Mexico not so hot

Alyssa spots the hotsy-totsy women in the beachfront "living diorama" tractor-trailer advertising Mexico on Boylston Street. The last thing it makes her want to do is fly south:

... I didn't see anyone pause to stop and say, "Wow! I should book a trip to Mexico." In fact – what I did see was a series of brief pauses, shakings of heads and bursts of bitter, disgusted laughter.

Something about the collective reaction - to the girls in bikinis under fake light on a fake beach parked next to the premier homeless guy hangout on a cold day - made me feel some kinship with the other weary commuters. ...

charlie ticket first impressions

I got my Charlie Ticket Combo Pass for January this morning. First thoughts:

  • the front looks like a standard "Charlie Ticket". I will have to be careful not to confuse it with a single ride "Charlie Ticket" that I'm hanging on to (for the same reason I used to always have a spare T token on me).
  • The tickets all seem to be the same colour. How will conductors easily know if it's a new month? It seems that this will be harder for personnel to check by hand.
  • No more line to sign your name (not that I ever did anyways).
  • No space for advertising (not that it seemed that the T managed to sell that space often).
  • My pass has a big "C" on the back, but no specific explanation of what a Combo pass covers. The old passes explicitly said what lines it covered and excluded (e.g. Quincy Adams & Braintree).

Bring on the Charlie Card...

Every last thing that's wrong with the T, in one convenient rant

From inane announcements to seat hoggers and perfume queens, with special emphasis on the Green Line:

... "This train will be running express to Boston College. Boston College will be the next stop for this train."

After 98% of the 70 people on the train pour out, mumbling and lugging groceries, briefcases, and other assundry, the 2 BC students sit tight in their newly won seats and smile smugly. Lest we get upset, the driver is always quick to remind us that there is service "directly" behind them (which means, "A train is being flown in, as I speak, from Japan. If it doesn't break down before it reaches us, you'll be in luck and on your way in no time.") ...

A Sox player to be thankful for

Sox1Fan writes:

... This morning, be thankful that the Boston Red Sox have Tim Wakefield on the team… a guy who took less money to be here ... a guy who wanted to be here so much that he signed a deal with a series of one-way (Red Sox) options to stay here. It seems apparent that Tim (and his wife Stacy) love the City of Boston, so it is no small wonder why the City loves them back.

The Wakefields made an unannounced visit to the Franciscan Hospital for Children yesterday ... in the spirit of the holiday season ... for the kids. It wasn't about self-aggrandisement or press ops, it was about bringing joy to children in the hospital. ...

We're no longer the biggest loser

Remember how Massachusetts was the only state to lose population? Hellooo, New York. Welcome to the club, DC. And yoo hoo, Rhode Island.

Latest figures from the Census Bureau (Excel file there; CSV file here) show that on a total basis, New York is the biggest loser, but on a percentage basis, Rhode Island is the state voted most likely to be completely empty if current trends continue: Between June of 2004 and June of 2005, it lost 0.3% of its population. DC actually had a bigger percentage loss, at 0.7%, but it's no state. We're at 0.1%, which translates to 8,639 fewer Massachusettsians.

Oh, and remember all that talk about Kansas and Nebraska becoming vast, empty wastelands? They both gained population.

Via John.

Damon wasn't really all that

Andrew once again proves why baseball is a game of statistics with his analysis of why Damon wasn't as good as we think (caution: you will need to digest his explanation of something called SecA first):

... Johnny Damon was a below-average Major League hitter in 2005. Below Average. He fared somewhat better among center fielders and leadoff men, but not by enough to make his loss a real crime. For $13 million dollars a year, along with the promise of lost speed and plunging production, I want way more for my money than a singles hitter who failed, catastrophically, to do much else.

Meanwhile, Meg comes up with another statistic:

... If it's not the Curse of the Epsteino that's bringing this down upon the Nation, perhaps it's a Curse of the Queer Eyes. Of the five Sox who appeared on "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," (Kevin Millar, Jason Varitek, Johnny Damon, Tim Wakefield, and Doug Mirabelli), only Wakefield and Varitek now remain.