Category Archives: Boston

U2 was in my neighborhood

Pax Arcana

U2 played a super secret omg keep it quiet omg it’s in the Globe? OMG I can’t believe it!!1!11! show at the Somerville Theater tonight — just around the corner from Pax Manor.

I didn’t see the show, obviously, but I did get a couple of shots of the throngs of people standing around looking at each other, wondering if they should, you know, like do something or something.

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Of course once those throngs decided that getting a beer was a better option than standing in the cool March fog, they swarmed Davis Square’s two main bars.

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Even the Sligo was packed with yuppies. Man it was like cats and dogs living together.

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Creepy doll will not sell your house

Pax Arcana

The upright and fantasmagoric Mrs. Pax Arcana and I did a little house shopping yesterday. Because we live in the greater Boston area, things in our price range tend to fall between “industrial solvent manufacturing plant” and “abandoned mental hospital” on the attractiveness scale.

So we’re open to fixer-uppers, is what I’m saying.

After lunch we took a little trip out to a certain well-heeled suburb to check out a single-family home that had fallen within our price range of late. We could tell by the pictures that the layout was a little unusual and the decor had not been updated since the 1980s. But we figured it was worth a look, since we’re not averse to performing a bit of cosmetic upgrading ourselves.

The first floor was ugly but not offensive. Then we made our way upstairs and discovered this:

In case you can’t quite make it out, this is the last thing evil dictators see before they die.

Here’s a closer look at the psychotic demon succubus in the middle:

I’m no real estate agent, but I’m pretty sure one of the first rules of “staging” a house is to avoid forcing prospective buyers into defecating themselves with your creepy death totems. Just look what this one did to this handsome stranger:

Long story short, we won’t be making an offer.

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Don’t get it twisted

Pax Arcana

Did you know that the atomic number of copper is 8?

Of course you didn’t. That’s because you didn’t ride the T down to South Station with Father Scott, Perry Ellis, the courteous and accomodating Mrs. Pax Arcana and I on Sunday night. If you had been on the Red Line with us, you would have learned that and much, much more, courtesy of this gentleman — who offered us a free lesson in inebriated physics:

The good professor, an adjunct lecturer at the Cape Cod school for the wobbly and barely coherent, held forth on all manner of physics topics that evening — from general relativity to the difference between conductors and insulators to the existence of a specialty topic within the field of physics called astro-astrophysics. He also really, really likes to say “Don’t get it twisted!”

Also, did you know that his second favorite physicist is Newton? And that Newton’s first name was Isaac? It’s true! You can look it up!

Just don’t look up the atomic number of copper. Google will tell you it’s 29.

Stupid Google.

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Inventory Purposes

Pax Arcana

Here’s a sign I spotted on the window of the Dunkin’ Donuts on the VFW parkway near the Dedham Mall (the one next to Burger King, not the one directly across the street from Burger King):

The sign does more than simply confound us. Verily, it expands our comprehension of the axis between economics, marketing, supply chain theory, environmental science, and the English language as a whole. Never has something said so much while at the same time saying so little.

My hat is off to you, Dunkin Donuts. I sit humbled and in awe of your awesome power to call upon the theater of the absurd to explain your policies, when a simple explanation would have sufficed. Within this simple 8.5″ by 11″ rectangle, the seemingly intractable rules of logic and order are sucked into a vortex in which neither light nor gravity can escape. Also, kudos for the inventive capitalization.

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Thursday Random 9*: Pax Absentia bonus edition

Perry Ellis

As the Paxman and the splendiferous and supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Mrs. Pax are across the pond, sampling the varied pleasures of the Continent (weird animal parts cooked in their own fat and liter-sized steins of unfiltered beer), we present this week’s super-double-bonus edition of the Random 10.**

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I’m starting to think Massachusetts politics may be a teensy bit corrupt…

Pax Arcana

Outside of Iran and Saudi Arabia, the Massachusetts state legislature is the world’s best argument against a one-party political system.

It’s not that the Democrats are worse than the Republicans in Massachusetts. It’s that the Democratic machine is so firmly entrenched on Beacon Hill that the natural creep of influence peddling has long since overrun the entire system.

Just one guy’s opinion, sure, but Perry Ellis and I — in our former lives — have both seen first-hand how things get done in this state, and it ain’t in press conferences or campaign speeches. From the local level right up to the top, the public is largely kept as far from the actual negotiation of governance as possible. Once the doors are closed and the microphones are turned off, that’s when the proverbial dookie hits the ceiling fan.

Consider the Globe‘s scrutiny of state Speaker of the House Sal DiMasi (D). In just the past five weeks, the Globe has dug into three legislative episodes involving DiMasi that hint strongly that he’s the kind of guy that, you know, does things for people, dig?

Here’s the recap:

  • DiMasi played an active role in ensuring that software company Cognos was awarded a $13 million state contract after the company had donated lavishly to DiMasi’s charity golf tournament. The contract was later voided.
  • Last year DiMasi’s personal accountant promised a group of sports ticket resellers safe passage of a bill intended to keep the practice legal in Massachusetts if they paid his consulting firm. They did. The bill passed easily.
  • Last year DiMasi quashed a bill that would have banned construction of an LNG facility in Fall River. A few months later, the owner of the property in question sold it for a $14.2 million profit. The owner, Jay Cashman, is a “close friend” and contributor to DiMasi’s political fortunes, and DiMasi’s wife has partnered with Cashman’s wife on a TV production deal.

DiMasi has told the Globe repeatedly that each of these decisions were arrived at independentl of his relationships with those who benefited. It’s possible that is the case.

But it’s curious how things always seem to work out for Sal’s friends, no?

DiMasi business ties questioned [Globe]
Just the ticket for brokers [Globe]
Winning firm gave to DiMasi charity [Globe]

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Monday filler

Pax Arcana

Happy Presidents Day!

While you’re out celebrating the good works of Franklin Pierce and Benjamin Harrison, I’m busy working. To fill space, here’s a photo of a neat little sign I snapped in my neighborhood. I have no idea what it means, but I like it.

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Where were you when the Mooninites invaded Boston?

Pax Arcana

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the great Mooninite invasion of 2007, in which Boston city officials and law enforcement types completely freaked the hell out over some vaguely electronic-looking doo-dads hanging from bridges and lightposts in some parts of the city.

No one can criticize the BPD for taking all threats seriously, but it was a little much when they rolled tanks in front of Fenway Park and called in a fleet of Apache helicopters to guard the Statehouse. Arabic-looking men, mostly Greek, were gunned down where they stood. Across the city, cell phones were detonated by teams of BPD artillery goons.

All because a few people saw this, and wet their pants:

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Making matters worse, the two a-holes responsible for the lite-brite scare acted like a pair of 14-year-old delinquents when they were arrested for the stunt (which was actually a promotion for the Cartoon Network show Aqua Teen Hunger Force). Soon the mayor was calling for their heads and threatening to sue TBS, which owns the CN.

The mayor and his big-wig goons in statewide law enforcement refused to back down over the next few weeks, making Boston look more and more like a town full of fraidy-cat dandies presided over by a deranged mongoloid and a cadre of trigger-happy brownshirts. On the Internet, T-shirts reading “1/31/07 Never Forget” were all the rage.

Fun times, all around. I blame Giuliani, of course.

Never Forget: First Anniversary of Aqua Teen Day [Bostonist]

Update:

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Apparently there is no paint in Brighton

Via Bostonist, today we learn of the Dunkin Donuts corporate empire’s decision to tear down one of the coolest signs in the greater Boston area. That would be this unlit Dunkin Donuts sign on North Beacon Street in Brighton:

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Why are they tearing it down? Some flack told Bostonist that the sign was simply too “deteriorated” to remain intact:

The franchisee of the Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant in Brighton is working with town officials to design an appropriate replacement for the existing sign, which has deteriorated to an unacceptable condition.

Pax Arcana is no expert on restoring cool shit, but doesn’t it look like a few fresh coats of paint would do the trick? It’s not like repairing a deteriorated space shuttle or Baldwin brother, for crying out loud.

Wait, What?: Dunkin’ Donuts Sign in Brighton Coming Down [Bostonist]
Neon loses out to rust, dooming landmark sign [Boston Globe]

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Believe it or not, this building is poorly designed

gehry_stata_center.jpg

The building pictured above is a relatively new landmark in the Boston area. Designed by architect Frank Gehry for MIT, the Stata Center is one of those buildings that evokes fear and hatred from people who fear and hate oddly-proportioned buildings that look like set pieces for a Tim Burton movie.

Pax Arcana, it should be noted, loves the design of the Stata Center.

MIT is not so impressed. The school is suing Gehry for breach of contract, because the building leaks, has mold, and has not shown up for a single court-ordered drug test.

From the AP:

The school alleges the center, completed in spring 2004, has persistent leaks, drainage problems and mold growing on its brick exterior. It says accumulations of snow and ice have fallen dangerously from window boxes and other areas of its roofs, blocking emergency exits and causing damage.

The suit says MIT paid Los Angeles-based Gehry Partners $15 million to design the Stata Center, which cost $300 million to build. It houses labs, offices, classrooms and meeting rooms.

“Gehry breached its duties by providing deficient design services and drawings,” according to the suit, which also names New Jersey-based Beacon Skanska Construction Co., now known as Skanska USA Building Inc. The suit, filed Oct. 31, seeks unspecified damages.

Reached for comment, Gehry said, “Welcome welcome welcome to my wobbly hobbly house! I can grant you a wish if you wish! Or a dish you can dish! Or a yellow fellow’s fish in a mellow yellow dish!”

Architect Gehry Sued by MIT [AP]

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