Friday, November 28, 2014

Thoughts on Ferguson

Hey kids, it's been a while.

The recent decision of a Missouri grand jury not to charge a Ferguson police officer for the shooting death of an unarmed black teen raises a couple of things in my mind.

Let's forget about this case itself for a second.  A few general thoughts:

- Blacks justly feel they are treated differently by some officers.  Not all.

- Rioting, and looting in particular, has absolutely nothing to do with the issue.  Looting perpetuates a stereotype.

- Those who demonstrate peacefully, even if they engage in forms of civil disobedience, have a right to do so, as long as public safety isn't jeopardized.

- Law enforcement as a whole deserves our thanks and respect.  Every day they put on the uniform could be their last.  It's a very dangerous profession.

- Officers and those they serve - the citizens - ought to have a constant dialogue.

- Civilians should not tempt police - at all.  They should follow orders during situations. Any issues can be worked out later, when cooler heads prevail.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Market Basket

UPDATE:  In the ten days since the original post, there have been large rallies in front of the Tewksbury location, mainly by current and former workers.  The stores I've seen all have demonstrators at the edge of the parking lot, asking customers to boycott.  It seems to be happening.

Arthur T. Demoulas made an offer for the company, one day before Market Basket's board met in Boston.  The board says it is considering that and other pitches made for the company.  On their website,, the employees tell perspecttive buyers they will work for no other than Artie T.

Other grocery stores in the area are seeing large increases in customers.  I drove by a Stop & Shop location yesterday in North Andover whose parking lot was full.  I don't recall seeing that before, even on a Thanksgiving week.

This could be because Market Basket shoppers are heeding the boycott call.  Or maybe they just want to be sure the store they shop at has meat and produce.  Market Basket stores lack that these days.

But the passion that shoppers feel about this store is remarkable.  The sense of community is palpable.  There's a chance the business as we know it may go away.  But it won't be for apathy.


The family feud over Market Basket/Demoulas supermarkets is at a boiling point as of this writing.  Employees loyal to ousted CEO Arthur T Demoulas are threatening a walkout.  They say they won't work for Arthur S Demoulas, his cousin who convinced the company board to remove Arthur T.

Here's the basic difference between the two:  Arthur S. wants to use the money the very healthy business has earned to fund expansion.  Arthur T. and his faction want to cash out.

The nine shareholders of the company are all members of the Demoulas family.  A judge last year ruled that the company should go ahead with a $300 million payout to the board.

A former Albertsons supermarkets finance executive has replaced Arthur S. on the board. She is the new operations chief.  Radio Shack's former president --- and we know how well that company has done in recent years -- is now also on the board, and is chief administrative officer.  They are co-CEO's.

Middle management and some rank and file workers think the new management is prepping Market Basket for a sale.  The company has long provided some of the best prices in areas it serves for groceries.  I've been a customer my whole life.

The managers through their website,, are demanding Arthur T's reinstatement.  A deadline they gave for that to happen has passed, and now some are threatening a walkout.  The company says if they do, their jobs won't be waiting for them.

I stopped at the local store tonight.  There are signs of support for Arthur T hanging in the front.  Workers I spoke with say they want him back.

I don't think they will succeed.  I fear the payout will cause prices to rise, and eventually the family chain that's been around for almost a century will be gone, or at least be a shell of its former self.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The night before Indpendence Day

Bad storm off to the South.

They'e just upgraded Hurricane Arthur to a Category 2.  It's taking dead aim on North Carolina's Outer Banks.  Weatherman just said it's time to hunker down if you're there.

It's good for the Weather Channel.  I wonder if their ad rates go up during storms like this?

I could hear fireworks, civic and private, going off all over the place tonight.  Kids, leave them in the hands of professionals.  Adults, I'm talking to you, too.

They're so concerned about this storm in Boston that they pushed the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular back a day!  Never heard of that happening before.  It took some work, but apparently they made it happen.  Well done.

The Beach Boys are there tonight.  Well, one original Beach Boy, at least one other who's been playing live shows with them since the 60s, and a bunch of others. I'm a big fan of the Wilson brothers, Mike Love and Al Jardine.  That's the band, to me.  Otherwise, at least without Brian Wilson joining them, it's like watching a cover band.

Nobody asked, just my opinion.

I'm loving the World Cup.  Soccer on this level is a beautiful thing.  But it's in the quarterfinals now.  It will end soon.

That leaves us with baseball, and the Red Sox are playing like shit so far this year.  It happens, teams go in cycles. But.... long til football season?  Or hockey season?

In other news, I just slapped a mosquito who mistook my arm for a feeding tube.  Bastard.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Put them away

The Second Amendment to the U.S.Constitution was written in a different time.

Those who still see the need for a well-regulated militia as meaning that citizens ought to have the right to carry a gun to fight off attackers are living in the past.

I say this because while gun-related tragedies are nothing new in this country, we seem to be hearing about them more often.  Perhaps that's because of the never-ending news cycle that brings us alerts as they happen, whether on cable tv or in alerts to our smartphones.

We're killing ourselves. One nation under God cannot long survive, a sense of community cannot endure, when some of us are looking with suspicion at others who are even remotely different, wondering if they're packing heat.

There are sub-cultures in this country who have learned that the way to settle arguments or to climb the social ladder is under threat of the bullet.

I don't think guns ought to be regulated out of existence.  I just don't think anyone other than police, the army or a licensed hunter should have the right to carry one.


I also don't think laws are the only answer.  There was a guy at University of California - Santa Barbara who shot and stabbed six people before he died, whether by his own hand or someone else's.

This young man felt isolated, alone.  His family couldn't send him to a mental health facility - lock him up - because the law didn't allow it.

Time to change those laws.

We as a country blow a lot of hot air damning those who commit mass killings, but we aren't willing as a country to pay for services that could help keep those who are not in the right state of mind from mowing down one, two, six, fourteen people.

I think some people will always fall through the cracks.  But I think an honest re-evaluation of Second Amendment "rights," along with an overhaul of mental health regulations, will go a long way.

Something has to change, or this great country is in trouble.

Just my opinion.  I welcome yours. 

Monday, February 3, 2014


He was in his early 80s. Each year showed in his face, but they were earned years.

He studied agriculture, made it his life.  Not just professionally, no, it was a passion.

This was a man who made it his business to ensure there was protected land in the town he called home.  And he did it in different capacities, from serving on the Conservation commission to being warden of a reservation that surrounded his home.

He was head of a bird club, and volunteered for the Audobon society.

He was a ski instructor.  He and his family owned a local ski mountain for a time.

He served as a call fire fighter for the town.

And then there was the sports.  Whether helping coach high school athletes, or  helping out in the announcer's booth at football games, he got involved.

And then his time came.

The line at the chapel for the wake was out the door.  The town's finest came to pay their respects:  the woman he worked with on the conservation committee.  The couple who strolled the meadow, knowing full well who was responsible for creating it and who loved to watch over it.  People who grew up with his children and their children.

In other news, a Hollywood star succumbed to his demons.  We don't speak ill of him.  He had people who knew and loved him, too.

 I can't help but contrast these two lives:  one, so rich and full, an everyday man whose love of nature, community and most of all family touched so many people, more than he ever knew, a man whose legacy is as much the walking trails in the meadow as it is those he leaves behind, and the other, a famous entertainer whose potential was cut short and who will be remembered as much for how he died as for all the fine performances he gave.


Friday, October 18, 2013


My blogger statistics show three people from Ukraine are watching this site as I type this.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

A story

Once upon a time, there was this guy.

He got married.  It ended in divorce.  He was crushed.  It wasn't perfect, but he never thought he'd be a divorcee.

Time went on, and he got married again.  Got divorced again.  He hadn't thought it would get to that point, but well, it did.

He dated around for a number of years.  He got close to one of the women, or so he thought, and that ended  badly.

Do you see a pattern here?

He knew it wasn't all their fault.  He took some responsibility for some of what happened, and in some cases what didn't happen.

And then one day, he got together with this woman, and he thought it would all change.  This seemed right.

But his dating past came back to haunt him.  He thought what had gone before was behind him, but someone forgot to tell the women.

And his current woman, understandably, became concerned.

It was a "Come to Jesus" moment.

It took some humility, some understanding.  It was a tense coupla days.

But they decided this was right.  This was worth the effort.

He was happy again.