Monday, February 25, 2008

Bowdoin: Destination Freedom

Destination Freedom is one of my required weekly readings. It is the weekly newsletter of the National Corridors Initiative, a group heavily involved in getting semi-high speed Acela passenger rail service on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor between Boston and Washington DC.

NCI "exists to support the development of infrastructure, including an integrated national transportation system that emphasizes rational transportation decisions, such as a network of intercity passenger and freight corridor rail corridors augmented by commuter rail, and served by feeder systems."

Which is all great and I totally support it and think everyone should. Unfortunately a major problem which exists for a lot of passenger rail advocacy is that the main advocates who speak are all old and a little removed from reality. Old-man reality is great when attempting to garner support from old-school politicians who generally support Amtrak and such. Amtrak actually manages to get support from both sides of the aisles.

My hope is that my linking the promise of economic development (or whatever cash prize for the constituency the politico thinks they'll get) with our current understanding of the impact that our transportation habits have on the planet: single-occupant vehicle = bad; short-hop flights = bad; intercity passenger rail = Rockin like Dokken.

J. Airport has regularly supplied me with oddities that the removal from reality has wrought. References have been made to "Islamofascists" (which actually turned out to be from a guest editorial), nicknames to things and areas that I have never heard anyone say, and other examples of poor journalism.

One particularly eyebrow-raising claim regarding the CharlieCard was made here:
Aside from the association with the former folk song, a somewhat-popular slang in the Boston area calls frequent transit users "Charlies" and getting around town by subway is to "Charlie it."

I must have a very different definition of "somewhat-popular" in my mental dictionary. To me, "somewhat-popular" would probably extend beyond a man and his well-worn fedora. From now on, I'm calling the CharlieCard a "ham n cheese" based on the sandwich that Charlie's wife probably gave him before he starved to death on the T. I hear its somewhat-popular.

So, what's the in paper this week?:

In an article about the new subway cars introduced to the MBTA Blue Line:

The present end-of-the-line station at Bowdoin Square, just one stop and a very short distance from Government Center, will close as it cannot be lengthened due to its close proximity to building basements and utility lines. To accommodate Bowdoin passengers, a new entrance to Government Center station will be created by re-opening an old passenger access portal, presently used solely for ventilation. The passenger portal to be re-opened is approximately one-half way between the two stations. To prepare passengers for this transition, Bowdoin Station is currently being closed on weekends and after weekday rush hours.

In the words of J. Airport, "Yes the MBTA has taken the steps to prepare passengers for this transition since 1982."


Ok Elevatoheads, its time for this Charlie to Charlie It! Catch you at the soda fountain before the sock-hop.

credits and apologies to J. "Sorry, I have an airport to run" Airport.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

i don't know about Juno and Kimya Dawson

I was recently in a store of unmentionables.

In this store they were playing the Juno soundtrack. In several songs there was this girl who sang songs of incredible-sounding innocence. Like she came from a family where they forced her to sing cute songs that she did not want to sing. They would occasionally back her up.

While I could see considerable merit in what she was doing, I did not like it.

I would later find that this was one Kimya Dawson. Of the Moldy Peaches. One of those bands that the painfully indie in NYC would pander to like crazy. I was suspicious and did something I don't normally like to do, let the bad album reviews completely steer me away from listening.

But now here she is. There is a Village Voice article talking about the Juno and Kimya Dawson phenomenon. I've yet to see Juno, and now I'm even more unsure:

It is sweet and heartwarming and winsome in its utter preposterousness. Just the fakest dialogue imaginable. Pop-culture-savvy sarcasm as suburban religion. Teenagers who talk like thirtysomething screenwriters. "Cool" parents who talk like teenage screenwriters. A 16-year-old heroine who actually says things like "Just looking to secure a hasty abortion!" and "Just dealing with things way outside my maturity level!" and (grits teeth) "Swear to blog!" Just appallingly cute cute cute CUTE CUTE. You'll probably really like it.

They go on to mention a slight Garden State effect: "The Shins will change your life"

But seriously, "SWEAR TO BLOG"?!?!?!?!

I can't stand that kind of fake not-so-clever dialogue. The Gilmore Girls were built on that and it made me squirm during the few moments I could stand to watch it.

In any case, this is all incredibly presumptive as I've not seen the movie.

Still, Kimya Dawson does not want her stardom. I will agree with her on this. Please stop listening to Kimya Dawson in shops. I'll do my part. I'm hoping this will go the whole way of the cutesy 'twee' movement that indie rockers were hustling for during the late-90's - early aughts.

I can't totally hate tho. I did find her straightforwardness and minimalist performances to work quite well.

Its just gross.