Taking my Self for a walk


My wife sent me the following article from the New York Times, “A Literary Visitor Strolls in From the Airport” by Charles McGrath (the Times requires compulsory registration, so if you’re not already a member use a fake login from Bug Me Not). The article is about English novelist Will Self who likes to walk. For his recent trip to New York he walked to Heathrow Airport and upon arrival at JFK Aiport walked to Manhattan.

By Mr. Self’s usual standards, the walk from Kennedy to Manhattan, about 20 miles, is a mere stroll. What recommended it was that it would take him through parts of the city that most people never notice while driving in a car: an experience that Mr. Self, a student of psycho-geography, believes has imposed a “windscreen-based virtuality” on travel, cutting us off from experiencing our own topography.

“People don’t know where they are anymore, “ he said, adding: “In the post-industrial age, this is the only form of real exploration left. Anyone can go and see the Ituri pygmy, but how many people have walked all the way from the airport to the city?”

I like to walk but I’ve never considered walking to Logan Airport primarily because it’s on a penisula on the opposite side of Boston Harbor. Walking to Logan would require passing through the eerie Produce District, a post-apocalpytic landscape of warehouses, oil refineries, and sleazy motels for truck drivers. Certainly not the place I want to walk through if I have a pre-dawn departure, especially if I have to pass by King Arthur’s Motel and Lounge.

I do like long walks though. Inspired by Michael Rockland’s Snowshoeing Through Sewers I walked the entire length of Broadway from Marble Hill to Bowling Green on a visit to New York last year. I have plans for similar ventures in Boston, such as walking Massachusetts Avenue from Lexington to Dorchester or Washington Street from the Dedham border to Government Center.

One guy I read about on the web walked every street in Manhattan which gives me ideas. With the twisted web of streets in Boston it would be hard to know if one ever find all the streets much less walk them. Somerville might be easier. At least on foot I don’t have to worry about the one way streets or potholes. I just hope I can find sidewalks where I need them.

Blog Overlap


Now that I’ve started actually reading the blogs in my blogroll, I’m finding it interesting to see my interests represented in the least likely places.

For example, whoda thunk that Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog would contain a positive review of Battlestar Galactica?

Battlestar Ecclesiastica
by Johannes Wycliffe

In this boke of science ficcion, a man ycleped Wycliffe is the bishop of the gret chirche of Seynt Paules, the which is lyk vnto a mighty shippe and kan moue thurgh the voyde of the planetes. Al othir chirches on the earth haue ben destroyed by the deuil and his feendes, who haue taken on the visages of men and look exactlie lyk friares. Ther is a mighti ladye of feyth called Margery Starbaxter, who ys a loyal warryour for the chirche and sleyeth the friares. And eek ther ys a traytour named Belshazzar who doth see visions of a sexie friar yn his heed who telleth hym to betraye the goode folke of Seynt Paules. Sum oon nedeth to jump on this sucker and turne hit in to a series of television.

Similarily, Googling God is not the first place I’d expect to see a post on the 1986 Mets. I have to say it warms my heart to learn that Mike Hayes — whom I’ve grown fond of while listening to his work the Busted Halo podcast — states he’s a Mets fan.

I learned a little while back that Josh of Comics Curmudgeon is also a Mets fan. Perhaps that is the undiscovered connection among great bloggers everywhere: a love for the Mets. If so it makes for good tidings for my own efforts.

Complaints Choirs


I heard about this on PRI’s The World: Global Hit podcast. Basically people take all their complaints, set them to music, and then sing about them. You can read more about at the website Complaint Choirs of the World.

The trend of complaining seems to be suitable to gloomy places like Birmingham and Helsinki, but I do wonder about the singing history of those places. The Boston/Cambridge area is known for both endless complaining and sing-a-longs at the drop of the hat. I think a complaints choir is a perfect match. Well not to perfect, I mean nothings perfect, not in a world where the Red Sox can’t even sign Daisuke Matsuzaka without things going to hell, where the Big Dig will never be finished and if it is it will just leak and collapse, and we have to shovel our cars out of two feet of snow and Jesus feckin’ Christ did ya hear about….