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HAIKU 5*7*5* Walk home

September 7, 2017 1 comment

Just don’t have a car

Fifty seven hundred shifts

Walk home from the bar

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2:30 A.M. MBTA Service: An idea whose time has come again.

June 27, 2017 1 comment

I propose restoring Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority(MBTA) late night service(LNS) until 2:30 A.M. on Friday, Saturday and the evenings before legal holidays.

  From March of 2014 until March of 2016 the MBTA offered LNS carrying 16,000 riders nightly for its first year before declining to 13,000 riders by February, 2016 (1)

  I propose doubling the late-night subway and grade level train fare to $4.20 from the $2.10 charged on stored value cards.  (Paying by the trip is $2.40)

  This would defray some of the cost of LNS and enable the return of this economically justifiable, convenient and safe means of travel.

  Casual phrases such as ‘world class city’ are often bandied about when Boston is spoken of.  Yet, the last outbound trains from Park St run at 12:54 A.M.

  The benefits of restoring LNS MBTA service would be numerous.

  Hospital and hotel workers work a variety of shifts.  As Boston proper has gentrified many of these working folks cannot afford to live within walking distance of their jobs.

  Furthermore even as taxis have been supplemented by Uber, Lyft and a variety of car services transportation expenses can be a significant part of a working person’s take-home income.

  Even at the UberPool-Boston rate of $6-8, (2), from Massachusetts General Hospital to Harvard and Comm. Ave(s) in Allston this prorates to about $660, $6 x 110 weekend trips=$660 annually for a late-night employee working weekends at $12/hr.  This amounts to about a week’s take-home pay.  Considering the large number of hospital and hotel staff working after 1 A.M. this has a considerable effect upon workers and employers.

Have mercy!

 LNS service would benefit already existing retail outlets.  24 hour super markets such as Star Market at 53 Huntington Ave. and the Star market at 33 Kilmaronock St. would gain a clientele for whom late night grocery shopping is a practical necessity and more economical than a convenience store.

  The LNS which ended in March of 2016 was not the first foray of the MBTA into extended hours.  From 2001 until 2005 the Night Owl service offered bus service until 2:30 A.M.  However, the scattered stops and slow speed worked against the service’s popularity and the Night Owl was attracting a mere 600 riders on Friday, Saturday and nights before legal holidays before being cancelled in 2005.

  The LNS initiated in March of 2014 and cancelled March 18, 2016 carried 16,000 riders by train nightly for its first year before declining to 13,000 riders nightly by February, 2016.

 The cancellation decision was made by a 4-0 unanimous decision of the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board on January 25, 2016.  (1)

  Leaving aside the question(s) of whether applying and norming the subsidy cost(s) through the entire day(s) would be a valid statistical method, the MBTA nonetheless claims the net marginal cost of LNS is $14 million annually based on a fare of $2.10 per rider.

  My proposal is to increase the LNS fare to $4.20 and thus halve the net marginal cost.

  Assuming ridership remains the same, and I do know what they say about assume, the net marginal cost would sink to $7 million annually!

  What the MBTA has not acknowledged is that the increased business enabled by the LNS would create taxable income some of which could be earmarked towards reducing the MBTA’s chronic operating deficit.

  Boston is a challenging city to drive in even under optimal conditions.  Dark winter nights make this intrinsic challenge even more treacherous as snow and ice pile up.  This challenge is compounded exponentially when large numbers of folks exiting bars and clubs congregate on the sidewalks and streets.

  From 1993 to 1999 I worked at a variety of venues in the Theater District and witnessed departing guests hanging around the area until 3:30 A.M. while socializing, eating snacks and attempting to hail taxis.  The crowds milling about caused significant litter problems, interrupted traffic and ultimately endangered the safety of those hanging around.

  My current employer takes the provisions of MA Dram Shop Liability as established in 1983, (2), very seriously.

  However, even the best managed established establishments are not immune from “pre-gaming” and drug use by guests that leads to slow exits, littering and dangerous and endangered crowds after closing.

  During the lifespan of LNS from 2014 until its cancellation in 2016 my employer did not have this problem as the last Green Line from Kenmore Square departed outbound at 2;30 A.M. allowing sufficient time for the fifteen-minute walk from my employer to the Kenmore Square MBTA station. 

Management mentioned, on more than 1 occasion, that folks tended to leave in order to catch the last train.

  On February 17, 2017 I asked my Assistant Manager, A.M; about my proposal to restore LNS MBTA by charging a double fare.

S.G: So how has the discontinuation of late-night service affected us?

C.M: It has discouraged travel from our customers in Allston as they can’t afford a cab or even Uber or Lyft.  They would have to leave with folks that they don’t know and a lot of our people just won’t do that.

S.G: What do you think that comes to in dollars?

A.M: About 5-10%.  It’s not nothing over the course of a year.  When did it end anyway?

S.G: March 18th. of last year.

A.M: Close to a year, huh.  You know another thing is that there isn’t the parking around here that there was even a year ago and when the Sox start up again it’s like [the parking] at least $30 and that is tough for kids even though most of them don’t have cars.  We don’t really get the trusties, [students who are completely supported by their parents and have leased cars through the school year], our kids are just looking for a good time.

S.G: Do you think our crowd would pay for a double fare after 12:30 on Friday, Saturday and nights before legal holidays?

A.M:  That would be $4.20, right?

S.G: Yes.

A.M: I would [use the LNS service] if I were in school and lived in Allston.  You would keep the service running until a last departure from Kenmore at 2:30 like before?

S.G: Yes.

A.M: I think that it’s a good idea and would keep some drunks off the road.

  On Saturday, March 11, 2017 I decided to investigate my manager’s assertion regarding the slow departure of guests now that LNS was no longer available.  I left my security post with the permission of my supervisor at 1:45 A.M. as last call was being given.  I observed a dozen guests in front of the building which was surprising considering the 15 F weather.  After clearing the building at 2:30 A.M. I returned to the entrance of the building and found 30 folks smoking, eating pizza and looking for a hook-up.  Folks wandered into the active traffic flow attempting to flag the passenger filled cabs that veered to avoid hitting the remaining revelers.

  Smartphones were frantically employed as folks tried to reach Uber and Lyft but evidently the cold had prevailed over economic opportunity.

  At 2:45 A.M. I left work and there were still 6 guests eating pizza and smoking by the front of the building while discarding the crusts and butts on the sidewalk.

  This scene would not have occurred were the LNS still running.

  “Better safe than sorry,” is more than a cliche’, it is a sound operating principle which would be activated by the renewal of LNS even at double the fare.

  Additionally, lessened consumption of fossil fuel by drivers would have positive environmental effects.

  Enabling employment and entertainment, preserving public safety and environmental sustainability, MBTA LNS at a double fare is an idea whose time has come…again!

ALL ABOARD!

WORKS CITED

1) uberPOOL…Share the ride, split the cost.  Page 1, Web, 6 March, 2017

https://get.uber.com/p/uberpool-Boston

2) Dungca, Nicole.  “MBTA to end late-night service by mid-March.”  Boston Globe, 29 Feb, 2016.  Web. 3 March, 2017

https;//ww.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/02/…late-night-service-end-march…/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HAIKU 5*7*5* Bunker Hill Community College

May 10, 2017 2 comments

Just trying to save

Community college girl

Food in microwave

BARTENDING, REMIXOLOGY, DRINK, HOSPITALITY: Kentucky Colonel cocktail

July 13, 2016 1 comment

KENTUCKY COLONEL

Bourbon is Kentucky’s spirit and indeed the truest American spirit ie: hard liquor.

Bourbon is a barrel-aged distilled spirit made from fermented corn.  “Bourbon” derives its name from Bourbon County Kentucky, the eastern edge of French territory in the United States prior to the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.

Bourbon can come only from Kentucky.  Jack Daniels, as every bartender should know, comes from Lynchburg Tennessee, and is a sour mash whiskey.

What true bourbons such as Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark, have in common with Jack Daniels is that both are made utilizing the sour mash method.  In the sour mash method some of the cooked fermented corn, the “mash”, is used as a base for the next batch in order to pass along the yeast and flavor in a consistent fashion.  This process is analogous to the making of yogurt.

I began tending bar in 1982 and the bottles of Wild Turkey and Old Grand Dad stocked by my employer had perhaps 1 or 2 tipplers who drained them in an exceedingly slow fashion often mixed with Coke.  “Old man drink” is the phrase that comes to mind.  Bartenders then casually referred to Jack Daniels as a “bourbon.”  Few knew otherwise…and even fewer cared.

Bourbon’s public profile was limited to the annual TV gala of the Kentucky Derby where Southern gentlemen in straw boaters cavorted with Southern belles in oversized bonnets hoisting flutes of Mint Juleps.

During the ’90s bourbon advanced as Gen X, born from 1967-1975, aged out of dance clubs and into the lounges that proliferated towards the end of that decade.  During the ’90s back lit bottles of Evan Williams and Maker’s mark became familiar sights at Stephanie’s on Newbury and City Bar at the Lenox Hotel here in Boston.

Still bourbon did not have anywhere near the cachet’ of Irish whisky, let alone Scotch or cognac.  Appeal was limited to the United States.

2016 has bourbon increasing in sales AND quality AND international appeal as premium and small batch bourbons have joined Scotch and cognac in the contest for the taste buds and wallets of imbibers.

 In 2014 Japanese mega beverage corporation Suntory acquired Jim Beam for the astonishing price of 1.6 billion USDs!

In 1999 there were 455,000 cases of bourbon produced.  In 2015 there were 5 million cases produced with about 1/2 of that being exported.

Small batch and single-barrel offerings such as Woodford, Bulleit and Knob Creek, produced by Jim Beam, have earned slots on back bars and in the gullets of drinkers.

www.bourbonoftheday.com/bourbon-boom/

In that spirit I will introduce the Kentucky Colonel which was passed on to me by a brother bartender during last year’s Kentucky Derby.

KENTUCKY COLONEL

1 .5 oz. bourbon

1 1/2 lime

3 oz. ginger beer

  1. Fill a 10 oz, glass with ice.

  2. Pour 1.5 ounces bourbon.

  3. Press the juice of 1/2 of a ripe lime.  The lime should be verging on yellow as this indicates ripeness and optimal juiciness.  Roll the lime firmly on a hard surface to break down the juice-containing segments to achieve optimal yield.

  4. Top with ginger beer.

  5. “Box” the drink into an empty glass and return to the original glass to insure a fluid mix of the ingredients.

  6. Garnish with a lime wheel perched on the rim.

  7. Drink up!

The flavor profile of the Kentucky Colonel is one that engages the tongue with the burn of bourbon, the citrusy acidity of the lime and the almost sweet effervescence of ginger beer.

One could make this with Rose’s Lime juice imitating the fresh lime and root beer performing the ginger beer part but this would lessen the thirst quenching action of the KENTUCKY COLONEL and you’re better than that, aren’t you?

My encounter with this concoction inspired a fantasy of being a winner of a NASCAR race and I don’t even drive!

My current employer would price this at $8 as Jim Beam is $7 with a $1 added for the ginger beer.

Old school, try Googling ‘Kentucky Colonel’, and tres chic in our Digital Decade at one and the same time the KENTUCKY COLONEL is a winner!

 

 

 

DEFINITION: CORIed

February 5, 2016 Leave a comment

CORIed, verb, referring to having been the subject of a C.O.R.I.(Criminal Offender Record Investigation) search via the CORI system in Massachusetts.

“I’m not sweating getting CORIed.  All I’ve got is a court appearance as a witness in something.”

“Yo, it was 10 f****** years ago and the case was dismissed and I didn’t get the job!”

CORI became law in June 30, 2005 enabling non-judicial investigation of a job applicant’s criminal history, if any.

www.doe.mass.edu/lawsregs/advisory/cori.html

What is more problematic is that court appearances, including those of one subpoenaed as a witness are also found by being CORIed as are dismissals and acquittals.

Additionally, the omnipresence of the Internet makes these records vulnerable to being posted online by those with somewhat less than worthy motives.

CORIed is now a verb used frequently.  I heard it most recently from a guest of mine who expressed his fear over an adolescent act being unearthed.

…While the debate over CORI continues…

CORIed as a verb is certain to remain part of the 21st. Century’s lexicon…

 

RAMONES: 42 YEARS AGO

August 30, 2015 1 comment

…42 years ago, August 30, 1975; later tonight…

…I saw the Ramones for the very 1st. time at C.B.G.B’s.  I was inspired to visit the Bowery by James Wolcott’s article in the VILLAGE VOICE, “the Conservatism of the New Rock,” which detailed the aesthetics of minimalism that made up the template of punk.

(Mr. Wolcott’s book LUCKING OUT provides a narrative to the music and art scenes of N.Y.C. 74-84.  A very worthwhile read and a reminder of a time when artistic aspiration rather than “reality” moved minds).

My appetite for deliberately abrasive art had been whetted by Antonio Artaud’s writings and musings on the ‘Theater of Cruelty,’ and a FILM FORUM article on FREEBIE AND THE BEAN, both of  which uplifted alienation into an art form and considered neutrality the only artistic vice.

I took the L.I.R.R. into Penn Station to brave the Bowery clad in black polyester pants, at least they weren’t bell-bottoms, and my old All America Camp counselor-in-training t-shirt which I thought/hoped would be an appropriate celebration/denial of whatever-the-heck-happened.

“Are you 18?”

“Yup.”

I entered a dump that looked not unlike the Royale(Roy-Al) which resided across Main St. from my hometown Port Washington, N.Y. railroad station.  The only “decor” that caught my eye was a life-size poster of John Lennon clad in a black leather jacket with a toilet seat around his neck.

(This picture can be found on THE BEATLES: LIVE AT THE STAR CLUB, HAMBURG, GERMANY, an album that is a true template of punk).

Joe Cool was the 1st. band.  My only recollection of them is of a bunch of dorky guys in suit jackets and Cons.

The 2nd. band was Milk n’ Cookies who were the 2nd. C.B.G.B’s band to record a single after Patti Smith’s “Piss Factory.”

 ” 10 girls, 20 girls…I want more,” seemed to be the only lyrics yelped by Milk n’ Cookies’ diminutive lead singer Ian North whose tuneless enthusiasm reminded me of…me singing in the shower.

(“More Girls” can be found by entering ‘Milk n’ Cookies’ on Wikipedia).

Hmmm…

After a 20 minute set there was between set music with “Hippy, Hippy, Shake,” by the Swingin’ Blue Jeans, and “All Day and All of the Night,” by the Kinks, both of which everyone seemed to know all of the words of and were featured on BRITISH ROCK’S GREATEST HITS PART II which was in the Port Washington Public library courtesy of Mark Bates.  Gee, I had thought that I was the only person who knew these songs.

Hmmm…

“Stepping Stone,” by Paul Revere and the Raiders?  I thought that I was the only one roused by this disparagement of social mobility.  I was amazed and amused.

Hmmm…

…The Ramones took the stage…

 “…1,2,3,4…”

Neither I or anything that I would ever comprehend up to and including this very moment would ever be the same.

This is as true at this very moment writing as it was 42 years ago.

HAIKU 5*7*5*.Skateboarder texting

Skateboarder sends text

So free feeling, freewheeling

Head to concrete next