he immersed him in the sport, enrolling him in off-season training and doing drills at home. But to Mr. Checchi's dismay, his son began at age 13 to lose interest. "The harder I pushed, the more resistance he gave me," recalls the San Ramon, Calif., father. Finally, his wife "told me I was being a jerk," he says. He backed off, and his son's interest in baseball soon reignited.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Al Bums Closes

It's the end of an era.

I was one of Al Bum's very first customers back when Dennis ran the place and it was located in an old garage behind Colonial Bakery. In fact, I might have been THE first customer. Gee, that was like 30 years ago. I think I may have bought the "Live at Circe's" compilation album... or maybe it was a used copy of the rare crushed velvet edition of the Bee Gee's "Odessa", or it might have been an awful album by a lame rock group called "Nantucket". I can't remember, exactly... but Al Bum's had them all.

Over the years, I followed old Al to his various locations around Worcester. In the end, he just couldn't compete with downloads. Al Bum's will be missed.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


2007 Massachusetts Chili Cook-off

Winchendon, August 4th.

Fewer crowds than in past years. They need to move it to the Fall, farther away down the calendar from the Wachusett mountain Chili Festival, which is stealing their thunder.


La Memphre Microbrasserie

Next to Schwartz's, my favorite restaurant in Canada.


Squirrel with a cupcake wrapper

This must rank near the very top on the list of good things that can happen in a squirrel's life.

Sunday, August 05, 2007


More Quebec Photos

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