Wednesday, July 24, 2013

His Royal Highness Prince George of Some Other Cambridge

This means war! Well, maybe not war but the end of the special relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

George may be a perfectly respectful English name that conjures up images of slaying dragons and one of the crosses on the national flag. It's a better name than Arthur, which some were laying book on, but which would have been quite silly as King Arthur. Would that be King Arthur I or King Arthur II?

But the name George is an affront, and not because the royal baby has been named after George Zimmerman, although that is sure to become an internet meme and conspiracy theory in its own right. And not because the poor kid, like his parents, has been given a title of some rotten English borough which is too easily confused with an unconstitutional claim of title over our fair city Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Let's run down just how anti-American the name King George will be:

George III was king at the time of the American revolution, the certifiably crazy despot to whom the Declaration of Independence was addressed.

George IV served as Prince Regent during the War of 1812, during which the British burned our capital.

George V was the king who let his country and then ours be drug into World War I, which would have been best to stay out of. There is no Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, or Mao without it.

George VI became king after the English people decided that an American, Wallis Simpson, was not fit to become the Queen of England, forcing the rightful King Edward VIII to abdicate. Then George VI sat by while his ministers did that appeasement bit until Winston Churchill came along and saved the country's reputation.

George, in the kindest possible words, is just bad luck, at least from the American perspective. George VII may finally bring good luck to the name, but I wouldn't count on it. Fortunately, the little tyke does have a way out as kings are allowed to pick the name they will rule under when they are crowned. As he was given the names George Alexander Louis, he could also go with Alexander I or Louis I. It's good to be the King, even better to be a I.

In the meantime, Boy George will be hard to live down on the playground. There is also the inevitable comparison to George from Seinfeld, played by Jason Alexander. I can hear Jerry Seinfeld pronouncing, "these aren't special people." This royal birth is fast becoming a Festivus celebration. You've heard my airing of grievances. Certainly, after hours and hours of labor, you have to credit mother Catherine with a feat of strength.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Anthony Weiner Can't Hard Delete Carlos Danger

Anthony Weiner was caught at it again, this time under the nom de sext Carlos Danger to a 22 year old woman. It's not that he didn't try to get out of it, asking the woman in question:
"do me a solid. can you hard delete all our chat here."
Needless to say, she did not. And these aren't any old messages that Weiner can put on the mistakes he copped to in 2011 (after first trying to put the whole thing on Andrew Breitbart):
"As I have said in the past, these things that I did were wrong and hurtful to my wife and caused us to go through challenges in our marriage that extended past my resignation from Congress."
"Extended" is an odd word choice here, don't you think? What he's saying in that roundabout way is that after he resigned from Congress he continued sexting pictures of his body parts to other women while his wife was giving birth to and nursing his baby. His wife had this to say today:
"It took a lot of work and a whole lot of therapy to get to a place where I could forgive Anthony."
"This behavior is behind me," asserts Anthony, who still harbors hopes of getting elected Mayor of New York City. Of course, there is this behavior and there is that other behavior that we haven't heard about yet. My advice to New Yorkers is to avoid all that work and therapy and hard delete Anthony Weiner.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Barack Obama Calls Off the Conversation on Race

President Barack Obama's remarks today on the Zimmerman trial verdict frankly exhibited more wisdom than I had expected.

You can pull out and deconstruct the parts where he talks about the African-American experience and a lot of people will. I'm going to pull out several other parts.
"African-American young men are disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system, ... they are disproportionately both victims and perpetrators of violence."
"I think the African-American community is also not naive in understanding that statistically somebody like Trayvon Martin was probably statistically more likely to be shot by a peer than he was by somebody else."
"You know, I think it's understandable that there have been demonstrations and vigils and protests, and some of that stuff is just going to have to work its way through as long as it remains nonviolent."
"I know that Eric Holder is reviewing what happened down there, but I think it's important for people to have some clear expectations here. Traditionally, these are issues of state and local government -- the criminal code and law enforcement has traditionally done it at the state and local levels, not at the federal levels."
"You know, there have been talk about should we convene a conversation on race. I haven't seen that be particularly productive when politicians try to organize conversations. They end up being stilted and politicized, and folks are locked into the positions they already have."
Not everyone wants to take the chill pill.

I got accosted by a black woman on the sidewalk yesterday. She demanded to know whether I had any change. I gave her four quarters. She handed me back a dollar bill, and fed the quarters into the parking meter.

Actually, she asked very nicely. Her children were very excited to be visiting Harvard Square and looked like they were having fun. A funny thing about kids is that they don't know to feel oppressed until you tell them, a very good reason not to have that conversation.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Fourth of July 2013 at the Sean Collier Memorial

I found a new place to watch the Boston 4th of July fireworks while avoiding most of the crowds and not having to cross the Charles River. The left bank has the best views.

The flags are part of a memorial for MIT Police Office Sean Collier, who was killed by the Tsarnaev brothers on April 18, three days after their bombing at the Boston Marathon finish line.

Last year I watched the fireworks from the corner of Prospect Street and Webster Avenue near Union Square, only 2 blocks from what we have since learned was Al Qaeda in Cambridge headquarters on Norfolk Street.

It's said the Tsarnaevs' original plan was to hit the Boston Esplanade crowd during the fireworks. In the dark, with the cover of the fireworks, they might well have killed even more people and gotten clean away with it. This year security was tight and crowds are reported to be lower, but that may have been because it was a very hot muggy day.

In Gettysburg, Pennsylvania they reenacted the Civil War battle on its 150th anniversary. There's an extra verse to The Star-Spangled Banner that was written during the Civil War that seems somehow appropriate both to what happened in Gettysburg in July 1863 and what happened in Boston in April 2013:
When our land is illumined with liberty's smile,
If a foe from within strikes a blow at her glory,
Down, down with the traitor that tries to defile
The flag of the stars, and the page of her story!
By the millions unchained,
Who their birthright have gained
We will keep her bright blazon forever unstained;
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave,
While the land of the free is the home of the brave.