Photopost: Jane Jacobs in Boston Tour


In honor of Jane Jacobs’ 100th birthday yesterday, I took a tour of the North End lead by Max Grinnell, the Urbanologist, an urban studies expert who divides his time between Boston and Chicago.  While I’ve been leading tours in the North End for more than 15 years, I learned some new things and visited…

2016 Election Reading List


In 6 months Americans will go to the polls to vote for our next President as well as representatives, senators, and countless state and local officials.  I decided to put together a list of books on political and social topics that I find informative on various issues.  Of course, while I think these are important…

TV Review: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2016)


Title: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Release Dates: 2016 Season: 2 Number of Episodes: 13 Summary/Review: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is  the type of tv comedy that if you explain the premise it sounds like it would be absolutely awful, but somehow it works. In the first season Ellie Kemper’s titular character is rescued from an underground bunker where she’s been…

Book Review: What’s It Like in Space? by Ariel Waldman


Author: Ariel Waldman Title: What’s It Like in Space?: Stories from Astronauts Who’ve Been There Publication Info: Chronicle Books (2016) Summary/Review: I received a free advanced reading copy of this book through the Library Thing Early Reviewers program. One of my favorite science writers, Ariel Waldman, collects anecdotes and quotes from astronauts about their experience in space…

Book Review: Wild lives by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld


Author: Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld Title: Wild lives : a history of the people & animals of the Bronx Zoo Publication Info: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, c2006. Summary/Review: This is a children’s book history of the Bronx Zoo, a place I visited since childhood and have always been fascinated about it’s background.  The book focuses mostly on…

Book Review: The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein


Author: Naomi Klein Title: The Shock Doctrine Narrator: Jennifer Wiltsie Publication Info:  Macmillan Audio (2007) Summary/Review: This book exposes the ideology of neoliberalism, the idea that government should be limited to the bare bones and that corporations should be completely unregulated, a school of thought promoted by Milton Friedman at the University of Chicago.  The book begins with…

Book Review: The Round House by Louise Erdrich


Author: Louise Erdrich Title: The Round House Narrator: Gary Farmer Publication Info: HarperAudio (2013 Summary/Review: Set on a fictional Indian reservation in North Dakota, this is the story of the teenager Joe who at the beginning of the novel learns that his mother has been brutally raped.  What follows is a story of legal complications surrounding the crime,…

JP A to Z: Conclusion #AtoZChallenge #JamaicaPlain


April and the Blogging A to Z Challenge are now over.  Thanks for joining me on a journey through 26 things about my neighborhood of Jamaica Plain in Boston, MA.  I hope it was illuminating, although it barely scratches the surface. I could make another A to Z list with completely different topics (except Q,…

Podcast of the Week: “On the Edge” by Radiolab


If you ask a lot of people what Radiolab is about (including many commenters on the Radiolab website) they’ll say “science.”  But I think what the show is really about is curiosity.  Jad Abumrad, Robert Krulwich, and the rest of Radiolab staff have an amazing ability to ask questions no one else would, and that…

JP A to Z: Z is for Zoo #AtoZChallenge #JamaicaPlain


Z is for Zoo Franklin Park Zoo is part of the large Frederick Law Olmsted-designed park on the border between Jamaica Plain and Roxbury.  It’s a popular destination for local families. Although it’s not a particularly great zoo compared to others I visited, it does have some strong points.  One is the African Lion exhibit,…

Song of the Week: “Papa Loko (Se Van)” by RAM


Hailing from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, RAM is a prominent mizik raisin (roots music) band.  “Papa Loko (Se Van)” is a track from their most recent album Manmanm Se Ginen. The sound is amazing!

JP A to Z: Y is for Yarn #AtoZChallenge #JamaicaPlain


Y is for Yarn Jamaica Plainers like to knit and stitch.  And when they’re not making clothing, tea cosies, and afghan blankets, they sometimes “yarn bomb”  – a colorful way of bringing a little cheer to the neighborhood. With yarn. Sadly, yarn bombing seems to be a seasonal activity so I haven’t found too many…

JP A to Z: X is for eX-JP #AtoZChallenge #JamaicaPlain


X is for eX-JP X marks the spot, and today’s JP A to Z post marks things that used to be in JP but are now long gone.  I’m sure longtime JP residents can list many things that used to be in JP (please list in the comments!) but I’m just going to focus on…

JP A to Z: W is for Wake Up the Earth #AtoZChallenge #JamaicaPlain


W is for Wake Up the Earth The winters in Jamaica Plain can be very harsh, so each spring the neighborhood explodes in springtime joy at the Wake Up the Earth Festival. The event, sponsored by Spontaneous Celebrations, begins with festive DIY parades that converge on the Southwest Corridor Park near Stony Brook station for…

JP A to Z: V is for Views #AtoZChallenge #JamaicaPlain


V is for Views This blog is called Panorama of the Mountains, and although I live on a hill in a place named for a plain, I’m always inspired by a good view. Here are some of my favorite views of Jamaica Plain: If you go to the far side of Jamaica Pond and look…

JP A to Z: U is for Ukraine Way #AtoZChallenge #JamaicaPlain


U is for Ukraine Way Today’s JP A to Z is a bit of a mystery.  Ukraine Way is possibly the shortest through street in the city of Boston connecting Hyde Park Avenue to Washington Street just southwest of Forest Hills Station.  No one has a Ukraine Way address, because there are no buildings on…

Book Review: Monday with a Mad Genius by Mary Pope Osbourne


Author: Mary Pope Osbourne Title:  Monday with a Mad Genius Publication Info: New York : Random House, c2007. Summary/Review: Jack & Annie are given the mission to spend the day in Renaissance Florence helping Leonardo Da Vinci.  It’s harder than it sounds but they’re persistent and participate in Leonardo’s science and art adventures, and even a little…

Book Review: Stage Fright on a Summer Night by Mary Pope Osbourne


Author: Mary Pope Osbourne Title: Stage Fright on a Summer Night Publication Info: New York : Random House, 2002. Summary/Review: This may be my favorite Magic Tree House story yet.  Jack & Annie travel to Elizabethan London and join Shakespeare on stage at the Globe Theatre where they learn the magic of theater.  There’s a lot of…

Book Review: Ghost Town at Sundown by Mary Pope Osborne


Author: Mary Pope Osborne Title: Ghost Town at Sundown Publication Info: New York : Random House, c1997. Summary/Review: Jack & Annie go back to the Old West and visit a ghost town with real ghosts!  They also encounter some cattle rustlers and a kindly cowboy named Slim.  It’s a fun adventure with a riddle to solve. Rating:…

Book Review: The Philly Fake by David A. Kelly


Author: David A. Kelly Title: The Philly Fake Publication Info: Random House Books for Young Readers (2014) Summary/Review: This is a book in my son’s favorite “Ballpark Mystery Series.”  Set at the Philadelphia Phillies ballpark, it’s a mystery that involves the Philly Phanatic and an evil Ben Franklin.  Lots of fun Philly “Spirit of ’76” activities mixed…