The Gray Pages

Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Worldwide Leader in Ignorance

ESPN's summary of the history of Red Sox' defenders:

  • Ted Williams
  • Dwight Evans
  • Yaz
  • Coco Crisp

Dom DiMaggio? Tris Speaker? Ever heard of them, guys? But honestly: what the hell is the Kid doing on this list?

Rovners. 61 Edwardel Rd., Needham, MA 02192 (later 02492)

Born June 1, 1976
Died August 31, 2006

Congratulations to Mom and Dad. And best of luck in the new house.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Those were the days

This headline actually happened: "Red Sox bolster bullpen with veteran Seanez."

Monday, August 28, 2006

Top fruit

1. Banana
2. Grapes
3. Apples
4. Cherries
5. Peach

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Nathan Sloane

As far as I know, I never met this man. But my grandfather on my mother's side, Papa, was his childhood friend and, later, his accountant.

According to my mom, "Every time he came for a visit, his pockets were filled with the candy. He probably helped create a mouthful of fillings ... A very nice and ethical businessman." And from my dad: "In fact the IRS audited the company and found NOTHING wrong with the tax returns and Papa was walking on air for a month! That was really a feat because the IRS always seemed to find something wrong at an audit, no matter how careful the taxpayer was."

Nathan Sloane; manufactured Charleston Chew

Growing up as the daughter of a prominent candy manufacturer had its advantages for Helen Brookner.

``I was very popular," she said. ``I mean, we had bubble gum when no else did. I had a lot of candy, and everyone wanted to come over to my house."

Nathan Sloane, who manufactured the Charleston Chew candy bar at his Everett-based Fox Cross Candy Co. for 23 years, died Sunday while visiting family in Newton. He was 97. Mr. Sloane, a Belmont resident, also lived in Boca Raton, Fla.

Though Mr. Sloane did not invent the Charleston Chew, he did change the candy's original 1922 blueprint, chocolate-covered vanilla nougat, according to Stephen Brookner, his son-in-law and longtime business partner. In the 1970s, the pair introduced such flavors as chocolate and strawberry.

The candy maker was a big candy eater, too, said Brookner, of Lexington. His refined palate could detect the most minute ingredients and determine how weather affected each batch.

Born in Boston, Mr. Sloane graduated from Chelsea High School. When he was 16, he began his career distributing penny candy from manufacturers to family-owned shops. Following graduation in 1926, he bought the distributing company and later Kendall Confectionary Co. in Cambridge and American Nut and Chocolate Co. in South Boston.

In 1957, he purchased Fox Cross Candy Co., doubled the size of its production line, and increased the running hours of the already famous home of the Charleston Chew. He sold the company to Nabisco in 1980.

But despite the long hours he worked, his family was a priority, his business partner said.

``He was proud of his family; that was always a big part of his life," his daughter said. ``He was sort of a workaholic, but he was able to take me out every weekend when I was growing up."

Mr. Sloane and his second wife, Anita (Cohen), retired to Boca Raton in 1986.

In addition to his wife and daughter, he leaves two other daughters, Deborah LaPierre of West Newbury and Laura Korn of Salem; a son, Richard Cohen of Deland, Fla.; a brother, Dr. Arnold Sloane; five grandchildren; and three great-grand children.

Monday, August 21, 2006

That rhumba

My new phone's ring, for now, is "When the Saints Go Marchin' In." It's also a Verizon.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

And it never stops hurting

The story of my second fantasy team, the Greasy Thugs, will be made into a made-for-TV movie someday. I hope that George Clooney is available.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Great moments in Grady Little

LA Dodgers 1, San Francisco 0 (10 innings)

Greg Maddux had thrown 68 pitches, 50 of them for strikes in 8 innings. Two hits, no walks, no runs. Sixty-eight!

Why take him out of the game for pinch hitter in the bottom of the 8th? The top of the order's coming up behind him. One run wins the game. Better to have Maddux out there for the 9th and 10th (if necessary) than to send Bret Tomko out for the 9th. So they won -- he's still an idiot.


My 4th published letter to the editor. First in the NY Times.

Runs Tell the Tale

To the Sports Editor:

A graphic accompanying Murray Chass's Aug. 8 column ("Fans at Fenway Are Facing a Stern Test of Faith") argues that the Red Sox and the Yankees have baseball's fifth- and sixth-best offenses based solely on their batting averages.

What kind of logic is this?

Baseball teams attempt to score runs. Measuring anything else — including hits per at-bat — is a diversion.

At that point, the Red Sox had scored 606 runs, and the Yankees 601. These are the second- and third-best offenses in baseball.


Friday, August 11, 2006

The lines that didn't fit under "ABOUT"

Ladies and Gentlemen, I'll be brief.

The question here, is not whether they broke a few rules, or took a few liberties with their female party guests.

They did.

But you can't hold the whole fraternity responsible for the acts of a few sick, perverted individuals. For if you do, isn't the entire fraternity system to blame?

And if the entire fraternity system is guilty, then isn't this an indictment of our educational systems in general?

I put it to you, isn't this an indictment of our entire American way of life?

Well, you can do what you want to them, but I'm not going to sit here, and listen to you bad-mouth the United States of America!

Decoding Simmons

No. 27 on a list of 33 ways to improve sports:

My bosses won't allow me to say which six announcers I would deport to Eastern Europe, but here are their initials jumbled together backwards: WBMABCMJMTBJ.


Joe Buck, Tim McCarver. Joe Morgan. Chris Berman. I'm stuck. There's no way "AM" could be Al Michaels, right? And who is BW? Brian Williams?

The sky has fallen

Seth Mnookin:

Remember how yesterday I was all, ‘Look on the bright side, think about the future, blah blah blah blah blah.’ Well, forget it. Go back to the ledge. The sky is falling. Life sucks. I want Bobby Abreu. I mean, it’s the goddamn Royals. I would have been happy if the Red Sox had won one game against the goddamn Royals. I would have been happy if the Red Sox had merely gone 2-4 against a pair of last place teams. It doesn’t seem like too much to ask.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Abridged predictions, post-trading deadline

AL East: Yankees win. The Red Sox had a chance to put them away. Now the injury shoe is on the other foot (how's that for a mixed metaphor?) and the Sox are in trouble. And Abreau certainly doesn't hurt them, even if he has no power anymore. Toronto sure disappeared fast, huh?

AL Central: Tigers. It's over like the NL East is over.

AL West: I don't know. I thought the Angels would make a deadline move, and they didn't. So I guess I like Oakland. Texas is dead to me.

AL Wild Card. The Sox. Just don't know which one yet. The Twins don't have enough hitting to compete, and now Liriano's hurt.

AL Champ: Les Tigres. I have no idea what joke I'm making here.

NL East: The Mets. Remember when we used to call them the Mess? Good times.

NL Central: The Reds, I guess. Why don't I like the Cardinals? I don't know. I'll flip this back any day now.

NL West: Arizona. Still waiting for Chad Tracy to wake up.

NL Wild Card: Wide open. And the National League is so weak that a 6-game winning streak pushes a team to the top. I'm sad to admit that the Brewers will not be that team. Right now the 2003 Red Sox (aka the Dodgers) are my favorite. Grady Little will screw this up.

NL Champ: The Mets.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Bye, Livan

My wife's first favorite player was traded today for a couple prospects.

Take care, Livan. It was fun.

Speaking of Willie Mays

This is the dumbest stadium in the history of sports.

On the other hand, this is the greatest stadium website ever. So it all cancels out.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Yes, but does Zac have a product line?

$7.95 each

- Urbane
- Elegant
- Thin[-walled]
- Feels great in the hand
- Timeless good looks
- At home in any settting

- Optimally smooth

My cousin

He's already more famous than you are.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Alternative headline

Two Friends: Gibson Not Anti-Semitic

Let's go, Utley!

Maybe Chase Utley can end this stupid fascination with the most overrated record in sports, Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hit streak.

In 1941, Joe DiMaggio had a hit in 56 consecutive games. In the entire season, he had 193 hits. He walked 76 times.

That year, Ted Williams didn't have a memorable hit streak -- none that anyone still cares about, anyway -- and yet still compiled 185 hits. He also walked 147 times, which may have a little to do with why the best damn hitter who ever lived never had a memorable hitting streak.

So who had a better year? Well, Ted Williams got on base 55.3 percent of the time. DiMaggio, in that magical season, got on base 44.0 percent of the time. And when they did hit the ball, he slugged .735 versus DiMaggio's .643. Williams did this, part, by hitting 37 homers compared to DiMaggio's 30. Williams wound up scoring more runs than DiMaggio did that year, 135 to 122. (DiMaggio knocked in five more, 125 versus 120.) And lest you assume that their respective ballparks had anything to do with it, Williams's OPS+ was 235 (135 percent better than the league average) while DiMaggio's was 184 (84 percent better than the league average).

Good for Joe D. He had a nice couple of months and married Marilyn Monroe. Now let's all get over it.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Jeff W's response


Thank you so much for your thoughtful and detailed email. It's both rare and appreciated. When I'm not knocking on doors (which is most of my day), I spend a tremendous amount of time writing questionnaires, checking them, and re-checking them. So I hope you'll abide my grammar and spelling mistakes as I write this email in a less formal style.

I am with you in both philopshy and policy. I strongly support more transit-oriented development and will do everything in my power to crack down on sprawl. And I 100% agree with you that this requires a regional, not parochial approach. As you said, I am indeed endorsed by the Sierra Club, an endorsement I'm honored to have received. You are absolutely right in noting that their endorsement was, in part, based on my strong stand against sprawl and support for open space. I will be a champion of environmental protection and smart growth in Annapolis.

My enthusiasm for real smart-growth (a term which I am opposed to using as a euphamism for no-growth) must also include a critical examination of individual projects which claim to fit under that rubric. At first glance, the Forest Glen townhouses appear to fit the mold of transit-oriented development that I would zealously support. However, having studied the nuanced details of this development, it is unfortunately not a project I can back at this time. I'll be candid as to why. First, this development is being built under a "two-car" model. Yes, that's right. Each unit--and there are 300 of them--would come with two parking spaces. The reason is clear--Montgomery County's own studies show that residents are unwilling to walk a certain distance for access to commercial services. These 300 units are beyond that limit relative to Snyders and CVS. Zoned 100% residential, there is no opportunity for mixed use in the current Forest Glen plan. Not very smart.

That leads to my second concern--more cars at Forest Glen Road and Georgia Avenue. You are right to say that growth elsewhere means more cars too, and travelling further distances. But Forest Glen and Georgia is not just any intersection--it is rates as THE worst intersection in the entire state of Maryland. That's right, the entire state. Forest Glen Road, according to SHA, carries around 6,000 cars a day. If each two-car unit used each car once a day (for the drycleaner, taking kids to school), that would mean an additional 600 trips. That's a 10% increase at the intersection already rated the worst. To me, that's not smart growth.

My third concern is related--pedestrian safety. The intersection of FG and GA averages 20 accidents a year, with 3 deaths in the last two years (two of whom were children). No intersection is fool-proof, but three deaths in two years is stunning. Unfortunately, I cannot abide putting more cars on the road at a dangerous intersection if it increases the likelihood of pedestrian injury or death.

My final concern is one unrelated to traffic or transit--our schools. These townhouses would feed into Oakland Terrace Elementary on Plyers Mill Rd. Oakland Terrace currently has four portable classrooms which encroach onto the soccer field. I tried to get a firm estimate from county agencies as to how much the new development would increase the student body at Forest Glen. The answer I received is that Oakland Terrace would go from being "over capacity" to "significantly over capacity." I cannot support any development that would lead to an increase in class size, and the strong possibility of additional portables that would further encroach on the field where the children have recess.

So, to answer your first question: By default, I will strongly support each and every transit oriented development. Upon closer inspection of any project, I cannot support a development if it: assumes each unit requires two cars, significantly impacts pedestrian safety, seriously degrades an already failing intersection, or drastically increases the pupils-per-classroom in elementary schools.

In answer to your second question, when I'm elected to the State Assembly, I will fight for five concrete steps that would allow me to support the development at Forest Glen.

1) A pedestrian tunnel under Georgia Avenue
2) A lighted crosswalk accross Georgia Avenue (similar to the crosswalks used in Garret Park, which flash when a sensor detects a pedestrian)
3) Zoning for mixed-use development instead of pure residential, to prevent new residents from using their cars each day
4) At least 20% of units reserved for low-income and workforce (aka teacher, firefighter) housing
5) Modernization at Oakland Terrace or the re-opening of a closed school so that Woodlin and Oakland Terrace would each be "at capacity" and not "over capacity."

I hope this answers your questions honestly and thoroughly. I'm happy to continue this dialogue if you wish. I always enjoy a good wonkish discussion on policy. I welcome your thoughts, and will certainly continue to welcome them come January in the House of Delegates.

Jeff Waldstreicher

p.s. Just to be wonky, a thought experiment: I have no idea the answer to this question, and it's NOT analogous to the Forest Glen situation. But it does go to show that lawmakers must often decide between the bad and the worse. There are 100 units. Placed in Gaithersburg, these units units would increase average vehicle miles travelled by 10%, but the school would remain below capacity. Placed in Wheaton, the residents would use Metro, so vehicle miles traveled remain constant. But the addition of new children puts the school 10% above capacity. I don't know the answer to this question, but it's does illustrate that lawmaking is the art of competing values.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

My first crazy email as a Maryland voter!

In response to this guy's press release. For what it's worth, he seemed like a nice guy when I talked to him. I'll let you know if/when he writes back.

Jeff --

We met briefly this morning when you were handing out your press release announcing your opposition to the proposed development at Forest Glen Metro. I left off having disagreed with you, wishing you luck, and saying that you wouldn't get my vote. (If it helps, I was wearing a purple polo shirt and we talked around 8:00.)

On further reflection, I have to concede that any single issue rarely determines for whom I vote, and this one is no exception. I'd like to discuss it a little further with you, and hear your thoughts. Thanks in advance for your time.

I support more transit-oriented development and I am sharply opposed to further sprawl -- not merely in Montgomery County but the entire DC Metro region. Your website touts an endorsement from the Sierra Club, who said that you are interesting in curbing sprawl as well, so I find myself a little confused by your position. Homes not built on a particular site will surely be built elsewhere. People have to live somewhere.

The growth of a metropolitan region is based on factors beyond any policymakers' grasp -- weather, job conditions, and so forth. More people are moving to this region and it is better for our air, our roads, our health, and so forth if those people live closer to their jobs and drive less. It is worse for everyone if people who might have bought a townhouse in Silver Spring instead buy a detached McMansion in West Virginia and drive two hours to work each day.

Transit-oriented development -- like this project seems to be -- is the solution, not the problem. Mixed-use land regulations are the solution, not the problem. I suggest you read Andres Duany's "Suburban Nation," if you have not done so already.

Regardless, I would like answers to the following questions:

(1) What types of transit-oriented development would you support?

(2) If you are elected to the State Assembly, what concrete steps would you take to stop (or change) this project?

In answering question 2, I'd like an honest assesment of how a freshman legislator who will not sit on the Metro Board of Directors might influence this project. I hope your answer will speak to the realities of the State Assembly and not the easy promises of a press release.

Thanks in advance,