Monday, June 27, 2011

The finally got him

It's a beautiful day here today. Though I am finally off I was still up early. I had breakfast, did a little reading which put me back asleep for a late morning snooze. I honestly don't feel like doing much. I suppose I should go out and enjoy the day but I really have no place to go nor the will to make the effort. Days off have become days to recharge my batteries.

So they finally caught Whitey Bulger. I know it made the national news but it is really a big deal around here. This is quite the interesting and compelling story. I even had a brush with the former leader of the "Winter Hill Gang" before Whitey took over though I had no idea who he was at the time. Back in the '70s I was working in the neighboring city to mine for the essentially the same company as I work for now doing the same thing. I was part time and working the closing shift until midnight. A very soft spoken gentleman came to the counter at about 10 p.m. and wanted to order a party tray for right now. I gave him the company speech about requiring 24 hours notice. He smiled and said, "I'll be right back." Within two or three minutes the evening manager shot down from the front of the store like he was wearing a rocket pack and told me to give the customer anything he wanted. So I made the platter. He came back about 40 minutes later smiled and took his order. I later learned it was Howie Winter the leader of the Winter Hill Gang, who's headquarters were right across the street in a night club.  The area is called Winter Hill. A place I had been to on several occasions for a drink after work. I believe in 1979 Howie was tried and convicted and sent to prison. He was released in 2002. Whitey Bulger eventually became the leader of the gang and the headquarters were now in South Boston.

An interesting tidbit I learned was back in 1961, the leader of another gang from Charlestown (think the Battle of Bunker Hill during the revolutionary war and the home of The Constitution) made a pass at the girlfriend of one of the associates of the Winter Hill gang sparking an Irish gang war resulting in both gangs knocking off each other. The man who's girlfriend it was later left Boston for California. He started a new life, taking acting lesson from another Boston native Leonard Nimoy. He changed his name to Alex Rocco. If you've see The Godfather you might remember him as the character Moe Green, the big Jewish gangster who owned a casino in Las Vegas. He was in the memorable horse's head scene. His character was later killed by taking a bullet in the eye.

Alex Rocco
Alex Rocco has been in many movies and television shows. Getting back to Whitey. He was an informant to the F.B.I. I suppose that's one reason he was able to stay in power for so long. He was feeding them information on the Italian mobs. On of the agents was convicted in 2002 for  reasons I cannot remember at the moment but he was apparently corrupted by Bulger. All this time his brother William Bulger was a state representative then a state senator then he became president of the  senate. He later was forced to resign by the then Governor Mitt Romney because it was revealed he had communicated with his brother Whitey (James) Bulger who had dissapeared until just a few days ago. 

There are many unanswered questions and it wouldn't surprise me if Whitey has a lot of dirt on a lot of people. As I have said before I am proud of where I live. A place of many firsts including the birth of the United States but I still think our government is very corrupt. This whole trial should be quite interesting. One thing about living around here, it's not dull!

And so I shall end this entry. A special thanks to you Beth. That was very nice thing you did and I appreciate it very much! You're the best!

I'm outta here.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Just me

Nancy beat me to it but I have been thinking about posting a video of myself. There have been numerous requests...well one or two for me talk. I guess they were curious about the Boston accent. I don't think I have a strong accent though I will admit that the odd cah (car) or watah (water) sneaks in there every once in a while. Though I do talk I chose to play a little guitar. Not a teeny tiny little guitar but just a little playing. It's not a sparkling performance. There are mistakes. I don't play all the time so it takes a few days of steady practice just to get to as good as I can play. I make no great claims. I just do it for my own amusement. The last time I played in a band setting was about 1972. That's a while ago. I don't have the stamina to play like that. That takes real practice. So here it is, mistakes and all.
So that's it. Yeah I made a couple of flubs. I might have had one string a bit out of tune and maybe the tone wasn't the greatest. I did it spur of the moment.

It's early and I am off to work. I'm supposed to go to a cook out tonight but it looks like rain. I'm still going of course.

Ta ta for now.
I'm outta here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It's Tuesday right?

There's not much going on except on Thursday I will be seeing an old friend that I haven't seen in 25 years. She's actually a friend of my sister from childhood. There a bit of a history between us. 

Apart from that there's not a whole lot going on. I did finally get to watch some of the bridge replacement that's going on around here on Saturday night. It has been a hassle yet 
It is amazing how quickly they are getting it done. They are working their way north by doing the 4 lanes north bound then working there way south. So far there have been 4 completed. They start on Friday evening at 6 and are finished by Monday morning at 6.
  I call these Cranes at Sunset.
To the left you are heading to Boston. To the right you can head to Canada.
Once again as big a pain as it is in an already congested area, it really is amazing how fast they took the old road way out and installed a new one in 2 and a half days. They hope to be done with all 14 bridges by the end of August.

Today looks to be another sparkling day. At this point, about 9 a.m. it is about 70 degrees, hitting a high of 80. I have nothing more planned except for a couple of exciting loads of laundry and much laying about.

Catch you on the flip flop.
I'm outta here.

Ooo I almost forgot. Here's a news blooper from a local newscaster that's still on the air on Channel 4. It's from the late "70s.
OK. Now I'm really outta here.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Wishes for a speedy recovery for our friend Carole and oh yeah another championship.

I learned a couple of days ago that our friend Carole has had a mishap and broke her wrist and injured her knee. I am sending my best wishes to her for a speedy recovery.Carole I want you to know that you are missed. Also I want to thank my friends Beth and Rhapsody for giving me a blogging award. I will put it on my page when I re-configure it. I am never happy with the way it looks but I suppose it really doesn't matter what your page looks like, it's what you say that matters. Thanks ladies!

So what have I been up to. Well aside from my usual crazy work schedule I have been caught up in the hockey playoffs which had a very good outcome for the local Boston Bruins. Not so good for the Vancouver Cannucks. Boy what sore losers those fans are. Vancouver looks like a beautiful city, but guys, c'mon, it's just sports. And just what is a Cannuck? Still it's been quite a ride for Boston sports fans. Another championship. I suppose a young person growing up over the last few years would think that it was not unusual for the local teams to win so much. Apart from the Boston Celtics who won 8 in a row in the '50s and '60s there weren't many great sports teams around here. Some kids must think that winning is a regular thing. We had to wait 86 years for the Red Sox to win and there were many disappointments when they came very close and had there dreams crushed. We never had the kind of reaction to a sports loss. Once again it's just sports. Entertainment not the real world. Congrats to the Boston Bruins.

As some of you may know I am proud of where I live. The history. the firsts. I have gone on about it in the past. However one thing that I am not proud of is our state government. I venture to say we have the most corrupt state government in the country. This is something I am of which I am not proud. A jury just convicted the  speaker of the house. Some say the most powerful position in the government. More so than the governor. The first one some years back was William Bulger forced to resign by pressure from then governor Mitt Romney. Bulger is the brother of notorious Irish mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger who is on the FBI's 10 most wanted list. Supposedly the movie The Departed was loosely based on him along with other movies and television programs. Great movie by the way and one movie that got the Boston accent right probably, and this is just my opinion, due to the presence of Boston natives Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg. I looked for a clip to illustrate it but every clip I looked at that was relevant was filled with f-bombs. Just take my word on it. Back to William Bulger, he is now retired collecting a $198,000 a year state pension. Not bad. The second one resigned but I can't remember why and I don't feel like researching it. He ended up with a radio talk show. And now this one, who was convicted and will serve jail time for taking money from some computer software company in exchange for state business, or something like that.

Another thing that I am not fond of is the traffic. The screwy road layouts. Boston is a wonderful city but I do feel bad for tourists who have to drive around here. It's bewildering and congested despite the Big Dig with it's shiny new bridge and tunnels. Now to add to the screwyness they are replacing 14 bridges over the course of the summer. These 14 bridges are in my city. I understand that this has to be done as they are 50 years old and it is amazing how fast they are working. One bridge a weekend. I have yet to actually catch one in the process of being replaced but hope to. The high way gets shut down to 2 lanes and local roads are blocked at 6p.m. on Friday and reopened at 6 a.m. on Monday. So far they have done 3. This does affect me as I am on one side of the highway and the city is bisected by the river. I have to cross the river to head north, south or west. East is okay except you can only go as far as the ocean which is about 7 or 10 miles away. You could eventually go north, south or west but the amount of driving to get where you're going makes it more practical just to sit in the congestion just to cross the river. Ah such is life in the Boston area. I'm glad I'm not going into town tomorrow. First there is the parade for the Bruins then later there is a Red Sox game.

Alrighty then, I've gone on long enough. I do have some chores to accomplish. So far I've done little on this my day off. I've read, played a video game and I've written this. Gottah go but I'll be back, but for now,
I'm outta here.    


Sunday, June 12, 2011

I can't think of a title so that's my title.

Let's see what's going on. Down on Cape Cod there have been 6 shootings. Not people but grey seals. The seals were granted federal protection because of a dwindling population. It worked well as the population has exploded. In the town of Chatham, a very lovely place, there are an estimated 3000 seals living along the coast. 6 have been found shot to death. The increased population may have resulted in the increase of shark sitings over the last few years. There are no suspects but there is speculation that it could be someone in the sports fishing industry because a grey seal can eat up tp 50 lbs of fish a day and these boats have to go farther out to find the fish. Once again there are no suspects yet but several government agencies are investigating. So who knows, maybe the seals owed somebody money. Still it's all a sad state of affairs.

We have another sports team going for a championship though as of this writing they are down in the series 3 games to 2. I used to follow hockey back in the '60's and 70's. I had the privilege of watching Bobby Orr play. As far as I'm concerned the greatest hockey player ever. Of course I'm being a homer when I say that. I forgot what an exciting event the Stanley Cup playoffs are. The Bruins haven't won the cup since 1972. 

Today, Sunday, the weather is cool topping out at 60 or so. It's overcast and drizzly. Not a great day but I don't care I'm not working today. I hate working Sundays. Massachusetts was the last state in the country to allow big stores to open on Sunday. This was about 1985 I think. People in the Boston area would drive to nearby New Hampshire on Sundays because their stores were open, not to mention that New Hampshire didn't have and still doesn't have a sales tax. Of course the two states are different. New Hampshire is very rural. There are as many people in  Boston as there are in the entire State of New Hampshire more or less. When I was growing up until 1985 Sunday was a very quiet and peaceful day. I do miss it. Anyway I am off and I took a lady friend out to breakfast this morning. After our meal we frequented a local warehouse type store. I guess it's sort of like a Wal-Mart though I have never been in one. I have my reasons for not going into Wal-Mart. Let's just say I don't like them. I admit that I do like this store. It's really no frills but contains just about anything you're looking for from tenderloin steak to fishing rods. I did find it amusing at what I saw as I walked in. Right next to a section that had glass cases full of jewelery were four large bins full of watermelons. Now that's cross merchandising!

Your tax dollars at work dept.
I suppose he took a lot of crap growing up because of his last name. Still, despite his name he had managed to get himself to congress. Yes I'm talking about the congressman from New York State, Anthony Weiner. It is an unfortunate name. At least these days. Imagine if he was born a girl and his parents had a sense of humor and named him Heidi.
This man is obviously full of himself and and not very bright. Sure with today's technology doing what he did was easy but it's also just as easy to have this stuff discovered. And what did Mr. Weiner do when, if you'll pardon the expression, he was exposed. Deny and lie. It's what they do when they are caught red handed, so to speak. This whole thing just lends itself to endless jokes. What makes it worse is that he's a married man. If he were single and just admitted to it right away as being a stupid, thoughtless thing to do especially when you're a high profile government figure we could have all had a chuckle over it, made our jokes and it would fade into the past though I think this would have been one of the more amusing political goofs of the new century. Believe me I am restraining myself from using some of the words and phrases that are available. Think Al Pacino as Scarface, "Say hello to my little friend." I don't know if I'll ever be able to have another hot dog on the Fourth of July. Here's a clip from one of my favorite show called Mystery Science Theater. It's a silly but funny show that ran about 9 years. The character on the show would take only the most awful movies that they could find, as long as they were in the public domain, and sit and watch and just crack wise, tearing the movie apart. I always found it very amusing. It didn't have to be a feature length movie. The made fun government films, such as the famous "Duck and Cover" film from the '50s made for school children. Here in the U.S. during the '50s and '60s there was constant worry about a nuclear attack from the Soviet Union. It told children that in the event of an attack to get under the desk if they were in school and if they were on the street they were to drop to the ground and cover themselves with their coats. I guess if was summer, too hot for a coat, you were shit out of luck. It's hard to believe they thought this would make the public feel more secure. Any way Here's a short clip from MST3000. It comes from a school home economic film. It applies to Mr. Weiner.  
 OK I've gone on long enough. Time for supper. Hold the mustard.
I'm outta here. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I think I'll call this a blog entry.

Hello. First, here's the video that I was trying to upload the last time. It's a little slide show of a few of the pictures I took of Martha's Vineyard.
Last week in western and central Ma. we witnessed a rare occurrence in these parts. Two tornadoes. They do happen but not very often. In the Boston area we got rain and one heck of a lightning display. There never were any loud claps of thunder just a constant rumble like some celestial bowling tournament. I grabbed my camera opened my bedroom window, which is in front of the house on the porch and snapped away. I filled about 4G'S of memory card space snapping away. Catching a shot of the sky all lit up wasn't that hard but catching a bolt of lightning was literally a shot in the dark. Then there is the random nature of lightning. Point, hold steady, start clicking, hope for the best. Here's a short video of a bit of lightning.                           

As we have all experienced, sometimes there isn't enough time in one day. Some days, even when I leave work at a reasonable time, by the time I do whatever I have to do and make supper it's already close to 7:30 or 8 pm. If I sit in front of the computer I can feel my eyes getting heavy after a half and hour. It's the same if I watch TV or try to read. I'm just no fun anymore. Have I officially become an old fart? I want to be a young fart! I started this blog last night and could not think of much to write. Earlier in the day, while at work, Ideas flowed between slices like water filling a bath tub. Last night as I sat in front of the screen the flow became a couple of drips because apparently the main broke and there was no preasure left.

Living near a big city has it's plusses and minuses. I can see a part of the skyline being only 5 miles away and it's fairly easy to get into town though by car it can be a nightmare. On the minus side, a main highway, that essentially runs from upper mid New Hampshire to the tip of Cape Cod, runs through my town. Well a section of this road that runs through my city, built in the late 50's and early 60's is being refurbished with federal stimulous money. There are 14 bridges that are going to be replaced throughout the summer. The first one about a quarter mile from where I live. One a weekend. Well they did the first one over this passed weekend. They cut the 4 lane high way down to 2, took out half the bridge lowered the new one in place and the same for the other side. I got out of work at 8 on Saturday drove home and walk down to see if I could catch some of this but when I arrived at about 8:45 it was done. I would have loved to have taken some pictures of that. There were two huge cranes. Neighborhood people told me it was amazing to watch. This is what I saw when I got there.
  Normally at peak hours traffic is a mess. People going on the highway or getting off. Now it's snarled to the north and the south. 13 more weeks of this. The next two are almost equally close to me. I Hope my work schedule allows me to be able to witness this. As aggrivating as this is, the idea of removing the old road way and dropping in a new one fascinates me.

At this point in the day I've accomplished a few things. I finished this blog for one. Something I haven't been doing as often as I used to. To those of you who come here regularly, I thank you. I usually don't get many comments but I can always count on you guys and that's good enough for me. I am also off tomorrow and apart for some minor things I think I will relax. Now I think I'll pop a couple of CD's in the player, lay down and more than likely take a snooze.

I'm outta here.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

To sum the month of May up.

May was a very eventful month. It all began with the sudden death of my uncle and being reunited with my cousins again. As you get older and settle into your life you lose touch with people who are doing the same thing. I realize that everybody is already aware of this reality of life. I've already written about my uncle Sam. He would spend the holidays with us his nieces and nephew instead if his own daughters. Two of them live in the same city as we (my family) do. Ones about 20 miles away and one now lives in London. The month also featured a particularly tough work schedule, save for the short time I spent on Martha's Vineyard last week. Next I received a call from my dear friend on the west coast. She tells me,

"I'm coming out east! To Concord!" Concord is where her mom is from. Her moms sister is very ill.
"That's great!" I said. "When?"
"How long will you be out here?
I don't know. A few days. A week. A month. I don't know. I'll be staying in Concord. I will probably go to Cape Cod for a bit. (More family) Then to New Hampshire (Friends). "

I fully understand how things work when you have to travel a great distance because of a family issue. Everything is done on the fly. I tried to coordinate our schedules which caused her to say,

"Oh there he goes, Mr. Plan. Has to plan everything."

Leaving out the details I did manage to see her for one evening. She is very spontaneous. Me? Not so. It was wonderful. I met a little more of her family. It was just an evening but I'm glad I saw her again. Maybe September or October, if all the planets align in, I'll go out there. Something we talked about last year.

Of course there's work. A very uneven schedule week to week. Hitting 40 years on the job on April 1.

On the other hand, I just had 9 days off in a row. A good chunk of it spent, as the snotty say, "Down on the Vineyard." It was quite enjoyable to come and go as we pleased. The ability to sit by the ocean on a beautiful day after about a minute walk. The streets had some vacationers, Asian, European, Jamaican, but there were no crowds anywhere. There were license plates from around the country. I even saw one from California. Now that's a road trip. Getting up early to see the sun break the horizon over the Atlantic. Eating well, not overboard but, indulging one's self here and there. That's the beauty of traveling off season. It's very tranquil. As planned, We left on the very day the first crowds started arriving for the long weekend. All in all a welcome ending to the month of May. At this point I had a short video at this spot but it doesn't want to cooperate at this time.

When I went back to work it didn't take long for a customer to mispronounce Wunderbar Baloney as "the wonderful baloney". I'm back doing the day to day routine. I'm also painting my kitchen, but that's coming along slowly. Well as I sit here we are under a tornado watch around here and a tornado warning in the western part of the state. These storms are getting closer. there are rumbles of thunder and lightning at the moment.
OK. Time for me to be off.
I'm outta here.