Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Last day of FebRUary

Not FebUary. Morons.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Maybe it's a good thing rock radio died in New York.

Around here, it's a strict rule that stations can only play AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, and Ozzy, with interspersed tracks from 90s bands or bands whose peak popularity occurred in the 90s. Apparently there's no new music worth listening to.

No wonder everyone drives with headphones in now (bad).

Sunday, February 26, 2006

On Real Names(tm):

In a section explaining signatures on customers' product reviews, the heavily lawyer-vetted Amazon.com FAQ explains:

"An author willing to sign his or her real-world name on a piece of content is essentially saying "With my real-world identity, I stand by what I have written here.""

Saturday, February 25, 2006

PHOTOS!!1111

It's done: rbellinger.com/photo. Simple and efficient. Many, many photos to come.

No, I don't like staring at my name whenever I visit this page.

I just can't think of anything else to put up there. I don't want a cute blog name.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Why do they make beverages with 300% of the RDA of Vitamin C?

They just give you horrendous heartburn.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

rusty gears-->Global Urban Filth

I'm starting to get embarrassed by the blank webspace, so I'm dumping 200 photos from the past three years up on the website this week. Rather than arrange them by subcategories, I'm just identifying them by the loosely fitting theme that identifies all my images: Global Urban Filth.

And the half-assed new homepage will be up in a few days, too. None of the links will work.

In between spending hours on end selecting (not yet editing) photos this weekend, I spent large periods of time bored and confused.

Then I remembered the dozen or so guitars in the apartment. I moved around lots of wires, tuned up the FSH guitar that I fixed up three weekends ago (1960s Guyatone), and discovered that I'm as bad as I ever was. Sloppy, noise, intense. Would work well with the rest of a band. Weirdest of all, FSH songs that I couldn't remember how to play sprung to "life" at my fingertips as soon as those fingertips touched the cheap plastic guitar on which I'd written the songs. Ah, "Juliette Lewis" and "Lemonade."

If only I had written anything of signifigance.

This is the way weekends and evenings and perhaps early mornings must be. Sharing a worldview with anyone interested and breaking whatever molds. Otherwise you are your job, or, at least, you aren't much of anything else.

Finally, an American who understands

Check out Andy Singer's CARtoons at MSNBC.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

BERZHAWL

How do you spell BERZHAWL? You know, Italian beef rolls? Steak rolled around garlic, parmesan cheese, and parsley, tied up, and boiled in tomato sauce?

No one knew. No one knew what I was talking about. I ate it for 20+ years at home, but apparently no one else in my age group has ever heard of this delicacy. My family members could cook it and eat, but none could spell it.

I tricked Google into giving me the answer by sitting on my ass and feeding it search terms for a good 10 minutes.

The winning search: "beef rolled garlic cheese string."

The correct spelling of BERZHAWL: b-r-a-c-i-o-l-e.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Idiotic campus conversation, Fitchburg State

"Your life is, like, a series of complicated boys."

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The other Rob Bellinger

See photo here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Mass. Community College professors create the equivalent of "teaching details"

I don't think anyone takes a state job here without a premeditated, clear way of defrauding taxpayers. Here's an article from a few days ago showing how professors at one community college get paid twice for teaching classes.

So, if a professor makes less than is required to live here--and MA is ranked 48th in terms of per capita spending on public higher education, if you ask any state-employed professor--the teachers require "detail pay" to pay the rent.

Amazing!

I'm about to ride the MBTA for the second time since my last failure report. Let's see what breaks today.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Every time a pipe breaks in Boston, a cop makes 32 bucks.

It's true. Every utility and road construction job done in Taxachusetts requires an off-duty police officer to babysit the jobsite at a minimum rate of $32 per hour.

So everytime a gas pipe leaks, a traffic light burns out, a pothole gets filled, or a catch basin needs cleaning, a cop is there to pick up large chunks of change. It's required by state law, although it seems that MA is the only state with such a law.

Today's Globe included a rather scathing article on Boston's little-known, legally mandated fire details, a $3 million dollar industry with no guiding principles save for the sole discretion of the few chiefs in charge. You can read the whole article here, but I'll touch on the major points.

According to this article, the types of gatherings for which the city requires additional payment include "anything from weddings with candlelit tables to festivals where vendors cook with propane." In the case of the latter, that means that whenever a barbeque is used at a street fair, a fireman makes an extra $32 an hour.

Better still, if the city of Boston tells you that you need four firefighters at your event, you are legally required to pay an even higher hourly rate for a chief to babysit the four firefighters babysitting your event. That tactic is especially useful on large-scale urban cosntruction projects, where firefighters are legally required to act as a human alarm system.

"That's ridiculous," the spokesman of the Chicago FD comments, noting that barely any American cities have such bizarre requirements. Better still, according to the Globe, even after taking in $3 million last year, the city lost $117,000 on the program.

So two questions. Who allows the detail programs, unique in these 50 states, to continue, and who pays for it?

The answer to the first question is the Massachustts fire and police unions, and their crony buddies in the state's hopelessly corrupt pastiche of semigovernments. Of course, the second anyone criticizes these wasteful practices, they are dubbed an enemy of safety. But it doesn't take four police cars to protect a paving crew, as I witnessed on the Mass Pike this summer.

The fire and police unions also insist that private interests always pay, but every bill is ultimately passed on to the citizens. A few weeks ago I saw a utility crew exploring a manhole on the weird section of Comm Ave where the sidewalk is in Boston but the stores themselves are in Brookline (another New England anomaly). There was a police officer from each municipality standing there! Making at least $64 an hour combined. Local electricity rates have gone up close to 35% in the past few months, and I can't help but wonder whether this practice contributed in any way.

In the Globe article, the best quote comes from the guy who has run Boston's Puerto Rican festival. He owes the city $18,000 for past fire details and told the reporter, "If you find out what they do, you let me know."

I'd be curious to hear the answer myself. Whatever the answer, I'm sure it's not one that makes Massachusetts or even Boston more affordable or liveable. It's just one more reason why the "commonwealth" has lost population for the last fourteen consecutive years.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Boston's MBTA rules that black people are still illegal downtown

First, they picked up the elevated orange line and moved it--the whole train line--out of the ghetto and to the west a little bit. They promised the citizens of Dorchester and Roxbury a "bus rapid transit" system called the Silver Line, which would run in its own lanes to downtown, then take a tunnel under city traffic.

They just never built the tunnel. They built the other tunnel, which takes Silver Line patrons from transportation hub South Station to the airport. But the tunnel that would allow residents from the southern neighborhoods to get efficiently into the city (even to service jobs at the airport)? They just never built it.

The MBTA's proposed solution, reported in today's Globe, is to continue not buliding said tunnel. The buses will continue to run their congested route to the Downtown Crossing shopping district (where all the property is owned by NY interests). There will be one change to the buses' routes, however, which will look good on the T's silly non-map route diagrams. The Silver Line buses' routes will be extended from Downtown Crossing over the streets of downtown Boston to meet up with the rest of the Silver Line at South Station.

If you have ever even attempted to walk from one address to another in Downtown Boston, you know what an impossibility this bus routing must be.

A few conclusions can be drawn. First, "bus rapid transit," at least in Boston, has proved itself nothing more buses with expensive paint, a website that is sometimes updated, and a few extravagant underground stations blocks from the landmarks they're named after. Second, the MBTA is actually stupid enough to increase traffic in the downtown area by adding 60-foot articulated buses to the traffic mix.

Third, if you're poor and/or dark-skinned and live south of downtown, just stay home. Those South Shore commuter trains that rumble past your homes without stopping will be coming for you soon. As soon as the stations are built. In the next 10....15....50 years.

Thank God for Constitutionally-protected freedom of speech.

From CNN:

CNN is not showing the negative caricatures of the likeness of the Prophet Mohammed because the network believes its role is to cover the events surrounding the publication of the cartoons while not unnecessarily adding fuel to the controversy itself.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

no one in n.y.

ever calls me back

Saturday, February 04, 2006

getting sick of this chavez guy

According to both CNN *and* al-Jazeera, Hugo says he and Venezuela will "do anything possible to shred [the American empire]."

I guess the shredding is separate from their selling us millions of tons of refined petroleum products.

just found out

the super bowl is tomorrow. probably not going to watch it as i'm supposed to be driving to maine.