Saturday, July 4, 2015

You Celebrate 1776 While We Celebrate 1775

And remember 1770 too.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Gallery of Obsolescence

Self-portrait of this blogger as reflected in an old pay phone.

Hole punch system for train tickets. I wish I had video of the conductor. Instead I've got a picture of my finger.

These days, the train trestle at the BU Bridge carries more graffiti than trains.

What passes for agriculture in these parts.

New publish-on-demand book press at Harvard Bookstore already feels obsolete.

Trust me, the new art installation in the Radcliffe Yard is no more interesting if you do touch the stalks and sensors. Perhaps it needs a reboot.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Cambridge Street Scenes May 2015

I'm not sure this note will work but admire the effort. It's got a ready answer for the hearing officer trying to say, "A broken meter just proves you didn't pay."

This effort seems a little lazy. You want the meter maid traffic enforcement officer to be able to read your whole note before lifting the wiper to insert the ticket. You don't want to admit you didn't pay.

Brazilian barbecue skewers in the window at the Midwest Grill. I'm a little afraid of this place. Every few minutes the servers come around to bring you more meat.

Boston geese can't read. Cambridge geese would keep off the grass.

Make way for goslings.

"Unattended children will be given espresso" is a promise you may not want to keep.

Speaking of expressive unattended children ...

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Fifty Shades of Snow

The record winter of 2015 is gone but not entirely forgotten:

Last snow pile in Cambridge on April 19, in the parking lot at Fresh Pond Mall.

At home, here was the Great Wall of Snow on February 16, after what turned out to be the last major snowstorm.

The last remnant of the Great Wall of Snow on April 8.

A study in contrasts:

Lilly white Radcliffe Yard.

Well trod and crisscrossed Harvard Yard.

Life finds a way:

March 6.

March 12.

April 2.

For the buried bicycles ...

... the winter did not always end well:

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Calm Between the Snowstorms

A few days after the big blizzard, things had gotten back to normal in Harvard Square.

And in the neighborhood, we were even seeing the garbage at the end of the snow tunnel.

But we are getting more snow this weekend and continuing into Monday.

It took the couple who own this car snowbank 45 minutes to dig it out Sunday afternoon.On Sunday night it's well on its way to getting plowed back in.

My Jeep is ready to go just as soon as I brush the snow off the windows, which I'm not doing because the inspection sticker expired February 1.

This is what counts as a plowed street after two weeks of snowstorms. My Jeep needs that berm of snow to protect it from the idiots with poor traction trying to come up that ever-so-slight hill.

Here's another walkabout, between the snowstorms.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Great Unhistoric Blizzard of 2015

The Wikipedia page for the storm was up 12 hours before the snow started and the forecasters were touting it as a historic 30-incher. The New Yorkers, who only got 10 or 11 inches, are now calling it the Snor'easter. Here in Massachusetts, the snow came in light and fluffy which was much better than the prediction of heavy wet snow that would bring down trees and power lines, but we did get the inches forecast.

A hundred some years ago, some Harvard Professor dredged up an inscription for the New York City Post Office: "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." Who knows how many U.S. postmen suffered unnecessarily for that creed. But here in New England, at least, we've gotten wise to the fact that people don't want to dig a path for the postman in the middle of a blizzard.

Scene from the window Tuesday morning.

Scene from the back porch. You can see how fine and dry the snow was to filter through the slits in the porch floor.

The main roads were clear with only snow plows for traffic due to a state-ordered and probably unnecessary travel ban. There was nowhere to go.

An afternoon walk found some kids sledding and the neighborhood market and pizza place closed.

Snow fell through the day and the wind blew it around, so digging out didn't begin until mid-afternoon.

Scene on the neighborhood street early this evening.

Mini Cooper or snow drift?

The aerodynamic design of the newest models is also conducive to drifting.

All the cool people point their wipers skyward before a big snowstorm. That's supposed to protect the wipers from the weight of snow sliding down the windshield, if they don't get blown off in the wind.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

State of Barack Obama's Pesidential Legacy

Watching the State of the Union speech last night, I couldn't help wondering, how does the President measure up? It was that kind of speech. How do you measure a President's legacy? It's not just how many years you hold the office. Passing your legislative agenda requires your party to control the House and Senate, or at least one of them. Supreme Court appointments cast a shadow after you leave office.

I've created a point system. One point for each year in office, for each year of party control of the House of Representatives and the Senate, and for each Supreme Court appointment:

President Presidency House Senate Supremes Points
Harry Truman 7.8 5.8 5.8 4.0 23.4
George W. Bush 8.0 6.0 6.0 2.0 22.0
Barack Obama 8.0 2.0 6.0 2.0 18.0
Ronald Reagan 8.0 0.0 6.0 4.0 18.0
Lyndon Johnson 5.2 5.2 5.2 2.0 17.6
Dwight Eisenhower 8.0 2.0 2.0 5.0 17.0
Bill Clinton 8.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 14.0
Jimmy Carter 4.0 4.0 4.0 0.0 12.0
John Kennedy 2.8 2.8 2.8 2.0 10.4
Richard Nixon 5.5 0.0 0.0 4.0 9.5
George H.W. Bush 4.0 0.0 0.0 2.0 6.0
Gerald Ford 2.5 0.0 0.0 1.0 3.5

This isn't the final scorecard. Barry could get several more Supreme Court appointments and catch W. although that seems unlikely. He could still break the tie with Ronnie. Nor is this a judgment as to whether the legacy is good, Read My Lips H.W. and Pardon Me Jerry are there at the bottom, but really weren't so bad. Jimmy will be glad to know he nudges out Johnny and is just a notch below Billy.