Red Sox Great Pedro Martinez Moves to New York

Pedro Martinez will wear a Boston Red Sox cap in his Hall of Fame plaque, but that doesn’t mean he’s abandoning New York, where he played for the Mets after the Yankees folded like origami in 2004.

From the Albany Times-Union Capitol Confidential:

Red Sox, Mets great Pedro Martinez honored by Legislature

Pedro Martinez traded in his Major League uniform for a baby blue plaid suit Thursday as he was honored at the Capitol by the pedro1-306x217Legislature for his on-field accomplishments and his contributions to the Dominican community.

Martinez, who was a part of Boston’s 2004 World Series-winning club and called Queens home a year later as a member of the Mets, was honored with a pair of resolutions in both the Assembly and Senate and a string of laudatory statements by Mets, Sox and, yes, many Yankee fans as he stood on the sidelines with a broad smile that did not fade.

Hey – why should it?

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Burying the Lede (NYT Cherry King Edition)

First in what we expect will be a long series

This piece by Vivian Yee ran in Thursday’s New York Times.

 

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Except . . .

Here’s the headline that appeared in the New England (and early?) edition:

Marijuana Farm Found

At a Cherry Business

The text of the two versions is identical. So both pieces bury the lede. But one cremates it in the headline.

Not to get technical about it.

Contrast that with Wednesday’s New York Daily News front page.

 

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So, to recap: The New York Times is once again a day late and a dolor short.

Ouch.

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Stupidest. Fashion. Ad. Ever.

From Sunday’s New York Times Styles section.

 

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For the literati-impaired, that’s 80-year-old Joan Didion, a minor 20th Century American author best known for her collection of essays Slouching Towards Bethlehem.

Several questions for the fine folks at Céline:

1) What the hell are you thinking?

2) How many readers of the Times do you think will recognize Didion?

3) How many of them will give a damn she’s in a Céline ad?

So, to recap:

A high-end retailer uses a low-recognition author to promote an image that might – or might not – resonate with the over-80 set. (Not that there’s anything wrong with them.)

But in the New York Times? On Sunday? At those advertising rates?

To us, that’s Slouching Towards Bellevue.

Sixth floor, psychiatric ward.

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Dead Blogging ‘Grounded’ at Central Square Theater

Well the Missus and I trundled over to Central Square to catch the Nora Theatre Company production of Grounded and man, it was fabulous.

A hot-shot fighter pilot’s career in the skies, “alone in the blue,” is ended by an unexpected pregnancy. Reassigned to a windowless Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 12.46.40 AMtrailer in the desert outside Las Vegas, by day, she hunts down terrorists, her face lit by the dull grey glow of a drone’s monitor. At night, she returns to her domestic life with husband and daughter. As she tracks a high-profile target half a world away, the pressure mounts.

It’s a total tour de chair force, depicting what it’s like for drone pilots to go to war all day and then go home at night. (The history of military combat is a history of increasing distance from the actual killing field – think trench warfare to the London blitz – but never before has combat included going home for dinner.)

George Brant’s 90-minute monologue is strikingly delivered by Celeste Oliva (Boston Globe profile here), who absolutely owns the stage for every second of this haunting production (directed by Nora Theatre Company Artistic Director Lee Mikeska Gardner).

All we could say when the play ended was . . . Wow.

It’s there though March 22.

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The Atlantic Says Bay State (Hearts) Charlie Baker

Snow kidding: The current issue of The Atlantic features this piece by Molly Ball.

The Bluest Republican

Why staunchly Democratic Massachusetts loves its new GOP governor

“Mark Wahlberg is asking me for a pardon?,” Charlie Baker said as he folded his lengthy frame into the backseat of a black SUV one evening in December. Until his election as governor oflead Massachusetts the month before, the only elected office achieved by Baker, a Republican, had been selectman of Swampscott (population 13,800), a position he held for a single term. He had also spent nearly eight years as a state-cabinet official in the 1990s. But some responsibilities, Baker was discovering, accrue only to the chief executive. Informed by an aide that the actor was seeking to have a decades-old assault conviction expunged from his record, Baker turned to me and said drily, “He seems to have overcome that” . . .

Kinda-nuts graf:

As I followed Baker around Boston, I kept coming across Democrats who raved about their governor-to-be. Early in the evening—before Baker was presented with Mark Wahlberg’s pardon request—I watched as he was interviewed onstage at a business forum sponsored by The Boston Globe, before a crowd of Boston’s movers and shakers. Vivien Li, a nonprofit administrator who had worked under Governor Michael Dukakis, told me she believed Baker had exceptional expertise in state government.

Uh-huh. Tell that to these folks, pictured under the MassLive headline, “Massachusetts Senate reluctantly passes Gov. Charlie Baker’s transportation funding cuts.”

 

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(To be fair graf goes here.)

To be fair, Baker can’t be held accountable for the MBTA’s mismanagement over the past 20 years. But he’s certainly mismanaged the past 20 days. And for that, Massachusetts certainly does not love its new GOP governor.

(To be sure graf goes here.)

To be sure, Bay Staters are willing to give Baker a bit of breathing room. From the new WBUR poll:

While only 5 percent of Boston area residents say Gov. Charlie Baker is most responsible for the troubles with the MBTA this winter, 81 percent of those polled say addressing the T’s problems ought to be a “major priority” for his administration going forward.
“When you have an issue that is sort of stirring up this much passion and so many people saying it should be a major priority, it’s something that you can’t afford to ignore for very long,” said Steve Koczela, president of The MassINC Polling Group, which conducted this survey of 505 Boston area voters for WBUR between Feb. 12 and Feb 15.

But at a press conference last week, the governor dodged responsibility.

“I don’t have any direct authority over the MBTA at all,” Baker said. “I have one seat on the board.”

That’s one more seat than most people have on the T, Charlie. Better get movin’.

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Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show: What the-!

Well the Missus and I watched the doggies at the 139th Westminster Kennel Club Show the past two nights and say, it was swell.

But we never expected it to be.

For starters, we couldn’t stand half of the seven finalists. The favorite, a Portuguese water dog named Matisse, just seemed kind of creepy.

 

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Then there was the simpering shih tzu “Rocket,” owned by Patricia Hearst-Shaw (yes, as the announcers said, that Patty Hearst).

 

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And, of course, the ever repulsive French poodle.

 

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But, against all odds . . .

The beagle won!

From Richard Sandomir’s New York Times piece:

A Regal Beagle Seizes the Spotlight

At Westminster Dog Show, Miss P, a Beagle, Wins Best in Show

It took 20 minutes for David Merriam, the Best in Show judge at the Westminster Kennel Club Show on Tuesday, to give the dog-loving audience at Madison Square Garden a bit of a shock. After a devilishly long route to making up his mind — he seemed to enjoy building the suspense, smiling a bit impishly as he WESTMINSTER-2-articleLargedeliberated — he made the surprising choice of Miss P, a 15-inch beagle and the grandniece of Uno, the first beagle to ever win the big show, in 2008.

Merriam, a retired, white-haired California trial judge, ignored the crowd’s favorite, Swagger, an Old English sheepdog, and two other dogs who were believed to be likelier winners than the nearly 4-year-old Miss P: a Skye terrier named Charlie and a Portuguese water dog with the artistic sobriquet of Matisse. Merry Miss P was not the name on everybody’s snout.

Yesminster!

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Ban the Museum Selfie Shtick!

William Grimes’s front-page piece in Sunday’s New York Times pinpoints one of the great tragedies of our times.

Museum Rules: Talk Softly, and Carry No Selfie Stick

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In a famous lab trial, a chimp named Sultan put two interlocking sticks together and pulled down an elusive prize, a bunch of bananas hanging just out of arm’s reach.

Nearly a century later, eager tourists have conducted their own version of the experiment. Equipped with the camera extender known as a selfie stick, occasionally referred to as “the wand of narcissism,” they can now reach for flattering CinemaScope selfies wherever they go.

Art museums have watched this development nervously, fearing damage to their collections or to visitors, as users swing their sticks with abandon. Now they are taking action. One by one, museums across the United States have been imposing bans on using selfie sticks for photographs inside galleries (adding them to existing rules on umbrellas, backpacks, tripods and monopods), yet another example of how controlling overcrowding has become part of the museum mission.

Really, (young) people: Is it such a hardship to just look at the artwork?

The hardflinching staff has noted this trend on several occasions. Now museums nationwide are belatedly taking action: “The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington prohibited the sticks this month, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston plans to impose a ban. In New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has been studying the matter for some time, has just decided that it, too, will forbid selfie sticks. (New signs will be posted soon.)”

But we don’t give a damn about the selfieniks, despite what the concern expressed in the Times piece.

Last but not least is the threat to the camera operator, intent on capturing the perfect shot and oblivious to the surroundings. “If people are not paying attention in the Temple of Dendur, they can end up in the water with the crocodile sculpture,” [Met chief digital officer Sree] Sreenivasan said. “We have so many balconies you could fall from, and stairs you can trip on.”

Trip on.

Unfortunately, other museums are more selfie-centered.

Generally, the taking of selfies is not merely tolerated, it is encouraged. Art museums long ago concluded that selfies help visitors bond to art and create free advertising for the museum. When Katy Perry dropped by the Art Institute of Chicago’s Magritte exhibition last summer and detoured to take a selfie in front of Grant Wood’s “American Gothic,” the museum reaped a publicity windfall after the image was posted on Pinterest.

The Whitney Museum of American Art, at its Jeff Koons retrospective last year, passed out cards proclaiming, in capital letters, “Koons Is Great for Selfies!“ and urged visitors to post their work on Instagram.

Granted, Koons Is Great for Selfies! is great for an epitaph. But not so much for museums.

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Dead Blogging ‘Intimate Apparel’ at the Lyric Stage

Well the Missus and I trundled down to the Lyric Stage yesterday to catch its production of Intimate Apparel and say, it was more than swell.

From [Lynn Nottage] the author of By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, Apparel_WEB_iconsIntimate Apparel is a loving and evocative portrait of Esther, an independent but lonely African American seamstress in early 20th-century Manhattan who earns a living sewing exquisite lingerie for wealthy socialites uptown, and women of ill repute downtown. When Esther receives a letter from a stranger who is laboring on the Panama Canal, she begins a long-distance courtship with him, only to discover that he is not all that he seems.

The direction by Summer L. Williams is wonderfully adroit, Amanda Mujica’s costumes are just lovely, and the cast is uniformly superb, especially Lindsey McWhorter’s heartbreaking Esther and Nael Nacer’s equally heartwrenching Mr. Marks.

Amanda Mujica on the play’s costumes:

 

 

Over all, a riveting production. You have until March 14 to see it.

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White House Historical Association Spanks Hardworking Staff

As you splendid readers might remember, yesterday the hardworking staff posted the first of what we hope will be an ongoing series: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Ads in the New York Times.

It read, in part:

The New York Times is repository for all manner of inexplicable advertising (see our Civilians Who Run Full-Page Ads in the New York Times series for representative samples), so the hardworking staff was not surprised to see this in yesterday’s edition.

 

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The White House Historical Association describes itself this way:

The White House Historical Association is a nonprofit educational association founded in 1961 for the purpose of enhancing the understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of the Executive Mansion. All proceeds from the sale of the association’s books and products are used to fund the whha-logo acquisition of whha-logohistoric furnishings and art work for the permanent White House collection, assist in the preservation of public rooms, and further its educational mission.

In 1961, when the National Park Service suggested that such an association be formed, the idea received First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy’s ready approval. In July 1962, The White House: An Historic Guide was delivered to a public that had already ordered 10,000 copies. The guide is now in its 23rd edition.

Full disclosure: We’re not sure this outfit is associated with the actual White House, but then again, we’re not sure it matters.

We then included a swell video about the Association, along with a bit of this ‘n’ that about Calvin Coolidge.

(Campaign Outsider sidebar: Our favorite quote from Lina Lamont in Singin’ in the Rain: “They can’t make a fool out of me. They can’t make a laughingstock out of Lina Lamont. What do they think I am, dumb or something? Why, I make more money…than Calvin Coolidge…put together!”)

Anyway, imagine our surprise when this note from Lara M. Kline, Vice President for Marketing and Communications at The White House Historical Association, poured into the Campaign Outsider emailbag:

Dear Professor Carroll,
Good evening. I had the opportunity to read your blog post this evening on the announcement of the 2015 Official White House Christmas Ornament. I am writing to clarify for you the White House Historical Association’s relationship with the White House. We are the private partner to the White House in the supporting the preservation of the public and state rooms, acquisitions for the White House permanent collection, and in educating the public on the history of the White House.

Had your Google search extended beyond our “About Us” page on our admittedly limited website, you would have found many sources to validate our relationship with the White House, including . . .

Followed by links to any number of reputable websites.

Then there was this from Ms. Kline:

As an Edward R. Murrow award recipient, I am hopeful that you will endeavor to find the facts in the future, rather than simply cast out disparaging remarks for clicks on a blog post.

Dangling modifier aside, that’s a bit of a headscratcher since 1) we cast out up to zero disparaging remarks about the White House Historical Association, and 2) we helpfully reproduced the WHHA’s own material.

(We’re guessing Ms. Kline is upset that we referred to her organization as “this outfit.” From Merriam-Webster: outfit: a group of people working together in the same activity.)

Anyway, we wish Ms. Kline – and the WHHA – all the best in their efforts to mainstream Calvin Coolidge. He was, after all, governor of Massachusetts for all of two years. And Campaign Outsider is nothing if not an outfit that roots for the Bay State.

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Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Ads in the New York Times

First in what we hope will be a long-running series

The New York Times is repository for all manner of inexplicable advertising (see our Civilians Who Run Full-Page Ads in the New York Times series for representative samples), so the hardworking staff was not surprised to see this in yesterday’s edition.

 

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The White House Historical Association describes itself this way:

The White House Historical Association is a nonprofit educational association founded in 1961 for the purpose of enhancing the understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of the Executive Mansion. All proceeds from the sale of the association’s books and products are used to fund the whha-logoacquisition of historic furnishings and art work for the permanent White House collection, assist in the preservation of public rooms, and further its educational mission.

In 1961, when the National Park Service suggested that such an association be formed, the idea received First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy’s ready approval. In July 1962, The White House: An Historic Guide was delivered to a public that had already ordered 10,000 copies. The guide is now in its 23rd edition.

Full disclosure: We’re not sure this outfit is associated with the actual White House, but then again, we’re not sure it matters.

Either way, here’s a helpful background video:

 

 

As for Calvin Coolidge’s snagging the coveted 2015 White House Christmas Ornament, there is, coincidentally, this from yesterday’s Boston Globe Capital section:

Capital quiz: Political insults edition (round 2)

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A couple weeks back, the Capital Quiz explored famous political insults. Turns out, we only scratched the surface. And so, another round! See how many you know.

Cut to:

8. Who was Harry Truman referring to when he described a presidency like this: “He sat with his feet in his desk drawer and did nothing”?

That’s right: Calvin Coolidge.

(Wait – the first National Christmas Tree Lighting in 1923 didn’t count?)

Thanks to the White House Historical Association, though, he’s done something now.

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