Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Burn that Bridge, Scotty, Burn it!

Seriously, Scott, the NY Times' excerpts probably don't do full justice to your sentiment. Tell us how you really feel.

Choice quotes coming from the Times coverage of former Bush Press Secretary Scott McClellan's new memoir, inner quotes McClellan's own words:

"President Bush 'convinces himself to believe what suits his needs at the moment,' and has engaged in 'self-deception' to justify his political ends."

"The decision to invade Iraq was a 'serious strategic blunder,' and yet, in his view, it was not the biggest mistake the Bush White House made. That, he says, was 'a decision to turn away from candor and honesty when those qualities were most needed.'"

On the administration's response to Hurricaine Katrina, the Times quotes McClellan as "saying it 'spent most of the first week in a state of denial' and 'allowed our institutional response to go on autopilot.'"

On Condoleeza Rice as both National Security Adviser and Secretary of State, "'No matter what went wrong, she was somehow able to keep her hands clean,' Mr. McClellan writes, adding that 'she knew how to adapt to potential trouble, dismiss brooding problems, and come out looking like a star.'”

But his guns blaze on everybody including himself, "Mr. McClellan does not exempt himself from failings — 'I fell far short of living up to the kind of public servant I wanted to be' — and calls the news media 'complicit enablers' in the White House’s 'carefully orchestrated campaign to shape and manipulate sources of public approval' in the march to the Iraq war in 2002 and 2003."

So, does Scotty get a pat on the back for this tell all two years after the fact, or should he be pitied that it took him two years to stop spinning and get his bearings on the damage that's been done?

Completed sandbox

After moving 3000 lbs of sand to the sandbox, I am pleased to say it is complete. The cover is a vinyl mesh from Backyardcity.com that is attached with stainless steel snaps. My two-year old boy said "sandbox, yay!" every time I uncovered it over the weekend. One nice thing about the 10" of sand is that it is easily deep enough to hold up a beach umbrella, providing instant shade. The left two plywood seats showed some separation of layers on the outer edge, irritatingly enough. I must have picked a poor panel to cut those out of. A handful of nails fixed that, but I will have a heck of a time replacing those seats if I ever need to.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sen. Kennedy diagnosed with brain tumor

Boston.com has the story.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Boston vs. Philadelphia 2008 Round 7: Cameriere, there' s un italiano in mia minestra!

What city do you think of when you think of Italians...let's see, there's this great section of Boston called the North End which is the historical home of Italian immigrants. It's well worth a visit, despite yuppification and gentrification that's robbing it of the Italian aura. East Boston was also heavily settled by incoming Italians. More recently, people of Italian descent have dominated Boston politics, some recent big names: Paul Cellucci,Mike Capuano ,John Cogliano ,Foster Furcolo ,Joe Malone , Thomas Menino,Joe Moakley ,John A. Volpe , Sal DiMasi.

Stephen Puelo has written a new book on the history of Italians in Boston that is garnering excellent reviews. He has a blog post over at Beacon Broadside discussing the reactions to the book. It's worth a visit and a read.

Now, I'm sure that Cheesesteak will chime with some blather about Italians settling in Phillie and even a movie or two being made featuring Italian-American characters. We'll call this one a tie.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Boston.com links to Ted Kennedy's hometown paper:

HYANNIS -- U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy was rushed by ambulance to Cape Cod Hospital this morning after falling ill at the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport.

Hyannis fire responded to the compound after a call was made around 8:30 a.m. It's unclear what Kennedy's medical condition is, but after he spent almost two hours in the emergency room a decision was made to transfer him to Mass General Hospital in Boston.

Kennedy, 76, was placed on a stretcher and wheeled out to the MedFlight helicopter around 10:15 a.m. where it took off from Barnstable Municipal Airport.

The Kennedy family is preparing to host the annual Best Buddies Challenge event in Hyannisport this afternoon, which is a fund-raiser for the organization. Best Buddies was founded by Anthony Kennedy Shriver and helps people with intellectual disabilities.

Hundreds are expected to participate in the event, which kicked off this morning with a 100-mile bicycle ride from the Kennedy Library in Boston to Hyannisport.

A concert at the Kennedy compound is scheduled for tonight.

Kennedy has represented Massachusetts in the United States Senate for forty-three years.

He was elected in 1962 to finish the final two years of the Senate term of his brother, Senator John F. Kennedy, who was elected president in 1960.

Since then, Kennedy has been re-elected to seven full terms, and is now the second most senior member of the Senate.

Bostodelphia will check in after whatever is happening clarifies. There has not been any official announcement, though various news outlets are batting the word "stroke" about in their headlines without sourcing the diagnosis. Given Kennedy's age and medical history, a stroke is surely possible, but Bostodelphia hasn't seen any definitive, or offical pronouncement.

Update:boston.com provides extended account, including reactions from MA and national politicians.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

FREE TIX DRAWING: Back Supersnack, Fight AIDS, Friday May 16th

Your friendly deadly sandwich is a supporter of Supersnack, a non-profit organization primarily involved with raising funds for AIDS Walk New York. This Friday is Supersnack's Big Third Ball:

Here's their own write up about what's going on:

With pesky infectious diseases, the philosophy of Supersnack, a Brooklyn-based charitable organization, is to add insult to injury – and then even more insult – in order to make a difference. Supersnack is pleased to announce a lineup including band The Mountain Goats and comedian/Daily Show correspondent John Oliver for their third annual benefit concert and gala, "Supersnack's Big Third Ball: An Evening of Music, Hilarity, and Hitting AIDS Where It Hurts" on Friday, May 16th at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple in Fort Greene. The $25 tickets can be purchased at their website, http://www.supersnack.org/.

100% of the proceeds from Supersnack's Big Third Ball will go to AIDS Walk New York, benefiting Gay Men's Health Crisis and 60 other tri-state area AIDS service organizations. Supersnack volunteers, Redhook Ale Brewery, Goose Island Brewery, and boomBOOM Presents make the benefit possible. Featured performers will include: The Mountain Goats, Rock Plaza Central, and John Oliver ("The Daily Show with Jon Stewart"). Also appearing will be author Sarah Bunting ("Television Without Pity") and comedians Dave Hill (MTV, VH1, Comedy Central, MOJO, UCB) and Rob Lathan (Upright Citizen's Brigade Theatre, MTV’s "Human Giant") and a gaggle of performances by additional musicians, comedians, writers, performance artists, and poets. The benefit will be hosted by national sex educators, authors and funny persons Gwenn Barringer and Shawn Decker ("My Pet Virus").

Attendance is mandatory. Music will be heard, good times will be had, and AIDS will be criticized and abused roundly. Please join Supersnack, Redhook Ale Brewery and Goose Island Brewery for an event of massive proportions. Seriously massive. Bigger than the sun, this ball.

About Supersnack: Supersnack is a tax-exempt 501c3-pending charitable organization dedicated to preserving the "fun" in volunteer and the "smart" in community. They have raised nearly 60,000 dollars for AIDSWalk --raising $33,000 in 2007 alone, with no single gift of more than $500. Their mission is to fight everything bad in the world by working to fund research for cures, stopping cruelty (animal, human, earth), and by letting everyone know that making a difference is just as easy as deciding you're going to. For more info visit: http://www.supersnack.org/.

About AIDS Walk New York: Since 1986, AIDS Walk New York has raised $97 million for HIV programs and services in the tri-state area, and has grown into the largest AIDS fundraising event in the world. In 2007 alone, 45,000 participants, many of whom were members of 2,400 corporate and community teams, raised a record sum of more than $6.8 million for Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) and 60 other tri-state area AIDS service organizations. www.aidwalk.net.

Now in cooperation with our friends at Supersnack, Bostodelphia will be holding a drawing for free tickets to Supersnack's Big Third Ball.* If you're going to be in New York Friday night, or think you might want to make a trip of it to support a good cause, drop us your friendly deadly sandwich a line at cheesesteak[dot]the[dot]impaler[at]gmail[dot]com by 3:00 pm EST Thursday (tomorrow). Provide your name and e-contact info and Supersnack will contact the winners Thursday night. Good luck!

*For those thinking it's weird to boost free tix for a charity fundriser, keep in mind 85% of the bar take will also be going to the effort, and you can always donate directly to Supersnack via their website.

Defending the Electronic Frontier in Paint

Around Maker Faire, Bostodelphia was contacted by a representative of artist Suzanne Rachel Forbes to promote her painting, Defending the Electronic Frontier. Below is the artist's note on her work:

DEF is a total labor of love. It features one of my most revered and lovely models, rocking the look she absolutely pwns, and surrounded by the artifacts of both the past and future of internet freedom and creativity. Miss Eva G posed for me in her SOMA loft, dressed in her own fabulous steampunk finery, with an antique crossbow she brought back from China. The painting took several sittings with Miss E and then many hours of work painting in the detailed background. She is defending early implements of the computer revolution, Jacquard punch cards and IBM cards, a CDV of Ada Byron, and Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine No. 2. An apple core represents Turing, eaten up by the intolerance of his era. Also prominently displayed are some wonderful modern creations- The Steampunk Laptop by Datamancer and the Steampunk Flatpanel and Keyboard by Jake Von Slatt- who were kind enough to allow me use their work in the painting. The packet-sniffing rat under the desk is a nod to the EFF’s most recent victory; the EFF logo appears among the luggage stickers on the trunk. I added the bullet shells at the last minute when I learned that Miss E. is a crack shot.

Unfortunately, Maker Faire has come and gone; and due to a monstrous infection that plagued the Cheesesteak and Cod's adventures in sandbox building, Bostodelphia just wasn't able to give Ms. Forbes' painting the attention it deserved. That said, it looks like prints of Defending the Electronic Frontier are still available, with $10 from every sale going to benefit the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Good work in support of a good cause. Bostodelphia is happy to lend its endorsement.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sandbox Weekend

I spent the weekend building a sandbox for my two little boys to play in. Insane housing prices and an unwillingness over the years to commit to an unpayable exotic mortgage has left me a renter, so it was built at my mother-in-law's house.

There are many options: pressure treated ACQ lumber, plastic/wood composites like Trex, 100% plastic recycled lumber, plain old wood. Of these, I think the 100% plastic makes a lot of sense - it'll last as long as you wish, it can be recycled at the end, no splinters, no toxicity. Wow, that stuff is pricey though - like $10/foot! I have filed away mental notes to revisit that material in the future. Pressure treated lumber, even the arsenic-free ACQ, gives me the heebie-jeebies in the context of constant contact with little hands. Trex type stuff is also expensive, so I went with plain old fir. $22 total for 24 feet of 2x12, cut neatly into 6 foot pieces at Lowe's. If only black locust was commercially available...

For seats I used 3/4 inch red oak plywood. Yes, plywood outside. Very bad, I know. What the heck - it's screwed on, if it rots I'll take it off. Tool limitations prevented me from cutting up 2x6's to make more durable seats. Here's a closeup of a seat. Note the countersunk screws to avoid snagging clothing:
The main boards are attached with Liquid Nails and a trio of 3/8 x 4 inch lag screws. This should be strong enough, eh? Incidentally, ACQ is often used with stainless steel fasteners. The hot-dip galvanized screws I used were 78 cents each...SS was $6.14 each!!
Sorry 'bout the washing out, my cell phone camera sorta sucks. Now, the next issue was finishing the wood. Leaving it unfinished would limit its life. However, being a sandbox about 10 years is all that's needed. I opted to avoid toxic sealants altogether and went with AFM Safecoat Naturals Clear Penetrating Oil. This is basically boiled linseed oil without any lead or other heavy metals that are typically used as dryers in linseed oil. I gave the whole thing 2 coats of oil, top and bottom, dug out the backyard, put down landscape fabric, and will fill the box with 3000 lbs of play sand in 2 weeks when we return. The final pic:
I think it looks pretty nice! I am not looking forward to moving the sand in, 30 wheelbarrow trips will do me in.