EM Painter's blog

Would I had phrases that are not known

Once upon a time, perusing a book about the Egyptian Middle Kingdom, I noted that some twelve centuries before Homer, in about 2000 B.C.E., the scribe Khakheperresenb was already voicing what I like to call Khakheperresenb’s Complaint: “Would I had phrases that are not known,” the scribe laments, “in new language that has not been used not an utterance which has grown stale, which men of old have spoken.”

A mayor who built the branch libraries would be a hero

I am not interested in arguing the list. I have a pretty good feeling that my library can beat these other libraries. But that's what the cutters want, they want to pit us one neighborhood against the other. I imagine the West End library is still there because modernizers of the past, in an effort to bring the West End into the 20th century, flattened the neighborhood in the name of progress, dense urban living and a major road interchange. But instead of a modern neighborhood, the West End became an infamous name, and a symbol of everything that went wrong in urban renewal.

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Creeping pandemonium at Boston Public Schools hearing

Walked over to the hearing through the common. Didn't know that street was Court Street! Learned something new.

Turned the corner and the street is closed, hundreds of sign wavers. What are they protesting? Oh right. Am I going to be able to get in? Friendly cop says sure you can go in. In the quiet hearing room, people are lined up to speak. Please don't cut the janitors, please don't cut the school police. Please don't cut my school administrator. Reference to Nazi Germany.

I get in line to speak. Now I'm getting nervous. Will everything I typed up fit in three minutes? Organize your thoughts... A young lady from Latin is just before me, speaking quietly into the microphone, when signs begin to appear in the high windows of the hearing room. Signs are banging on the windows. People are climbing up and yelling. The poor girl gives up and it's my turn. I put my head on the microphone and ramble directly into it for 2 and a half minutes.

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