Is anyone else amused...

...every time they pass Euclid Street?

I mean, I really hope there aren't non-Euclidean streets lurking out there in the city, like where the parallel streets end up running into each other or into themselves.

I think I just lost some liberal street cred

Today NPR was doing segments on 9/11 conspiracy theories and why the war is a waste of money and lives and whether the terrorists have actually won. Normally I'm largely in agreement with the aforementioned subjects (well, or at least interested in hearing the conspiracy theories, even if some of them are pretty out there). This wasn't the problem though. I mean, come on, this day is really a sensitive issue for a lot of people, and it probably always will be for them. Can't NPR just play patriotic music and read sappy poems like all the other media sources are doing? Just for today? Tomorrow, sure, by all means, go back to the focus of questioning the government, because it sure needs it. But today, can't we all just get along?

Why do they hate freedom?

Whole Foods bag-refund policy seems inconsistent

Tonight I went to Whole Foods for a fast food dinner – a drink and some fruit. I was asked if I wanted a bag, to which I replied that I didn't need one. The cashier did not give me the five-cent "go green bag discount" that is generally applied for not taking a bag. I asked, and the cashier then informed me that this was only if I had brought a bag. I wasn't carrying a bag, so I didn't get the discount that I usually get for gesturing to my messenger bag (and then generally walking out with my items in my hand when it's something like a drink and fruit as it was tonight).

A manager was standing there, so I talked to him about the discount. He explained to me that the purpose of the discount was to encourage customers to bring their own bags. I asked him why the store wanted people to bring bags. He said that it saves the environment, just as I figured. I asked him, wasn't I saving the environment equally if I were to carry my items in my hands or if I were to put them in a reusable bag? He told me that the store's policy was that I needed to bring in a bag for my items to get the discount. I told him that I had been offered a bag, but declined, as I don't like to waste things. He then informed me that the bags are recyclable. Um, yes, but they require energy and resources to make and energy and resources to recycle. Not taking one at all saves exactly the same energy as putting my items in a bag I've brought in. He agreed, but said that I had to have a bag with me to get the discount.


How would teaching sex ed to kindergarteners possibly be a bad thing?

I was kind of disappointed to learn that McCain's complaint that Obama wants to teach comprehensive sexuality education to kindergarteners was actually unfounded.

Kindergarteners should absolutely be taught age-appropriate sexuality information, such as that humans generally live in family units of some type, the names of body parts, which ones we keep covered, who should and shouldn't be touching them, how to stand up for oneself, and how to have respectful friendships with one another. I'd be quite suspicious of a kindergarten that wasn't teaching most of these things. And it seems like it could only strengthen the curriculum to have it regulated and reviewed by professionals with a background in health education. How on earth is McCain seeing this as something negative?

Why were the lights on in the first place?

This Lights Out Boston program is pretty cool, but why is it only for part of the year, and why is it voluntary? Why not allow ISD to cite anyone who has clearly unnecessary energy-using items turned on?

(And no, I of course don't mean that they should be scrutinizing power usage and intruding into people's lives, but why not start citing businesses or homes that are completely lit up when no one's around? Much like how they don't pick through people's trash looking for a single recyclable item someone overlooked, but they do cite people for having a trash barrel that obviously contains a multitude of recyclables. Well, except for how they don't do nearly enough of said citing, but I'm using the example of how this falls within enforceable city codes.)

Why the United States Postal Service can bite me, by eeka

Like many Boston residents, I live in a three-family home. This means there are three mailboxes attached to our house, each bearing the names of the people on that floor. For the past several months, our letter carrier has been randomly putting the mail in our mailboxes nearly every day. A couple times a week we get random mail for other nearby addresses as well. A lot of my mail is often missing too, which I think is partly due to the carrier delivering my mail to random locations, and partly due to neighbors just throwing away incorrectly delivered mail. Every time there's random mail in my mailbox, I call my local post office and ask them to stop doing this. They're polite, though they say that they've talked to the carrier many times, therefore there's no reason it could still be happening. Right.

So yesterday when I called, they suggested I also call 800-ASK-USPS and report it to them so there would be a paper trail.

After being on hold with 800-ASK-USPS for 12 minutes, I told them the problem. I gave them my address, and the representative told me that they have this down as a single-family home, therefore we're only allowed to have one mailbox. I told them it's been a three-family home since 1893 when it was built. She told me that it's zoned as a one-family. I asked her where she's getting this information. She said it comes from the city. I told her that the city assessor's office has this down as a three-family home, we're taxed as three separate residences, the county has three deeds registered on the parcel, and so forth. She said that they're just going by the records they get from the city about how the home is "zoned," and I'd have to change "your zoning" with the city. Again, I explain that the city is well aware that it's a three-family home, and does she know what a zone is? So, like, can I send the USPS my tax bill or my deed or the printout from the assessor's office showing that it's a three-family home? Nope, they get their information right from the city, and I'd have to talk to the city about getting my home "zoned" as a three-family.

So, the end result is that she wouldn't take my complaint, because the USPS database says my address isn't allowed to have three mailboxes on it, so the carrier is actually delivering the mail correctly. "People think they can just cut a house up into apartments, but it doesn't work that way." Grr, my house has been a three-family home with three kitchens and three bathrooms since 1893. City records from 1893 onward show three unit numbers indicating the three different units.

There's at least one reason not to hate Boston Moving Day

Aside from certain areas in town where the entire width of the street is crammed full of illegally parked moving trucks, minivans, pickups, cars, Segways, horses, etc., it's actually easier to park this week than it usually is. When I drove to home visits in various Boston neighborhoods yesterday and today, I had no problem finding a parking spot. Why?

Because of those wonderful NO STANDING PERMITTED MOVING VEHICLES ONLY signs. Since no one around here seems to have any reading comprehension, people pull up, see the sign, and drive away. They don't actually consider the dates and times on them. This morning I saw a completely vacant stretch of about eight parking spots on a block where parking is usually at a premium. I saw drivers pull up, glance at the sign, and leave. The sign clearly stated that there was to be no parking there. No parking tomorrow. Since it's today, I pulled up and parked there. For a session yesterday, I used a spot that was reserved for this past Saturday and Sunday. I'm loving these parking signs. I hope they stay up for a long time.

[Image shamelessly stolen from Link also included in the event that I get google hits for people looking for parking permits. I don't provide them; I just think they're awesome. The Permit Guy can get you one though.]