Every Movie I’ve Ever Watched*


Several years ago I made a list of Every Book I’ve Ever Read and since then I’ve used both this blog and LibraryThing to keep track of my reading history.  I got to thinking recently that I’d also like to have a list of Every Movie I’ve Ever Watched.  I sought out an app similar to LibraryThing for movies and the best I could find is Trakt, which did the job, but it’s not very user friendly so I can’t recommend it.

Nevertheless, I have a list of 1483 movies and counting.  The asterisk is there because I’m certain I’ve forgotten many movies I watched in the distant past.  The list is also embarrassing because in my teens and twenties I had both insomnia and cable tv, meaning I watched lots of baaaaaaaaad movies.   On the other hand there are numerous all-time classic movies I’ve never seen, so I’m making an effort to watch some great movies from the 1920s to present that I’ve missed.  I will start posting my Classic Movie Reviews on August 1. If there’s a movie you think I should watch, let me know in the comments.

2018 in Review: Favorite Podcast Episodes


Are you on holiday break and looking for something to do in your spare time? Well then, check out this list of my 25 favorite podcasts episodes of 2018 for your listening pleasure!  These are arranged in chronological order having been culled from my Podcast of the Week feature:

1. Hang Up and Listen :: The 200 Seventh Graders Versus LeBron Edition

A whimsical year-end look at some sports conundrums such as how many seventh graders would you have to put on the court to defeat LeBron James playing solo.  Or, what would a NFL field or NBA court be like if they were built with the irregularities common in baseball stadiums.

2. LeVar Burton Reads :: “The Truth About Owls” by Amal El-Mohtar

A sweet story about a girl from Lebanon who immigrates to England and finds her place through the study of owls and Welsh mythology.

3. The Memory Palace :: Hercules

With Washington’s Birthday coming up, a reminder that our first President held people in bondage because he enjoyed what their labor provided without having to pay for them.  The story of Hercules, a talented chef, who successfully escaped slavery.

4. The Truth :: Nuclear Winter

 A spooky story set in an outdated nuclear missile silo.  Don’t worry, it’s fictional!

5. Afropop Worldwide :: Roots and Future: A History of UK Dance

Caribbean music traditions and US dance beats come together in the only place they can: the United Kingdom.  A history of jungle, garage, drum & bass, and grime.  This made very nostalgic for the dance tracks of yore

6. The Truth :: The Hilly Earth Society

A stunning one-person audio drama told entirely in voice messages from an angry recluse to a persistent journalist.  There’s a couple of interesting twists at the end, only one I saw coming.

7. Code Switch :: Location, Location, Location

The history of housing segregation and how it underlines every serious social issue in America today.

8. BackStory :: Shock of the New

The history of World’s Fairs fascinates me and this episode commemorates the 125th anniversary of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, with special focus on women’s and African American perspectives on the fair.

9. 99% Invisible :: Curb Cuts

An important history of the disability rights movement and how curb cuts ended up benefiting society in a broader sense than originally intended.

10. Upon Further Review :: What if Tom Brady Never Became the Patriot’s Quarterback?

Backup quarterback Tom Brady became a Patriots legend when he took over for injured starter Drew Bledsoe midway through the 2001 season and lead the team to their first Super Bowl victory. This “what if” podcasts takes us to a world where that never happened in the form of a spot-on parody of a Boston sports radio call-in.

11. Decoder Ring :: Clown Panic

A history of clowns and how they’ve gone from funny to terrifying.

12. HUB History :: Immigration in Boston

Present day anti-immigrant prejudice and hysteria has long historical roots as seen in these three stories from Boston history: the Sacco and Vanzetti case, Chinese tongs in Chinatown, and the destruction of the Ursuline Convent in Charlestown.

13. Have You Heard? :: The Problem with Fear-Based School Reform

Do schools work better when they’re “run like a business” and teachers and administrators are forced to work in a culture of fear where they’re expected to get results or else?  Or do we recognize the nurturing mission of schools and support reforms lead by educators who know the children best? And how much of so-called “education reform” is rooted in anti-labor sentiment anyway?  These questions and more are discussed on “Have You Heard?”

14. Hit Parade :: The Feat. Don’t Fail Me Now Edition

The history of the “featured artist” credit on number one singles.

15. AirSpace :: The Ninety-Nines

A group of 99 women banded together to advance the cause of women in aviation in 1929 with Amelia Earhart as their first president. There’s some fascinating stories of the accomplishments of women in this organization that still exists today!

16. Afropop Worldwide :: Skippy White: A Vinyl Life

Checking in with a legendary soul & R&B record shop owner and entrepreneur, Skippy White.  His shop is located in Boston’s Egleston Square, not far from where I live, but this is the first I’ve heard of him!

17. To The Best of Our Knowledge :: What’s Wrong With Work?

Work is bunk.  Find out why employment is meaningless and “work ethic” is just there to control us, along with some more human alternatives.

18. Hidden Brain :: Bullshit Jobs

Another podcast goes in depth on how meaningless work is wearing us down.  I sense a theme.

19. The Memory Palace :: Lost Locusts

The sound design of this podcast really sells the panic and hopelessness of plagues of locusts in the 19th century plains, and a good explanation of why they ended.

20. Twenty Thousand Hertz :: Classic Cartoon Sound Effects

How sounds effects for cartoons are made, reused, and become iconic signifiers.

21. 99% Invisible :: The Worst Way to Start a City

What if a city was born by just having 100,000 people show up at once and claim their spot?  That’s the weird story of Oklahoma City.  Listen to this just for the “Oh, Joe – here’s your mule!” part.

22. RadioLab :: Tweak the Vote

RadioLab explores how ranked choice voting makes elections more representative of the people and more civil in practice.

23. 99% Invisible :: Devolutionary Design

The story of how an image of legendary golfer Chi Chi Rodriguez ended up being used for the cover of legendary rock band Devo’s first album.

24. Code Switch :: The Story of Mine Mill

The history of a radical leftist union that organized miners and millworkers in Birminham, Alabama, bringing together Black and white workers at the height of Jim Crow in the 1930s-1960s.

25. 99% Invisible :: The Accidental Room

The absolutely true story of a community of artists secretly building a condominium in a vacant space within a shopping mall.

Some podcasts are of a specified length focusing on a single topic, a mini-series if you will, and worth listening to in their entirety:

    • Believed – the story of how Larry Nassar sexual abused women and girls at Michigan State University and with US Gymnastics, and the women who brought him to justice
    • Last Seen –– an investigation into story of how the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum was robbed of 13 priceless works of art in 1990 that still have not been recovered.
    • Nobody’s Home – an exploration into vacant homes in America’s cities and their effect on the larger community.
    • Slow Burn – forgotten history of the Watergate scandal as it played out at the time.
    • Unobscured – the story of the witch hysteria that emerged from Salem Village in 1692.
    • Upon Further Review – a tie-in with Mike Pesca’s book of the same name which dramatizes alternate universe stories of great moments in sports’ history.

Here are all the podcasts that were recognized as a Podcast of the Week with the number of their appearances:

  • 20 – 99% Invisible
  • 14 – Hub History
  • 11 – Twenty Thousand Hertz
  • 9 – BackStory, Planet Money
  • 8 – Hit Parade, WBUR News
  • 7 – Hidden Brain
  • 6 – RadioLab, To the Best of Our Knowledge, Code Switch
  • 5 – Have You Heard?, Memory Palace, Smithsonian Sidedoor
  • 4 – All Songs Considered, LeVar Burton Reads, Start Making Sense, The Truth
  • 3 – Afropop Worldwide, Decoder Ring, Fresh Air, Household Name, More or Less, Risk!, This American Life
  • 2 – Smithsonian AirSpace, Disney History Institute, Radio Boston, Re:Sound, Scientific American Science Talk, Snap Judgement, Sound Opinions, 30 for 30, Upon Further Review
  • 1 – Anthropocene Reviewed, Believed, Ben Franklin’s World, Hang Up and Listen, Last Seen, On the Media, 60 Second Science, Slow Burn, Song Exploder, The Sounds in My Head, StarTalk, StoryCorps, Tiny Desk Concerts

Top Ten Things Books Have Made Me Want To Do or Learn About After Reading Them #TopTenTuesday


Top Ten Tuesday is an original blog meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is“Top Ten Things Books Have Made Me Want To Do or Learn About After Reading Them.”

 

Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hanh – taught me to be spiritual in the moment, event when washing the dishes, by imagining your washing Buddha or the baby Jesus

My Life With the Saints by James Martin – inspired me to spend a year posting about my own favorite saints

The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge by Hildegarde H. Swift – walked along the Hudson to find the lighthouse in person and read the book aloud to my son and various children who gathered around

Sleep Thieves by Stanley Coren – made me realize the pernicious evil of Daylight Saving Time

Asphalt Nation by Jane Holtz Kay – made me an activist against prioritizing automobile use and car culture

Book Lust by Nancy Pearl – this book reccomends books to read and read a lot of the books reccomended

Celebrating Marriage Preparing the Wedding Liturgy by P. Covino – at our wedding, my soon-to-be wife and I greeted guests at the door to the church based on a historic tradition mentioned in this book

The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp – I learned how to soothe a baby through swaddling and bouncing.  I got pretty good.  Then the babies grew up.

Amusing the Million by John F. Kasson – made me want to travel in time to visit Coney Island at its historic peak and fueled an obsession with Brooklyn I had for several years in the early 1990s. Although I’ve never lived in Brooklyn, I’m the ultimate hipster, because I wanted to move to Brooklyn before it was cool.

Snowshoeing Through Sewers by Michael Aaron Rockland – one of the urban explorations in this book is walking the full-length of Broadway on Manhattan from Marble Hill to Bowling Green.  I followed in Rockland’s footsteps.  A few years later I created my own long urban walk on Washington Street in Boston.

 

 

 

 

Favorite Songs of 2016 … so far


Wednesdays are now my music blogging day.  While I’ve enjoyed writing my Music Discoveries series, I’ve found it hard to find the time to give a fair listen to all of a bands album in just one week.  So, starting in July, I’m going to post music discoveries on the first and third Wednesdays (and on the fifth Wednesday if there are that many Wednesdays in a month).  On the second Wednesday, I’m going to extend my music criticism writing to reviewing a recently released album, called simply enough Album of the Month, similar to Song of the Week.  The fourth Wednesday will be a music wildcard, probably a list, much like I’m posting today!

And today’s list simply shares some of my favorite songs released so far in 2016.  I usually wait until the end of the year, but it’s been a great six months of music already.

 

“Atomic Number” by case/lang/veirs

“Changes” by Charles Bradley

“Freedom” by Beyoncé

“Hold Up” by Beyoncé

Can’t find anything to embed for these two tracks, but seriously, if you don’t have Lemonade already, get it now!

“The Hood Ain’t the Same” by Draze

“The Ism” by Digitalism

“Kinsumba” by Konono N°1

“Mighty (feat. JFTH)” by Caravan Palace

“Papa Loko (Se Van)” by Ram

youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYAh2CGKepk

“Quiet” by Erik Blood

“Sangria” by Céu

youtube=http://youtu.be/lccHvxSun3w

“Transe Animal” by Prana Vibes

“Wave of History” by Downtown Boys

“The Werewolf” by Paul Simon

What are your favorite songs of the year so far?

Webcomics


If you’re my age or older, you’ll remember the anticipation of getting the Sunday newspaper, fighting with your sibling for first dibs, and the joy of laying out the full-color comics section (a.k.a – the Funny Pages) and reading your favorite comics.  I feel that I grew up in the last golden age of newspaper comics with The Far Side, Bloom County, and Calvin and Hobbes all making  their debuts in the 1980s.  Older comics like Peanuts, For Better or Worse, and Doonesbury were also still fun to read.

Newspapers have gone into a steady decline and newspaper comics have gone down with them.  Of course, there are still newspaper comics and I read the Comics Curmudgeon daily to see them lovingly lampooned by Josh Fruhlinger.  I think even today newspaper comics could be brilliant but publishers these days have focused on keeping the limited space for comics occupied by legacy comics of deceased cartoonists that have long past their freshness date. Large format comics with artistry and provocative topics might even draw some readers back to newspaper, but we won’t ever know in this extremely risk averse climate.

And so today I turn to the internet for my comic joy.  A number of comic artists have been brilliantly innovative in the web format and I’ve listed below the comics I read regularly.  They can also get to be very specific to certain topics, as you’ll note I have multiple comics about biking and libraries.  My list is arranged in reverse alphabetical order.

Yehuda Moon and Kickstand Cyclery – Set in a fictional Cleveland-area bike shop, this comic focus on the joys and challenges of the American bicyclist

Wondermark – This comic repurposes 19th-century illustrations to create quirky commentaries on popular culture and bad puns. I’ve been accused of writing for Watermark, so close is creator David Malki’s sense of humor to my own.

XKCD – The stick figure comic features clever jokes about science, math and computing as well as some creative large format works that use web technologies to their full advantage. The strip can be arcane so it’s handy to check out Explain XKCD when you just don’t get it.

Unshelved – Set in a public library, this comic has jokes that library and information professionals appreciate, but it’s broad enough to be appreciated by a general audience.

Shelf Check – Another library comic, which may be a bit more inside jokey, but also addresses issues of representation and equality in libraries.

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal – Another comic that usually has some science or philosophy underlying the joke although it has no set theme and focuses on lots of different issues.

Medium Large – A joke-a-day comic with a few recurring characters that focuses on pop culture arcana. Creator Francesco Marciuliano also writes for the newspaper comic Sally Forth (and mocks in Medium Large).

Lunarbaboon – The comic depicts a fathers view on parenting and children. Another comic that seems to have been drawn from the thoughts within my mind.

Leftycartoons – Infrequently published satirical comics about politics from a left-wing perspective.

Jen Sorensen – Another editorial comic with a slightly less left-wing perspective than Leftycartoons.

Hark! A Vagrant – Oddball humor inspired by historical events and literature. I previously wrote a review of a volume collecting these comics.

Dustinland – An autobiographical weekly comic that’s basically whatever is on the mind of artist Dustin Glick each week. When I first started reading this years ago, it was about dating, dead-end jobs, and social lives of young adults. These days it alternates between comics about raising a young child and political commentary.

Dinosaur Comics – This is the opposite of artistically adventurous as every single comic is the same six panels repeated, but with different text every time. And yet it somehow stays fresh seeing a new joke in the same formula over and over.

Derangement and Description – Can’t have library comics without an archives comic too. The jokes here are brilliant but probably aren’t going to be understood outside of the field.

Bikeyface – A Boston bike commuter’s commentary on why she bikes and all the problems of a city hostile to biking.

What webcomics do you read?

 

2015 Year in Review: Memorable Events


I started a tradition back in 1996 of making a list of the most memorable events of the year.  My definition of memorable can include both the positive and the negative, but generally it’s the good things that make the list.  That first list in 1996 had exactly twenty items, so I’ve made the list a top twenty every year since.

Here is my 20th annual list.

  • 1) January-February – Boston Blizzards – It’s hard to believe that sometime in late January 2015 I was wondering if the kids were going to get any snow days because winter had been so mild.  Then we were hit by blizzard after blizzard accumulating ludicrous amounts of snow on the way to a record 110.6 inches, including 94.4 inches in just 30 days from January 24- February 22, 2015.  It was crazy, it was annoying, but it was also fun, and we all survived with a little gallows humor.

  • 2) February – Snowshoeing – I went snowshoeing for the first (and second) time at the Boston Nature Center and found it a really enjoyable way to enjoy nature in the snow. I’m going to have to get my own snowshoes and plan some longer outings in the future.

 

  • 3) March onwards – Daddy Brew Club – My friend Mike got a homebrew kit and has had me and other beer-loving fathers over on several occasions to brew, bottle, and sample beer.  The social aspect is the key part of the activity although occasionally the beer also tastes good.

  • 4) March 19-21 – MARAC/NEA meeting – The New England Archivists meeting is always fun and this one was extra special as our Mid Atlantic regional colleagues joined us for a joint meeting in snowy Boston.  There was a pub quiz and guided walking tours of Boston led by yours truly in my Boston By Foot hat (followed by beers with my fellow archivists).
  • 5) April-October (but especially the last three months) – The New York Mets pennant-winning season – Since my children were born my time to follow sports evaporated and in recent years as my son has become a baseball fan I spent more time following the Red Sox, but this season I made a concerted effort to return to following the day-in/day-out exploits of my first favorite team, the Mets.  And boy did I chose a good season to do so, as the Mets started off hot with an 11-game win streak, regressed to the mean for a while, and then after gaining new players at the trade deadline and star players returning from injury they caught fire in August and September to win the division.  The exciting season continued in the playoffs against the Dodgers and Cubs, but sadly the good run came to an end against the Royals in the World Series.  But, oh, what a run!

  • 6) April-December – Museum of Fine Arts membership – Got a membership for the first time in years and spent several days visiting and closely studying the art in this terrific museum (1, 2, 3, 4, & 5).
  • 7) April 23-26 – Trip to New York City – Peter, my mother, and I went to New York, visiting the American Museum of Natural History, Coney Island, Brooklyn Bridge, and the Bronx Zoo.
  • 8) April onwards – bicycle speaker – I got a speaker that sits on the handlebars of my bike and thus I can listen to music, podcasts, and audiobooks as I commute to work.  Such a small thing makes such a fun improvement to the daily grind.
  • 9) May 17 – Greenway Art & carousel – A gorgeous Sunday afternoon admiring “As If It Were Already Here” suspended over the Rose Kennedy Greenway, followed by a few spins on the carousel.
  • 10) May-October – Casey Overpass Demolition – Each day another piece of the elevated highway in Forest Hills was removed opening up new spaces and vistas.  A fascinating process.
  • 11) June 6-July 5 – Women’s World Cup – Another exciting tournament with many great games.  Our United States team started off shaky but got better as the tournament went along, with dramatic wins against Germany in the semifinal and Japan in the final.  Whether watching with our friends on Cape Cod or with crowds at Boston City Hall, we believed that we would win!

  • 12) June 7 – Bikes Not Bombs Bike-A-Thon – Pedaled this terrific charity ride with both of my children for the first time.
  • 13) June 13 – PawSox Game – The whole family took in this game with our church group meaning that there were lots of friends in the stands.  As an added bonus, it was Star Wars night *AND* fireworks night.

  • 14) June 28-July 1 – Cape Cod – With our friends the Rosenblatt Rossos we stayed at a rental house in Eastham, swimming in the Bay and the Ocean, roasting marshmallows and creating arts & crafts, and watching the Womens World Cup.
  • 15) July 11 – Green River Festival – A fun festival with music and balloons, but even better, a time to play with extended family.
  • 16) July 31-August 2 – Camping in Maine – Took that kids for their first camping trip at Recompence Shore at Wolfe’s Neck Farm.  Hiking, biking, a farm visit, fresh veggies, and Portland Sea Dogs baseball were all involved.
  • 17) August 31-September 4 – Daddy Day Camp – A week with no school and no camp, so I took the kids on a whale watch, on a Duck Tour and Skywalk, on the Freedom Trail, and to the Barnyard at Retreat Farm.
  • 18) October 10 – Connors Farm – pumpkin picking, a corn maze, and all manner of autumnal pleasantries.
  • 19) October 18 – Boston By Foot Dark Side tour – I lead a special tour for a church group and invited along some dear friends not in the church and had my son take a tour with me for the first time.  A special afternoon of for this tour guide.

  • 20) December 27-30 – Myrtle Beach – a holiday visit with grandparents, uncle, aunt, and cousin at a South Carolina resort town. We saw a pirate show and lots of gators, played minigolf and much, much more.

Previously:

2014 Year in Review: Memorable Events


I started a tradition back in 1996 of making a list of the most memorable events of the year.  My definition of memorable can include both the positive and the negative, but generally it’s the good things that make the list.  That first list in 1996 had exactly twenty items, so I’ve made the list a top twenty every year since.  I usually try to post this list close to December 31st, but late is better than never.

My 2014 list is a typical hodge-podge of activity.  Some of the events have links to when I wrote about them at the time.  Others I wrote a little bit more about in this post.

January – Furnace – Our furnace overheated and died during our holiday travels last year, and so we had a cold New Years at home, even with new space heaters bought for the occasion.  We got a new furnace installed, and it cost lots and lots and lots of money, but it works very well.  Definitely not a good thing, but certainly memorable, and it all worked out in the end.

January – Ice Skating – Peter took an ice skating class and I went ice skating for the first time in years.  My skates don’t fit anymore – ouch.  But we had fun.  Here’s my first ever animated GIF of Peter skating:

Through the year – Education activism – This year I learned a lot about the crises affecting public education, and joined other parents, students, and teachers to advocate for positive change.  There’s a lot more I could do and should do, but I educated myself on the issues, wrote some blog posts, attended a school committee meeting, and a rally on the steps of the State House.  And there were some positive results, including the defeat of a charter school expansion bill in the Massachusetts’ Senate.

February 1st – Wayne Potash concert – As aging folkies, it was a pleasure to take the kids to our old haunt of Club Passim for this special concert.

March 22nd-24th – New England Archivists Spring Meeting – My only business trip of the year took me to the lovely town of Portsmouth, NH.  Highlights of the conference include a keynote speech by punk rocker Ian MacKaye about his Fugazi Live Series archives and participating in a NEA Jeopardy! tournament (my team won!).

Pondering a Jeopardy! answer.

April 21st – Patriots Day – We took back the finish line on a beautiful spring day, with my whole family cheering on the runners in the Boston Marathon.

April to September – Red Sox season – The 2014 season was not as good as the 2013 season for the Red Sox, but we had fun attending several games, including a few with tickets given by friends who have much better seats than we usually get.  Since Peter is a member of Kid Nation, we can enter the ballpark early to watch batting practice from the Green Monster, and at one game Yankees pitcher Shane Green threw a ball to Peter. We saw rookies Alex Hassan and Garin Cecchini get their first major league hits.  And we sat behind home plate at McCoy Stadium and watching future Red Sox clobber their opponents.  We rode our bikes to Fenway and used the new bike parking.  But probably the coolest thing is when Susan and Peter got to help with the banner for the 2004 World Series Champions reunion in May.  You can see them below the 4 in the photo below.


April 22nd-25th – Spring Break in Virginia – Peter & I visited my mother in Virginia and spent time exploring Colonial Williamsburg and playing at Go Karts Plus.

June 15 – Father’s Day – Tradition dictates that Father’s Day is celebrated with brunch and a nature walk.  This year we dined at Nancy’s Airfield Cafe in Stow and then explored the swamps and caves at Rocky Hill Wildlife Sanctuary.

June 12th – July 13 – World Cup – I loved getting sucked into the quadrennial event, and following the ups and downs of the US Men’s National Team.  Particularly fun was attending public viewing parties in Watertown (see the celebration of Clint Dempsey’s goal against Portugal below) and at Boston City Hall.  Then I spent the entire final making bad puns on Facebook.

June 21st – BTU School Summer Blastoff – Ostensibly a fundraiser for our son’s school, but moreso this was an opportunity to get out of the house and dance the night away with Susan.

July 20th & 27th – Cambridge Common walking tour – For the third time, I had the privilege of researching, writing, and leading a walking tour for Boston By Foot.  This time we explored the endlessly fascinating history of Cambridge Common and it’s environs.  The official tour had a good turnout despite a downpour.  If you missed it, we’ll be running it again on Sunday, September 27, 2015 at 2 pm.


August 17 – Crane Beach – All summer long my daughter Kay asked to go to the beach.  Finally, as summer was drawing to a close we made a day-long outing to Crane Beach in Ipswich.  It may have been the best day in Kay’s young life.  We’ll have to return to her happy place more often next summer.


August 30 – September 2 – Great Wolf Lodge – We met up with Susan’s parents at Great Wolf Lodge in the Poconos Mountains of Pennsylvania for four days of swimming, sliding, playing, and eating.  It was cheezy fun.


September 20th – Baseball Clinic – My son loves baseball and so there was no doubt that he would enjoy a free baseball clinic for children  hosted by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Jim Rice Field in Roxbury.  Former major league ballplayers instructed the children. They practiced throwing with Rich Rodriguez and Joe Johnson, outfield drills with Billy Sample, baserunning with Al Severinsen, and infield drills with John Tudor (seen handing a ball to my son below).


September 27th – Rockin’ With Raptors – The annual festival at the Boston Nature Center, the Mass Audubon nature center closest to our house, was a blast. There was barbecue and cake, birdhouse building, face painting, music, live animal demonstrations and many other activities.  And of course, the stars of the show were the birds of prey.  Peter was particularly devoted to asking the volunteer lots of questions about the raptors.


October 11th to 13th – Cooperstown – We went away for Columbus Day Weekend to Cooperstown, NY, staying at the lovely Lake House Hotel and visiting the Farmers Museum during the annual Tractor Fest, the Cullen Pumpkin Farm, and National Baseball Hall of Fame.


October 20th to 27th – Jury duty – I served on a challenging criminal trial with contentious deliberations.  And I was appointed foreperson.  It was a stressful week, but hopefully we made the right decision.
November 23rd – Kay leads church in dancing – One day at the beginning of church service at Hope Central in JP, my daughter went up in front and started dancing in circles.  Then the pastor joined in.  Then several people throughout the congregation started dancing in circles as well.  It was a special moment.

November and December – Nana’s visits – My mother came to visit twice late in the year spending lots of quality time with the grandchildren.  Nana and Peter played chess, we visited the zoo, we saw “Peter & the Wolf” at Symphony Hall in November, and celebrated Christmas together in December.


November 29th – New England Revolution Eastern Conference Championship – Peter and I jumped on the bandwagon as the New England Revolution made their way through the MLS postseason.  We joined 10s of thousands of fans in Foxboro as the team won the Eastern Conference against the New York Red Bulls.  The next week we saw the sad MLS Cup Final loss against the LA Galaxy on tv.

 

Previously:

2014 Year in Review: Favorite Books


Here’s my annual list of my ten favorite books read in the year.  As always, this is merely the best books I read this year not books published in 2013.  For previous years see 2013201220112010200920082007 and 2006. You may also want to check out My Favorite Books of All Time or see Every Book I’ve Ever Read cataloged in Library Thing.

In no particular order:

And the complete list of books read in 2014 (books published in 2014 are in bold).

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

2013 Year in Review: Memorable Events


I started a tradition back in 1996 of making a list of the most memorable events of the year.  My definition of memorable can include both the positive and the negative, but generally it’s the good things that make the list.  That first list in 1996 had exactly twenty items, so I’ve made the list a top twenty every year since.

My 2013 list is a typical hodge-podge of activity.  Some of the events have links to when I wrote about them at the time.  Others I wrote a little bit more about in this post.

20 January – A Winter Day Out in Providence  – My wife left for a business trip, and I took the kids out for a successful outing to Rhode Island which included playing at the Providence Children’s Museum, a Providence Bruins‘ game (complete with thunderstix), & Harry’s Bar & Burger for dinner and ice cream sandwiches.

8-11 February – Blizzard of ’13 – also known as Winter Storm Nemo, dumped 25 inches of snow on our hometown making much delight for the children and cooperative snow removal ventures with the neighbors.  The photo below is from our outing to Centre Street in Jamaica Plain to pick up beer & cheese.

28 February – Beck Song Reader Concert – I was part of a 50-voice choir bringing Beck’s songs of sheet music to life.  You can see me singing out from the back row in the photo below. 

Spring & Summer – Peter learns to bike – My son learned to ride a pedal bike.  Now we need to work on braking.

15 April – Boston Marathon bombing – My kids and I were at a playground far from the Marathon route when it happened, and even if we’d gone to watch we’d have been far from the finish line, but it was still shocking to hear of the deaths and injuries.  Especially considering that Patriots Day is a civic holiday that is perhaps the day on the calendar when Boston is at its most joyous, communal, and supportive.  That spirit shined through with the many people – professionals and amateurs – who rushed in to help the wounded.  I was touched by the outpouring of support for Boston, and if anything good has come out of this it is that they typically self-deprecating Bostonians are far more positive and  confident these days.  A few days later, we had the weird shelter-in-place alert, but still spirits were kept up as we shared news and jokes through social media.  Not something I’d want to live through again, but I’m grateful for all the people who chose to help and that the casualties were not as bad as they could’ve been.

language matters


27 April – Regan Youth League Baseball Parade and Teeball – My baseball-obsessed son started playing teeball and we marched through the streets of Jamaica Plain, even stopping to sing.

May & October – Kindergarten Arboretum Field Trips – I stepped into a new role in fatherhood as I served as a chaperon on two school outings to Arnold Arboretum.  I particularly like the spring trip when the kids got to see a snapping turtle up close and personal. 

May to Present – Hope Central Church – We were in search of a new church closer to home and found a new spiritual home at Hope Central.

2 June – Bikes Not Bombs Bike-A-Thon – This time my daughter was my co-pilot on this great fundraising ride through the city.

12 June –  US Open Cup game – Professional men’s soccer comes to Boston for one night only and it was great.

16 June – Father’s Day Outing to Wachusett Meadow – Two years in a row makes it a tradition, no?

28-30 June – Family Gathering in New Jersey – Susan’s family gathered in New Jersey to celebrate her Aunt Thelma and cousin Glen.  Peter enjoyed playing sports and video games with his many boy cousins.

14 July – Circle the City on the Avenue of the Arts – Huntington Avenue became a pedestrian haven for just one day.  I lead a walking tour.   Peter played lots of soccer.

12 August – Georges Island – Vintage Baseball – On a beautiful summer day, we sailed to the Harbor Islands and traveled back in time to the dead ball era.

20-25 August – Family Camp at Purity Springs – We spent a week at the Purity Springs Family Camp in New Hampshire with some of the friendliest people ever, our days packed with activities like lake swimming (and jumping), archery, paddle boarding, pooh sticks, canoeing, knee boarding, s’mores making, cookouts, and hiking.

2-8 September – New York City trip – Another great trip to the City with Peter and his Nana.

14 October – Tufts Health Plan 10K – Our friend Sharon coaxed Susan into participating in this run.  I enjoyed watching with the other spouses and children.  And Susan did great finishing all 10 of the Ks.  We are all so proud of her.

30 October – Red Sox Win the World Series – A great season, especially when viewed through the eyes of a five-year-old.

10 November – Claire & John’s wedding – Our dear friend Claire, godmother to our children, married a charming gent and we had a blast.  The kids played their part in the wedding ceremony and then at the reception we played, and hugged, and danced, and toasted the newlyweds.

“Cheers!”

25-31 December – Christmas Travel – We’ve just returned from our annual holiday swing through North Carolina and Virginia.  This year was extra special as the kids got to see all of their grandparents, all of their aunts and uncles, and most importantly, play with all of their cousins.

Goodbye 2013, you will be missed.  Hello 2014, can’t wait to see what you have to offer.

Previously:

2013 Year in Review: Favorite Books


Here’s my annual list of my ten favorite books read in the year.  As always, this is merely the best books I read this year not books published in 2013.  For previous years see 201220112010200920082007 and 2006. You may also want to check out My Favorite Books of All Time or see Every Book I’ve Ever Read cataloged in Library Thing.

In no particular order:

And the complete list of books read in 2013 (books published in 2013 are in bold). And yes, I do intend to catch up on my book reviews as soon as I can:

January

  • Band of Demonby Rob Blackwell – ***1/2
  • The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt (A) – *1/2
  • Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku (A) – **

February

  • Walkable City by Jeff Speck – ****
  • A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage (A) – ***
  • Take Five: Poems in 5/4 Time by Tad Richards – ***
  • The Price of Inequality by Joseph E. Stiglitz (A) – ***

March

April

  • Doctor Who: The Forgotten by Tony Lee – **
  • We3 by Grant Morrison – *
  • Free Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy (A) – ***
  • Transatlantic by Colum McCann – ****
  • Laika by Nick Abadzis – ****
  • Back to Our Future by David Sirotta – ***1.2
  • Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield (A) – ****

May

  • A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon (A) – **
  • Through Time by Andrew Cartmel – ***
  • The Discontinuity Guide by Paul Cornell, Martin Day and Keith Topping – **1/2

June

  • Cape Cod by Henry David Thoureau – ***1/2
  • Star Trek the next generation / Doctor Who. Assimilation² written by Scott & David Tipton with Tony Lee ; art by J.K. Woodward v1 – ***
  • Atlantic by Simon Winchester (A) – **
  • Who Could That Be At This Hour? by Lemony Snicket – ***
  • Doctor Who : the writer’s tale by Russell T. Davies and Benjamin Cook – **
July
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein – ****1/2
  • My Song by Harry Belafonte (A) – ***1/2
  • Because I Said So by Ken Jennings – **1/2

August

September

October

November

December

What did you read in 2013, and what did you love?  Let me know in the comments.