Charlie Card is Here

My plastic Charlie Card arrived in the mail today. This is the bold new venture of the MBTA, a reusable debit card of sorts that can open turnstiles and pay for buses with just a tap. This should be great news to people concerned about security (“thieves will steal my card with all that money on it”), conspiracy theorists (“the governments gonna use this chip in the card to track me”), and curmudgeonly types (“wait and see how this one’s going to flop”).

Personally, I’m not as negative as many commuters are regarding the T, and except for some occasional grumbles I appreciate having an effective public transit network. That being said somedays I feel the MBTA is a center of entropy. The 18-month process of installing the new turnstiles abd card readers has several examples of the MBTA creating chaos despite their best intentions.

  • The new turnstiles were first installed at Airport station where vistors to our town could buy passes that didn’t work anywhere else on the system.
  • Replacing reusable tokens with one-time use tickets and the inevitable piles of litter that ensued.
  • Tickets have to be dipped down into the fareboxes on buses, slowing down the boarding process.
  • Naming the new ticket after a satrical political protest song in the first place doesn’t bode well for confidence in the system.

Let’s hope the new plastic cards are the end of these types of problems for the T and not the source of a whole bunch of new ones.

To keep track of things I’ve added Charlie on the MBTA to the blogroll.

For a peek back to Charlie’s MTA, take a look at this sweet scan of an old system map I discovered through Universal Hub.

Boston Globe article on Paulist Center campaign

The Paulist Center Boston is in the midst of a campaign to reach out to Catholics who feel alienated by the clergy sex scandal, parish closings, and others who may not feel welcome in the Catholic church. Today’s Boston Globe has an article on the campaign, “Priests campaign to win back flock.” My favorite part of the article is this quote from Fr. John Ardis:

“We decided we could no longer hide a good thing,” Ardis said. “Fewer and fewer Catholics are connecting with the church. They’re not necessarily finding another home, and they’ve, in a sense, somewhat given up. . . . This was the time to really let people know this is a place that welcomes all.”

Baptized Pagan has a good commentary on the article and how the Globe writers overlook the lay staff and Paulist Center Community participation in this ministry.

It’s appropriate that this article is published today, the day after the anniversary of the passing of Fr. Isaac Hecker, founder of the Paulist Fathers. Fr. Hecker’s mission is alive and well in the Paulist Center Community.

People Who Are Not Me

I don’t have a common name, at least not in the United States, but there are a few people more famous than I with the same name.

First there’s Liam Sullivan, an actor who appeared in guest spots in numerous TV shows from the 50’s to the 80’s. I remember as a child having moments of glee seeing my own name in the credits of “The Twilight Zone” and “St. Elsewhere.” His most famous role is that of the telepathic Parmen on the “Star Trek” episode “Plato’s Stepchildren.”

Until recently if I searched my own name in Google I would get hundreds of Star Trek related hits. I chalked this up to the fact that there’s an overlap between geeky people who like “Star Trek” and geeky people who like the internet. In recent months this has changed thanks to the efforts of Los Angeles-based comedian Liam Kyle Sullivan. This namesake has scored an internet phenomenon with his video “Shoes.” (NSFW language)

I didn’t know quite how popular it was until the other night when I got a phone call at 11 o’clock at night. “Are you the guy who did that ‘Shoes’ video.” I sent an email to the creator to let him know I’m getting his phone calls and got a nice message back. If you want to contact Liam Kyle Sullivan and not me, you can find his email on his website.