30 December 2005

Happy 2006!

The Pointy Universe will return Monday, January 2. Have a happy and safe New Year!

24 December 2005

A Holiday Blog from Vito

Ho, ho, friggin' ho, everyone. I suppose you all know by now that I was unwittingly exiled from the annual Christmas card. As usual I received the shit end of the stick. It is a cruel irony as I was the only one who actually sat still and mugged for the picture on a multitude of occasions since last July. The other two monkeys were running around with ants in their pants and could never quite make it through the nanosecond red-eye delay on the camera. In most of the shots I looked damned handsome too. An adjective that comes to mind is "regal." But wasn't it just my luck that I happened to be off taking a leak in the woods when Caroline and Paulie finally stood still for a photo. So, instead of a Christmas card appearance, I get to send my holiday messages through my mom's lame blog. My whole existence is a shitty consolation prize. So, Merry Friggin' Christmas. What I really want for Christmas is to find out who the hell you have to hump around here to get some parma proscuitto.

22 December 2005

Lucky Strike

This may sound crazy but I was watching coverage of the NYC transit strike and became envious. Nothing would make me happier right now than to load up the iPod, dress in eight layers, and walk to work. In my former life, I used to walk everywhere and I miss those moments of peace and solitude -- not to mention the exercise. Here in the burbs, there are no sidewalks on the main roads. So, while I'm within walking distance of Dunkies, I'm not about to risk my life strolling down Route 123 for a large regular.

But in this case, it's not so much the walking I'd enjoy as much as the departure from the status quo. I always enjoy an unexpected escape, even in the form of inconvenience. Back in school, a snow day or a lengthy teachers' strike would send most of us into the stratosphere. But I also adored fire drills. And if we were really lucky, a bomb threat (a false alarm, of course).

It's healthy to shake up the daily routine sometimes. Around Christmastime, my thoughts often turn to my days working downtown, when a bomb threat at South Station inspired an exodus to Weggies Pub in Chinatown. My co-workers and I treated ourselves to a mid-day holiday revel -- Heinekens and Burl Ives on the crappy jukebox. However, after only 30 minutes the pub's angry and obese owner, unaccustomed to an afternoon rush, swore at us in Chinese and said "Bomb o-vah. Get out." Unlike us, he didn't like to stray from the norm.

21 December 2005

"What I Really Want for Christmas" by WMD

I am truly fortunate to have the greatest family and friends going. I’m not being pompous;yours can be as good but they cannot be better. With that comes utmost generosity. Every year I am asked by many, “What would you like for Christmas?” I used to have a meaningful response -- a list. When I was a kid, the list would be detailed enough to include the store where items could be purchased. Having grown older, I’ve reached a point where I really don’t need anything that someone else should be buying me. The things I do need, i.e. a house, I should be buying myself, although I don’t want to insult anyone if you’ve already gone out and gotten me one this year...

Sadly, the only list I am able to make is one of things that I will never get. I don’t even mean the usual “world peace”, “cure for diseases” blah, blah, blah… I mean things from either childhood or the present that have passed or will never be. These are the things I would really like. They are not listed in any particular order, desire or cost:

1) I would like the Tin-Can Alley game that my friend Dan Seale had when we were kids.

2) I would like Jim Carrey to stop making movies.

3) I would like to see Mary Ann’s boobies from Gilligan’s Island (don’t be upset LP, it’s merely for nostalgic purposes so I can tell all my childhood friends “yeah, well, I saw ‘em”… it’s almost clinical.)

4) I would like one day where everyone on the planet has to bow when I’ve entered a room and loudly address me as “Sir”.

5) I would like Rosie O’Donnell a.k.a. Rosie O’Bacon to have as many cameras on her as possible and give her political opinion. At that point, I would like to see someone throw a large meatball sub that smacks her in the side of the face. The true casualty in this is the meatball sub.

6) I would like the original “Alf” suit. I would like a midget who can do a perfect Alf voice to live in this suit for one year. He will accompany me as my Valet. He will not wear any type of valet uniform however, that would look silly.

7) I would like to spend a day hanging around with Homer Simpson.

8)I would like to see SAC overcome his contempt for Dave Matthews, and join hands with him like the Whos in Whoville and sing Fahoo Forays…

I know the rest of you in the Pointy Universe must have your own list. There are still three shopping days until Christmas. Get out there.

Merry Christmas,


19 December 2005

Santa Speedo

(photo: Guess who's having the best birthday week ever?)

For her birthday, all Di wanted was to gather pals around a brunch table, or to quote the Candyman, bust out a bottle of Asti Spumanti, pop off the cork and rock with her posse. And it all began as planned at Joe's Americana on Newbury, one of the few restaurants progressive enough to serve brunch on Saturdays. We engaged our attentive and doting waiter George in flirtatious, witty banter like a bunch of old aunts. We showered Di with funky jewelry and sheer scarves and by the time she finished her Benedict, she looked like a belly dancer.

After brunch, Paige and Ingrid said they were off to the Santa Speedo Race, an annual half-naked charity dash involving men in Santa-red Speedos. Our curiosity and the desire to have another holiday cocktail with pals compelled us to sign on and continue our reveling down Boylston Street toward the Alley.

(photo: Paige unmoored in a sea of Santa Speedos)

We mentally prepared ourselves for the inevitable "bad nudity" or as LP put it, the "Speedon'ts" usually prevalent at such exhibitionist events. But once we arrived at the Alley, we were delightfully surprised by the scenery.

LP, looking around at all the heterosexual footwear, noted she was surprised to see the gay community so underrepresented at what seemed like a flagship event.

(photo: Say "Speeedo")

But seconds later, hot on the trail of red-bummed, hopelessly buff Philly Boys, came Ernesto and his pals, commenting that it's like Christmas. Tony had a press pass for the South End News and Boston.com which he used to snap up close and personal shots of a few choice Santas. Tony works for neither media outlet.

(photo: Christmas arrives early at the Big Cheesy)

As a rule, the Speedo is not a good look for anyone but there are exceptions and this was one of them. Maybe it was the Santa hats, or the charitable motives, or maybe the heat was cranked up too damn high at the Cheesy. As usual, what began as a sophisticated brunch outing became a sordid and sweaty affair.

15 December 2005

Sparkles: A Survivor's Story

Though he’s been a shade of dingy gray since the mid-70s, his name has always been Sparkles. He’s my 35-year-old stuffed Snoopy that I’ve had my entire life. While his ears and the majority of his facial features are long gone, Sparkles is a survivor – a sole survivor, actually. Originally there were three of them: Gorky, Sparkles and Woodman. To this day, I haven’t the faintest idea where we conjured up the names Gorky and Sparkles. Woodman, however, was a miniature Snoopy with a thick furrowed brow that gave him a similar countenance to that of Mr. Woodman, the vice principal from Welcome Back, Kotter.

Where I viewed the Snoopies as my best pals, my mother viewed them as rampant bacteria traps and a threat to public health. To prevent their untimely demise in a green trash bag, I had to subject them to an intense three-day cleaning ritual. Every few months, my mother put the Snoopies, who were not machine washable, into the washing machine where they became so waterlogged they were virtually unliftable. After one round in the dryer, they would be moved to the sun porch where – lined up like sunbathers on a Bionic Woman beach towel – they would dry out for three days, which seemed like an eternity to me.

Inevitably, tragedy struck one afternoon. Sparkles and Gorky emerged, dripping and sodden, from the washing machine but Woodman did not make it -- he’d completely disintegrated. I watched in horror as my mother scooped his linty remains from the inside of the washing machine with a measuring cup. A few months later, Gorky was beheaded in the same machine.
Luckily, Sparkles was a little heartier but over time his nose and ears became a casualty of the spin cycle. On a mission of mercy, my grandmother Nana Ree, turned one of my stuffed bunnies into an involuntary donor, transplanting his nose onto Sparkle’s naked snout and his ears onto his ill-shaped head. Then, realizing how stressed out I was every time wash day came around, Nana Ree uncovered some revolutionary dry cleaning solution for plush animals in Family Circle magazine that involved cornmeal and a semi-damp cloth. Sparkles never entered the washing machine again. He’s since lost his transplants but he’s still with us, and that’s what’s most important.

14 December 2005

The Silence of the Lambie

(photo: Lambie, rescued)

Last night, I uncovered yet another reason why I’m a superior candidate for analysis. I was transferring some empty wine bottles to the recycle bin downstairs when I spotted Lambie, Caroline’s cherished stuffed lamb, in the trash barrel. One of his fluffy limbs jutted out from beneath a Mount Blue pizza box, signaling for help. Horrified, I dug him out and immediately tossed him into the dryer with some fresh linen-scented Bounce to prevent the rancid stench of wet garbage from settling into his faux fleece.

I felt sick and anxiously paced the floors as I awaited the offender’s arrival home. When confronted, James matter-of-factly said he’d chanced upon Vito humping the lamb and determined it should no longer be in the house. He padded his argument with the fact that Caroline hasn’t played with Lambie that much as of late. He rolled in some of the witnesses in current rotation: Renny the elephant and the lazy-eyed doll, Baby Ryan. But I explained these were additions, not replacements, and how can you be so heartless?

Just when James was convinced I’d completely lost my mind, I realized why I was so upset about what he'd done: It’s something my mother would do. Seeing the lamb in the trash brought forth the heightened sense of anxiety and vigilance that ruled my life as a child. I lived in constant fear that my mother, arch enemy of clutter and dirt, would toss out something for which I cared deeply.

My bizarre attachment to “inanimate objects” was deemed illogical and therefore never considered when decisions were made about what was junk and what was not. I remember hurling myself on green trash bags, like a widow on a coffin. I remember experiencing the three stages of grief, at five years old, over a lost sneaker. Crazy and illogical yes, but the feelings of loss were no less real. And I never want Caroline to feel that way if she doesn't have to.

That said, I reminded James of the rug incident of three weeks ago. We’d purchased a new living room rug, and as James rolled up the old one and carted it off, Caroline became hysterical: “I want my rug back! Bring it back…Please!”

“You mean that old, dog hair-encrusted rug from Target that smells like feet,” I asked.

“I really, really need it, Mama,” she said, completely inconsolable. I saw the real pain in her face and I recognized it. The poor wee child has inherited my dysfunction.

(photo: Tearful reunion)

Even James agreed here: If Caroline had spotted Lambie in the trash, we would have
had to call 911.

PART II of this saga, "The Sparkles Factor," will appear on tomorrow's blog.

12 December 2005

Random Quizzilla

1) The word "coupon:" Pronounced "cue-pon" or "coo-pon?" I say "coo-pon" now but recall saying "cue-pon" when I was younger. I have no idea when or why the shift occurred but can say for certain it has not altered my day-to-day life in any way.

2) On average, how long do you spend in the shower? When I actually have opportunity to shower, I'd say it's a good 10 minutes, sometimes longer. I could spend an hour in there with a decent playlist and a deep conditioner.

3) Would you consider yourself outdoorsy? No. In fact, I'd classify myself as militantly indoorsy. I can enjoy the outdoors under very specific circumstances: Hanging out on beaches and boats with a well-packed cooler; hiking a heavily-trafficked trail that has access to snack bars and restrooms; and camping as long as there are outlets to plug in the coffee maker and hairdryer.

4) What were the most significant events to occur the year you were born (aside from your own arrival) and did those events have any effect on your life?


-WOODSTOCK - This is likely responsible for my mutant Flowerchild gene.

-First lunar landing - Affected everyone's lives, I suppose.

-Beatles' last public performance (on roof of Apple Records)- Almost 20 years later, this performance inspired U2's renegade rooftop video for "Where the Streets Have no Name." And I just love that.

-The Chappaquiddick incident - No effect, although I DO hate the nickname "Chappy."

-The Manson murders - I've always enjoyed the song Helter Skelter.

-The Boeing 747 debuts - Took my virgin voyage on a 747 as an exchange student heading to Paris in 1987. Made the acquaintance of "Dangerpants" on a 747 en route to London with Annie & LP in 2000.

5) Last three songs you downloaded? "Holly Jolly Christmas" by Burl Ives, "Songs for a Blue Guitar" by the Red House Painters, and "This House is Not for Sale" by Ryan Adams

09 December 2005

Cream Shop Friday: Busted

(photo: SAC and Chris Martin enjoy a jolly frolic in Holland Park)
Martin recently outed the couple when he noted the song "Kingdom Come" was not inspired by Johnny Cash, but a boyishly handsome American named Scott Andrew Cyr. Neither has plans to leave their movie star/supermodel wives.

*artwork courtesy of WMD

Cream Shop Friday is a feature on this blog detailing the biggest distraction of the week.

07 December 2005

The Man Who Ruins Everything

There are some people in this world that simply rub us the wrong way. James, on the other hand, is generally patient and accepting of most. He is rarely bothered by the kinds of clueless, self righteous and self-aggrandizing fools that make my blood boil. However, when he is annoyed, he is fiercely annoyed -- and not by the people you'd think. Stirring his ire is a motley cast of seemingly unprovacative characters who would not garner any emotions -- positive or negative -- from most of us.

For instance, Queen Elizabeth and the entire British Monarchy: "total bullshit." The completely innocuous Dave Matthews: "a fucking jerk."

But to James, Public Enemy #1 is Peter Wolf.

I learned this a few years ago when we were going to see Bruce Springsteen at Fenway. We'd popped into Copperfields to have a drink and meet up with Billy J. We overhead the group of people next to us talking about they'd just spotted Wolf outside on his way to the Springsteen show. Out of nowhere, a jovial Jimmy became irate; he swore loudly and started mumbling to himself.

"What's wrong with you," I asked.

"Fucking Peter Wolf. He's going to jump up on stage and ruin everything."*

Billy J. showed up several minutes later, heard the name Peter Wolf, and without even knowing what we were talking about, said, "That guy's a whore."

Sure enough, Wolf jumped up on stage that night to join Springsteen in a rendition of "Dirty Water." While it certainly did not ruin the night, it was pretty annoying.

At Monday's U2 show, Bono acknowledged Wolf in the audience, along with retiring Globe music critic Steve Morse. Whether intentional or geographical, Wolf did not claw his way up to the stage and try to hog the spotlight...and I was grateful. I thought maybe he'd changed.

But just hours later at a party for Steve Morse at JJ Foley's, Wolf relapsed. Bono showed up late night to toast Morse and Morse, in turn, toasted Bono. It was a testament to their 25-year-long relationship as rock star and critic. It had nothing to do with Peter Wolf. But, unable to help himself, Wolf hopped up on a table, made a completely unneccessary statement,and proceeded to lead the crowd in "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow." In short, he destroyed the moment, he ruined everything.

Have to hand it to you, James, you're spot on with this one. His behavior is likely what's keeping the J. Geils Band out of the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame.

06 December 2005

Sugar, Come On

Our determination to see U2 again began last Friday night when Ernie and I experienced a "sugar, come on" moment while listening to Original of the Species at the party. Neither of us had tickets to Monday night's show but a frantic Craig's List search and a shady transaction in the parking lot of the Hilltop Steak House in Saugus got us in the house - for face value no less!

We flew back down Route 1 to meet up with Auntie and Bags at the Greatest Bar where Auntie's company was hosting a dinner with, woo hoo, open bar. Thank you thank you, nameless biotech firm.

Auntie & Bags -- fellow devotees who've seen U2 about five times this year, including once in Ireland -- headed off to nameless biotech firm's corporate box.
Ernie and I headed off to our seats behind the stage, which to our delight, were just a few rows up from the ellipse. Tom and Dawnie, friends of a Garden VIP and VIPs in their own right, ended up in the VERY FRONT ROW, inches from the band.

(photos: Dawnie & Tom experience euphoria in the ellipse)

Ernie and I noted that we and our respective groups of friends are part of our own kind of species, a breed of 30+-ish folks who have not evolved in the all-too-typical fashion where passion gives way to self-imposed restraint, or the notion that enjoyment of live music has an expiration date. It's much more difficult to be spontaneous these days and we're usually just too dog-tired to make the effort. Sometimes it takes a night like this to remind you that if there is a way to swing it, then swing it. Or as my friend Colleen says, "you create your own experience."
Then again there are those for whom the opening notes of Where the Streets Have No Name at a live U2 show will never make their toes tingle. But they are not of our species.

City Of Blinding Lights, Hello, Goodbye (snippet) / , Vertigo / Dirty Water (snippet) / Take Me To The River (snippet), Elevation, Gloria, I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For / The Promised Land (snippet), Beautiful Day / Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home) (snippet) / Jingle Bells (snippet), Original Of The Species / Norwegian Wood (snippet), Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own / The Black Hills of Dakota (snippet), Love And Peace Or Else, Sunday Bloody Sunday / Rock The Casbah (snippet), Bullet The Blue Sky / The Hands That Built America (snippet) / When Johnny Comes Marching Home (snippet), Miss Sarajevo, Pride (In The Name Of Love), Where The Streets Have No Name, One / She's A Mystery To Me (snippet)
encores: Until The End Of The World, Mysterious Ways / We Wish You A Merry Christmas (snippet) / The Battle Hymn Of The Republic (snippet), With Or Without You, Crumbs From Your Table, Instant Karma!, Yahweh, 40

comment: During Mysterious Ways, Bono brings two fans onstage, one dressed as Santa Claus and the other as Elvis Presley.

05 December 2005

The Merriest of Christmas Parties

Thanks to all whose good spirits made the First Annual Jackson Christmas Party a roaring success. We appreciate everyone's overwhelming generosity in the food and beverage departments as well as party gifts that were both unexpected and creative. From Liz playing Vince Guaraldi tunes on the piano early eve to Tom's acoustic set late night, we lit up Brookwood Road far beyond the requisite white Christmas lights. To view a slide show of the evening's festivities, click here

03 December 2005

This Band Collage is Driving Me to Drink

So much for going to sleep early! After an absolutely bashy 1st Annual Jackson Christmas Party, the house is still and quiet. It still reeks of mulled cider and firepit in here but the smell makes me happy because it serves as a constant reminder of the grand time we had last night. I think MULLED FIREPIT should be a new Yankee Candle scent -- it's making me that joyful.

So, it's 9 p.m. on a Saturday and everyone is sleeping. Caroline and Paulie are OUT. Vito is in a coma after being kept up past 3 a.m. by obstinate revelers. James is passed out - all banged up, an inevitable product of his own fueled-injected cider making. We were living in the seventh circle of hell today as babies and hangovers do not mix. I was in a horrible way until about an hour ago, but now I'm having a glass of wine and working on this frigging band collage. This one comes courtesy of Tom Haley. In the collage pictured above are images of different bands. How many bands is unclear but apparently Tom's up to 75. So far, I've got seven, but mine are the glaringly obvious ones that Vito could pick off in passing.

A detailed blog and photo upload on last eve's shindig will come as soon as I can find my camera!

02 December 2005

Cream Shop Friday: Hairway to Heaven

James lived in the city for nearly 15 years before returning to his South Shore suburban roots. While living in Charlestown and East Boston, his hair was butchered by barbers on Beacon Hill and East Cambridge. When I pleaded for him not to go back to these places, he began visiting a pseudo-gangsta barbershop in Orient Heights who shaved James' hair into a shape recalling the MC Hammer-era. Working in JP, he'd often go to Sebastian's barbershop in Roslindale Square where you get a "boy's regular" for $10 whether you're 10 or 80 years old. The "boy's regular," a style seen on less imaginative men and many, many Boston-area attorneys (except PM of course), is a style that is unnatural, unworthy and far too vanilla for James' thick Arab tresses. And it took awhile for James to come to terms with this. I was hoping he'd go to Maria or a salon with at least one gay man at the helm, but he said he refused to go to a "beauty shop" and pay $50 for a haircut. Down here, the salons have names like Hairway to Heaven and the Hairport, so I wasn't hopeful. However, after driving around Route 53 looking for a place to get his haircut, he happened on a salon, gave it a whirl, and got the best haircut of his life. While he was slightly traumatized from having his hair shampooed by a man, I could tell he was pleased with the results. Since then, he's found a few salons along 53 and in Boston where he can get his haircut for under $50 -- and the shampooing is optional.

Cream Shop Friday is a feature on this blog detailing the biggest distraction of the week.

29 November 2005

Random Quizzilla

1) What do the blue or red lights atop the old John Hancock tower signify?
steady blue - a clear view
flashing blue - clouds are due
steady red - rain ahead
flashing red - snow instead, or the Red Sox game is cancelled.
(Right, Bags?)

2) "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays?" Oh, enough already. I say "Merry Christmas" to most. I always wish my Jewish pals a "Happy Channukah" and generally say "Happy Holidays" to people I don't know in case they fall within the one-tenth-of-one-percent of the population that is offended by someone else's misguided well wishing.

3) What was the last book you read? The Wonder Spot by Melissa Bank, The Long Way Down by Nick Hornby and Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer

4) When was the last time you acted phony?
Most of my phony moments these days occur at Panera Bread. Last week, my loquacious pal George DeFillippo from Linden Ponds plopped down at my table. He is a lovely man -- a widow, 70ish -- who plays golf four days a week and lives in Florida four months a year. He IMs his grandchildren and has a Shitzu named Carl. George made his way over to my table with a mug of coffee and a baked egg souffle. I could feel my deadline encroaching and precious babysitter minutes ticking away as he proceeded to read over my shoulder and ask me if I'd ever returned anything to Kohl's. I wanted to overturn the table and karate chop him, but instead I just asked him if the egg souffles had cheese in them.

5) Song currently on the radio that makes you want to drive off a bridge? "You're Beautiful" by James Blunt. Is he trying to sound like Rod Stewart or Alanis Morrisette? Either way, it's horrible.

27 November 2005

Get Down, Girl, G'head Get Down

(photo: Ofelia and the ladies pre-show at Club Cafe)

Whenever I'm planning an evening out with Miss Ofelia Cox, I've come to expect an evening that's as fiery and unpredictable as Ofelia's hair color. And this evening, she did not disappoint. Since black is the new black, Ofelia was all glammed out in a sparkly black evening frock with a slit up to there, fierce black stillettos and of course, her requisite to-die-for cleavage. Within moments of her grand arrival at 209 Columbus, lords and ladies alike were unwittingly caught up in the current of her fabulousness; they hovered, unable to turn their eyes away. Among the hangers on was Stacy, a 58-year old lovey with a grayish bob and a hostile bosom. While she was wonderful to chat with, she was not so much to look at. And as usual, Miss Ofelia's radiance only accentuated Stacy's as well as the rest of our cosmetic shortcomings.

(photo: "Oh honey, go on...No, really...go on!")

After warming up at Club Cafe, the ladies headed out to the show at Jacques. Before most of us even reached Berkeley Street, Ofelia, eager to get to the show, was rounding Arlington Street in her stillettos. I've never seen someone haul ass in five-inch heels quite as gracefully. It was very impressive. Someone shouted "Bring it" from a passing car. My car, on the other hand, was parked right by Grille 23. And being a less daring version of my former self, I decided to send myself home before the Grey Goose-effect kicked in and hobbled my driving ability -- which most of you know is atrocious sober. Annie continued on with Ofelia, etal. and said she experienced one of the most hilarious drag shows in recent history. As of 3 a.m. on Saturday, she was still downloading dance mixes from iTunes.

(photo: "Damn! That Ofelia's got a rack!")

24 November 2005

Turkey Lurkey


Trying to brine a turkey this morning. Even though we're spending the day at my cousin's house, we're still whipping up a full-on Thanksgiving feast for the obligatory leftovers. James gets this unbelievable Syrian bread from a Middle Eastern bakery in Roslindale that adds a dash of Lebanese flavor to the post-Thanksgiving sandwich. Jimmy ranks these creations among the "top 10 percent of all sandwiches" --so you know they're something special. If you're in the area this weekend, come on by and we'll make you one.

And be sure to pick up a Globe today. LP appears on the front page of the Living Arts section looking like she walked out of the pages of the NYT Style mag. Unfortunately the online version does not include photos, so just spend the 50 cents on a hard copy already.

23 November 2005

Season of the Sag - Nov 23 thru Dec 22

(clockwise: Moi 11/29, Dreama 11/30, Dawnie 12/1 & Di 12/18)

The sun officially moves into Sagittarius today, which means it's the season of "celebration for the sake of celebration." In other words, things may get a bit BASHY over the next few weeks. Many Sags subscribe to this philosophy year-round, but when they're "in season" they enforce it fiercely. And if you know anyone in the collage of babes pictured above, you likely have reason to whoop it up anyway. These Sags -- quirky, neurotic and chill -- come together to form a "pointy" prism of sparkling personality that should never be held too closely to the light -- or an open flame.

Below is a summary of typical Sagittarian traits that may or may not present themselves in a typical Sag, because as everyone knows -- it's all about the rising sign.

Pleasure: travel, philosophy, free-spirited company
Pain: responsibility, details, tightly-wound company

Generous and freedom-loving, Sagittarians are famous for their love of philosophy and debate; they crave knowledge, and will spare no effort to satisfy that innate curiosity.

Sagittarians often find that some of their most successful relationships are with four-legged creatures -- their connection to anything with fur, feathers and even leaves is legendary. (note: any references to bestiality in comment postings are welcome but will meet sharp, humiliating rebuttal involving photos - or straight-up deletion.)

If you're a human, you can only have a Sag of your very own if you're willing to hold on with an open palm. (again, watch your comments with this one.) Controlling types can shite in their hats. Free-spirited souls with similar life agendas will find a loyal, impressive, and witty friend/partner in a Sag.

Caveat: Sagittarians aren't known for their tact. Be extra-forgiving of seemingly inappropriate statements.

(source: paraphrased from Astrology.com)

22 November 2005


Bags, one of 413's finest, is offering clarity on some of the bewildering backspeak one may be confronted with when people from Western Mass infiltrate your family or group of friends. It's an unprecedented effort to bridge the cultural divide that exists between 617 and 413 and the Pointy Universe supports and gives kudos to Bags (and SAC, who contributed to this report) for his generous outreach.

413-isms by BAGS
There's 413 and then there's the rest of the world. The WSC crew only had a small glimpse of life in the world of Western Massachusetts. Unless you grew up there, [like SAC and I,] you can never truly appreciate how an entire region often speaks an entirely different language from the eastern part of the state. Many times we’ve been asked to explain, “what do you call that or what’s the equivalent?” only to do so to a bewildered look. I am setting the record straight once and for all:

617 / 781 World---- 413 Equivalent

Ice Cream Man---- Ding Dong Cart
The prom---- Prom (no “the”)
Jimmies / Sprinkles (on sundae)---- Shots (pronounced shahts)
Sub---- Grinder
Tonic / Soda---- Cola
BBQ/Cookout---- Picnicking (or Picnic as a verb)
Go to the Liquor Store---- Make a Packy Run**
Quarter Barrel---- Beer Ball

**often heard in parts of Massachusetts, mostly from underage drinkers.

And for all of you Bostonians who think deep fried turkey on Thanksgiving is trendy new tradition, you’re wrong. The Berkshire relatives have been perfecting this art form since the early 70’s. In the holiday tradition we’ll leave you with the Thanksgiving equivalents of what will be served this Thursday. Happy Thanksgiving:

617 / 781 Talk---- 413 Equivalent

Roast Turkey---- Deep Fried Turkey
Fresh Cranberries---- Cranberry with the can marks
Homemade stuffing---- Stove Top stuffing
Real mashed potatoes---- Betty Crocker Potato Buds
Pinot Grigio---- Jack Daniels
Merlot---- Pabst Blue Ribbon - cans
….and for dessert
Tom The Turkey – Carvel Cake---- Jubilee Roll – Friendly’s

18 November 2005


Most of the time, I'm pretty healthy. But once a year, I get sick sick sick sick and it's always in November. A friend of ours calls it "the mung" - something that's worse than a common cold but not quite the flu.

I'm accused of burning the candle at both ends, living on little sleep and zero downtime. But I do this year round, not just in November so I don't know why this month makes me more susceptible. Last year, Caroline licked the fishtank at the Children's Museum on Halloween and introduced a particularly violent strain of the mung into the house a few days later. This time, I'm the host - feverish and hallucinating. It could be a combination of Theraflu and Sudafed. Or the hit of Children's Dimetapp.

17 November 2005

Random Quizilla

1) Name something in which you don't believe. Eternal damnation.

2) If you could choose a different name, what would it be? Probably some sort of throw-back name like Shirley or Maxine.

3) Favorite slang word for something "cool?" "Dope."

4) Who is Curtis James Jackson, III? 50 Cent, pronounced "fitty cent."

5) What kind of shampoo are you currently using? I have a huge vat of Biolage shampoo that I received in a Christmas grab last year. It's still half full, which shows how infrequently I wash my hair.

16 November 2005

On Time and Under Budget

(photo: Monday evening bar crowd at 53 South)

Annie and I had dinner with our friend and former boss Andy the other night. Since my digital camera's batteries bit the dust and rendered me photoless, I thought I'd use his Google image in place of the would-be photos. So, what happens when you type Andy's last name into Google images? Lo and behold, you get a face full o' Pope. This, in and of itself is odd. However, the fact that Andy has always said his father uncannily resembles the late pontif leads me to believe he is involved in some DaVinci-esque conspiracy involving the Vatican and swarthy suburban jews.

(photo: Pope Paven)

We had dinner at Fifty-three South, which by no small coincidence is located on Route 53 South. Aside from the occassional whiff of Chalupas wafting in from neighboring Taco Bell, the restaurant -- especially the bar area -- had the feel of a mini Bomboa or even Silvertone.

Over the appetizers, we revisited our Myers-Briggs personality profiles. I am an INFP. And while all three of us fall just shy of "misanthropic," Ann and Andy tend to be brooding and diplomatic, whereas I can be a reasonless freak with a faulty filter. No wonder Andy fired me.

When the Greater Tri-Cube Area was dismantled in 1998, our colleagues scattered in many different directions -- some to lofty PR positions, others to straight-up bumhood. Once a year or so, we have our "On Time and Under Budget" reunion where we huddle together like war buddies and try to work through the horrors experienced at the hands of the joint venture. But then there are the misty watercolored recollections too -- cherished ones of Prabu Prabakhar; the sound of his voice, images of his abandoned shoes, still fresh.

(photo: Prabu, where art thou?)

It's moments like these that make it so difficult to understand why attendance has dwindled over the past few years. Oh, there is no shortage of excuses, but the majority are flimsy reasons that border on self-effacing. We lost one colleague to an extended wallpapering endeavor, another to a fear of driving in the dark. Our former co-worker, Tex, is often present at these dinners, but his mind is now under the control of a cult, namely EMC. We usually roll with it because we're happy to see him and he's even inspired a new drinking game: Whenever Tex uses the word "storage," you take a drink. Still, it's only a matter of time before we'll have to slip him a mickey, shine a light in his eyes and de-program him. And Code Red and I are not shy about taking such desperate measures to save friends who have forgotten how much they miss us.

When BB Smooth J went underground a few years ago, we weren't about to let that X-ray with hair fade into obscurity. We said "We're goin' in," and descended on his Scituate home like a SWAT team, unannounced, on a Saturday afternoon. Just like that, BB Smooth J was back. If it hadn't been past midnight, BB just may have received another unannounced visit from us on Monday night. We were sort of in the neighborhood, after all.

After dinner, we were complaining to the bartender that it's hard to go out for a cocktail past 10 p.m. in this area. But she assured us we could find said drink just one mile down the road. Before you could say "Drop the Chalupa," we dove into Annie's car and peeled out of the parking lot. One mile later, we skidded into the parking lot of an establishment I swore I'd never set foot inside: T.G.I.Fridays, a soulless franchise next to a mattress retail store. But, it's not the place that matters as much as the company and we had a smashing time. And, in taking that step down, I reached a new milestone: I stayed out past midnight in the suburbs for the first time. On a Monday no less. And we can't wait to do it again. Just don't make us come over there, Andy.

14 November 2005

A Little Sauce, A Little Cheese

"A little saauce, a little cheeese. Nothin' to be afraid of."
- Guy with a thick Dorchester accent and a crush on Auntie trying to convince her to come over for pizza (1992)

I guess the theme is "there is nothing in this world that a little sauce and a little cheese can't fix." Although, I could do without the cheese. After an absolute ASS of a week, dinner with friends -- namely, the other Kate & James -- at Caffe Tosca inspired a 180 in my attitude. At the senior-citizen-early hour of 6:30 p.m., we turned over our wee brown babies -- crabby and insolent -- to our angelic babysitter/magician who inspires silence, obedience and sleep in Caroline and Paulie, and even Vito. We would likely have to drug the children and the pug to yield similar results...but we don't. We headed over to the Norton's in Hingham for pre-show.

(photo: The Kates: My hand, freakishly large)

When we arrived, Katie & James were in the midst of their own mayhem, having two kids ages 3 and 2. We hid out in their sitting room with a bottle of red that had a story behind it.

Katie said her status-obsessed neighbor, who incidently is a mail-order bride from Russia, gave the bottle of wine to her on the condition that she inform whomever she shares it with that it's "a very expensive bottle of wine." CLASSY BROAD. We toasted the misguided M.O.B, and enjoyed the delish wine. The best part: This story led to another of Katie's, detailing how she diplomatically negotiated a non-socialize agreement with the mail-order bride and other nosy, pole-in-ass neighbors. "Feel free to use the swingset in my yard..anytime! But just because you're there, doesn't mean I'm going to come out and talk." My kind of agreement as I still hide from neighbors.

(photo: The Jameses)

At Caffe Tosca, I learned that James N. is a fellow freak as he is also not a fan of cheese! Even better, his dislike is as conditional and layered as mine. Chunks of cheese are off limits, but he will eat pizza and ricotta-based pastas. Plainly put, he doesn't necessarily like cheese but is neither threatened nor plagued by it. Exactly. There's got to be a gene!

So, aside from the excessive amount of cheese strewn about the salads and entrees, it was another successful dinner at Caffe Tosca, followed by a booze-fueled nightcap at Star's. We were home at 11 p.m., which is like 2 a.m. in the suburbs, so everyone should be very impressed.