National columnist E. J. Dionne in his latest essay charts a route out of the political thicket for the Obama-led Democrats, but he senses a nagging lack of passion among the “D’s” and sees “I’s” trending toward the GOP for the fall. Read Dionne’s essay here, which I picked up from realclearpolitics.com.
Bob Dylan said you don’t need a weatherman to tell which way the wind’s blowing. Bob Forrant says we shouldn’t wait for the economists to tell us which way the economy went, but should seed the clouds ourselves to make some money rain. Read his latest take on the regional economy in his recent essay in the SUN, and consider subscribing to the SUN if you appreciate the writing.
Following is the third and final section of my poem “Colorado,” which I hope our readers have enjoyed. I’m working on a new collection of poems and prose sketches whose title is “Stars in the Dark.” The book includes older and new writings, most of which are not related to Lowell—although, as Dick Howe says, everything seems to be connected to Lowell somehow, if you can see far enough into whatever it is and if you are fortunate enough to have exceptional peripheral vision of the historical kind.—PM
Death is like the last piece
Of that hundred-car coal train
Being pulled by six green Rio Grande diesels
Outside of Colorado Springs.
For the longest time
It’s all noise and power and motion,
And you think the line won’t end—
But there’s no invented engine
To make that dream come true.
—Paul Marion (c) 2010
The Massachusetts Office of Tourism has been reminding us by e-mail and on the official web site that last year:
”The Special Commission Relative to Designating 1000 Great Places in Massachusetts was created by an Act of the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick on January 15, 2009. Its mission is to identify and recognize the 1000 most truly special places in the Commonwealth, in order to celebrate pride in our history and culture, increase knowledge of our natural surroundings, and encourage regional and international tourism.”
Today that list of 1,000 great places from Abington and Acton to Worcester, Wrentham and Yarmouth has been made public. See the full list here on Boston.com – just scroll down to the article “Panel Unveils List…” and click on the Excel list. It encompasses the historic, the preserved, the natural, the environment, the arts, sports and ethnic, the traditional, the spiritual and so much more. It’s no surprise to see over eighty listings for historic Boston. Lowell has ten places listed! Looking to our home area in the Merrimack Valley we find:
Brush Art Gallery and Artists Studios LeLacheur Park Lowell Heritage State Park Lowell National Historical Park Lowell Riverwalk – Sampson Pavilion The American Textile History Museum The Jack Kerouac Commemorative The Revolving Museum Tsongas Industrial History Center Western Avenue Studios
Den Rock Park Essex Art Center Great Stone Dam, Merrimack River Lawrence History Center
Bradford Common Historic District Historic District Lake Kenoza Walkways and Park Winnekenni Castle and Parks/Trails
Audubon Joppa Flats Nature Center Firehouse Center for the Arts Maritime Museum Maudslay State Park Newburyport Boardwalk Plum Island and the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
Public Health Museum at Tewksbury State Hospital
Chelmsford Center Historic District
Methuen Memorial Music Hall
Did your choice (s) for great places in Massachusetts make the list? Let us know.
Fifty years ago yesterday Harper Lee published To Kill A Mockingbird. The book and subsequent movie hold a unique memory for me, which I will explain later. Harper Lee was born and raised in Alabama during a time of extreme, racial discrimination in the United States.
Strangely, she only published one novel, the Pulitzer Prize-winning To Kill A Mockingbird. The book highlights the struggle between blacks and whites in a small Alabama town, much like the one Lee grew up in. In 1962 the powerful story was made into a powerful movie starring Gregory Peck. Peck won an Oscar for his performance in the movie, as did the screenplay.
The novel is thought to have many autobiographical details, one of which is the character Dill. Dill is a feminine boy who is the best friend of the book’s main character, Scout.
Now here is my personal note… While earning my master’s degree I took a seminar in William Faulkner (never really liked him). The professor who taught the class was from from Alabama and a friend of Harper Lee’s. This professor claimed to be the inspiration for the character Dill in To Kill A Mockingbird. I know, most critics believe the model for Dill was author Truman Capote, who grew up with Lee and maintained a life-long friendship with her.
And this professor I had, he also claimed he drank with Hemingway in Paris (and we know how much Hemingway could drink). But, I always found his Dill assertion interesting…because he reminded me of Truman Capote.
In the video below Dill is wearing light colored shorts in most of the pictures.
Yesterday at noon I was toiling away in the heat mowing my lawn just so I’d be done in time to watch the final game of the World Cup. Weeks ago, I think I caught a few minutes of the US v England game but my interest quickly waned. But with the tournament near the end, one more effort to understand why the rest of the world is so passionate about soccer seemed appropriate.
After watching most of the game, I’ve concluded that soccer is all about mistakes. If everyone does his job, the game ends in a “nil-nil” tie. Over 90 minutes plus of play, however, someone is bound to make a mistake and that is when a goal is scored. That is also what distinguishes American football from soccer. In our brand of football, most noteworthy plays are the result of skill v skill, with the stronger, more resourceful, more determined adversary usually prevailing. In Super Bowl XLII when the Giants upset the Patriots, the iconic play of the game was David Tyree’s incredible catch of the ball when he pinned it against his helmet with one hand while being blanketed by Rodney Harrison. Harrison’s coverage was superb; but Tyree’s catch was even better. Contrast that with the winning TD reception when Eli Manning lofted an easy pass to Plaxico Burress in the corner of the end zone. The defense of the Patriots faltered that time, and the Giants were handed the TD and the Super Bowl. That play was largely forgettable because it was the result of a mistake.
In soccer, the only time anything happens is when there is a mistake. Otherwise it’s just pitch and catch at midfield. Maybe that’s why Americans don’t particularly like the sport. We see man as capable of super human efforts while Europeans see him as destined to fail. Me? I enjoyed watching the game so that must put me somewhere in the middle.
Really. Op-ed columnist Ross Douthat says the US needs a better targeted class fight that should pit “savers v. speculators, outsiders v. insiders, the industrious middle class v. the reckless, unproductive rich.” Read Douthat here, and consider subscribing to the NTY if you appreciate the writing.