Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"I Lift Things Up and Put Them Down"

     Some of you may be wondering how come I have not been posting some blogs, well the truth is I have been just to lazy, that is until today, while I was working out at the gym I started to make some observations.
Allow me to share a little background.  You see about nine months ago I started going back to Weight Watchers and in that time I have shed about fifty pounds, I have not seen 195 since the 80's. In order to have accomplished this feat it was critical that I go to the gym and work out in order to keep the weight off.  Turns out I have come to enjoy going to the gym and working out, I feel and look great.  Thank you, you can hold your applause.
      While at the gym I have come to observe, from my lofty perch on the treadmill, the many different types of folks who come in and work out and I would like to share my observations with you.  I usually go to the gym in the morning so I can get a good start on the day and it's not so crowded.  Sometimes though I may go mid-day if I do not have to work in the evening.  I also go on weekends, this gives me plenty of opportunity to check out the different folks who come in at different times.
     In the morning it's primarily moms, retirees, and folks who are just getting of work.  The moms come in varying frames of mind and condition.  There are those who have put considerable time into getting themselves in shape and it shows. They certainly let everybody know about it by the way they walk in and seem to say look at me am I simply the best thing you ever cast your eyes upon.  To their credit they work hard at it and the 2-3 hours each day they spend at the gym shows.  Then there are the other moms who are there just to be seen.  They come in and the first thing they do is look around and see who is there and then get walk around the gym for 10 minutes deciding which machine they will try out then leave after barely breaking a sweat.         There are the retirees like myself we don't cater to the fashion gods like the moms do.  We always wear just a T-shirt and a pair of old gym shorts and sneakers and have our I-Pods.  We don't mind breaking a sweat either.  We nod a greeting to each other and go about our routines.  Although there are a couple of exceptions.  There is one couple when they come in she is always walking behind him and follows him everywhere, they exercise in complete synchronized unison, then depart as they came in she walking behind him.  Hmmmm, but they re in good shape.  There is one older fellow who comes in and struts around like he owns the joint.  He wears his "wife beater" t-shirt and looks in pretty good shape.
     From mid-morning to mid afternoon the "muscle heads" come in. These folks male and female are in great shape and spend hours in the gym working out.  I often wonder, do they work.  They come in with gallon jugs of water and carry them around as they work out. They don't say much just do a lot of grunting,  I just smile 
and think of that commercial where the guy keeps saying, "I lift Things Up and Put them Down."  They seem nice enough but I keep my distance.
     On Saturday and Sunday the "weekend warriors" come in.  These are folks who most likely work all week and don't have the time to come in on a regular basis during the week.  I was one of them for a long time.  Most know there limitations, although there are a few who try to do a weeks worth of exercise in and hour or two.  I think some of the guys may come in to get away from their wives for a little bit.
     I see the gym as a microcosm of society.  There are those who are there because they have a goal to accomplish, some who just need to be seen by others in order to fit in, and there are those who feel the need to create and image of themselves that may not truly be who they are.  As for me, well I go because I enjoy it, I enjoy watching people and  to be a little vain I am beginning to like the new me. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Big Brother

     Eleven years ago my big brother Bill suddenly passed away.   When I say suddenly I mean myself and some of those close to him never had a chance to say good bye.  Bill had been hospitalized over the previous holidays and was home recuperating.  He had some kind of episode that resulted in his being brought to the hospital emergency room but despite all the staff's efforts, Bill passed away.  Bill  is survived by his loving wife Mary, eight great kids and a bunch of grand kids, a mother and two brothers.  We all still mourn Bill's passing, the family events, the holidays and sitting at Dunkie's in Eddie Everett Square having coffee while waiting for the "big one".
    As time  passes what I miss most about not having Bill here is not being able to share stuff with him as we get older.  When we were younger Bill and I got along but were not real tight but Bill always seemed to have my back. When we were in St. Mark's School it was Bill who got me to join the boys choir so we could go to midnight mass on Christmas.  Yes, Bill was a choirboy as hard as it is for some to believe.  Bill also steered me towards becoming an altar boy, saying it was a good way to get out of school by serving funeral masses and of course the weddings were big because altar boys always got an envelope with cash.  As I was getting older and wanted to get a  part time job it was Bill who hooked me up with a meat purveyor named Manny Scheff.  I worked  in the old Fanueil Hall Market Place before it became what it is today.  It was there that I learned about cuts of meat and how to get around the North End.  As I got older and began to have an interest in girls Bill took me to the BC High dances on Friday evenings.  He shared his pick up secrets with me.  We both "made out ok". As time went on Bill joined the Air force and I went to college.  Bill went to Viet Nam and I went to protest marches.  While in the service Bill married is wife Mary and started his family.  Upon his return from Viet Nam Bill settled down and went to work.  I graduated college and began my teaching career. During this time Bill introduced me to the Boston Ambulance Squad and  good guys like Steve Minahan, Charlie Mitchell, Artie Johnson, Richard and Walter Kelliher and Dick Ryan who introduced me to my wife.  Bill  became very active in the Viet Nam veterans causes.  It was through this connection that Bill got me involved with Veterans affairs, the Dorchester Day Parade and the Adelphia Lounge where we would go and throw back a few over the years.  In 1983 I decided to run for the Boston School Committee a long shot at best.  Bill was right there to help out no questions asked.  He and his kids worked hard during that campaign. The proudest moment of that campaign was the Dorchester Day Parade.  The parade that year was dedicated to the POW/MIA's and the Viet Nam Veterans, a very large group of Viet Nam vets were going to march in the parade.  I was going to march as a candidate but was initially relegated to the last division when Bill and some of the vets asked me to walk with them at the beginning of the parade.  I was humbled and said no since I was not a vet but they insisted because I was Bill's little brother, I agreed.  Just before we were about to step off  John Kerry came by and said he was walking with the vets and Bill said "no thanks we got somebody to walk with us".  Mr. Kerry insisted but the "Nam vets" to him to go away  and do something to himself, Bill's brother was marching with them.  Kerry went away.  (This story will be in a future blog)
     So it went Bill was always watching my back.  As time wore on we would just have our conversations and we would share things that we both knew we would be taking to our graves and that is as it should be. 
     I still wish Bill was here so we could share things and simply grow old together and hopefully watch each others back.  I know he's gone and I miss him a lot but somehow I know he's still got my back.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Just Thinking Out Loud: "Bahstonisms": A simple Guide to the Language of B...

Just Thinking Out Loud: "Bahstonisms": A simple Guide to the Language of B...: "A few weeks ago while at work a college freshman from out of state hopped on my shuttle van and I asked him if he was going 'in town' for th..."

"Bahstonisms": A simple Guide to the Language of Bahston

A few weeks ago while at work a college freshman from out of state hopped on my shuttle van and I asked him if he was going "in town" for the night.  He looked at me quizzically and said "what" again I asked if he was going "in town".  He said, "No, I am going into Boston".  It was then that I realized the kid did not speak "Bahston".  So, I decided to put some of the more common "Bahstonisms" as I call them in a blog.  I really believe that anybody who comes to our fair city or it's environs should be given a copy of these "Bahtonisms", it would help them get around town a whole lot bettah.  So with the help of my daughter here are a few "Bahstonisms":

going in town....means going into Bahston
the zone - the old Red Light District or as it is (was) called the Combat Zone.
a two bittah (not to be confused with two bits) -  $25.00
a sawbuck - $10
a double sawbuck - you do the math
a c-note - $100, not a note on the scale
30 large -  30 thousand dollars. You can substitute any dollar figure.
a pol -  any politician
a time - is a fundraiser for a pol, or a  pahty that you can donate towards  whatever the cause. You can donate anything from a two bittah to a c-note or if you really want to get in good,  you can donate 2 large but be sure it's in cash.
a trolley - a streetcar, usually found on the Green Line of the T or the Mattapan extension of the Red Line.
jimmies - these are the sprinkles you put on your ice cream
a packie - a liquor store or as they are called in this area package stores.
a gin mill - a local bar or tavern
a bucket of blood - a gin mill that is especially rowdy
a bubbla - a water bubbler
tonic - soda
a rotary - a roundabout, or a pain in the --- if you try to drive into one during rush hour.
dungies/dungarees - known to the outside world as jeans
an Eagle - graduated Boston College High School
a double Eagle - graduated BC High and Boston college
a triple Eagle - graduated BC High, BC and BC Law School.  Most of the pols are these. It's where they learned to have times and rake in 30-40 large.
OFD - originally from Dorchester (Dot)
Dot - Dorchester
Southie - South Boston
Eastie - East Boston
JP - Jamaica Plain
Rozzie - Roslindale
The Bury - Roxbury
a Townie - you are from Charlestown
Westie - West Roxbury
Comm Ave. - Commonwealth Ave.
Dot Ave. - Dorchester Ave.
Washington St. - there is a Washington Street in; Dot, JP, the Bury, Rozzie, Westie also in Brighton and Allston.
the Pike - Massachusetts Turnpike.
triple decker - not a sandwich from McDonalds but a three family home usually found in Dot, Eastie, Southie, the Bury and parts of JP.
a pahlah - a parlor/living room
an aunt - most parts of the country say ant..we got it right
a statie - a Massachusetts State Trooper, someone you don't mess with.

So there you have it.  Share this with your friends who are from outside the Boston area and feel free to send any I may have missed.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Just Thinking Out Loud: Election Madness

Just Thinking Out Loud: Election Madness: " THIRD PARTY COMPETITION I don't know about any of you but I have just about had it with this current election cycle. Nobody enj..."

Friday, October 29, 2010

Election Madness


I don't know about any of you but I have just about had it with this current election cycle.  Nobody enjoys a tight election any more that I do but this is nutty.  Competition is great and the more choices you have the better for everybody.  Everybody, that is, except the two major parties,which have gone way overboard to drive out any third party candidate/s. Why they do this is I don't understand.  Sure they want the 3rd party candidates out because it siphons votes from the mainstream candidates but if their candidates are sincere, honest, and truthful to the voters then they would not have to worry about 3d party candidates in the first place.  Going negative only sours peoples' opinion of politics and politicians in general and it stops good, honest, intelligent people from becoming involved in the business.  Now I know you have to have thick skin to survive in politics especially here in Massachusetts but what has happened here is a disgrace and an embarrassment and an affront to the voters.  Don't the leaders of the major parties think we can figure this out all by ourselves?  I also believe the media play an important part in dismissing or diminishing the place of the 3rd party candidate.  The media should be inclusive of all candidates running for public office leveling the playing field if you will, thereby allowing the voters to hear and see these candidates discuss the issues and allowing the voters to decide for themselves who they want to elect to represent them.  It's like the folks who run the major parties believe we cannot think for ourselves, they are so wrong and they need to begin to understand that.


No one who runs for a statewide, congressional or senate seat and claims they are an outsider is being honest with you.  When a candidate says that they are not and "insider" then it's time to do a little background check because chances are that he or she is or has been "wired" to somebody or been involved at some mid to high level position in government.  That's ok if they are or were in the past but just don't hide it and say you are an "outsider". If candidates are  honest with the voters and tell them the truth (wouldn't that be refreshing) chances are their "insider" experience may be able to help make government work for the people.
Remember "all politics is local" and having somebody who knows how to navigate the system isn't all that bad so long as they don't abuse their influence and use it for the greater good of the people they represent.  Just don't portray yourself as something you aren't; it will only get you in trouble.

Well, enough of this ranting and venting.  It's been one hell of an election season.  I predict their will be some major changes not only in the state and local races but nationally as well.  The 2 parties will withstand the challenges from the 3rd party but not before the 3rd party scares the "s--t" out of them.
Don't forget to vote because if you don;t you have no right to complain.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Cell Phones: Can't live with them; can't live without them.

I love my cell phone it's a rather simple one, not one of those fancy blackberry models that have all the app's you want and then some.  My cell phone is just your basic model that allows me to take some photos and do some texting (I have become good at texting).  I find using my cell phone to be convenient and useful especially for long distance calling, it's used only when needed.  I try not to use it when I drive and I certainly don't text when driving.  So, here is the problem(s).  The other day when my daughter and I were driving into the parking lot of my local grocery store a women walks right in front of my daughter's car almost getting hit.  The woman was totally oblivious to what was going on around her because she had a cellphone glued to her ear in conversation.
Now, her conversation may have been very important but she like so many others who are constantly on their cells seemed to have lost all sensed of their surroundings and was not aware of where she was at the time.  She just stood there in the middle of the parking lot yapping away not realizing that she came close to being hit by a car.  The woman was in "never, never land"!  I 'm going to give this lady the benefit of the doubt and assume her conversation was of  importance but why didn't she just stand on the walkway or go to her car to have this conversation and be out of harms way!!  Anybody could have just come up to her, knocked her down  grabbed her pocketbook and ran off,  she never would have seen it coming. 
Don't misunderstand me now, I am really into this new technology and understand that this technology serves a good and useful purpose and makes life efficient for a lot of folks, but is everybody so important that they need a blackberry to check email or facebook postings every 2 minutes. Are they busy on their blackberry's pecking away merely to create the illusion to those around them that they are important people? Can't they wait until they get home or to the office to see what's going on?  Just walk through downtown Boston and see how many folks are texting, emailing,or talking on their cells while walking.  No one is looking around seeing what's going on.  No one is greeting one another or looking somebody in the eye as they pass.  Everyone is in their own little world. I love it when they almost walk into a pole.  Slowly but surely people are loosing their ability to interact personally with one another.  Let me give you an example, although an extreme one at that, but it illustates my point.  During the summer I work at a local concert venue.  At one concert there were these two thirty somethings whom I seated.  They barely said a word to each other but as soon as they were seated they each got out their blackberry's and began texting each other.  They were really yukking it up.  I knew they could speak the same language and neither had a speech or hearing impairment.  I just stood there and shook my head in disblief.  Although, this is an extreme example I really believe it's more often the case than not.  My fear is that kids (6-39) today are so accustomed to this new technology and rightfully so that they are not interacting, having face to face conversations with each other and developing the art of the personal touch.  What a shame.  Imagine someday going into a store and your phone buzzes with a message, "Can I help you?" and you stand there and look around and no one is there or when dinner conversations are played out over cell phones.

Well got to go.  Going to check my text messages.
Tell me what you think.