Sunday, February 28, 2010


This story caught my eye as a baseball coach. I'm fortunate enough to coach in a league where incidents like this are rare. I believe it's due partially to the fact that about half our coaches have no children in the league.

The best way to limit parent misconduct comes from the example set by the coaches. Good coaches set the tone for players and parents, especially if they stress teaching more than winning. However, some parents coach their own children and get too emotionally involved in a win or loss. (I've noticed kids less upset than parents after tough losses. They have a better sense of perspective.)

I feel badly for this league, its players, and the refs. (Assuming the league wasn't overreacting.) It should have never come to this. In the grand scheme of things, these games matter less than the lessons learned.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Here's an interesting take from Eliot Spitzer.  Yes, that Eliot Spitzer.

R.I.P. Mosi Tatupu

Former New England Patriot running back and special teams standout Mosi Tatupu passed away today.  Mosi was my favorite Patriot growing up.  He was a punishing blocking fullback and a great special teamer (and he had a cool name and a big fro, which was memorable to a little kid). 

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


It's nice to see good people get recognized for their efforts in Worcester.  I've known the Connollys since I was a child.  They're a great family that gives back to their neighborhood, whether through Elm Park/Prep Plus or the years they ran the summer Piedmont League at Beaver Brook. 

Maybe I can't count....

...or maybe I missed a few protesters from my perch on the 2nd floor of Hanover.  The organizers claimed 34, I saw 20.

Thanks to Worcester IndyMedia for covering a story that only merited a sentence in the T&G.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Rage against the tax machine.

Whether it's a video game, a grieving daughter, or a freshman senator no one had the guts to say what needed to be said.

Joseph Stack was a nutcase.  I suspect if he had a foreign name or dark skin, Robert Nemeth would write a column a month from now about how Obama wasn't protecting us from terrorists.

As the nation's political discourse gets darker, more strident, and more violent, there will be more nutcases like Joseph Stack.  It's not an American future I want to see.

Where's the story?

"Not much time for sightseeing, but their performances do give an opportunity for protesters to complain about something in the Middle East, and Worcester was no exception. But that is another story."
 Yes, the T&G reviewer for the Israel Ballet mentioned the protesters outside of Hanover Theatre.  It would have been nice to see a story on that instead of more Tiger Woods coverage.  After all, the point of a protest is to get a issue out in your community, and it used to be the job of the local paper to cover newsworthy events like that.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Protesters at Federal Square. (Don't worry, they didn't sit on any benches.)

I wonder if tomorrow's review will mention the 20 (or so) protesters outside Hanover Theatre.  I didn't get the chance to talk to any of them, but they were holding signs asking for an end to Israeli violence and apartheid. 

Friday, February 19, 2010


Today's Cirque performance reminded me of Michael Moschen.  I saw him a few years back in New York City at The American Museum of Natural History.

Here's a video doing The Triangle.

This is a longer video/lecture, and worth your time to see some interesting juggling and an innovator's thought process regarding his craft.

Cirque Dreams- Illumination

I saw Cirque Dreams- Illumination this afternoon at The Hanover Theatre.  I was amazed- the cast had an impressive array of talent.  The highlights were the Mongolian aerialists (at 0:20 and 0:51 and 1:44) in the cube, the juggler/drummer (at 1:21) along with the paint can balance artist (at 1:07). 

I certainly don't agree with this reviewer's assessment of plants in the audience.  Two 'plants' were in my row, returned to their families, and stayed the entire show.  Maybe their families were plants also.

Health premium numbers

I spoke to a retired secretary today.  She pays $155 (25%) a month for her contribution to her health care premium, which doesn't include co-pays, deductibles or prescriptions.  That seems reasonable until you realize that she gets $1000 a month for a pension.  It also seems reasonable if you don't realize she was paying 15% a few years ago, and health care costs for the City and consumers keeps rising. 

Where will it end?  Hopefully she won't turn to a life of crime in the Canal District to pay her medical bills. 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Worcester Illustrated.

Eileen Garcia, a sophomore at Clark University was featured in Sports Illustrated Faces In The Crowd.

Shooting from the hip.

Apparently Rosalie had a deadline to meet and needed a quick and easy fill.  If you base your argument for a rise in premiums based solely upon the top wage earners, you ignore what sort of effect it will have upon the bottom wage earners. 

The starting salary for a WPS teacher listed here is $40,378.  Paying 25% of your premium, plus co-pays, deductibles and prescriptions gets expensive. 

Rosalie also ignores the history of contract negotiations with the City.  Throughout the 80's and 90's, the teachers consistently took less in raises in favor of generous pension and health benefits.  Concessions on the wage side equaled a fair health care plan that compensated for lower salaries. 

If the City raise health care premiums under the new contract, will they return to previous contracts and give these teachers the raises the passed up?  We know they won't.  The lower premiums are something the teachers fought for and earned with their hard work.  Raising it now in the face of rising health care is the wrong message, and punishes long time employees of the school system because we have a new City Manager with different goals then previous City Managers.
On the grammatical end, its sinecure, not sincure.  Calling a teaching position a sinecure is a cheap shot and an insult.  It's a difficult, emotionally draining and frustrating job at times.  While there are some deadbeat teachers out there, most are hard working, caring individuals teaching because they have a calling to teach.  Teachers do take their work home with them at night and on weekends.  All teachers have extra help sessions after school, and thanks to education reform and dwindling staffs, most prep periods are full of responsibilities and paperwork other than correcting tests.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It's report card time.

Here's a report card on the one year anniversary of the stimulus.

More on the stimulus.

When The Wall Street Journal and Fox News begin to point out that some Republicans are hypocritical about the stimulus, maybe there is something to their Fair and Balanced slogan.

Of course, they're a few months behind, which has been following these stories all year. 

Think about this April 15th...and again every November when you vote.

Buyer's remorse already????

I just caught this gem from Saturday's Letters to the Editor:

I am 88 years old, and very disappointed. How come Sen. Scott Brown and President Obama were never mentioned as being 10th cousins? Mr. Brown, you just paired up with a man who took our Social Security percentage, and also our $250 check away from retirees. Mr. Brown used to call my house asking if I would vote for him. My son and I waited in the rain in line to vote for him. He rallied in Worcester, and he pulled in a big vote in Webster. How quickly he forgets where a place is. There’s one thing that my son and I should have done, and that was to vote for Attorney General Martha Coakley. But one thing is for sure, this will end my voting career. I don’t like open doors. I hope that Mr. Brown doesn’t come up with something else that will hurt us senior citizens. My son and I are independent voters. We voted for Mr. Brown because we thought that he would have some of U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s ideas. 


I'm amazed.  I don't even know how to respond to this claim.  If anyone knows Mr. Coleman, send him my way.  I have a few questions for him. 

Every time I read the Letters to the Editor, I come away with three theories:

1.  Not enough people submit letters on a given day, so an intern is given the task of writing loony letters to fill space.

2.  There's someone out there with a great sense of humor and a random name generator who writes in letters and shares the inside joke with a few friends.

3.  The Opinion Editor has a great sense of humor and includes the oddball letters for our general amusement (and as a warning).

My brain refuses comprehend that there are this many oddballs in Central Massachusetts with enough time on their hands to write a letter, find a stamp, and mail it in.  I think Mr. Coleman, if real, is the relative no one invites over for Thanksgiving because they'd get diatribes like this when they ask him to pass the cranberry sauce.

"It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."

I wonder if Lisa Eckelbecker tried to get a quote from Scott Brown regarding his claim that the stimulus didn't create a single job.  According to their website, IQuum is still hiring.  I hope it's with company profits next time.  With a $1.06 million grant and 9 new hires, that averages $117,777.78 a hire until you hit the quote "it used the money, in part, to hire nine people."  Once again, the workers take a little less.
As always, the comment section with the article was amusing, with the T&G readership showing a few different results with their long division skills.  Most assumed that this graphic meant that IQuum received $4.3 billion and created 1,389 jobs while retaining 3,333 jobs.   Guesses ranged from $500,00 to $9.1 million spent per new or retained employee.  The actual answer is $910,631.09 per job.

One poster (Elinor) got the total right per job, but believed that $4.3 billion went to IQuum and said: "I wouldn't invest my venture capital in such a inefficiently run company without seeing a solid fiscal plan and a solid action plan for achieving their goals. This may be why the banks are skeptical about lending and the company is having trouble raising capital."  Unfortunately for Elinor, she only read the article title and the graphic, proving that an slightly misinformed voter/investor is the most dangerous voter/investor of them all.  

Next time, please read the entire article before stuffing your foot in your mouth!

Monday, February 15, 2010

I was briefly surprised....

Today's T&G had an article early in the election cycle about Jill Stein, who is running for Governor as the Green Party candidate.

The cynic in me believes that the newspaper, which endorsed Scott Brown, views Dr. Stein as a candidate that can siphon votes from Deval Patrick.  We'll see if the T&G endorses Charles Baker in the fall.

The idealist in me thanks them for their early attention.  In 2002, very few voters knew who Dr. Stein was heading into the debates.  Most voters I spoke with considered a vote for the Green Party a wasted vote, but admitted that she acquitted herself very well in the debate.  (Then again, anyone with half a brain would have looked good going up against Mitt Romney, Shannon O'Brien, Carla Howell and Barbara Johnson.)
Then I got to the comment section for the article.  Once again, the level of debate is slightly less advanced then what you would find on a schoolyard during recess.  Maybe no one was kicked in the shins, but can't we do better as a nation?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Good Journalism, Part 1.

I've had issues with some Robert Z. Nemeth columns in the past, but today's was an excellent read.  If he continues to channel his inner Albert Southwick, I will be out of a few Sunday afternoon posts!

It's almost Spring (Training)!

Listed at #10 on Baseball Prospectus' prospect list for the Toronto Blue Jays is Worcester's own Tim Collins.  Tim was born and raised in Worcester, and played for Ted Williams Little League, West Side Babe Ruth, Main South Legion and Worcester Voke.   He was signed as an undrafted minor league free agent in 2007 by Worcester native and former Blue Jays GM J.P. Riccardi.

Tim finished the season last year with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Double A) in Mancherster, NH.  He was the youngest player on the Fisher Cats, and will probably spend the season there.  It's a great ballpark, so take a trip up north to see a local baseball player working his way up the minor leagues.

Here are a few articles on Tim:

Even in the dead of winter, there's things to do. (If you can get up off the couch.)

I had a good night out and around Worcester.  I caught Mack the Knife at the Hotel Vernon's Ship Room.  They had a great energy, fantastic rhythm section and a lot of unique original ska songs (plus a great cover of The Immigrant Song).  I'd like to see a full night's set next time I catch them live.

I ended the night at The Dive Bar with Oneal Armstrong.  I highly recommend catching them live if you can- great music in a good spot with great beer.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I'm stuffed.

I had a great diner today at Buddha Hut, which had a $10 buffet to support VegWorcester.  The spring rolls were fantastic, along with the coconut soup.  I'll be back for both seeing it's just a block away from home.

"All Jedi had was a bunch of Muppets!"

You used to find this info in the paper.

I stumbled across this page on Facebook today.  Apparently Karyn Polito (R- Shrewsbury) is contemplating a run for State Treasurer.  On Jim Braude's Broadside she said she is "Considering all the options" and is "50/50."  2010 should be a pretty active and interesting election season with all sorts of contested races statewide.
Representative Polito has a pretty interesting website, complete with an extensive Thought Of The Day section.  It was finally updated this week touting her appearance on Broadside after three month long hiatus.  There's actual substance and interaction on her website, which is rare for a politician's page.  I like to see how and why an elected official takes stands on issues- especially on the record and in print!

On the negative side, I found her fictional "Westbury family" hook for the Issues page a little on the cheesy side.  Forget the story and go into detail on the issues!

Friday, February 12, 2010


I ran across these comments on yesterday's T&G article regarding Fran Ford's candidacy for Governor's Council.

Hats off to Mr. Ford for responding patiently and professionally to comments questioning his ethics and motives.  I appreciate that sort of candor, especially in the trenches of anonymous name calling known as message boards.

Democratic Caucus

Democratic caucuses planned this month WORCESTER — The Massachusetts Democratic Party will hold caucuses throughout the city to elect delegates to the June 4-5 nominating convention, which will be held at the DCU Center. Caucuses are open to the public. Any Democrat registered as of Dec., 2009, can participate in the caucus. Locations and times are: 

•Ward 1 — Feb. 22, 7 p.m., Temple Emanuel, 280 May St.
•Ward 2 — Saturday, 10 a.m., Clark Street School, 280 Clark St.
•Ward 3 — Saturday, 10 a.m., Dodge Park Rest Home, 101 Randolph St.
•Ward 4 — Saturday, 9:30 a.m., Worcester Public Library, Salem Square
•Ward 6 — Saturday, 10 a.m., Vernon Hill American Legion Post, 267 Providence St.
•Ward 7 — Feb. 20, 11 a.m., Alhambra Knights of Columbus, 44 Circuit Ave.
•Ward 8 — Saturday, 10 a.m., Worcester Public Library, Salem Square
•Ward 9 — Feb. 22, 7 p.m., Temple Emanuel, 280 May St.
•Ward 10 — Saturday, 10 a.m., Worcester Public Library, Salem Square
No mention of the local Republican caucus.  It must be that damn 'liberal' media's fault!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A perfect cure for an annoying day.

I stumbled across the Muppets Studio Channel on YouTube, and I'd like to dedicate the following video to Robert Z. Nemeth.

How did this story start?

Either National Grid, Thiro and the City of Worcester were embarrassed by Clive McFarlane's column and Jeff Barnard's post on Monday, or the remedy for Coolidge Road was already in the works.

At 8:15 Tuesday morning I saw a Thiro truck heading down Coolidge Road.  (I assume it was to fix the streetlights, or at least scope it out).
After a Google search for Thiro I found this finding from OSHA from 2000.  It probably explains ambiguous use of tenses in the "ZERO INCIDENTS ARE ACHIEVABLE" quote on the safety page of their website.

Mangled corporate speak always makes me laugh.  I imagine there's a large banner somewhere in their workspace, and I have visions of the crews heading out and tapping the motivational sign like they do in college football programs.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

In honor of the halftime show, I present the Animaniacs!

This is why I read newspapers.

I know I pick on the Telegram & Gazette a lot.  I was impressed with these two articles in today's Sunday edition.

Lazy Journalism, Part 4

Robert Nemeth, I've missed you (Part 1, 2, 3).  Apparently Mr. Nemeth just woke up from his nap to comment on the attempted bombing of Flight 253 that occurred 44 days ago.  I'm glad he took the time to think his way through the issue so he could be factually correct.

Mr. Nemeth as we know is an independent (assuming you don't know that Independent = Republican in Nemeth speak.)  Therefore you would expect an independent, well thought out critique of the intelligence agencies that failed to detect a threat to America. 
"Have those entrusted with the security of the homeland heard the alarm this time?"
"He (Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab) allegedly carried the same explosive that shoe-bomber Richard Reid tried to use."
"The roots of the problem go deeper than just procedural glitches and negligence at the gate. They derive from the contrition mentality of the Obama White House based on the notion that the Bush administration had overreacted to Sept. 11 and exaggerated the terrorist threat at the expense of civil liberties."
"The much-maligned Bush administration’s security measures might have displeased the ultraliberal crowd, but they kept America safe."
Those four quotes underline the 'logical' leaps that Mr. Nemeth takes to diagnose the problem.

Muslim bomber 
soft liberals in love with constitutional rights
Go back to Bush Administration policies

If Mr. Nemeth truly is independent, then he would acknowledge that Richard Reid attempted to blow up Flight 63 after the passage of the 'un-emasculated' Patriot Act during the Bush Administration.  His critique of security measures should lay the blame equally on the Obama and Bush Administrations for letting two foreign nationals on planes in foreign countries with explosives.  Perhaps Mr. Nemeth would acknowledge that the creation Homeland Security as an additional layer of bureaucracy hasn't solved the primary failure of the intelligence community.  The FBI, CIA and NSA have the information, and haven't acted upon it in time to prevent attacks (9-11 and Fort Hood) or attempted attacks (Shoe bombers and underwear bombers).

Instead of blaming President Obama, perhaps Mr. Nemeth should read this article, with this quote:
 "Patrick F. Kennedy, an undersecretary for management at the State Department, said Abdulmutallab's visa wasn't taken away because intelligence officials asked his agency not to deny a visa to the suspected terrorist over concerns that a denial would've foiled a larger investigation into al-Qaida threats against the United States.
"Revocation action would've disclosed what they were doing," Kennedy said in testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security. Allowing Adbulmutallab to keep the visa increased chances federal investigators would be able to get closer to apprehending the terror network he is accused of working with, "rather than simply knocking out one solider in that effort."
 Instead of praising Israel's security sytems, perhaps Mr. Nemeth should be aware of this nugget:
In Mr. Nemeth's America, a threat to our safety means we should grant our government almost unlimited powers to monitor our movements, conversations and actions.  Safety can only be achieved if the government knows where everyone is at all times, what they are thinking, and what they are doing (or may do in the future).  If Mr. Nemeth truly believes in such a scenario, I would like to pose the following hypothetical situation. 

Currently the Republican party is the minority and out of power.  
Imagine that a very vocal part of your party advocates violence against the Democratic majority.  
Imagine there is an outbreak of political violence aimed at the Democratic majority.  
Imagine that President Obama reacts just like President Bush, and declares all Republicans possible terrorists and a threat to national security.  
Imagine that Mr. Nemeth gets picked up because he wrote articles in the past that attacked the Obama Administration.  How soon do you think Mr. Nemeth would be screaming for his liberties and railing against the tyranny of the Democratic party? 

I imagine it would be as they dragged him away to a CIA black site.

If we want our government to know of every threat and the location of every possible terrorist, then we will lose whatever liberties granted to us in the Bill of Rights.  That isn't an America I want to live in.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Why Worcester?

I was out at the Dive Bar tonight, sipping a few BBC Coffeehouse Porters, and had a potential UMass employee ask me Why Worcester?  I think I gave her a good answer.  She listened for a while (five minutes being an eternity when there's a good band playing and good beer just a shout away.)

My first answer?  I was born here, raised here, and educated here.  Then I went to New York for college and came back here.....Voluntarily!  I enjoy it.  It's large enough to be interesting, and small enough not to be overwhelming.  Every sort of geographical feature in New England is about an hour away, tops.  Spring and fall in New England can't be beat, especially if you avoid November and February.

Even though it might be a Dirty Old Town (sadly, she didn't get the reference), it's a city full of hidden gems and good people. 

I also added that in this economy, you shouldn't say no to a job.  Especially when you are from Pensyltucky.

My endorsements...already!

It might be early, but I am endorsing not one, but two candidates for governor (as illogical as it seems!)

As a registered Democrat, I will vote for Grace Ross in the Democratic primary for governor this year.  She might not win, but a primary vote is the biggest chance a single voter has to register their choice in mainstream, two party politics.

And assuming Grace Ross doesn't topple Deval Patrick, I will be voting for Jill Stein (Green Party) in the main race.  If Deval loses or drops out, stay tuned for my choice between Jill Stein and Grace Ross.  Either way, Massachusetts can't lose.  The last time Dr. Stein ran, I faced the usual barrage of 'You're throwing your vote away' catcalls from Democrats or Republicans.  I told them to watch the debates and see an intelligent, thoughtful and insightful candidate truly debate the issues.  Everyone I knew, both sides of the spectrum were impressed with Dr. Stein's performance.  (Facing the likes of Mitt Romney, Shannon O'Brien, Barbara Johnson and Carla Powell just made it seem easy!)