Monthly Archive for October, 2003

Car Swap

I can’t even believe that I drove into Saab City today in my beat­en and bruised ’93 Sub­aru, and drove out with a near-mint 2000 Saab 9–3… It should be a crime. Go see Kris­sy if you need a car — she is the Inter­net Sales person.

That was the sweet­est 10-minute dri­ve of my life. 70 degrees out­side, sun­roof open, and my first CD was… Blur’s Leisure.

Saab Story 2000 Saab 9-3I start­ed out look­ing for a used Golf, but I’ve real­ized they are real­ly crap­py cars– espe­cial­ly if you’re not buy­ing a new one.

After test dri­ving a hon­da, and decid­ing I was­n’t ready to give up all fun in my life, I drove a used Saab 9–3. Wow.

This is your basic entry-lev­el Saab — but with leather seats, sun­roof, and a 180hp tur­bo engine to all but ensure that I won’t become an ardent envi­ron­men­tal­ist — although it is a 4‑cylinder.

My only prob­lem is that I’m wor­ried that I’m going to look like a tool­box in this thing. I mean, can you legal­ly lis­ten to punk rock in a Saab? Is it con­sid­ered “gauche” to eat Wendy’s and belong to the Demo­c­ra­t­ic par­ty, as a Saab own­er? Am I crazy?

Buy Our Couch

We’re sell­ing our small couch (loveseat) — come see it this week­end, and take it off our hands.

Snow Expected Tonight?

I almost choked on my pret­zel when I saw this weath­er report on

snow?Accu­mu­lat­ing snow is pre­dict­ed for much of west­ern and cen­tral Mass­a­chu­setts late this after­noon and tonight and fore­cast­ers say there could be snow show­ers ear­ly tomor­row in the Greater Boston area.

It’s Octo­ber 22nd, people!


VW GolfI bought my cur­rent car, a green ’93 Sub­aru Impreza wag­on, in the win­ter of 1998, after I received an inher­i­tance from my grand­fa­ther. Since then, I’ve grown attached to it, not least because of my grand­fa­ther, but also because it was my first man­u­al trans­mis­sion, and it was my first for­eign car.

I hate cars — I hate what they’ve done to our cities and our coun­try in the past 60 years… but, they are some­times a nec­es­sary evil. Pres­ley and I have hauled our lives from Buf­fa­lo to Boston, Boston to Cam­bridge, and back again over the years, and it’s always been good to us. Our most impres­sive haul, in my mem­o­ry, was a 7‑foot tall wardrobe from IKEA in Ontario, to Cam­bridge. Not only did it fit, but there was room for Pres­ley, a kit­ten, and a huge ori­en­tal rug.

Still, it’s a ten year-old car, and its start­ing to get expen­sive to repair. And I’ve got an oil leak up the wahoo.

So, it’s time to suck it up, and buy anoth­er car. My friends have offered their advice. Albany Dan said do not buy a Volk­swa­gen, under any cir­cum­stances. Some­thing about bad reli­a­bil­i­ty… My boss’s boss sug­gest­ed a pick­up truck. Oth­er friends sug­gest­ed bor­ing old Toy­otas and Hondas.

I think I’m going to go with my gut, and look for a used VW Golf. Besides being small and cool (good for city dri­ving), it’s safe, rel­a­tive­ly inex­pen­sive, and fuel efficient.

Though I won’t be able to haul anoth­er 7′ wardrobe, I’m sure the hatch­back will come in handy.

And, the best lit­tle secret of all, is that AAA offers low-inter­est car loans — I was approved for 4.19% for 60 months… Now, time to go shopping!

Happy 30th Birthday, Jason

Jason turns 30Our good friend Jason turned 30 years old last week­end, and true to form, he was drunk­er than all of us.

Still we man­aged to cap­ture a few pic­tures — though not, sad­ly, of Patrick sleep­ing under the deck for what seemed like two or three hours…

Larry got it Right in Mystic River

salonlogo.gifAn open let­ter to the author of an oth­er­wise good review of Mys­tic Riv­er in Salon:

Hel­lo Ms. Zacharek,

I did enjoy your review of Mys­tic Riv­er, and am look­ing for­ward to see­ing it this week­end. I espe­cial­ly enjoyed your obser­va­tions on con­cep­tions of neigh­bor­hood, and on the film’s sense of place.

While it’s true that Boston’s many neigh­bor­hoods are more self-con­tained than most cities’, I think it’s a leap to assume that this clan­nish­ness is total. It’s equal­ly true to argue that all of Boston is insu­lat­ed from oth­er parts of the coun­try. There is a dis­tinct com­mon Boston cul­ture, which includes things like lan­guage, val­ues, and tra­di­tions (red sox).

And while there may be an evi­dent us vs. them dynam­ic between cer­tain groups in the city, there is always a cir­cling of the wag­ons when Boston is fac­ing out­ward to the rest of the coun­try. So there must be more to this place than the sum of its parts.

Which leads me to ask you about this:

His part­ner is played by Lau­rence Fish­burne, who was­n’t told, unfor­tu­nate­ly, that black peo­ple in Boston don’t speak with a Boston accent.

I know it’s a minor bone to pick, but what expe­ri­ence or knowl­edge did you use as basis for that com­ment? An assump­tion that only Irish-Bosto­ni­ans drop their Rs and As? Michael Dukakis cer­tain­ly would debunk that statement.

Vis­it an ele­men­tary school in Chi­na­town, and you’ll see the chil­dren of Chi­nese immi­grants say­ing cah and pahk, just like many of their teach­ers. Maybe not to the exag­ger­at­ed degree that you’d find on the South Shore or in the Kennedy fam­i­ly, but it’s there.

Would you sim­i­lar­ly argue that blacks born and edu­cat­ed in Chica­go don’t speak with a Great Lakes Mid-West accent?

The Boston accent orig­i­nat­ed in East Anglia, when the first Eng­lish colonists came from. It’s been refined and extend­ed by a immi­grant groups of all kinds (not to men­tion a few of us trans­plants from oth­er parts of the coun­try). I think there is a mis­tak­en assump­tion here, and I’d hate for non-Bosto­ni­ans to get the wrong idea when watch­ing this film.


Now, I’m not a native Boston­ian, but I have been here for near­ly a decade — and I know many peo­ple that grew up in this town, and share the local accent– be they from his­pan­ic, black, or oth­er back­grounds. Does any­one dis­agree? Am I over­re­act­ing to a small bit in an oth­er­wise good review?

UPDATE: Ms. Zacharek kind­ly respond­ed to my letter:

Hi Ned — Thanks for your let­ter. I actu­al­ly took great pains to make it clear that the clan­nish­ness shown in the movie isn’t total — the neigh­bor­hood of the movie seems to me very much like South Boston (though plen­ty of peo­ple are writ­ing in say­ing, “No, it’s Charlestown!” or “No, it’s Dorch­ester!”) I think the point is, there ARE pock­ets of Boston that are par­tic­u­lar­ly clan­nish, and Lehane’s sto­ry is pred­i­cat­ed on that.

And the L. Fish­burne line…I just went in and cut that from the piece, because it seemed to be a bone of con­tention with sev­er­al peo­ple. I lived in Boston for 15 years (it was only four years ago that I left), and I nev­er heard a per­son of col­or speak the way Fish­burne does. Then again, all of Boston is set up so that a white per­son (like me) nev­er needs to come into con­tact with a per­son of col­or unless he or she makes a great effort to do so. So it’s entire­ly pos­si­ble that there are African Amer­i­cans in Boston who speak like Mark Wahlberg and I just nev­er heard them. In any event, it did seem like a mis­guid­ed act­ing choice to me.

Any­way, thank you again for tak­ing the time to write in with your thought­ful com­ments, and best wishes –

Stephanie Zacharek

I’m hum­bled that she respond­ed so gen­er­ous­ly, but now that I think about it, I’m feel­ing a bit like the PC Police. I did­n’t want her to self-cen­sor her­self, but I thought that I should say some­thing.

Rally Cap

I’ve been wear­ing my ral­ly cap since the 5th inning.

Wow. Trot wins it in the 11th inning on a home run to the deep­est part of Fenway.

Powerbook en Route

My 12″ Power­book 12.1/1GHZ/786/80/CMBO/BT/LL is enroute from Taoyuan City, Tai­wan, and you can bet that I’ll be watch­ing the FedEx track­ing page every moment.

It’s expect­ed on 10/9, only one day late.

UPDATE: It’s here! And boy is it fast…