Delores Handy word of several days ago

A reader, Diana, sends in this word of the day from last Thursday:



Why is there a white guy with a rickshaw going down Huntington Ave?

(It's reasons like this that the iPhone with flashbulb needs to hurry
up and get invented.)

Delores Handy word of the day

Delores Handy did not say anything awesome today. Sorry.

This whole situation is horrible, but it proves the transphobes wrong, doesn't it?

Every time bills come up about passing laws requiring that gender identity is respected, the transphobes spend huge sums of money trying to convince people that trans-sensitive legislation will allow men to go into women's restrooms and rape the women. These people obviously aren't particularly logical, because there's never been anything stopping anyone from entering any restroom. The signs with the skirt-wearing gal and the pants-wearing guy don't actually prevent anyone from entering the restrooms, and people who are in the process of committing a felony assault aren't usually dissuaded by stopping to consider whether the particular jurisdiction will also charge them with a misdemeanor of ignoring a restroom gender sign (or whatever the applicable law would actually be).

Apparently someone who identifies as male allegedly went into a women's restroom and allegedly raped a woman in there. The story doesn't say, but it would seem that the woman symbol on the door didn't stop him from entering, nor did he assume any sort of female gender temporarily or long-term. He just walked right in! He didn't need the help of any newfangled laws or anything. Astonishing.

Delores Handy word of the day


Laws in Cambridge don't apply on private property

Today I went to Cambridge Honda and noticed that, as usual, the
mechanics were putting finished cars "right out front" for customers.
In the two marked accessible parking spots. I asked the service desk
person if they could maybe not do that, taking the angle that you
never know when someone will need the spots, and I wouldn't want them
to get in trouble. Service person told me she's been asking them for
years not to put the cars there. Right.

I called the Cambridge Police non-emergency number and asked if they
could maybe spot by or send a letter or something. They said they
couldn't do anything since it's private property. I told them that I
thought state laws still applied and localities certainly ticket
people on private property. He said they wouldn't do anything unless
it was on public property. I asked if, for future reference, they were
able to enforce it if someone with a placard called and needed the
spot. He told me again that it was private property.

Hey everyone in Cambridge! Feel free to break laws as long as you're
on your own property!

(On a more serious note, maybe it would help if people took note of
this practice and wrote the dealer letters saying they've driven by
and noticed it or whatnot and wished they'd reserve the spots for
people with placards.)

Yyyyeah, I'm going to go ahead and have you come in on Saturday

Usually when people say they're going to go ahead and do something,
it's a bad sign.

My bank called and wanted to go ahead and set up automatic payments
presumably since I routinely pay my mortgage a few days late. Uh, then
stop having a 13-day fee-free grace period and I'll pay it on time.
How about you go ahead and do that?

Delores Handy word of the day


Delores Handy word of the day

"On Puont with Tom Ashbrook"

Delores Handy word of the day

"five puont seven billion"

(Also, my I mistyped "puont" as "piont" and my iPhone corrected it. It
must love Delores too!)

Raw like sushi

I'm at the Whole Foods at Fresh Pond eating some sesame tofu (OM NOM
NOM) and assorted salad bar concoctions. I just saw a dude put a
container of maki sushi in the microwave. Hmm...

Jesus H Christ it's sticking

It's snowing in my iPhone


Dear snow,

We haven't even had fall yet. Can't you wait a few weeks?

No love (yet),

The Starbucks in Newton Centre was totally packed just now -- nowhere
to sit. Maybe Newton Centre needs a second Starbucks.

Oh wait.

This could be dangerous has a whole category for world handcrafted fair trade items. Such awesome stuff, and all marked down. I totally want this Tibetan cabinet. Along with just about everything on there.

Yet another fine product from Mike's

Mike's Hard Spiced Apple is absolutely amazing. As far as I know, it's only available as part of the variety pack (two spiced apple, two lemon, two lime, two pomegranate, two cranberry, two light cranberry). I can't see a downside; it would just mean I'd have a lot of Mike's in my fridge. Oh darn.

Also, the variety pack no longer pisses me off since they've stopped including the awful berry-flavored-kool-aid-nyquil-gusher-whatever ones.

Overheard at Lesley

A group of undergrads talking about how they took the bus to Target in
Somerville, and it's "in this scary ghettoass area" and mentioning how
"we were totally watching each other's backs so we didn't get
murdered." No word on how exactly they accomplished this.


Why did Blogger just e-mail me in Dutch?

Begin forwarded message:

Date: October 15, 2009 4:06:13 PM EDT
Subject: Blogger Mobile Post

Voltooid! Je Delores Ha... bericht staat op je blog1smootshort.blogspot....


I hate when websites automagically pull up the mobile version of a
site and there's no option to go to the full version. I'm talking to
you, American Express!

Delores Handy word of the day

"Five-puont plan"

State patrol officer in car #2027 is awesome!

This morning it took me an hour to drive from Fort Hill to the JFK/
UMass rotary via Magazine Street, Mass Ave, Columbia Road. Between the
broken water main in Roxbury and the police activity at Columbia Road
and Dorchester Ave.

I saw a couple things that made me really happy though. One, as I sat
in traffic facing east on Columbia Road near the Catholic school, the
aforementioned officer was a few cars ahead of me, put on his
flashers, got out, and directed cars to pull up or pull over so they
were no longer blocking a side street. He then directed cars to ignore
the light (since cars our direction weren't moving) and come out of
the side street and into the empty half of Columbia Road.

I also saw a police car from another town (couldn't read it as I went
by, but not Boston or state patrol) pulling over people who wouldn't
move over for an ambulance. Sweet.

The MBTA trip planner is seriously on crack today

I wanted to compare the time it took to take the bus from Roxbury Crossing to Fields Corner versus taking the orange line downtown and the red line back out. For some reason, the trip planner thinks it's a nine-minute walk from Fields Corner station to Fields Corner station:

[Click for larger]

We have progress. Also, OMG the Flaherty vultures!

I got a call from the head of neighborhood services on Friday. He was very very apologetic, agreed that it was totally inappropriate for National Grid to just block off a neighborhood for two months without notice, and that, yes, the departments issuing the permits should have talked to the transportation folks about suspending street sweeping ticketing when there are so few spaces. He also said that no party who is doing construction can deny anyone access to their own property unless absolutely necessary and with notice personally given to property owner, and agreed with me that it's unacceptable for National Grid to put up a blanket two-month closure of several streets rather than having a specific plan for when certain parts of the street will be unavailable. He's told me to write a letter to the head of the transportation department and to cc: him, and he'll get the ticket and the misinformed detail cop taken care of.

I've also received e-mails and blog comments from Flaherty's people, telling me to contact him and he'll get it taken care of. That's kind of them, but this isn't the first time I've blogged about various city services screwing me over. Is it just a coincidence that he's suddenly doing his job with the election coming up? Don't get me wrong; I actually do plan to vote for him on the premise that it's time for someone new, but good lord.

Hey, Flaherty people who might be reading this: Is there anything you can do about Boston not enforcing noise laws? Or aggressive driving? Or traffic laws at all? Or laws in general unless they involve parking?

Do any of the city departments talk to each other? Also, I hate National Grid

[Warning: long and pissy entry ahead]

On August 27, a bunch of signs appeared up and down my street and the nearest four streets, with "NO PARKING 7AM - 5PM 8/27 - 10/27" on them. We weren't given any notice like they're supposed to give us. I called the mayor's hotline and complained about that since it's our entire damn neighborhood. The person "looked into it" and said, yes, the code specifies 48 hours notice, and told me the construction was being done by National Grid, so to call them. Thanks. I'm pretty sure National Grid doesn't enforce codes against itself.

So then on August 28, I was taking a shower and suddenly there wasn't any water. The Spousal Unit went outside to ask the construction people poking in a manhole up the street about it, and they said they'd turned it off and it would be back on in an hour. By which time I'd need to be at work, preferably without shampoo all over my head.

I called the city once it was back on. First, they connected me to Water and Sewer. Explained to them what happened. They connected me to Water and Sewer Collections, who explained to me that my water wouldn't get turned off if I'd pay my water bill. *headdesk* So I finally talked to the construction-related Water and Sewer person, who told me there was no record of permission for National Grid to turn water off on that day. Said to call National Grid and complain. Right.

A couple days later they turned off the water again. Same thing when I called the city.

Then a few days later I couldn't get my car out of my driveway, because they'd decided to dig up the road in front of my driveway. Construction people moved some things and kindly guided me in driving over the sidewalk at an angle so I could leave. Detail cop was rude to me and asked if I could read the signs that said "NO PARKING." I said that I certainly can read them, and I was parked on my own property. He told me that "NO PARKING" obviously means that the road won't be usable. Clearly. Despite the same signs on other days meaning that someone would be poking in a manhole and shutting off my water.

Oh, here's where I mention the minor annoyances of every day going out to my car that's parked on one of the streets that isn't labeled with a sign, and finding myself blocked in by cones and barrels, along with a detail cop inside the caution-taped-off active construction area texting or talking on the phone or, one time, READING A BOOK. Each time I try to wave the cop down to ask if I can move the cones. Cop doesn't notice or care. I drive right up to the cones. Cop often watches this, doesn't attempt to come over and move the damn cones. So I move them my damn self. While the cop stands there being paid to manage traffic.

On September 14, I parked my car that evening on a street that was having street sweeping the next day. This particular street was largely ripped up, but didn't have any construction signs and wasn't coned off. It was about the only parking space in the neighborhood, since you'll remember that most of the neighborhood has NO PARKING FOR TWO MONTHS signs on both sides of the street, and I've been told by a police officer that the signs mean I can't park in my own driveway. I come out the morning of the 15th and there's a ticket on my car, written a couple minutes after streetsweeping starts. The streetsweeper of course didn't work its way through the maze of cones to sweep the one (ripped-up and full of parked bulldozers and shit) street that isn't completely closed off. But the ticketing people came.

So I called the parking clerk. The person was very nice and understanding, but said that they can't dismiss a ticket that was legally given. She said to call the neighborhood services office and speak to my neighborhood liaison, who can see why the different departments didn't communicate with each other and could take care of the ticket from that end.

Sept 16: I call the neighborhood services office. Am told I need to speak with someone named Keith. He isn't there. I leave a message.

Sept 17: I call and ask for Keith. He isn't there. I leave a message.

Sept 18: I call and ask for Keith. He isn't there. I leave a message.

Et cetera. At one point he calls, gets my voicemail since I'm with a client, leaves a message with just his phone number. I call back and he isn't there.

I call back every day and he's never there. Person always says he'll call back. On October 6, I say that I call every day and he never calls back. The person says he will call back, and if he doesn't, someone else will. No one calls.

Today I called the mayor's office and told them I'm having trouble reaching Keith in neighborhood services. She says I have to make a formal complaint. That seems a little harsh, but it's apparently their term for putting something in writing. OK, fine, that works. So I give her the info, and she says he'll call back today, or if not, his boss will.

No one called.

At this point I don't so much care about the parking ticket, but the city is really just treating us like shit and someone needs to know about it. We can't get them to put bulbs in our streetlights or fixed the destroyed sidewalks in this neighborhood, but they can send someone up here to write tickets for street sweeping that obviously wasn't going to happen. I'm paying property taxes and can't park in my own driveway or on the street outside my house for two months. There wasn't so much as a note in my mailbox or a phone call saying they'd be doing this. National Grid couldn't even bother to post the signs with the required 48-hour notice. The city has these regulations for how these things are supposed to work, but they won't enforce them, telling me to call National Grid and magically make them start being ethical.

I feel like calling the city assessor and seeing if they'll come out tomorrow and reassess my house now that it has no driveway, jackhammer noise outside all day, and no running water some of the time. Obviously I'm someone with a lot of privilege to be in a position to complain about fairly trivial things, but the city also is in a place of a lot more privilege than I am, and they're abusing it.


Why doesn't anyone use the word "concubine" anymore?

Mass Eye and Ear is trying to kill us all

No, not the techs who try to give me "just a little something to numb
your eyes" when my chart says I'm deathly allergic to proparacaine.

The three people I saw DRIVING out of the parking lot squinting and
hunching over the steering wheel. Two of whom each had a bandaged eye
and clearly aren't used to only having one usable eye. Maybe they
could get a system that sends a "no, really, don't drive with your
eyes like this" alert down to the parking counter and won't let the
person retrieve their car. Or station a cop by the parking lot. Or
have a transport person escort them down and make sure they safely
make it into a red line car or vroom vroom car not driven by them.

Dear asshat in the Fresh Pond rotary

If you're going to insist on using the rotary as if it has two lanes,
at least try exiting from the outermost nonexistent lane, rather than
trying to drive through my car as I'm passing your exit. Did you know
you can even go around twice if you can't safely get to your exit?
It's perfectly legal! Not that I imagine such things matter to you.

No love,

Where's Delores?

I wonder if I could call the pledge week people and offer a $50 pledge
to get Delores Handy to join them on air.

There's a Seriously?

I've decided H1N1 is becoming a catalyst for getting people to succumb to government propaganda. Wash your hands, get injected, donate all your rubber and steel to the swine flu effort...

Edit: OMG. This was what greeted me when I went and looked at

And this, folks, is a situation in which we could really use a longassgermanword that means "something that's so perfectly ridiculous that it seems like it's a parody of itself." Like news articles that read as if they're from The Onion, just about any song by Alanis Morissette, etc.

How should healthcare costs be determined?

This was sparked by something posted on another blog somewhere, mentioning that the Today Show was talking about charging people for healthcare based on things like smoking and obesity. I find this problematic, though possibly somewhat on the right track.

I'm fine with the idea of having measures of healthy living, much like we do for driving. We would need to make sure though that they're objective. For instance, while obesity is a problem, a lot of studies are showing us that it's actually more healthy for some people to stay their heavyset size than to struggle to lose weight and gain it right back. A person's fitness level, cholesterol level, etc., are much more important in determining whether the person is taking care of him/herself. We also need to be careful to take into account whether a person has another medical condition that prevents what we'd consider optimal diet and exercise. We can't have the same fitness standards for a typical person as we do for someone with severe orthopedic or neurological conditions, or for someone with major mental illness.

The feds have (had? I know it's changed and believe the name might now be different) a program called Medicaid Rehabilitation Option, which employs Performance Based Contracting for programs that provide support to people with mental illness who live in group homes or in apartments where staff visit them to provide support. In this program, in order for the program to be paid, the program had to demonstrate that 75% of people were meeting 75% of their goals. The goals had to be rehabilitation goals rather than quality of life or maintenance, but they were quite individualized. In other words, they weren't measuring "health" for each person based on whether that person had a job, was raising a family, and was driving a car. For some people, the person was making progress by deciding that she wanted to go out and buy a newspaper twice a week so she could get out of the house and be more in touch with what was going on in the world. For another person, it was making his own coffee. For some people, yes, it was getting a full-time job or getting into college. But the goals were individualized by the staff (with client input except when a client was really unable to express preferences) to push each person to be a little more independent and engaged in life. Not to try to get every person up to the same standards.

Something like this would make sense with physical health care. A provider and patient would come up with fitness and lifestyle goals that were appropriate to the person's physiology, other physical health concerns, and mental health. People who were meeting their goals, thus showing an investment in health, could get a discount on their health insurance. It would be similar to how my plan gives me $150 per year toward a gym membership. We'd need to be careful that we're giving bonuses to particularly motivated people, rather than making insurance impossibly expensive for people whose health suffers because they're under tons of stress because of factors in their life they can't control. (There was recently a study showing that Black families have a much higher rate than whites of low-birth-weight and/or premature infant births, even when controlled for by income, education level, family stressors, etc. Leading to the conclusion that daily effects of racism itself cause stress, which we know is linked to intrauterine growth restriction and pre-term labor.)

One more reason I really can't understand why anyone would eat meat

Of course, I have empathy for this woman, and I know from being a close part of many people's similar experiences that it's incredibly painful to have an illness that really changes someone's functioning in this way.

What I don't understand is why the slant of the story is that she's a victim and it's the meat processing plant's fault. This woman chose to eat dead animal flesh, chose not to make sure it was cooked to 160 degrees, and chose not to buy flesh that was certified as being from a particular part of a healthy organically raised animal. I absolutely believe she had the right to make a bad choice, as we all do, and I don't believe she should suffer or be made to feel guilty. But we don't need to view her as an absolute 100-percent victim. I think this is much more along the lines of someone who has a brain injury because they decided to go racing motorcycles at night with no helmet. It was a really stupid choice to make.

If there is some blame to be placed -- which I'm not sure there is -- it should be on our society allowing the United States Department of Agriculture to be viewed as a nutritional authority. I have no doubt that this woman grew up surrounded by the USDA's meat promotion posters hung alongside the fire safety and crosswalk safety posters in the classroom disguised as nutritional information and their heavily subsidized corn syrup and hotdogs portrayed in the lunchroom as a balanced meal. That kind of propaganda needs to stop, and people need to be taught accurate nutritional information by schools and physicians. But we also need to view conscious choices that adults make as exactly that. We don't need to blame our bad choices on the animal slaughterer or the vodka distiller or the car manufacturer.

The screw asylum

Ever wonder what becomes of those screws you find in the box that might have no slot, an uncentered slot, no threads, or odd hunks of metal clinging to them? Wonder no more. They get admitted to The Screw Asylum, where they're diagnosed, photographed, and classified. No information as to whether they're eventually helped on their way to being productive members of hardware society.

(Also, this is my 668th post. Too bad I didn't discover The Screw Asylum a few days earlier, because it would have been a perfect 666th post.)