Friday, September 22, 2006

Conservative New Englanders Denounce Dirty Dancing, Attempt to Demolish Citgo Sign

Let's begin with the Concorn, NH thing. Actually let's start with my morning travels this week and why I haven't ranted about the MBTA in a while. I've been guilty--hitting the snooze too much, getting up late and driving into work in mostly fruitless attempts to get to work on time-- definitely not faster--because I've been missing the 7:26 inbound to North Station, my last viable option for getting to work on time. Yesterday, my best attempt, as if to punish my laziness, the 7:24, which comes on-time about once a month, well, hit its once-a-month mark and actually rolled in at about 7:23:30, and left within the minute of 7:24, meanwhile I'm huffing and puffing thinking I have at least two to spare. Needless to say, by the time I made it to the top of Heard St, I could hear the brakes being released, so I had to turn around and hop in the car again.
Today was different, like the last time I had to come in for 7:00. Somehow when I need to make the 6:20, I do--don't ask me how or why I'm good about getting the 6:20 but can't seem to shoot for the 6:48 or 7:06 and wind up catching the 111 or waiting for the 7:26 (or like this Monday-Thursday this week missing all of the above), but, yep, I was right there on the platform at 6:18:50. And guess what--the second inbound train of the day (stopping at Chelsea), and most reliable of the morning was two minutes late! So there's my rant--"Old, or rather, Early, Reliable failed me today--I missed the 6:35 Orange Line connection to Oak Grove by about--you guessed it--two minutes--and had to wait for the 6:45--not a big deal as still made it in on time, but would've been nice to not rush.
So that's it for now, T--keep those trains on time so I can make my proper connections and I'm good. Anyway, Concord NH: It seems some Concord High School officials and concerned parents are either very conservative, very clueless, very much behind the times, losers or all of the above after suspending "until things get sorted out" all further dances there for the high school seniors after five male seniors were asked to leave a recent dance for "dirty dancing," or "grinding," with their female counterparts, and 150 of the 350 students remaining also departed in protest and support (sources: Boston's Channel 7-NBC, Channel 4-CBS). My question is: what the heck were the other kids doing, as far as dancing?! We're talking about a form of dancing that goes back at least as far back as the '70's in basic form and, after making it's way from the silver screen to the large urban areas, seems to have finally made its way to backwater areas such as Concord, NH. I recall being introduced to it at the late great Imette St. Guillen's Sweet 16 party--mind you this would have been nine years ago. I find stories like these comical--how a lot of mainstream, urban affairs, if you will, finally reaching the far-reaches of the country are causing such commotion. I also find it interesting how, although grinding has no exact racial origins, that both channels used R&B and rap videos as examples of the dancing, with brief flashbacks to Dirty Dancing and Footloose in an attempt to round out the demographics. Honestly, media aside, I don't think there are very few racial overtones involved, but rather, again, that grinding is a common cultural phenomenon that, like everything else that the "in" crowd does, is going to bring up opposition from those not "down with it," just like "sexy dancing" by cheerleaders in some school districts in Texas. If a ban on cheerleaders' "sexy dancing" can pass in Big Ol' Texas, look for the "Live Free or Die" state to pass a similar ban on grinding on school property.
Now about that guy Chávez--excuse me, President Hugo Chávez, a man with apparently more guts than all of American Congress put together. After watching his antics over the past few days, I've come three conclusions: A. Buy that man a drink! B. He's worthy of a Gatorade dunk any day and C. Can we keep him and send President Bush to Venezuela for the next two years--as corrupt and suspect as he is... I like him better! Finally after almost six years of behind-the-back whispering and sugar-coating by the American Congress, U.N. officials, worldwide leaders and local leaders, we finally have somebody willing to get up before an assembly--and any assembly as he's done it three times already--and denounce President Bush's administration. Move over Anne Coulter with your crazy rants--here's a guy who doesn't write ramblings in books denouncing 9/11 widows or babble endlessly about troops--he's funny, he's blunt and he's got the credentials to prove it. Carlos Mencia couldn't do it better. As Chief Excecutive of the Venezuelan governememt , the major force behind Citgo Oil Company, President Chávez has pledged to make heating oil cheap, if not free, to the many Americans, especially the most needy. And what do some in Boston think of that, led by some C-list politician: tear down the Citgo sign in Kenmore Square--one of the last reminders that Boston is a unique city, not a growing collection of nameless, faceless high-rises and way-above-cost-of-living condos. In Kenmore Square itself it is one of the last things that even denotes Kenmore Square--gone is the intermodal MBTA station (although a new one may be in the works, don't hold your breath), the local IHOP, the local Popeyes--they have all been replaced with more Boston University housing (ironically, the Citgo sign sits on older BU property), a "trendy" hotel and construction, yes construction. The sign, moreover has been a beacon, visible inbound on the MassPike at least as far away as Brighton/Allston, visible from at least as far north as the Longfellow Bridge. To come to the rash decision to tear it down simply on account of President Chávez's remarks is ludicrous and could almost certainly be coming from the same group with murmurings a few years ago about wanting to tear it down... probably the same people who thought building the Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge was "cool." I mean, c'mon, replace it with an American flag?! Yeah, that'll teach President Chávez!

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