Friday, December 31, 2010

Old Hoss Radbourn and Worcester

I just finished reading  Edward Achorn's book Fifty Nine in '84, which has plenty of references to Worcester and it's former National League team.  I recommend the book- I plowed through it in an afternoon.  While the jacket description highlights Radbourn's romance with a Carrie Stanhope, the book spends most of it's time recreating the Providence Greys' 1884 season.  In his prologue, Edward Achorn describes our fair hometown:
The Worcesters weren't very successful, nor did they last long in Worcester (they were replaced after the 1882 season by a team from Philadelphia, now the modern day Phillies).  Worcester was the site of the first perfect game in major league history on June 12th, 1882, pitched by J. Lee Richmond (while nursing a post graduation hangover.)  There's even a monument on Sever Street near the tennis courts.
While we're on the subject of depressing descriptions of Worcester, my personal favorite is Truman Capote's quote from In Cold Blood:
The quote is a good description of the local blogging scene lately.  There's been more grenades lobbed back and forth the past month than I've ever seen.  Perhaps the Telegram's refusal to publish anonymous comments has pushed the fighting into the blogosphere. 
Here's a collection of references to Worcester in books and film.  It's a collection of books and films, so it omits my recent favorite song, Elvis Costello's Sulphur to Sugarcane.  (Worcester reference at 3:52 mark)


I always look forward to Albert Southwick's column every week in the T&G.  It's one of the few pieces on the editorial page that doesn't make me cringe.  (I understand why Michael Reagan's 'magical' last name and not his talents as a writer or deep thinker give him an audience.  How does Tom Purcell cut it as a syndicated columnist?  I'm baffled.)

It's not often that I find a historical error in Albert Southwick's columns, but he had a major one in Thursday's column:
"1910 had been quite a year. In March, William Howard Taft was sworn in as the 27th president of the United States, and the Great White Fleet that President Theodore Roosevelt had sent around the world to demonstrate America’s naval power was steaming toward home. The last U.S. troops were coming home from Cuba. The war with Spain was over except for the Philippines, where the natives remained in rebellion. They apparently had thought that the overthrow of Spanish control meant freedom for them."
William Howard Taft was elected in 1908 and inaugurated in 1909, not 1910, and the Great White Fleet returned in 1909.  (Great White Fleet sounds like a description of Sean Casey, Doug Mirabelli and Kevin Millar's running abilities, not a naval excursion.  Yes, I miss baseball.  Just a month and a half until spring training!)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

For Nicole...

I've been searching in vain for a messed up Worcester street sign, and I finally found one.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Speaking of Senators...

...we have a profile in courage right here in Massachusetts.  Thanks, Senator Brown for helping to gut the most necessary reform we needed after the financial meltdown.  Just remember that those campaign contributions won't help in 2013 when you're unemployed.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Go Bernie Go!!!!

Now this is a real filibuster (Part 1, Part 2), not the fake cloture tactics employed by the Republican naysayers the past two years. 
I usually don't watch Last Word, but last night's segments (Part 1, Part 2) with Ralph Nader and Alan Grayson left me somewhat hopeful...until I realized both weren't in elective office.  Too bad we're stuck with John Kerry and Scott Brown, party hacks to the core.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Apparently our fiscally conservative former candidate for State Treasurer's campaign is in debt and needs your help this holiday season.  If you can't make the dinner, feel free to head to her campaign page, which no longer has any campaign information, just a direct link to donate.

Perhaps her friends and family could auction off their Red Sox license plates to help defray her overspending.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I haven't been quoted in the paper since I was 5!

Today's T&G featured an article about a horrible accident on Hamilton Street early Sunday morning.  I didn't witness the accident, but I was quoted at the end of the article.

- I don't have an agenda writing about this.  It happened where I work, and I hope that some good will come from this story regarding traffic on Hamilton Street.   It could have happened to any of my co-workers, and that's what makes me worry about the delay between the accident, the investigation,  the article, and the Worcester Police Department's statement. 

- Here's the timeline:
- Sunday, November 28th, 2:36 AM: accident occurs.
- Tuesday, November 30th, 9:00 AM: WPD sends Accident Reconstruction Team to investigate.
- Wednesday, December 1st, 3:00 PM: Shaun Sutner of the T&G begins interviewing people in the neighborhood regarding the accident.  
- Wednesday, December 1st,  evening: Shaun Sutner's first article appears on the T&G website, which is later edited for Thursday's print and online version.
- Thursday, December 2nd, 8:50 AM: The WPD releases a statement regarding the accident.
- Last night's online version of the article gave Officer Duffy's home address, which was deleted from the current online version and the printed version.  An early commenter pointed out that printing Officer Duffy's address wasn't a good idea considering he was a member of the Gang Unit.

- WPD's Accident Reconstruction Team definitely began reconstructing the accident Tuesday morning, not Monday morning (my co-workers and I weren't exactly sure which morning the investigation began at the time of Shaun Sutner's interview).  They were also out in full force today (Thursday 12/02/10), measuring the distances so the investigator can reconstruct the timing and speed of the accident.

- There were no skidmarks anywhere on Hamilton Street or Puritan Avenue.  It was late, it was dark, and from the description, it was probably the worst accident in recent memory at an already dangerous intersection.  I work at the corner of Hamilton and Puritan, and we witness accidents all the time.  There's usually 5 or 6 a year where one of the drivers needs medical attention, but thankfully, no fatalities yet.  We've never had to see anyone exticated from a vehicle by the Fire Department.

- There isn't a stop sign on the corner of Puritan and Hamilton. There isn't one anymore because it was knocked down in an accident a few years back and never replaced. While Massachusetts state law mandates that you stop at an T-intersection, most people ignore the law completely because there isn't a stop sign.

- There's the usual pro-cop/cop bashing 'dialogue' in the comment section regarding the T&G's apparent anti-police agenda.  Many readers question whether this story needed to be written, and others claim taht there's a cover-up.  Most of them don't have any of the facts, as usual, they are shooting from the hip.

- Any delay fuels speculation and calls of a cover-up, whether or not there actually is one.  Shaun Sutner was absolutely within his rights as a reporter to write the article and ask these questions.  Without an article, would there be a WPD press release?  If there is a cover-up, then why would the WPD investigate this accident on Tuesday 11/30 and Thursday 12/2?  I've never witnessed the WPD investigating and reconstructing an accident at that corner, and I have seen many since 2002.

- I went through the WPD's Press Release Page to see if there was any precedent for reporting a non-fatal accident.  The WPD doesn't list every accident that occurs in this city, but they seem to list any fatal accident, and pedestrian injured by a motor vehicle, accidents involving the WPD, or anything else that is newsworthy.  Here's a list of the traffic accidents on the page:

- 12/02/10: Serious accident involving an off duty WPD officer, major injuries to the other driver, no arrest or citation of either driver and investigation ongoing.
 - 07/02/10: Fatal hit and run accident, driver later turned himself in and was arrested.
- 06/18/10: School bus, SUV and WRTA bus in an accident, minor injuries, driver of bus cited.
- 04/27/10: Fatal hit and run accident, vehicle found, no driver.
- 03/25/10: Pedestrian critically injured by vehicle, no arrest of driver and investigation ongoing.
- 03/08/10: Motorcycle and car accident, fatality possibly due to motorcycle operator error, no citations, investigation ongoing.
- 11/27/10: Two pedestrians hit while in crosswalk and transported to hospital, driver cited.
- 11/17/10: WPD cruiser in accident while responding to a call, minor injuries, no citation.
- 11/16/09: Three car accident after pursuit of a stolen vehicle, minor injuries, driver arrested.
- 11/09/09: Motorcycle and car accident, motorcycle driver hospitalized with extensive injuries, citations pending for motor vehicle driver.
- 11/06/09: Pedestrian hit while in crosswalk by taxi, driver left scene due to fear of crowd, driver cited.

-If anything come from this story, I hope it is this:  there needs to be a light at the intersection of Hamilton Street and either Fairmont Avenue or Ingleside Avenue.  Once eastbound drivers cross Plantation Street, the next stop sign is at Coburn Ave, and the next light at Lake Avenue.  That's a long way to go on a two lane street where people speed all the time.

This was a tragic accident- my thoughts and prayers are with both families, and I wish the young woman a speedy recovery.