Archive for the ‘MA’ Category

Ted Kennedy Hospitalization: NECN Coverage

May 17, 2008

Watch me here on NECN with Jim Braude and R.D. Sahl. I’ll add more as NECN makes it available.

Kennedy Statement

May 17, 2008

Here’s the statement of Kennedy’s office on his hospitalization via

“It appears that Senator Kennedy experienced a seizure this morning. He is undergoing a battery of tests at Massachusetts General Hospital to determine the cause of the seizure. Senator Kennedy is resting comfortably, and it is unlikely we will know anything more for the next 48 hours.”’s prayers go out to the senator as he recovers.

HBO, John Adams and the Meaning of Evacuation Day

March 17, 2008

John and Abigail Adams

Amid the stir of Guinness sponsoring a nationwide effort to make St. Patrick’s Day a holiday is the recognition that Bostonians already get March 17 off. In one of those happy coincidences, March 17 in Boston is also Evacuation Day, which marks the day George Washington and Colonial troops drove the British out of the city.

The day is typically ridiculed as a “hack holiday” but anyone who caught a glimpse of last night’s magnificent HBO mini-series John Adams got to see the power and meaning behind it. Abigail Adams hears a man cry out and the sound of marching. Frightened, she readies a musket and exits her Quincy home. She looks out to find a procession of Colonials. They are hauling two massive cannon captured from the British at Fort Ticonderga. General Knox tells her the Americans have dubbed them “Liberty” and “Independence.” (Incidentally, I’m not sure if she could have seen the ships departing from her home on Adams Street — I passed it yesterday — but certainly from the top of the vantage point now known as “Presidents Hill” for her husband and son.)

They don’t get into it in the movie, which is by far the most gripping depiction of America’s revolution I have ever seen on television, but the Colonials took the artillery to Dorchester Heights. Dorchester Heights is not in nearby Dorchester, but the highest point in South Boston, the epicenter of Irish America. With the cannon in place, the British, who had occupied Boston for several years, finally departed.

While there is, of course, a political element to Boston’s celebration of Evacuation Day, it’s nice to be reminded that there is great significance behind it as well. Here’s a website that explains what Bostonians are doing to celebrate Evacuation Day as well.

Bald Is Beautiful

February 12, 2008

Boston Globe Photo

Governor Deval Patrick has a history of taking brave stands for progress and civil rights. He headed up the Civil Rights Division in the Department of Justice in the Clinton Administration. He became the first ever African-American governor in Massachusetts. Now, according to Matt Viser in today’s Boston Globe he earns his place in Massachusetts history as the first ever Massachusetts chief executive to shave his head. Hats off to him.

Patrick’s move follows in the footsteps of a former state senator from Watertown and 2002 gubernatorial candidate, Warren Tolman. Tolman was a pioneer for bald politicians — and even journalists — in the Commonwealth. The catchy slogan of one of his publicly-financed advertisements was “bald is beautiful.”Hopefully 2008 will be a new era for the bald in Massachusetts. Back in 2002, Gersh Kuntzman, then a web columnist for Newsweek, did a piece on Tolman that captured the anti-bald spirit of the era. Kuntzman wrote: “The victim this time was former Massachusetts state senator Warren Tolman, a proud bald man, who lost the Democratic primary for governor last week. The loss was particularly bitter for the bald because Tolman had intentionally used his lack of hair to get on the radar screen in the race, running ads that showed him rubbing his shiny pate while standing in a barbershop surrounded by equally hairless men.”

I caught up with Tolman to find out what he thought of the governor’s bold bald move. “Welcome to the club,” Tolman said Patrick. “Up to this point I always said Deval Patrick was a handsome guy, now more impressively he’s a handsome bald guy.” He described his own bald ploy as taking “what in politics what is often perceived as a negative and make it a positive.”

Of course, I’ve got a stake in this battle as well and thank the governor for his courageous leadership.

Best Picture: The Departed

February 26, 2007

The Mayor and the Maestro

Martin Scorsese once directed a film, Italianamerican about his Little Italy neighborhood in New York. Tonight, Scorsese failed to mention two great Italian Americans who assisted in the making of his film about the Boston Irish.

The first is Mayor Thomas M. Menino. Sadly, I ran down to the 5th floor one minute late so I missed Scorsese exiting Mayor Menino’s office at around 9:15 one morning during the making of the film. I’ll never know what went on in the Mayor’s office when the first Italian mayor of Boston met the director who has told the story of America during four decades of public life. I do know that the Mayor gave the greenlight to Scorsese filming on City Hall Plaza and okayed the city’s assistance with this project. The Mayor, in his own way, is partly responsible for an Academy Award.

I also have to give praise to Patte Papa of the Mayor’s Office of Arts, Tourism, Special Events and Film. Patte helped Scorsese — as she does anyone making a film, running a parade, or holding an ethnic festival in town. While her work often goes unrecognized, she now owns part of an Oscar too. (Actually it’s her second, because Mystic River won as well.)

Mark Wahlberg Addendum: Wahlberg has come a long way since he first made it as a star. I first met Wahlberg back in 1991 on Broadway in Lower Manhattan. He was walking past the McDonald’s with two other guys and rapping. He was being tailed by two swooning teenage girls. After they stopped to talk to him, I caught up to him and made small-talk. I knew his family had moved from Dorchester to Braintree, and I made mention of growing up in Hull, the coastline of which had just been devastated by a major storm. Little did either of us realize that Wahlberg would later star in a film about that Nor’easter, The Perfect Storm. Neither did we know that his brother would go on to open what would become the best restaurant in the Town of Hull, Bridgeman’s. In the spirit of my friend Ron Della Chiesa, I urge everyone to visit Bridgeman’s, order a fabulous meal and glass of wine, and toast, Scorsese, Menino, Papa and Wahlberg on this wonderful achievement.

Matt Damon Addendum: Matt Damon lived at Harvard’s Lowell House the same time I did. We both lifted weights at the Malkin Athletic Center, the MAC. Matt was always a very friendly person, and we would converse in the Lowell House Dining Room. I believe he was particularly friendly to me as I was one of the small percentage of local kids in the House. At any rate, he was a nice guy.

One day he came into the dining room talking about an audition in Hollywood he was offered. It was for a starring role in a television series, something called “Beverly Hills: 90210”. Keep in mind, the show hadn’t aired yet. Here are my exact words: “You should do it, dude! That’s awesome. Go for it.”

All I have to say now is thank God Matt Damon never listened to the likes of me. Damon had faith in himself that he could be a serious actor. I’m sure he would have made a fortune as Brandon Walsh, but Damon’s destiny lay in being a serious actor. Like Wahlberg and DiCaprio, he’s one of the best. He has a great career ahead of him, which is reassuring because he is an excellent guy, who deserves all the success he gets.