Tag Archives: Boston Globe

Bitches, man

Pax Arcana

It’s become fashionable among red-faced TV shouters and slope-shouldered Internet trolls to blame the demise of newspapers on content quality, rather than the inevitable result of a shifting landscape for information consumption.

This is rubbish. Newspapers are still the primary organ for gathering and reporting news, and without them we’d be far worse off. Case in point — if the New York Times makes good on its threat to close the Boston Globe, how the fuck are we ever going to know what the most popular dog names in Wellesley are?

From the top-front-middle of Boston.com comes this awesomeness:

Bailey is the top dog in Wellesley. Lucy is the queen in Newton.

In the battle of dog names, the most popular dog name in Wellesley is Bailey with 38. The most popular dog name in Newton is Lucy with 33. Molly, the second most popular dog name in Wellesley, with 34, doesn’t even crack the top ten most popular names in Newton.

ugly_dog

Critics of the Globe often say that the paper has hastened its own death by ignoring the city of Boston in favor of fluffy who-gives-a-shit stories from the wealthy suburbs. Those critics just don’t understand that a sophisticated exegesis of dog names in the rich suburbs adds a wealth of value to the every day lives of Globe readers.

Because it is in such stories that we discover that people in the Boston area like sports! CAN YOU FUCKING BELIEVE IT?

A lot can be learned about a town from its dog names, but to get a real feel for Newton and Wellesley you need to dig deeper than just the top-ten list of names.

This being Red Sox territory, dog owners like to name their pooches after just about anything from the Olde Towne Team. Wellesley has 10 dogs named Fenway to Newton’s three. Both towns have three dogs named Remy. There are also a combined four dogs in the two towns still named Manny.

Of course Manny was a good dog until we decided he was the worst dog ever. Then we got a Canadian Syrup Collie and pretended he was the most bestest dog in the world.

But lest the town’s are accused of forgetting “the other” sports dynasty, Wellesley has eight dogs named Brady, a dog named Tom Brady and a dog named Tedy Bruschi, and Newton has seven dogs named Brady and three named Bruschi. No one has gone so far, however, as naming his dog Gillette.

But lest the newspaper’s be accuse’d of slacking on the job, they may wan’t to revisit that firs’t sent’ence.

Both Newton and Wellesley are more than just sports towns, however. Lovers of literature will see dogs named after great men and women of letters. Wellesley’s literary heroes include Shakespeare, Yates, Hemingway and Shelley. Newton’s include Oscar Wilde and Nietzsche.

This gives me an entirely different appreciation of the erudition necessary to live in such towns. Come now, Bulwer-Lytton the Beagle, we must upgrade you at once! From this day forth, you shall be known as Oliver Wendell Holmes the Beagle!

There are fans of Charles M. Schulz’s “Peanuts” comic series in both towns, as Newton has four dogs named Snoop and Wellesley has three, plus a dog named Charlie Brown. There are also a combined six dogs in the two towns named Peanut, and one in Newton named Peanuts.

Okay, you’re fucking kidding about the “Snoop” thing, right? Seriously. Please tell me you’re kidding.

For Newton and Wellesley entertainment is more than just music and comics. It is something that should be recognized. So, to recognize the recognition of the arts, Newton and Wellesley have 10 and eight dogs named Oscar respectively, Wellesley has 3 dogs named Emmy to Newton’s one, and Wellesley has a dog named Tony.

I’m going to invent a new award based on this article, just to name my dog after it. Say hello to Poopknuckle the pug puppy everybody! Isn’t he adorable and sticky?

As lovers of fine things it’s no surprise that the most popular car brand that became a dog name is Bentley, with five in Newton and four in Wellesley. Similarly, no one will be shocked to know that the most popular beer brand/dog name is Stella with seven in Wellesley and five in Newton (although Guinness is a close second in Wellesley with five.)

OK, you realize that Bentley is also the name of a university nearby. And that the likelihood that people named their dogs Stella after the beer rather than the famous movie/play is virtually zero.

Sometimes a dog name is nothing more than an indication of potential size. If this is the case, watch out in Wellesley. With 10 dogs named Bear living in Wellesley, and only two in Newton, you might want to watch out when you are walking down the street in the former.

That’s why I take Bear Killer with me everywhere. I tell people it’s an ironic name because he’s a Scottish Terrier dressed in a pith helmet — but in reality he’s an actual bear dressed like a Scotty in a pith helmet. It’s still ironic, though, because he’s a bear named Bear Killer that kills dogs named Bear. And Bentley.

From Remy to Yates: most popular dog names in Wellesley [Boston.com]

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Filed under culture

Your brain is making you fat

Pax Arcana

This article in the Boston Globe explores the growing body of research that indicates that while our tummies call out for yummies on occasion, it’s our brains that demand to be fed. In fact, our brains may far more influence over our eating habits than any of us admit:

Consider, for example, a study published this summer that found that ghrelin, a hormone released when your stomach is empty and growling, may help stave off depression. Researchers found that underfed mice with higher levels of the hormone showed fewer signs of depression and anxiety than well-fed counterparts, swimming longer when plunged into water and seeming more adventurous in a maze.

sadmickey
Mickey: “I’m so stuffed with cheese and cotton candy that this maze just seems like such a bummer.”

minnie_mouse
Minnie: “Oh, Mickey. I wish we could go in a time machine back to the old days, when everything was fresh and new and we had to scrounge around the studio lot just for something to eat.”

fievel
Fievel: “Hey Minnie, I haven’t eaten in two days. And I found an awesome nook buried deep in the maze. How about we get you out of that dress and make some mouseketeers?”

A paper published last month in the journal Science suggests some people may overeat because their brains simply don’t get as much pleasure out of food – a chocolate milkshake, to be specific – so they keep eating in an attempt to feel satisfied.

That’s why I cut out the middle man and pour the milkshake directly on my brain.

And a study published last week in the Journal of Neuroscience found that when a mother rat ate a fatty diet, her babies’ brains were wired with neurons that produce molecules that stimulate their appetite.

Also, they watch a lot of NASCAR.

Earlier this year, a study in the journal Neuron found that mice that were robbed of their sweet tooth – stripped of the very ability to taste sweetness – still preferred sipping sweet, calorie-laden drinks. Certain mouse brain pathways usually associated with tasting something scrumptious were activated when they consumed the sugary drink, even though they couldn’t taste it.

Again — pour directly on brain for best results.

But the studies aren’t just about overeating; the brain can also be tricked by marketing. A study by California researchers published earlier this year, for example, found that the brains of people who sipped what they were told was expensive wine showed a higher pleasure response than in people who sipped the same wine when it was described as a common variety. The subjects, whose responses were measured in scanners that monitored their brains, also said the pricey wine tasted better.

It’s Donald Trump’s tacky, ugly world. We just overpay for crap.

The results dovetail with other mind-over-mouth studies and gustatory illusions: Amping up the crunch of potato chips tricks us into rating them as crispier, one study showed.

Calling apple juice a soup and serving it in a bowl makes it more filling than the same portion served in a cup. Dyeing a food a particular color can make it taste different.

Green milkshake poured directly on brain = just like spinach.

I shouldn’t try to post when I’m hungry like this.

To tame the belly, manage the brain [Boston.com]

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Filed under food

Kevin O’Connell probably gets tons of women

Pax Arcana

This Boston Globe apology is exactly the kind of thing the sports blog world thrives on. It’s got mystery, intrigue, and a hilarious pay-off culminating in a fantastic dick joke starring Patriots back-up quarterback Kevin O’Connell.

Here’s the story:

On Sunday, the Globe published a photo of O’Connell taken during a practice session. The Globe’s editorial staff apparently didn’t notice that the writing on O’Connell’s wrist band is hardly the stuff the paper’s octogenarian readership is prepared to tolerate. So they issued an apology, which read as follows:

Editor’s note: A photo on Page C6 in Sunday’s Sports section showed Patriots rookie quarterback Kevin O’Connell wearing a wristband with inappropriate language written on it. The photo did not meet the Globe’s journalistic standards and should not have been published.

Deadspin got ahold of the photo in question, which is reproduced below:

If you can’t read it, the wristband says “MY DICK IS TINY TOO!”

I’m assuming this was some kind of prank on the rookie quarterback, and not the most collosal overshare since Jimmy Carter talked to Playboy in 1976.

But if this article in the Times (UK) is correct, Kevin O’Connell may just be the most desirable male in entire universe. The article itself is a reflection on a Jezebel post (and long, long comment stream) in which women recount the worst things men can say to them. The difficulty of being a man in search of some boom-boom time, according to the Times, is that you must be at the same time successful and self-deprecating:

The key to success, for men, is a certain type of wit: self-deprecation. Gil Greengross, the anthropologist behind the research, was quoted in The Observer, explaining: “The frequent use of self-deprecating humour in sexual context – with potential mates, established mates or sexual rivals – was astonishing … people who used this humour were considered to be more desirable as mates.”

So far, so encouraging, you might think. There’s hope for us all. But Greengross ruined it all by adding the following caveat: “If you are a low-status individual, using self-deprecating humour can be disastrous to you. Think about the secondary school child whom nobody liked, who makes fun of his shortcomings in sports. His peers mocked him and he was considered more pathetic than he was previously.”

In other words, to impress, men need to be hugely successful, but pretend that they are not.

In this way, Kevin O’Connell — highly-touted NFL quarterback with self-deprecating jokes affixed to his uniform — may just be the most desirable male in New England since that last guy… you know that guy with the goats and the naked girlfriend and all the rings… you know, that guy.

The Bigger The Hands, The Larger The … Wristband [Deadspin]
For the record [Boston Globe]
Women have so many don’ts. What’s a guy to do? [Times UK]


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Filed under media, sports

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Sometimes the city padlocks the goddamn field.

Pax Arcana

As has been documented on this site before, Pax Arcana plays in a Boston-based adult baseball league — in which I spend a few days a week dressing like Josh Hamilton while running like Alexander Hamilton.

One of the serious problems with my league is the quality of fields on which we play. Whereas my college team played on a pristine diamond embedded into a sun-splashed mountainside, I now find myself dodging used condoms and broken bottles on all-dirt infields from Revere to Dorchester.

It’s enough to think there aren’t enough good-quality fields to go around.

But that’s not the case.

Every year, all local baseball organizations seeking to play on adult-sized fields (remember, we’re not talking about Little League fields here) submit permit requests to a shadowy and complex wing of the city government. And every year some leagues get to play on well-kept, well-watered, well-appointed diamonds while others — like ours — are tossed the table scraps.

The reason for this, I suspect, is that other local leagues like the Yawkey League and the Park League have been around forever and therefore have relationships with local officials that guarantee them primacy in what should by any measure be an equitable distribution of public resources.

In most places, that’s called politics. In Boston, that’s called Boston.

Anyway, I got off on this rant after reading this story in the Boston Globe, in which a reporter routinely checked in on the city’s newest — and best-manicured — public baseball fields, only to find that they are almost never used and typically padlocked to keep out the sorts of people who might wear tight pants and bring baseball bats to a public park.

These fields in particular are a perfect symbol of how private money and influence in the public sector — even among the most well-intended — can overshadow the public interest. The fields were built on the shores of the Charles River using private donations collected in memory of Teddy Ebersol, Red Sox fan and son of NBC honcho Dick Ebersol who died in a plane crash in 2004. Red Sox president Tom Werner donated $1.8 million toward the cost of the fields, which opened with a bang that quickly silenced to a whimper:

Sportscaster Bob Costas hosted the dedication. Ebersol, Werner, and then-Governor Mitt Romney spoke, as did Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Teddy Ebersol’s namesake. Hundreds attended. It may have been one of the largest crowds to date at the fields.

According to the article, Beacon Hill power non-profit Hill House controls a good chunk of the permits for the fields — which must be obtained from some sort of Frankenstein’s monster of approval boards that comprises not only the Department of Conservation and Recreation but also a panel of municipal and non-profit coordinators.

Here’s board member Meg Vaillancourt of the Red Sox Foundation explaining that the problem is that not enough people know about the fields:

Vaillancourt said that Hill House does not monopolize the fields and that many agencies, including the Friends of Teddy Ebersol’s Red Sox Fields, have tried to get the word out about the fields. Last month, for example, Hill House sponsored a two-day, multiteam tournament there, inviting teams from South Boston, the South End, Mission Hill/Roxbury, Charlestown, and Jamaica Plain to play. Hill House paid all the costs. DCR officials followed up with an e-mail to participating team officials reminding them that the fields are public and theirs to use.

“Our reputation is a city too often divided by race and class and even ZIP codes,” Vaillancourt said. “The idea of this facility is to tear down those barriers and say, ‘Here’s a great asset we can share together.’ “

I don’t know about race and class and shit like that. I know that my baseball league comes from all over the Boston area and speaks English, Spanish, and Japanese. About the only “asset” we’re sharing together is that we play on some of the rottenest fucking dirt pits known to man.

End rant now. Thanks.

Build it and they may not come [Boston.com]

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Filed under baseball

Great moments in Web design

Pax Arcana

As any garden-variety “futurist” or cliche-toting Web consultant could have told you in 1995, the promise of the Internet is that it offers an expansive, flexible medium for content delivery.

For news gatherers and distributors, that means things like videos, graphics, pictures, charts, and interactive elements can be fused into content — offering a richer consumer experience at very little cost.

The big mistake many newspapers made at first was to try to replicate the experience of reading the print edition online. This is because most newspaper executives are old-skool and proud of it. If they could give you paper cuts and inky thumbs through the Web, they would.

newspaperman.jpg
“Dorothy, get in here! I think the shift key is stuck on my Internet machine. Have a copy boy come in here with some pliers, would ya? And refill my Scotch drawer while you’re at it.”

Thankfully, most big media sources have gotten away from that and have started to integrate cool Web design elements into their sites for enhanced content delivery. The New York Times is the best example of this, though even some of the smallest local outlets, like the Wicked Local town sites, are offering video reports along with written stories.

Then there’s this abomination in today’s Boston Globe.

As local media guru Dan Kennedy points out, designing a letter to Hillary Clinton (from Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert) to look like an actual letter works in the print edition.

Online, it looks like someone just got a copy of HTML for Dummies. Come on, people.

UPDATE: Astute reader Adam G. points out that they’ve fixed the issue, replacing the absurd GIF file they used with actual text. Luckily, I saved a copy of the GIF. Click below to see what it looked like earlier.

gilbert_letter.gif

You can’t read this [Media Nation]
Grasping our moment of opportunity [Boston Globe]

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Filed under media