View blog reactions Waiting for Speedway Fowler: October 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008


:60 Seconds at Cathedral of the Pines

Wednesday, October 29, 2008



Anyone else see any flakes this morning? I saw a few cross my windshield while driving down Chandler Street around 9am.


Cider Time!

Got this at a little farm stand on Route 140 near Winchendon.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008



Okay, I will!

(Seen from 190N near Nortons.)

Monday, October 27, 2008


What is WRONG with this Guy?

I hate to take a blog entry in a serious direction, but I see this several times a week and it bothers me. This guy either owns Fatt Cutts or works there. His giant SUV is parked out front every day, where countless passing kids get to read the message on his rear window. What the hell? Obviously he has the right to express any sentiment he wants, but would there not be community outrage if he was using a different word like "wop", or "kike" or "harp"? In this instance...; nothing. And why? I know the argument is that such a casual use of the word strips it of its power, but that viewpoint reminds me of the old Firesign Theatre bit about the "Trail of Tears Golf Course". The N-word is a word that NEEDS to retain its power. There's 300 years of history and pain and shame and overcoming and struggle ans reconciliation behind it, and cheapening it to sell MP3 files is unbelievably asinine. It's an important word and it's an obscene word and every little kid who passes this guy's ride on their way home from school gets a tiny little bit of ugliness callously and unthinkingly tossed into their lives. Someone needs to have a discussion with this guy. Maybe his viewpoint would be enlightening. Maybe not. Maybe it would make good YouTube material.


Sit Tight. Take Hold.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Worcester Humanists

From the website:

"With members from all over Central Massachusetts, Greater Worcester Humanists is an active chapter of the American Humanist Association.

Our mission is to be a hub of activity for humanism in Greater Worcester, raising public awareness and acceptance of humanism and thereby strengthening the progressive, reason-based worldview in our area and providing resistance to the ultraconservative views of the religious right.

We meet once a month, usually at the UU Church in Worcester, MA."

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Trashing the City

This is the path that leads from Chandler Junior High (Chandler Magnet School) to the soccer and baseball fields up behind the school. It's a total mess, strewn with bottles and trash and even an old recliner.

Who is supposed to maintain this place? The School Department? The DPW?
Whoever it is needs to get on the ball. This is unacceptable.

Friday, October 24, 2008


How To Burn Down Your House

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Pinewood Derby 1969

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


YouTube's Cool New Feature

It's a new meter that lets you know how much of your video has been uploaded so far.

Very cool!

Monday, October 20, 2008




Tired of Subsidizing the Flyover States?

Think New England would be better off on its own?

I'm not sure, myself, but some people think so.

New England secession is an idea that's been around for a long time.

There's even a flag for it.

Joel Garreau thought it made good economic sense in his book "The Nine Nations of North America".

And there are several interesting websites dedicated to the cause.

Here's one.

And another one.

And another one.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


What's the Deal With "Om"?

This was one of the first tenants listed for the redevelopment of Lincoln Plaza, but as far as I know, the store never opened. Yet, it's never been taken off the sign. i think it was supposed to be some sort of vaguely Asian-themed furniture store, but I can't really tell. There used to be a few rugs hanging in the place and a couple of bamboo items, but the windows have since gone reflective, so you can't see in from the parking lot any more. I did some googling, but it doesn't look like this place was part of a chain, so it remains a bit of a mystery.

Saturday, October 18, 2008



Who needs price, service or selection when you've got a name like Sexy Lady's Family Market?

Friday, October 17, 2008



Want a taste of how the other half lives?

Now that the weather's colder, tune your radio to AM 1170 any night and you will catch a bit of WWVA out of Wheeling/Steubenville.

I'm not sure exactly what "other half" this is, but it's like tuning into something from Mars.
You get one fire-and-brimstone tent-revival-style preacher after another. The audio sounds like something off of 30-year-old tape reels. And then there's Brother Stair. I think he's either now in jail or heading there, but his radio ministry lives on. He is one impressively creepy individual. Even more so when you read up on his exploits. "Maranatha", indeed. Still, it's worth tuning in for just to hear his strange over-pronunciation of his hometown of Walterboro, SC.

And in the middle of the mix is the weird self-help guru Roy Masters, who's interaction with callers is so indecipherable you can never EVER quite figure out what his point is. I've been listening to bits of Roy Masters for years and I have absolutely no idea what the hell the guy is rambling about. But he looks and sounds a lot like Jon Pertwee, so that's cool.

WWVA also has a lot of those call-and-response preachers who do their bit with southern spiritual organ music constantly playing in the background, which is sort of awesome.

This is freaky AM Radio culture from the heart of coal mining country. Check it out.


Stop & Shop's New Look



They're spending $50 Million dollars to update the logo, colors, signage, etc., in every store. I think the new logo looks a bit like the NBC Peacock.

Thursday, October 16, 2008



I sometimes add salt to beer. Many years ago, I worked in a kitchen on the Cape with several people who were beer salters and I developed the habit from them. Only certain beers benefit from a dash of salt. Miller High Life, for example.

So anyways, I saw this stuff at Mass Liquors. it was 99cents. It's beer salt with lime already added. It's pretty good, actually, and improves the average cheap, thin American budget beer like Miller or Busch.


New Signage for the Lucky Dog

I kinda like it. I like the way half of the sign hangs out in the air over the street.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


The Most Entertaining Man on TV

He's Vince, the ShamWOW! Guy. He's a TV pitchman, but one look at his scrawny frame and his twitchy actions, and you realize that, sans the inexplicable headset, he could easily be a hillbilly spree killer.

Here's an article on the man himself from a recent edition of SLATE.


The Opposite of Simple Design

This guy's campaign sign includes his whole platform!


Can You Say "CueCat"?

Media, Web, interactive tv
WMUR Tests Interactive TV System from Backchannelmedia

Wade Roush
Backchannelmedia, the Boston interactive-TV startup we profiled in November 2007 and again this April, said today that it’s signed up a new partner to test its system for bookmarking web addresses promoted on live TV. NH ABC affiliate WMUR-TV will insert signals into their over-the-air broadcasts that cause clickable onscreen icons to appear onscreen whenever TV shows include bookmarkable URLs. WMUR’s sister station in Boston, WCVB Channel 5, is already testing the system.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Assumption's Radio Silence

Assumption College used to have a campus radio station. But in 1980, the transmitter burned out, and the station never went back on the air. The studio space in Founders Hall was used for other things. No new transmitter was ever purchased. The station was forgotten. And that's too bad, because one of the best parts of the whole college experience, beyond the partying and the late nights hanging out talking with friends and the crazy weekend road trips and the hallway snowball fights and the co-eds... okay... ALL of college is pretty much AWESOME... is college radio. WCHC is a decent, occasionally innovative station. WCUW, though it long ago grew beyond its Clark roots, is sort of legendary. WERS at Emerson and WHUS in Storrs are two of the best stations in New England. And Worcester State also has an active radio station. So what's with Assumption? The school takes in enough cash, judging by all the construction on campus in recent years. It would be nice if the administrators over on Salisbury street would use a couple bucks to pick up a second-hand transmitter somewhere and re-establish the radio station somewhere in the Media Center or at the Student Center.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Sunday, October 12, 2008


Anyone Remember Lums?

Lums was a big national chain back in the 70's and 80's. For some reason, it died a pretty quick death. There was one on West Boylston Street, where Barber's Crossing was until a few years ago. This photo is from the Lums in Plattsburgh, NY. If I remember correctly, Lums was famous for its bratwurst steamed in beer and its onion rings.


Where Have You Gone, BJ Dean? Our Nation Turns Its Lonely Eyes To You.


(BJ Dean and Jeff Starr, sometime during the late 60's or early 70's)
I just discovered a Facebook page dedicated to the glory years at WORC.
I have no idea who put the page together, but there are some great photos on there.
I apologize for swiping this one, but it was just too awesome to resist.
Didn't see any pics of Meredith Viera, though.
I remember the days when you listened to WORC on the AM radio in the car, and JB105 on FM when you got home.
The Good Guy Liveline.
And BJ Dean's daily 4:30 movie Trivia Quiz.
I won a LOT of free passes to the Webster Square Cinema from that guy.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Kinda Hard to See...

... but these are the new lights and new awnings at Blue Jeans Pizza. Really nice!


The Incomparable Work of Gregory Crewdson

The man:

And just one example of his amazing photographs. Yes, that's a photo.

(click on photo for full resolution)


Gas Back Below $3.00/Gallon

Gas prices have been falling for the past month. The consensus seems to be that it is the poor economy that is causing it. But when prices were rising, the consensus was that high consumption by the military in Iraq, plus demand from China and India, were the driving factors behind the increases. Sure, speculation plays a factor, but it sure is interesting timing that this is happening just a couple of weeks before the Presidential election.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Meantime, out in the Berkshires...

I just noticed this photo I took back in the Spring.
I can't say I'm comfortable with the BBQ *AND* the baby goats being advertised on the same street corner.


That's a Wrap!

Principal shooting wraps today on the second Trailer Park Boys movie! No word on a release date.

Thursday, October 09, 2008




WNEB 1230AM Apparently Still Exists

I remember the days then 'NEB had a studio in the Galleria and Paul Larson used to hold forth with that great voice of his. That was before the radio business turned into a dark and troubled thing and hundreds of stations were left as wreckage on the broadcast landscape. I had assumed that WNEB was one of those stations. But while spinning through the dial last week while I was in the car running errands, I discovered that 'NEB is apparently still on the air. I can't say that that is a good thing, though. The station now calls itself "Patriot Radio" and serves up a steady stream of extremist far-right radio that is almost cartoonish. WNEB's mornings are filled with evangelical shows, and this transitions into the political stuff in the afternoons with the perfect segue show: "Wallbuilders Radio Live", a program dedicated to establishing a Christian theocracy in America. Apparently there are enough people out there who take this sort of thing seriously that they are able to sell enough ad time to stay on th air. Then we get the usual mix of Hannity, O'Reilly, hugh Hewitt, and that most egregeous of Limbaugh clones, Mike "That's-Not-His-Real-Name" Gallagher. They DO air Dave Ramsey, who's a holy roller, but a sane one, and who dispenses common-sense, yet VERY good money advice. So they have that going for them, but there is NO local programming, and, with the exception of Ramsey, the rest of the mix is so terrible it's almost enought to make one wish WNEB had gone dark.


Right-Wing Talk Radio's New Talking Point

"Illegal immigrants are to blame for the collapse of Wall Street."

That's right. it wasn't rampant de-regulation and corporate greed. It wasn't snarky accounting and worthless paper. It wasn't the housing bubble.

It took The Noise Machine a few days to work it out, but they all seem to have settled on this new strategy: blame Thuy and Pedro. It seems some illegal alien in Georgia stole someone's credit history and used it to get sub-prime mortgages on two houses. And it turns out there are other illegals who also have sub-prime deals.

And that's all Rush and Reagan and Savage and the rest of them needed. A light bulb went on: blame the illegal immigrants!

Because it was, of course, the pool guy and the gardner and the guy sealing the driveway who were playing all those games on Wall Street for the past ten years.


I am getting a little tired of people having no shame.


What Are the Odds of This Actually Happening?

Think the bailout has been expensive so far?

What would you say if you learned that the real losses are MUCH higher?

The REAL number? Wall Street is actually $60 TRILLION Dollars in debt over past and FUTURE obligations on unregulated/uninsured tradeables. That amounts to $200,000 for every man, woman and child in the U.S.

And it may be even worse than you or I can imagine: the total value of the debt derivatives out there is - are you ready for this? - $500 TRILLION DOLLARS.

$500 trillion. That's not a recession. That's not even a Great Depression. That is what you call a collapse of civilization, with Mel Gibson, Tina Turner and midgets running around.

And how about this little gem; the unthinkable spoken aloud on the national media this week:

"The United States has to adopt the Swedish model and nationalize the entire financial services industry." - Kerry Lahey, Decision Economics.

Did you ever think you'd hear someone say something like that in public?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


"Hot Potato" potato chips

Picked these up at Christmas Tree Shops. They are sold as "spicy bloody mary flavor". This is an evil lie. There is nothing spicy of bloody mary-flavored about them. In fact, they are simply the famed "ketchup-flavored chips" that are popular in Canada, just re-packaged and sold under a different angle. Actually, I think they're pretty good, and I am not someone who generally likes augmented potato chips of any kind.


1973's "Tom Sawyer"

Saw it again the other night. This film had seemingly vanished after it's theatrical run, but for some reason it's been on TV a lot lately. It's probably best known as one of Jodie Foster's first movies, and there's also the curious casting of Johnny Wittaker as Tom. I enjoy the movie for the great scenery, and for Warren Oates as Muff Potter and Celeste Holm as Aunt Polly. There's also the great courtroom scene with Injun Joe. But perhaps the most interesting thing about the movie is this: It's a musical, and yet it has the most unbelievably forgettable collection of songs in it. I've never before seen a musical where each song is INSTANTLY FORGOTTEN the moment it ends.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


What Drugs Are They On?

The Dow ended the day below the 9500 mark.

The stock market keeps falling and falling. Russia and Brazil are in full panic mode. South American nations are trying to dump the US Dollar as quickly as they can. European banks are tottering on the brink of collapse. But you wouldn't know it by listening to CNBC. One after another, the talking heads appear, hour after hours... and they all have the same message: nothing is wrong. This is a small blip. Remain calm. All is well. Don't panic. These are not the droids you're looking for.

And amid it all, the continuing parade of Wall Street CEO's blaming everything from pesky reporters to their own investors for the fall of their firms, which happened while they were lining the pockets of themselves and their pals. The arrogance is unprecedented and unspeakable. The seige mentality is infusing the last days of the kleptocracy.

It's surreal.


Michael J. Pollard: Total Icon

How come Michael J. Pollard doesn't get much work anymore? You'd think Tarantino would at least use him. The guy is so instantly recognizable and everyone remembers him from his numerous TV and movie appearances in the 60's and 70's. He also has real cult status as sort of a counter-culture anti-hero character actor icon. He's quirky. He's intelligent. And he's the guy who came up with the title for Traffic's classic song, "The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys". These days he's around 70 years old and he simply hangs around Los Angeles, riding buses all day for the hell of it. Now THAT is a non-conformist.


One Random Minute on Grove Street

Monday, October 06, 2008


My Brush With Bureaucracy in Small Town Maine

I was throwing out some boxes in my cellar last week, when I saw a scrap of yellowed paper in the corner of one of the boxes. I pulled it out an examined it. It was a traffic ticket I'd received in a very small town in a very rural part of Maine back in the mid-80's. I'd been pulled over because I'd forgotten to affix the registration sticker to my license plate. I had tucked the ticket away somewhere and promptly forgotten about it. Until it came time to renew my license, when the Worcester Registry told me I had to rectify the ticket issue before they could give me a new license.
So I called this tiny town, which I won't identify here, and spoke with the police chief. This was around 1988, but the conversation was so bizarre I remember it very well. I told the chief I needed to pay for a ticket I'd received two years earlier. I gave him the date. He had one of those amazing Aroostook County accents where all the words are flat and pinched and the more "R's" you can work in there, the better. He took my phone number and asked when would be a good time to call me back. I asked him why. He told me the ticket was two years old, so the record of it was filed away.
In a cardboard box.
In the cellar.
At his house.
He told me he'd be stopping home for lunch and he'd pull the record then.
He then had second thoughts and reasoned with me that since this was a long-distance phone call, and I was the offender, it was MY obligation to call HIM back.
I couldn't argue with that.
I called back about two that afternoon.
I told him that shortly after getting the ticket, I'd obtained the records from the Registry showing that I'd had proper registration for the car all along, and that I could fax him those papers.
"Okay. That'll be fine."
He gave me the fax number. I told him I'd fax him the papers right away.
"Fine. Course, I can't get them till four."
"Excuse me?"
"Four o'clock. That's when I can pick up the fax."
"Why is that?"
"That's when the funeral home opens."
"That's where the fax machine is."
He said this to me like he was a man of infinite patience trying to explain something obvious to an idiot.
Okay, well, at least we were making some progress. I then addressed the matter of paying for the ticket. The police department in this town did not, of course, take credit cards.
"But cash is fine."
Well, I didn't want to mail them cash.
"Check is okay. Course, it'll take time to clear."
"Well, I need my license as soon as possible."
"Uh-huh. Money Order'll do."
"I can do that."
There was a pause.
"Or stamps."
Now it was my turn to stop for a second.
"Excuse me?"
"Stamps. Stamps'll do. We don't have a postage meter. We go through a lot of stamps."
I thanked the man and told him I would send out a money order that afternoon.
I did. And it took about 5 days, but, true to his word, he cleared the paperwork and I was able to renew my driver's license.

Maine is a state of mind.

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