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Chris Rock & Health Insurance

5/31/2007 12:27:00 PM 0 Responses
Have you ever seen Chris Rock's act "Bigger and Blacker"? It's a little outdated (1999) but he had a great segment about insurance. If you haven't seen it, you can get the dvd here. A brief excerpt if I may (pardon the cursewords, but I wanted to be true to his act):

You know what's worse than taxes? What's worse than tax is insurance.
They shouldn't even call it insurance. They just should call it ''in case sh*t.''
I give a company some money in case sh*t happens.
Now, if sh*t don't happen, shouldn't l get my money back?

If you haven't heard, starting July 1st, almost everyone in Massachusetts will be required by law to have health insurance. In an effort to help us all to be prepared in case sh*t happens, the state has set up a website to help in the quest for insurance. It's called the Commonwealth Connector and it can be found

Using the website, you can compare different plans, premiums, co-pays, deductibles, and all that good stuff.

Go out and get yourself some coverage. And to close with some more Chris Rock, just because I loved that act, I leave you with a possible alternative: Robitussin.

When l was a kid, we didn't have no insurance.
We didn't have a damn thing.
You had to be damn near dead to see the doctor.
You had to be way past Robitussin.
That's all we hadwhen I was a kid: Robitussin.
No matter what you got, Robitussin better handle it.

"Daddy, l got asthma."

"I got cancer.''

l broke my leg, Daddy poured Robitussin on it.

And just to make sure this blog is a complete resource to you. You can get Robitussin here

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Brewstock Festival or as I like to call it Beers R Us

5/30/2007 05:20:00 PM 0 Responses
Happy Hump Day. Time to start planning your weekend. While you're making your plans, don't forget about The Brewstock Festival this weekend - hosted by the Harpoon Brewery. Details from the official website (here) can be found below.

The Annual Summer Celebration of Local Boston Beer, Bands and B-B-Que
Friday, June 1st & Saturday, June 2nd, 2007
Harpoon's summer festival of bands, bar-b-que, and beer. This Harpoon two-day, annual event is held annually in early June. Outside and under tents, we celebrate the coming of summer with great local music and, of course, Harpoon beer fresh from the brewery. There will be plenty of delicious bar-b-que to enjoy too.

What is Brewstock?
A celebration of the best of Summer – Fresh beer, live music, & great B-B-Q
Boston’s Harpoon Brewery offers the ideal outdoor venue for celebrating summer
A wide selection of different styles of fresh beer from Harpoon and UFO
Featuring popular Boston up and coming bands - everything from Rock to Reggae
Delicious food sold by a variety of vendors - from Sausages to Bar-B-Que
Come sit back, relax and enjoy the summer with friends at the Harpoon Brewery
Come run in the Harpoon 5-Miler on Saturday morning

When is Brewstock (Rain or Shine)?
Friday, June 1st, 5:30 PM to 11:00 PM (Doors close at 9:30 pm)
Saturday, June 2nd, 10 AM - The Harpoon 5-Miler Road Race
Saturday, June 2nd, 2:00 PM to 9:00 PM (Doors close at 7:30 pm)

Where is Brewstock?
At the Harpoon Brewery, 306 Northern Ave., on Boston's Waterfront
Free shuttles from the South Station area. Departs from behind the Federal Reserve along the Fort Point Channel off Summer Street. Look for the Shuttle Sign.
Public parking available for a fee at the Brewery in garage across the street
Take the "T" to the event aboard the new Silverline Bus. Take SL2 or SL3 and get off at Harbor Street.

Door charge $15.00 and includes a souvenir Pint Cup (does not include food or beer)
Must be 21 or older and have proper I.D.
Cash bars offer a selection of Harpoon & UFO for $5.00 a pint
Delicious BBQ sold by a local guest restaurant
Plenty capacity, come anytime!
For more info, call 888-HARPOON ext 3.

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One Weekend Ends.....Another One Can't Start Soon Enough

5/29/2007 02:30:00 PM 0 Responses
What's everyone up to this weekend? Nothing says summertime like a parade. Hanging out with friends outdoors and enjoying the 3 months of actual warm weather that we have here in Boston.

I just stumbled upon this on the City of Boston website. Get it while it's hot, the official Boston Parade Schedule. In particular, I wanted to highlight the one going on this Sunday, June 3rd. True, Memorial Day weekend is over, but let's keep the partying going. This weekend, fire up the Weber Grill and bust out the plastic red cups. And on Sunday, head over to Dorchester to celebrate the annual commemoration of the Puritans landing in Dorchester Bay in 1630. This Parade has been going on since 1904, 100+ years of celebration can't be wrong.

The Parade starts in Lower Mills and travels along Dorchester Avenue to the finish line at the end of the Columbia Road interesection.

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Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous......In Boston

5/28/2007 04:33:00 PM 0 Responses
If you've walked down Boylston Street lately, you've seen the nice progress that the new Mandarin Oriental has been making in front of the Prudential Center. This building is one of many recent luxury residences that have been gone up, catering to the wealthy in Boston. This one, though, will be the utmost in opulence and decadence.

Here's an artist rendering of what the Mandarin Oriental will look like when it's finished. Click here for a real estate article from two years ago when they first broke ground on this project.

Here's a few boston A-listers that have purchased units in this building.

Chad Gifford, former chief executive of FleetBoston Financial Corp.
Democratic fund-raisers Gerry and Elaine Schuster
David Mugar, the man who brought Fourth of July fireworks to the Esplanade; and Robert Epstein, one of the owners of the Boston Celtics. Herb Chambers - owner of 38 car dealerships in the New England area also bought a unit here.

Speaking of Herb, here's a more recent article from yesterday talking about a couple more of his recent real estate deals. Here's my favorite quote:

Chambers is selling the Back Bay property, which he bought for $9 million, because he said he lives alone and at more than 9,000 square feet, it's just too big.

I live alone too, except my studio is only about 400 sq feet. =)

And lastly, one of Boston's most beloved restaurants - L'Espalier - will be moving into the Mandarin Oriental once it's open. For those of you that haven't yet had the chance to eat at Frank McClelland's classic Boston institution, I suggest you do so before he moves. L'Espalier is currently housed within a cozy Back Bay brownstone on Gloucester St. The ambiance is wonderful and food is amazing. Things won't be the same once L'Espalier moves. But who's to say it can't get even better? Best to go now, so that you can judge the Before & After for yourself. If you do go, have the Tasting Menu. It's beyond words.

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Graduation Season

5/27/2007 06:09:00 PM 0 Responses
In honor of all you folks that are graduating, here is a transcript of Conan O'Brien's speech that he made at Harvard in 2000 - Arguably one of the most humorous graduation speeches I've ever encountered. It's a bit long, but definetly worth it.

Commencement Speech to the Havard Class of 2000
by Conan O'Brien

I'd like to thank the Class Marshals for inviting me here today. The last time I was invited to Harvard it cost me $110,000, so you'll forgive me if I'm a bit suspicious. I'd like to announce up front that I have one goal this afternoon: to be half as funny as tomorrow's Commencement Speaker, Moral Philosopher and Economist, Amartya Sen. Must get more laughs than seminal wage/price theoretician.

Students of the Harvard Class of 2000, fifteen years ago I sat where you sit now and I thought exactly what you are now thinking: What's going to happen to me? Will I find my place in the world? Am I really graduating a virgin? I still have 24 hours and my roommate's Mom is hot. I swear she was checking me out. Being here today is very special for me. I miss this place. I especially miss Harvard Square - it's so unique. No where else in the world will you find a man with a turban wearing a Red Sox jacket and working in a lesbian bookstore. Hey, I'm just glad my dad's working.

It's particularly sweet for me to be here today because when I graduated, I wanted very badly to be a Class Day Speaker. Unfortunately, my speech was rejected. So, if you'll indulge me, I'd like to read a portion of that speech from fifteen years ago: "Fellow students, as we sit here today listening to that classic Ah-ha tune which will definitely stand the test of time, I would like to make several predictions about what the future will hold: "I believe that one day a simple Governor from a small Southern state will rise to the highest office in the land. He will lack political skill, but will lead on the sheer strength of his moral authority." "I believe that Justice will prevail and, one day, the Berlin Wall will crumble, uniting East and West Berlin forever under Communist rule." "I believe that one day, a high speed network of interconnected computers will spring up world-wide, so enriching people that they will lose their interest in idle chit chat and pornography." "And finally, I believe that one day I will have a television show on a major network, seen by millions of people a night, which I will use to re-enact crimes and help catch at-large criminals." And then there's some stuff about the death of Wall Street which I don't think we need to get into....

The point is that, although you see me as a celebrity, a member of the cultural elite, a kind of demigod, I was actually a student here once much like you. I came here in the fall of 1981 and lived in Holworthy. I was, without exaggeration, the ugliest picture in the Freshman Face book. When Harvard asked me for a picture the previous summer, I thought it was just for their records, so I literally jogged in the August heat to a passport photo office and sat for a morgue photo. To make matters worse, when the Face Book came out they put my picture next to Catherine Oxenberg, a stunning blonde actress who was accepted to the class of '85 but decided to defer admission so she could join the cast of "Dynasty." My photo would have looked bad on any page, but next to Catherine Oxenberg, I looked like a mackerel that had been in a car accident. You see, in those days I was six feet four inches tall and I weighed 150 pounds. Recently, I had some structural engineers run those numbers into a computer model and, according to the computer, I collapsed in 1987, killing hundreds in Taiwan.

After freshman year I moved to Mather House. Mather House, incidentally, was designed by the same firm that built Hitler's bunker. In fact, if Hitler had conducted the war from Mather House, he'd have shot himself a year earlier. 1985 seems like a long time ago now. When I had my Class Day, you students would have been seven years old. Seven years old. Do you know what that means? Back then I could have beaten any of you in a fight. And I mean bad. It would be no contest. If any one here has a time machine, seriously, let's get it on, I will whip your seven year old butt. When I was here, they sold diapers at the Coop that said "Harvard Class of 2000." At the time, it was kind of a joke, but now I realize you wore those diapers. How embarrassing for you. A lot has happened in fifteen years. When you think about it, we come from completely different worlds. When I graduated, we watched movies starring Tom Cruise and listened to music by Madonna. I come from a time when we huddled around our TV sets and watched "The Cosby Show" on NBC, never imagining that there would one day be a show called "Cosby" on CBS. In 1985 we drove cars with driver's side airbags, but if you told us that one day there'd be passenger side airbags, we'd have burned you for witchcraft.

But of course, I think there is some common ground between us. I remember well the great uncertainty of this day. Many of you are justifiably nervous about leaving the safe, comfortable world of Harvard Yard and hurling yourself headlong into the cold, harsh world of Harvard Grad School, a plum job at your father's firm, or a year abroad with a gold Amex card and then a plum job in your father's firm. But let me assure you that the knowledge you've gained here at Harvard is a precious gift that will never leave you. Take it from me, your education is yours to keep forever. Why, many of you have read the Merchant of Florence, and that will inspire you when you travel to the island of Spain. Your knowledge of that problem they had with those people in Russia, or that guy in South America-you know, that guy-will enrich you for the rest of your life.

There is also sadness today, a feeling of loss that you're leaving Harvard forever. Well, let me assure you that you never really leave Harvard. The Harvard Fundraising Committee will be on your ass until the day you die. Right now, a member of the Alumni Association is at the Mt. Auburn Cemetery shaking down the corpse of Henry Adams. They heard he had a brass toe ring and they aims to get it. Imagine: These people just raised 2.5 billion dollars and they only got through the B's in the alumni directory. Here's how it works. Your phone rings, usually after a big meal when you're tired and most vulnerable. A voice asks you for money. Knowing they just raised 2.5 billion dollars you ask, "What do you need it for?" Then there's a long pause and the voice on the other end of the line says, "We don't need it, we just want it." It's chilling.

What else can you expect? Let me see, by your applause, who here wrote a thesis. (APPLAUSE) A lot of hard work, a lot of your blood went into that thesis... and no one is ever going to care. I wrote a thesis: Literary Progeria in the works of Flannery O'Connor and William Faulkner. Let's just say that, during my discussions with Pauly Shore, it doesn't come up much. For three years after graduation I kept my thesis in the glove compartment of my car so I could show it to a policeman in case I was pulled over. (ACT OUT) License, registration, cultural exploration of the Man Child in the Sound and the Fury...

So what can you expect out there in the real world? Let me tell you. As you leave these gates and re-enter society, one thing is certain: Everyone out there is going to hate you. Never tell anyone in a roadside diner that you went to Harvard. In most situations the correct response to where did you to school is, "School? Why, I never had much in the way of book larnin' and such." Then, get in your BMW and get the hell out of there.

You see, you're in for a lifetime of "And you went to Harvard?" Accidentally give the wrong amount of change in a transaction and it's, "And you went to Harvard?" Ask the guy at the hardware store how these jumper cables work and hear, "And you went to Harvard?" Forget just once that your underwear goes inside your pants and it's "and you went to Harvard." Get your head stuck in your niece's dollhouse because you wanted to see what it was like to be a giant and it's "Uncle Conan, you went to Harvard!?"

But to really know what's in store for you after Harvard, I have to tell you what happened to me after graduation. I'm going to tell you my story because, first of all, my perspective may give many of you hope, and, secondly, it's an amazing rush to stand in front of six thousand people and talk about yourself.

After graduating in May, I moved to Los Angeles and got a three week contract at a small cable show. I got a $380 a month apartment and bought a 1977 Isuzu Opel, a car Isuzu only manufactured for a year because they found out that, technically, it's not a car. Here's a quick tip, graduates: no four cylinder vehicle should have a racing stripe. I worked at that show for over a year, feeling pretty good about myself, when one day they told me they were letting me go. I was fired and, I hadn't saved a lot of money. I tried to get another job in television but I couldn't find one.

So, with nowhere else to turn, I went to a temp agency and filled out a questionnaire. I made damn sure they knew I had been to Harvard and that I expected the very best treatment. And so, the next day, I was sent to the Santa Monica branch of Wilson's House of Suede and Leather. When you have a Harvard degree and you're working at Wilson's House of Suede and Leather, you are haunted by the ghostly images of your classmates who chose Graduate School. You see their faces everywhere: in coffee cups, in fish tanks, and they're always laughing at you as you stack suede shirts no man, in good conscience, would ever wear. I tried a lot of things during this period: acting in corporate infomercials, serving drinks in a non-equity theatre, I even took a job entertaining at a seven year olds' birthday party. In desperate need of work, I put together some sketches and scored a job at the fledgling Fox Network as a writer and performer for a new show called "The Wilton North Report." I was finally on a network and really excited. The producer told me the show was going to revolutionize television. And, in a way, it did. The show was so hated and did so badly that when, four weeks later, news of its cancellation was announced to the Fox affiliates, they burst into applause.

Eventually, though, I got a huge break. I had submitted, along with my writing partner, a batch of sketches to Saturday Night Live and, after a year and a half, they read it and gave us a two week tryout. The two weeks turned into two seasons and I felt successful. Successful enough to write a TV pilot for an original sitcom and, when the network decided to make it, I left Saturday Night Live. This TV show was going to be groundbreaking. It was going to resurrect the career of TV's Batman, Adam West. It was going to be a comedy without a laugh track or a studio audience. It was going to change all the rules. And here's what happened: When the pilot aired it was the second lowest-rated television show of all time. It's tied with a test pattern they show in Nova Scotia.

So, I was 28 and, once again, I had no job. I had good writing credits in New York, but I was filled with disappointment and didn't know what to do next. I started smelling suede on my fingertips. And that's when The Simpsons saved me. I got a job there and started writing episodes about Springfield getting a Monorail and Homer going to College. I was finally putting my Harvard education to good use, writing dialogue for a man who's so stupid that in one episode he forgot to make his own heart beat. Life was good.

And then, an insane, inexplicable opportunity came my way . A chance to audition for host of the new Late Night Show. I took the opportunity seriously but, at the same time, I had the relaxed confidence of someone who knew he had no real shot. I couldn't fear losing a great job I had never had. And, I think that attitude made the difference. I'll never forget being in the Simpson's recording basement that morning when the phone rang. It was for me. My car was blocking a fire lane. But a week later I got another call: I got the job.

So, this was undeniably the it: the truly life-altering break I had always dreamed of. And, I went to work. I gathered all my funny friends and poured all my years of comedy experience into building that show over the summer, gathering the talent and figuring out the sensibility. We debuted on September 13, 1993 and I was happy with our effort. I felt like I had seized the moment and put my very best foot forward. And this is what the most respected and widely read television critic, Tom Shales, wrote in the Washington Post: "O'Brien is a living collage of annoying nervous habits. He giggles and titters, jiggles about and fiddles with his cuffs. He had dark, beady little eyes like a rabbit. He's one of the whitest white men ever. O'Brien is a switch on the guest who won't leave: he's the host who should never have come. Let the Late show with Conan O'Brien become the late, Late Show and may the host return to Conan O'Blivion whence he came." There's more but it gets kind of mean.

Needless to say, I took a lot of criticism, some of it deserved, some of it excessive. And it hurt like you wouldn't believe. But I'm telling you all this for a reason. I've had a lot of success and I've had a lot of failure. I've looked good and I've looked bad. I've been praised and I've been criticized. But my mistakes have been necessary. Except for Wilson's House of Suede and Leather. That was just stupid.

I've dwelled on my failures today because, as graduates of Harvard, your biggest liability is your need to succeed. Your need to always find yourself on the sweet side of the bell curve. Because success is a lot like a bright, white tuxedo. You feel terrific when you get it, but then you're desperately afraid of getting it dirty, of spoiling it in any way.

I left the cocoon of Harvard, I left the cocoon of Saturday Night Live, I left the cocoon of The Simpsons. And each time it was bruising and tumultuous. And yet, every failure was freeing, and today I'm as nostalgic for the bad as I am for the good.

So, that's what I wish for all of you: the bad as well as the good. Fall down, make a mess, break something occasionally. And remember that the story is never over. If it's all right, I'd like to read a little something from just this year: "Somehow, Conan O'Brien has transformed himself into the brightest star in the Late Night firmament. His comedy is the gold standard and Conan himself is not only the quickest and most inventive wit of his generation, but quite possible the greatest host ever."

Ladies and Gentlemen, Class of 2000, I wrote that this morning, as proof that, when all else fails, there's always delusion.

I'll go now, to make bigger mistakes and to embarrass this fine institution even more. But let me leave you with one last thought: If you can laugh at yourself loud and hard every time you fall, people will think you're drunk.

Thank you.

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It's Sunny Out....Go Shopping

5/26/2007 11:16:00 AM 0 Responses
Good Morning Everyone,

After a long, drawn out winter it's finally warm in Boston. Happy Memorial Day weekend. It's beautiful out on this Saturday morning. Get outside and enjoy the weather while it lasts. Forecasts for tomorrow and Monday say we're in store for some rain. So break out the barbecues and have at it while you can.

But before you do, here's some cause to do a little shopping. I'm sure there's already Memorial Day Sales going on, but here's a couple extra coupons for you to use.

Extra 10%-15% off at Macy's. Be sure to read all the fine print, there's lots of it

Extra 20% off One Item at Filene's Basement.

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Projekt Revolution - 8/24/07

5/24/2007 10:58:00 PM 0 Responses
This is going to be BIG. Projekt Revolution is coming to the Tweeter Center in Mansfield, MA on Friday August 24th, exactly three months from now. Click here for their official website. For those of you working folk, bear in mind that the concert starts at 12:45pm. It's a perfect day to use one of those "sick" days or "personal" days that you've been saving up.

Here's the current lineup of the bands:
Linkin Park
My Chemical Romance
Taking Back Sunday
Mindless Self Indulgence
The Bled
Styles of Beyond
Madina Lake

Tickets went on sale on May 19th, and I know what you're thinking.....all the good seats are taken. Think again. Live Nation just extended the auction end date for some premium seats. The new auction end date is 9am and 10am on 5/30/07. It'll cost you a pretty penny, but after looking at the band lineup, don't you think it's worth it?

Auction Details:

here to participate in the auction. There's 2 different auctions going on.

The auction for seats in Section 2 end at 10am on 5/30/07. 15 pairs of tickets are available. Winning bids currently range from $87.50 - $97.50 per ticket. As of right now, there's only 7 bids.

The auction for seats in the Pit end at 9am on 5/30/07. 15 pairs of tickets are available . Winning bids currently range from $87.50 - $97.50 per ticket. As of right now, there's only 10 bids.

7 bids and 10 bids - and each auction is for 15 pairs. Do the math and as of right now, chances are pretty good that you can snag awesome seats for a kick ass concert.

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Upcoming Concerts at Agganis Arena

5/24/2007 05:09:00 PM 0 Responses
Greetings Bostonians,

Here is a list of the upcoming concerts at Agganis Arena at BU. It's a great venue, smaller than the Tweeter Center but way more accessible for those living in Boston proper. It's also fairly new so it's nice and clean. I saw my first concert there a couple months back (Snow Patrol) and had a great time.

Located within Boston University's new $225 million John Hancock Student Village—a 10-acre hub of activity designed to be the thriving center of student life and athletics—Agganis Arena is a state-of-the-art, multipurpose sports and entertainment center. A 290,000-square-foot premier venue with 6,300 seats for hockey and ice shows, the Arena is expandable to over 7,200 seats for concerts, sporting events, and family shows.

Nelly Furtado
Tuesday, June 5, 2007 @ 7:30 PM
Ticket prices: $35.00 & $45.00

The White Stripes
Monday, July 23, 2007 @ 7:30 PM
Ticket prices: $44.50

Saturday, August 11, 2007 @ 8:00 PM
Ticket prices: $37.50

The Lipizzaner Stallions*

Saturday, October 6, 2007 @ 2:00 PM
Ticket prices: $35.00, $50.00, $75.00

The Lipizzaner Stallions*
Saturday, October 6, 2007 @ 7:30 PM

Ticket prices: $35.00, $50.00, $75.00

*Note: The Lipizzaner Stallions are not a band, they are actual horses.

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Spring has Sprung at Symphony Hall

5/22/2007 11:57:00 PM 1 Response
Opening night was an exciting one for the Boston Pops this year. Ben Folds appeared as a special guest and a fight broke out on the balcony. Not something you'd expect from a quiet evening at Symphony Hall.

Fast forward two weeks and things have gotten even more exciting. For one week only, Boston Pops Laureate Conductor John Williams is in town for five performances in a series of concerts entitled "Film Night" - featuring musical scores from several blockbuster movies. The first performance was this past evening Tuesday May 22nd and I had the distinct pleasure of attending.

Williams started the evening off with a lighthearted joke. He bowed graciously and said that it was a pleasure to be able to perform his music without being interrupted by movie dialogue and sound effects. The audience laughed and the performance began.

Fanfare for a Festive Occasion - Williams

A Tribute to Bernard Herrmann
The Inquirer, from Citizen Kane
Scene d'Amour from Vertigo
Suite from Psycho
Prelude from North by Northwest

From Broadway to Hollywood
Hooray for Hollywood - Whiting/Mercer-Williams
Carousel Waltz - Rodgers
Excerpts from Fiddler on the Roof - Bock/Harnick-Williams
All That Jazz from Chicago - Kander/Ebb-Besterman

At The Movies
March from Superman - Williams

Three Pieces from Harry Potter - Williams
Fawkes the Phoenix
Nimbus 2000
Harry's Wondrous World

A Tribute to George Lucas and Steven Spielberg - Williams
Jaws - Star Wars - Raiders of the Lost Ark - E.T.

It is impossible to go through life without having been touched by the music of John Williams. As a child, I ran around the playground singing the March from Superman or perhaps the Theme from Raiders of the Lost Ark (Indiana Jones) as I made believe that I was a character from one of the movies. It was an honor to be able to see the composer conduct his own music in person.

There are four performances left. If you have time and can get your hands on some tickets, I recommend you check it out. Performances are at 8pm for the next four nights. According to their website, tickets are no longer available online. Call SymphonyCharge (888-266-1200) for ticket availability. More information can be found on

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