Monday, November 29, 2010

Mr. K

One of my biggest obsessions growing up was something called the Letter People. They were 26 blow-up dolls, each having to do with the letters of the alphabet. The consonants were male and the vowels were female (with Mr. Y looking somewhat androgynous). They each had a trait that corresponded to their letter. For example, Mr. B had was made up of "beautiful buttons", Mr. L was a "luscious lollipop", etc.

We had the Letter People in kindergarten with a new letter introduced each week. I LOVED them and always dreamed of owning them. I did own Mr. T and Mr. N for a bit but they were beat-up a little and I think I ended up throwing them away.

Now the Letter People are politically correct with the males and females being equally divided and some traits changed. Mr. D is no longer about "delightful donuts" but does a "dazzling dance." Mr. X is no longer "all mixed up" but "different." Ugh. They also changed the look of them. BORING.

Anyway, I check Ebay for these old school ones all the time and I found a guy who was selling some smaller versions for $8 each. I bought Mr. K today for Kevin. He also had Miss E but sold it before I could buy it for Erin. I cannot wait for Kevin to see it! I'll keep looking for more.

DiPaola

I was shocked to hear about Middlesex County Sheriff James DiPaola taking his life this past weekend. My mother called me on Saturday night to see if I had heard and I literally gasped. Such sad news and one never knows what goes through the mind of someone who takes his own life.

DiPaola was on Howie Carr's show last week in which he tried to explain himself. Now that he has killed himself, Howie has a post mortem. See it all here but below is a taste:

Pols don’t kill themselves, but sometimes cops do and in the end, whatever he did in those final years, for better or for worse, DiPaola was a cop.

He still remembered his starting salary on the Malden PD — $119-a-week. On my show, to describe his pension grab he kept using phrases like “perfectly legal” and “totally legal.” He got sloppy, too, obviously. If the allegations against him on Fox 25 are correct, he was laundering campaign funds in front of multiple witnesses, his own employees. Not a smart move for anyone, but especially for someone who runs a jail.

There’s an old saying about being a sheriff in Massachusetts. “You have to deal with the dregs of society . . . and then there are the inmates.” And so DiPaola blamed his ethical woes on “disgruntled employees and inmates.”

DCR Package

Last month during a visit to Mt. Greylock, I asked one of the rangers for a sticker for Kevin's state park passport book. The good man tore his truck apart looking for one to no avail so he promised to mail one to Kevin. We got it today...along with a button, a t-shirt, and a nice note. What an awesome gesture.

I can be tough on government but the DCR is one state agency I love and wholeheartedly support. A big thank you to the ranger!

Dark night of the soul

So it appears I got whatever was ailing Erin and was deathly ill on Saturday night. Around 9pm or so I started feeling queasy and, well, you can use your imagination for the rest. I ended up spending all day Sunday in bed. God love Lynn, she took care of the kids all on her own yesterday. She took them shopping, to Mass, and to an indoor play place in Lawrence.

I stayed in bed until 2:30pm or so. I was falling in and out of sleep and I was having weird dreams, namely about the Middle East (I watched a movie the night before on Saddam Hussein so that must be why). I got up and moved to the couch where I watched football and fell asleep some more. I then went back to bed around 4:30pm and stayed there for a few more hours. Kevin was so cute, he kept checking in on me, bringing me juice (aka Gatorade) and asking if I was feeling better. I began to feel better around 7pm after some popsicles and a piece of toast and was up and about for a few hours.

Around midnight Kevin began knocking on his door saying he threw up in his bed. Ugh. He obviously woke Erin up so she was screaming as Lynn cleaned up Kevin. We put him back to bed only to have him throw up again, and again! I moved him to the living room couch as we had no more bed sheets for him. And then a few hours later, Lynn got sick.

Phew, brutal night for everyone.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Another one in the books

Another good Thanksgiving. Lynn picks the kids up on Wednesdays so I usually stay late at work to get stuff done. We got out of school this Wednesday at 1pm so I had extra time to get a ton done. I corrected 5 or 6 sets of papers, two exams, homework, quizzes, etc. I also got to plan out next week's lessons and make copies of stuff I need for Monday. I left around 7pm very satisfied!

On Thursday we all headed to my parent's house in Melrose for Thanksgiving dinner. I was going to take Kevin to my school's football game in the morning but Lynn thought it would be too cold for him (I also thought about going to my alma mater, BC High, for its game). Lynn said I could go by myself but the kids were too chaotic so I didn't go (I'm no fool).

We headed down to Melrose around 12:30 and stayed there until 7pm or so. It was a quiet crowd for dinner (6 adults) but more people showed up later in the day. I made cranberry fruit conserve and gingerbread cupcakes, both Ina Garten recipes. The cranberry fruit conserve was really good but the cupcakes were too dense (recipe called for a cup of molasses and that's all you could really taste). I threw most of the cupcakes away at the end of the evening.

Yesterday, as I always do, I went up to visit the Nelson Family in Brookfield, NH. I went to college with Bill and Andrew and we're also close to their parents Bill and Joan. Bill is Kevin's godfather and Andrew is Erin's. Before we went up though I took Erin for her 9 month check-up. As part of it she got her flu shot and some blood drawn - some tears and drama but all was well.

We got to the Nelson's around 1pm and I began feeding Erin right after that. However, after some milk and turkey she began throwing up...and up...and up...and up - 5 times total! I called the doctor and they said I should give her 1oz of plain pedialyte every fifteen minutes. Bill ran out to the store to get some but all they had was orange flavored. I gave her that...and she threw it all up. So Bill and Joan went out again to another store to get the plain variety - she took that with no problem. God bless Bill and Joan - they don't live near many stores and they drove all over to find it and they even paid for it. I owe them! It was nice to catch up with folks. Andrew came home from the seminary for the weekend, the local priest was visiting, as was Andrew's sister and niece from Vermont. Their niece is 8 years old so Kevin had a blast playing with her all day.

We headed back home around 7:30pm and were home by 9pm. Erin seemed better and both kids slept well past 7am today. Right now Lynn is putting the Christmas tree together and later we're going to Lowell for some annual events they have the Saturday after Thanksgiving, namely a parade. I also think I want to check out their hot chocolate competition. Not too sure what's on the docket for tomorrow, I need to find something fun to do.

Monday, November 22, 2010

More on DiPaola

So not only was Middlesex County Sheriff Jim DiPaola trying to collect both his pension and his salary at the same time, it turns out he also pockets campaign donations and has sheriff employees drive him home after he gets drunk.

Get this part from Channel 25:

He described another scene inside Ristorante Saraceno in Boston's North End that took place during annual dinners hosted by the sheriff.

"When the bill comes the sheriff tells one of his confidants, usually on the right hand side of him, "Here's the bill, here's how much everybody owes." He gets up and leaves the table, and before he returns to the table that person will tell everybody sitting there that they owe $70 a piece or I need $75 dollars a piece. He collects the money, the sheriff comes back, he gives the sheriff the money, the sheriff pays the bill with his campaign credit card."

My conscience is clean. I voted for no Democrats this election except for Secretary of State Bill Galvin. I left the DiPaola race blank...guess I knew what I was doing.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Get what you pay for...

Since the voters of Massachusetts overwhelmingly elected Democrats to state office, here is what has happened:

1. Many companies announced they were laying off workers.

2. The state released a report showing patronage and fraud of epic proportions at the Probation Department caused by the Democratic Legislature.

3. The Democratic governor proposed giving illegal immigrants access to in-state tuition at state colleges.

4. The sleazy Democratic Middlesex County Sheriff announced he was going to take advantage of a loophole in the law and collect his pay and pension at the same time (he has since changed his mind).

Nice job voters...and it's only been a few weeks since election day.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Spin cycle

I like EJ Dionne. He's a big liberal but I enjoy reading his stuff and watching him frequently on "Meet the Press." But today's piece on how the Democrats and Nancy Pelosi lost the House because Pelosi was "effective" is a laugher. She also blames us dumb voters for just not understanding the wonders she did for us.

Pelosi also blames the Republicans for making her a target and a caricature. Um, remember the way you guys treated George W. Bush?

Anyway, see it all here but below is a taste:

But Pelosi's rule on the gender issue is: "Don't underestimate, don't overestimate, just move on from it." So identity politics is absent when she's asked point blank why the Republicans attacked her so fiercely.

"Because I'm effective," she answers matter-of-factly. "It's why they had to do it. They had to put a stop to me because we were effective in passing health-care reform, which the health insurance industry wanted to stop; Wall Street reform, which Wall Street wanted to stop; [reforms of] students loans for taking the money out of the banks and giving it back to the taxpayer and to families."

And in what might be read as a reminder of why she should remain as leader, she adds: "I'm one of the most effective fundraisers that the Congress has had . . . because I believe in something."

Her analysis of why the party lost the House is compact. "Nine and a half percent unemployment damaged the majority," she says. "What made a difference in the election is the fact that they said we are spending money, and where are the jobs?" While she believes that what Democrats did on health care, education and Wall Street reform was ultimately about fixing the economy, the party has to think "shorter term" in putting "jobs, jobs, jobs front and center." That's her battle plan.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Post mortem

Sorry for not posting some thoughts after last week's election. I can't say I was surprised by the results. In fact, I predicted that the Democrats would win every seat except for the Auditor's race (I got that one wrong). Nationally, it was just as the pundits said it was, Red all the way.

Howie Carr's column today looks back and asks "What if..." He says the results were bad but it could have been worse. See it all here but below is a taste:

But enough of the recriminations. Let’s look at the small silver linings in the ominously large dark cloud. The GOP picked up 17 seats in the House, increasing their numbers (pending recounts) to 32. Nothing’s more local than a state rep’s fight, and the Republicans hunted down the weakest sheeple in Speaker DeLeo’s herd.

Unfortunately, in the Senate, the GOP will never get another perfect opportunity to eliminate the vivacious Therese Murray, who limped home with 52 percent of the vote. With redistricting about to begin, the Senate’s Miss Congeniality will dump Sandwich (hometown of her hard-working opponent) and the other Cape towns, after which she will annex most of Sen. Kennedy’s Brockton district. Tough luck, Tom.

Finally, Worcester County, where it was still Jan. 19 for the Republicans last Tuesday. They won the sheriff’s race, with a large assist from the Democrat, Tom Foley, who announced that he’d be keeping his $111,920.04 state pension in addition to the sheriff’s salary. The Worcester GOP held on to the outgoing reps’ seats, knocked off an incumbent rep and won the open Governor’s Council seat.

So it could have been worse. Thin gruel, I know, but the Republicans have been counted out before (think 1986) and somebody’s always come along to rebuild the party. Now comes the Rick Pitino question: Is there another Ray Shamie ready to walk through that door?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Butterflies

Again, there are still 2 long hours to go and this is Massachusetts, the home of the Democratic machine and SEIU. But this post from Michael Graham at National Review Online has me getting very cautiously optimistic:

The turnout story so far in Massachusetts: surging turnout in congressional districts like the 10th (Perry vs. Keating) and the 4th (Bielat vs. Frank). The passion over Congress is so high that it appears the governor’s race is essentially just coming along for the ride. That’s very unusual in a state where the only elected Republican is usually the governor.

This reversal is actually good news for Charlie Baker, who’s been in a close race but has yet to pass Gov. Deval Patrick in a single published poll. Patrick needs turnout in the cities, but the most competitive and high-profile races are in the ’burbs.

Right now, it looks like Baker’s going to ride into the Corner Office on the backs of the GOP congressional candidates.

Looking good?

Reports are saying that turnout is high in the suburbs but low in cities like Boston and Springfield. That is fantastic news for Republicans and, if those numbers hold, it may be a long time for Democrats. But, I never take anything for granted. Work is over and many people will go voting now.

Stay tuned.

The last refuge

Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson makes a pretty serious charge of racism against those who are critical of President Obama. He cites the "vitriolic attacks" against him and the rhetoric by some that we need to "take back" our country.

Robinson obviously has a short memory lest he forget the "vitriolic attacks" against George W. Bush. He was compared to Hitler, a Broadway play about an assassination of him was written, people called for his arrest as a "war criminal", his intelligence was lambasted, his religious faith was mocked, and he was called a drunk and cocaine addict (among other things).

Tell me, were the people who said all these things racists against white people? Were they anti-Southerner? Were they anti-religious?

You know they've run out of arguments when they drag out the whole racism card. It is such a lazy argument.

See the whole column here but below is a taste:

I have to wonder what it is about Obama that provokes and sustains all this tea party ire. I wonder how he can be seen as "elitist," when he grew up in modest circumstances -- his mother was on food stamps for a time -- and paid for his fancy-pants education with student loans. I wonder how people who genuinely cherish the American dream can look at a man who lived that dream and feel no connection, no empathy.

I ask myself what's so different about Obama, and the answer is pretty obvious: He's black. For whatever reason, I think this makes some people unsettled, anxious, even suspicious -- witness the willingness of so many to believe absurd conspiracy theories about Obama's birthplace, his religion, and even his absent father's supposed Svengali-like influence from the grave.

Obama has made mistakes that rightly cost him political support. But I can't help believing that the tea party's rise was partly due to circumstances beyond his control -- that he's different from other presidents, and that the difference is his race.

See a nice rebuke on the column from National Review here.

Monday, November 1, 2010

God I hope so

For once, I hope Chris Matthews is right:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Get thee to a history class

Leave it to a Democrat to not know his history. Some state senator named Hank Sanders from Selma, AL did a robocall for the Democrat running for governor there and said this:

"I say hell no!" he continues. "I ain't going back to the cotton fields of Jim Crow days. I'm going forward with Ron Sparks, Jim Folsom and others who will do right by all of us."

Gee, Sen. Sanders, then you better vote for the GOP because it was the Democrats who supported slavery. It was the Democrats who instituted Jim Crow laws. It was the Democrats who led the filibuster against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It was the Republicans who fought against slavery. It was the Republicans who led Reconstruction. It was the Republicans who fought Jim Crow.

No one ever accused the Democrats of letting facts getting in the way of a good lie.

How I am voting

I've made my predictions, now how I am voting tomorrow:

Governor: Charlie Baker (R)
Attorney General: Jim McKenna (R)
Secretary of State: Bill Galvin (D)
Treasurer: Karyn Polito (R)
Auditor: Mary Connaughton (R)
US Representative: Jon Golnik (R)
State Senate: Jamison Tomasek (R)
State Representative: George Boag (R)
Question 1: Yes
Question 2: Yes
Question 3: Yes

Think people miss him?

Check out the ovation George W. Bush got last night at Game 4 of the World Series. See it here.

My predictions

Here are my predictions for tomorrow's election:

Governor: Deval Patrick (D)
Treasurer: Steve Grossman (D)
Attorney General: Martha Coakley (D)
Auditor: Mary Connaughton (R)
Secretary of State: Bill Galvin (D)
National House of Representatives: All Massachusetts seats won by Democrats
Dracut State Senator: Barry Finegold (D)
Dracut State Representative: Colleen Garry (D)
Question 1: Yes
Question 2: No
Question 3: Yes

I really, really hope I am wrong about all of these Democrats winning (although I can stomach Galvin winning and I don't mind Garry). But the good news is, nationally it should be a rout. Election Day is one of my favorite days of the year. I order Chinese food, get some beer, and enjoy the night. I can't wait.