Frotteurism in Public

One of the unfortunate side-effects of the growth of urban populations has been the emergence of non-conventional sexual assault violations in areas too crowded to pinpoint the culprit. In particular, a crime known as frotteurism has become an issue in urban centers with massive converging populations. This is a common problem in cities like Tokyo and Delhi, and certainly has been cited as an issue in crowded areas in America.

Although the terminology may not be well-known, frotteurism defined as sexual assault in the form of non-consensually touching another person. In particular, those who engage in this behavior will rub up against another person in order to gain some sort of sexual gratification.

Some people may have preconceptions about how frotteurs are, and, particularly, that only men engage in this kind of behavior. However, there are reported instances of female frotteurs, as well as no particular limitation to heteronormativity, meaning that female frotteurs may assault other females and male frotteurs may assault other males. Despite the possible diversity of those who engage in this illegal behavior, it is true that the majority of cases can be blamed on male culprits.

If frotteur is caught, the sentencing is not particularly harsh in most jurisdictions. However, due to the crime’s status as a sex crime, there are certain punishments that may accompany with a guilty verdict. In particular, a sex crime in the United States will generally add the convicted individual to a sex crimes registry list, making their crime public to those living around them and their potential business associates. In addition, a small penalty, usually in the form of a fine, may be levied against the offender.

For more information about sexual assault, contact a sex crimes attorney.

Hiking In The Mohawk Trail State Forest

In Northwestern Massachusetts in The Berkshire Mountain Range Lies Mohawk Trail State Forest. A beautiful 6,500 acre wilderness preserve with lush hardwoods, deep ravines and its historic Indian Hiking Trail.

The signature Hiking trail of the park The Indian Trail can be rather difficult due to some steep inclines. The trail is has mountains ascents on either end which is something novice hikers should take note of. The trail itself is framed in beautiful witch hazel and mountain laurel. Although not well marked the trail itself is so well traveled that visitors should have little problem sticking to the main passage.

To find the trail, head north from the parking area along the park road. You will know you are getting close when you pass a designated camping area, closer still when you climb a natural stone outcrop stairway until you hit a T-junction. This junction is the official Indian Trail. To the left lies Clark Mountain to the right Todd Mountain.

The eastern portion of the trail towards Todd Mountain is the more difficult stretch of the trail as it includes a serious ascent. As you head easterly and begin to ascend be wary of wet stone covered in leaves as it is notoriously slippery. As you reach the summit of Mount Todd at roughly 1,700 feet an opportunity presents itself to enjoy easterly and southerly vista of both woodland and rural Massachusetts valleys.

If you head west from the T-junction your trail is a bit more mild. Gentle rolling hills and enjoyable mountain laurel guide your path. Just a few hundred feet in west of the junction is a nice view of the Cold River. As you approach Clark Mountain your one way journey is about over. When you reach a pair of stone foundations obscured by overgrowth travelers may wish to designate this area to turn back. Although the trail does continue for a little ways further it ends abruptly and unceremoniously in an empty field. Having visited both mountains and returned the hiker will have traveled a robust four and a half miles.

Although not as historic or well traveled as The Indian Trail to the southeast you will find Thumper Mountain Trail. Thumper Mountain Trail offers a few nice advantages, first it is camp-side adjacent and easily accessible. Secondly it offers true ‘loop hiking’ which many find more rewarding. At about a half mile round trip in length this is a rather ideal trail for families hiking or camping in the area that have younger children. Although there is a mild ascent the trail itself is quite forgiving.

A very easy to find trail-head starts where the campground road ends and is even denoted by a wooden post. Begin the gentle ascent to the top of Thumper Mountain. This trail offers a little more hemlock and white pine then other trails in the area however there a not as many opportunities for unobstructed picture taking as tourists might like so take them where you can. At the summit you will find a pleasant south-southwesterly view of Cold River.

Although the park does offer accommodations for campers it is always best to call ahead and check availability.

World Records Tumble

This month the 51 year old strongman set his 103rd Guinness record – he holds 30 current official records – by carrying a person of exactly his own weight in a Fireman’s Carry position for one mile in fifteen minutes.

Previously he has run 50 miles in under 9 hours while juggling three balls; balanced a milk bottle on his head continuously for 81 miles; balanced seventy five 20oz pint glasses on his chin; pogosticked up the 1900 steps of Toronto’s CN Tower; somersaulted the entire 12 1/4 mile length of Paul Revere’s ride in Massachusetts; and stilt-walked 8 kms in just under 40 minutes – to name a few. On the Oprah Winfrey show Ashrita had to be escorted off the show by paramedics after eating the world’s hottest chilli peppers!

Other records set by Ashrita over the past three decades include the fastest mile pushing an orange with his nose, the fastest mile on a pogo stick and the most milk crates ever balanced on anyone’s chin.

Ashrita timed his latest attempt to coincide with Guinness World Records Day. Guinness Records, the keeper of all records wacky and wonderful has been around for 50 years, and has set aside November 9th as a day to celebrate record setting achievements.

On hand to verify Ashrita’s record was Stuart Claxton, head of Guinness’s U.S. research team. “Guinness World Records has a healthy sense of humour, so we’re always interested in it being fun as well. But really we’re looking for things that other people can actually break because as we always say, ‘Records are meant to be broken’ – and that’s what we’re celebrating today,” he said.

Other record attempts also took place around the world to commemorate Guinness Record Day. This month in New York Chad Fell blew a 20 inch bubblegum bubble, setting a record for the largest one without the use of hands. Aaron Studham of Leominster, Massachusetts sported the tallest Mohawk haircut, coming in at a hair-raising 21 inches. Other Guinness Records being attempted included the ‘Longest Non-stop Commercial Flight’, from Hong Kong to London’s Heathrow, and ‘Largest Milkshake’ attempt by a group in Brisbane, Australia.

The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team of which Ashrita is a member organises a further annual event in Germany to also commemorate Guinness World Record Day. Called ‘Impossibility Challenger’, the one day occasion attracts participants from all over the world bent on establishing world and personal records in a variety of non-Olympic disciplines. To the athletes and record contenders these feats have become known as ‘Guinnessport’. The term was coined in the seventies to describe the daredevil antics that earned a place in The Guinness Book of World Records, which also happens to be the world’s best-selling book. According to Impossibility Challenger organizers and lovers of Guinnessport, the goal is ‘to overcome human limitations and to challenge the seemingly impossible’.

This year Shobha Tipnis from India became the first woman in the world to inflate a hot-water bottle with her lungs till it burst. Gill Zafar from the neighboring country Pakistan lifted metal plates weighing 55kg with his right ear and held the weight for 12.2 seconds in the air. Shamita Achenbach-Konig set a Guinness Record which pampered the ears – the professional cellist from Vienna played the cello for 24 hours.

Albert Walter, Swiss record holder in the bench press for 2004, set two new world records. He tore up a phone book with 960 pages in 2.8 seconds and broke an 8.5mm thick carpenter’s nail with his bare hands. Rainer Schroder from Germany towed a truck of three tons with his teeth for the Guinness world record distance of 35.8 metres in one minute flat. Milan Roskopf from Slovakia set a world record by juggling three 20lb [9kg] shot puts for 25.6 seconds.

Ashrita Furman, the king of Guinnessport and often the chief draw card, at a recent Impossibility Challenger set not one but three new records. In the space of a few hours he completed one mile of hula-hoop spinning, one mile of lunges [in which the knee had to touch the ground at every step], and standing on a gymnastic ball, balancing three hours and 30 minutes and bettering his own previous record by over an hour.

Guinnesport followers have come to expect the impossible from Furman. He has broken so many records, in so many disciplines, that in 1987 Guinness editor Norris McWhirter presented him with the title ‘Mr. Versatility’ and allowed him a bonus record: the most world records in unrelated categories.

Anke Riedel, director of the new Impossibility-Challenger, remembers an earlier event back in 1990 when Ashrita broke a record for playing the most hopscotch games in 24 hours. At that same event, karate masters sliced blocks of ice, and one daredevil rode a bicycle backwards while playing the violin. The Impossibility-Challenger is nothing if not diverse.

Over the past 25 years, Furman has broken over 103 records in everything from yodeling to land rowing. ‘Ask fans who’s the greatest athlete of all times,’ The Christian Science Monitor once wrote, ‘and you’ll hear a familiar debate over the likes of Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan and Babe Ruth. Ask readers of The Guinness Book of World Records, however, and you’re likely to hear consensus on one name: Ashrita Furman.’

Ashrita visited New Zealand in 2003 when he set a world record by juggling three lead balls underwater at Kelly Tarltons Underwater World for 48 minutes non-stop in a large fish tank. His first attempt was interrupted after 16 minutes when a tiny parrotfish repeatedly bit him on the nose!

Furman attributes all his achievements to a lifelong practice of meditation, which he believes helps in developing intense concentration in the mind, self-belief and will power. He is also quick to credit all his records to his meditation teacher, 74-year-old Sri Chinmoy.

“In my teens I started searching for a deeper meaning to life and studied Eastern philosophy and yoga. I later attended a meditation evening with the Indian master Sri Chinmoy, a meeting which changed the course of my life. Sri Chinmoy radically altered the way I looked at things. His philosophy of self-transcendence, of overcoming your limits and making daily progress spiritually, creatively and physically, using the power of meditation, really thrilled me. However, I was a bit unsure about the physical part in my case due to my lifelong commitment to nerdiness.

But I came to understand that the body is just an instrument of the spirit and, if performed in the right consciousness, physical feats can be just as – or even more – uplifting than meditating in a temple!”

Teaching Teachers

In the education profession, there are two areas of preparation that we would expect to see. The first is the most fundamental of preparation, learning and mastering the concepts that the teacher will be teaching. The second is gaining skill and ease in the process of teaching, or pedagogy. Recent studies have found failings in both areas among university education schools.

Arthur Levine, former President of Columbia’s Teachers College, found in his report “Educating School Teachers” that “more than three out of five teacher education alumni surveyed (62 percent) report that schools of education do not prepare their graduates to cope with the realities of today’s classrooms.”

A survey of Principals included in the same report found that only 54% of Principals believed schools of education sufficiently convey to future teachers “how students learn,” while 72% believed that ed schools produced graduates with “mastery of their subject area,” indicating that more a quarter did not.

The figures above are based on perceptions but more objective data exists as well thanks to a 2008 study from the National Council on Teacher Quality. That inquiry found that no state “requires an adequate exit test to ensure that the teacher candidate knows the mathematics he or she will need” as an elementary educator. The subtext here is that teacher licensing tests do include math sections but can be passed without answering a single math question correctly. Since 2008, the 0-state figure has increased to 1 with an assessment instituted by Massachusetts.

Equally problematic, just 42% of the education schools examined in that study had any elementary mathematics methods course offering. Indeed, elementary mathematics is only a single level and discipline but it is representative of similar problems across the board.

One example of a teacher ill-prepared for her responsibility was in the news recently. Phanna Kem Robishaw failed two English fluency tests while holding four state licenses qualifying her to teach an elementary school curriculum in mainstream, bilingual, and special education settings. Despite the two failures, the Massachusetts Supreme Court decided in May that Ms, Robishaw could not be fired by her school.

Even if schools were able to impose widespread layoffs of teachers who do not meet their minimum criteria, we would have a great deal of trouble replacing them. I made the case in an earlier blog post that we are already facing a massive teacher shortage in the US that could reach epic proportions over the next five to ten years.

Of course, the shortcomings in teacher education discussed here are but one aspect of a multi-faceted problem that includes excessive class sizes, poor compensation, parental passivity and a lack of adequate supplies but if we’re going to address poor educational outcomes, this is as good a place to start as any.

Additional Sources: NCTQ

Boston Area Retirement Community Awarded

National Assisted Living Nurses Association awards Boston Massachusetts retirement community. Atria Marina Place has received the Platinum Community Award. NALNA recently recognized this community for 100 percent quality compliance as determined by a Massachusetts statewide survey. Atria Senior Living Group had the most deficiency-free surveys nationwide of all groups who received recognition.

Atria Marina Place is located on the seaside enclave of Marina Bay only 10 minutes from Boston. At Atria Marina you will find a community offering independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing rehabilitative care as well as memory and Alzheimer’s care. There are 3 levels of service to choose from the Enhanced Independent Program, Assisted Service Program or the Life Guidance Program. Residents and the loved ones also have peace of mind knowing that 24 hour assistance is available if needed. The Marina Bay Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center is right next door.

The city of Quincy is dedicated to providing quality services to its senior residents as well. Mayor Koch dedicated the brand new Kennedy Center. This is the city’s senior center and was named to honor the close ties that the Kennedy family has with the city of Quincy. The Kennedy Center will house the Council on aging and the Health Department. There also is a computer lab, game rooms, arts and crafts, library programs, a music room and expanded meal services. There are also many museums and places to see in the “City of Presidents”. Quincy is also referred to as “Birthplace of the American Dream”. The Quincy History Museum will take you through more than 400 years of America’s richest history. You may also decide to explore the birthplaces of our nations 2nd and 6th presidents at the Adams National Historical Park. The city’s website offers a great deal of information to help you tour these museums and parks.

Atria Marina Place offers many additional conveniences and services to their residents. There are many common areas available including living areas and dining areas, a country kitchen, a pub and an activities room. There are social, fitness and wellness programs available for all residents to enjoy as well as restaurant style dining, weekly housekeeping and more. Atria Marina Place also has scheduled transportation available for medical appointments as well as shopping, special interest trips and luncheons. There also is a general store and beauty salon on campus seeing to the needs of the residents.

Atria Marina Place is not a nursing home, this is a vibrant senior community where the residents live a full and meaningful life with their friends and neighbors. There are many planned events throughout each month to be sure that everyone has something fun and exciting to look forward to. Moving to Atria Marina Place means leaving isolation and joining in the good times with other seniors, who also can use a little help with daily life but certainly don’t need to be told how to live. Think Independence. Think Good Times. Think Atria.

Book Review: "Why Romney Lost The 2012 Election"

The new eBook Why Romney Lost The 2012 Election highlights the miscalculations, gaffes and tactical errors committed by Mitt Romney and his campaign advisers during the course of the 2012 Presidential campaign. Romney’s defeat seemed to surprise many republicans and Mitt Romney himself. It should not have been a surprise based on his troubled campaign effort. The book, written by Mark Allen, takes a sobering look at the many issues which plagued the former Massachusetts Governor in the months leading up to November 6, 2012.

The book is logically broken into sections which include:

  1. Romney’s falsehoods
  2. Refusal to release his tax returns
  3. His position against the auto bailout
  4. “Corporations are People” comments
  5. Flip-flops
  6. Bizarre comments and behavior
  7. 47% comments (undercover video)
  8. Unwillingness to distance himself from right-wing extremists
  9. Unpreparedness to be Commander-In-Chief
  10. Selection of Paul Ryan as VP running mate

The author does a good job of gathering the evidence and presenting it in an interesting manner. In addition, the facts are meticulously cited using credible news sources. As I read the book it was difficult not to be amazed by the amount of self-inflicted damage Romney did to himself at different stages of the campaign. I remembered some of his major flip-flops, but I was unaware of several others. It also seemed that Romney and his campaign made a calculated decision to intentionally stray from the truth on multiple occasions. That may have slipped by the base of the party, but it almost assuredly alienated some moderate and independent voters. One glaring example presented in the book was the Jeep ad which ran in Ohio during the final days of the campaign. Romney asserted that U.S. jobs would be moving to China. It was not true. It was discredited my multiple media outlets as being false and it brought strong rebukes from Chrysler and GM. Romney refused to pull the ads and some analysts believe the decision backfired badly in Ohio.

Reading this book about Mitt Romney’s missteps makes me wonder if he would’ve won had he eliminated the lies, gaffes and flip-flops from his campaign. In the end there were just too many mistakes made by Romney and his staff. The author makes a compelling argument for Romney’s 2012 Presidential campaign being one of the most ineffective in modern political history. Although the book will most certainly be well-received by supporters of Barack Obama, even republicans might be well-served to remember the mistakes made by Romney so that they are not repeated by future GOP hopefuls. I recommend the book for political junkies who are interested in a concise, factual and well-documented book about Mitt Romney’s unsuccessful 2012 campaign and the reasons why it failed. As of this writing, the book is the #2 political book within its category on Amazon.

Trespasser by Paul Doiron – Mystery-Thriller Book Review – Asian Murder, ATV Adventure, and Amore

Twenty-five-year-old Mike Bowditch is a passionate Maine state game warden. It’s been seven months since the ordeal with his father, Jack Bowditch at Rum Pond (consider reading Doiron’s award-nominated debut novel, The Poacher’s Son as a preface to Trespasser).

Bowditch responds to a dispatcher’s call to investigate a deer/car collision on Parker Point Road. He arrives to find a damaged, red, rental sedan, and deer bloodstains in the middle of the road, but no driver, no deer.

What happened to the driver and the deer? Who anonymously alerted the authorities from the pay phone at Smitty’s Garage two miles away about the accident?

The rental car agreement found in the glove compartment indicates the current driver as Ashley Kim, 23, from Cambridge, Massachusetts.

State trooper, Curt Hutchins arrives at the scene soon after Bowditch. He assures him that he’ll continue pursuit of Kim, now that it’s a state police matter. Bowditch is skeptical. Something’s not right and Bowditch knows it.

Bowditch is compelled to do his own investigation of Ashley Kim’s disappearance. He entails the help of town clerk, MaryBeth Fickett and legendary, retired warden pilot, Charley Stevens. Stevens befriended Bowditch during his search for his father.

Fickett discovers that Hans Westergaard owns a summer home not far from the accident site. Westergaard is also from Cambridge, Massachusetts and a Harvard Business School professor. The Kim/Westergaard connection is too close to ignore. Bowditch calls Westergaard’s wife, Jill, and learns that Kim was her husband’s research assistant. She informs him too, that Hans left for a conference the day before and hasn’t been heard from since.

Bowditch and Stevens explore the capacious, oceanfront Westergaard home where they discover the mutilated corpse of Ashley Kim. The killer had carved the word SLUT on her body. With no sign of Westergaard, early suspicions focus on a romantic liaison between the two gone sour.

Seven years ago, Earland Jefferts, an affable, handsome, former lobsterman, was convicted of murdering twenty-year old, Nikki Donatelli. The crime occurred on a hot July night after drinking and seduction at the Harpoon Bar. Interestingly, Bowditch learns that Donatelli’s body also had the word SLUT carved into her body.

The J-Team, led by Jeffert’s aunt, Lou Bates, is determined to win him a new trial; convinced the prosecution did a botched job of presenting the evidence. They approach Bowditch about joining their mission. He initially declines. But, given the similarities between the Kim/Donatelli murders, he finds himself drawn into investigating Jeffert’s conviction.

Danica Marshall is the Assistant Attorney General who helped prosecute Earland Jefferts. Often referred to as a “courthouse sex symbol,” and “Black Widow,” she warns Bowditch to stop investigating Ashley Kim’s death, and revisiting the details of Jeffert’s conviction.

The Square Deal Diner is the town’s gossip hub. Upon entering, Bowditch has been the topic of conversation, both during his father’s disappearance and Ashley Kim’s murder.

Adventure accentuates Trespasser, as Bowditch engages in a death-defying ATV chase on an ice-filled, snow-driven night to lure local Calvin Barter. Bowditch is sure he’s the culprit whose ATV tracks have been ruining neighbor, Hank Varnum’s property: ” I shifted into a lower gear and gassed it, aiming for as much momentum as possible and hoping to hell my wheels didn’t lose traction on the icy surface.”

Bowditch met his live-in girlfriend, Sarah, during college. Despite her affluent upbringing, she was attracted to his raw, love for the outdoors. “She recognized something feral underneath my clean-cut exterior, and like many good girls from proper families, she was aroused by the scent of danger.”

His affinity for danger, both during the search for his father and now in the Ashley Kim murder investigation, have take its toll on their relationship. Her tolerance for his availability, both physically and emotionally, have peaked, especially now that she’s secretly pregnant.

Well-written fiction mirrors reality, often presenting insightful dialogue. One of the best lines in Trespasser worth contemplating is “You never really know someone until they’re no longer in your life.”

If you enjoy reading crime fiction, you’ll appreciate Doiron’s newish voice. It’s one that’s sure to become more recognizable over time.

The 2012 Bouchercon World Mystery Convention is being held in Cleveland, Ohio, October 4-7. To learn more about this gathering of some of the world’s best crime fiction writers, visit:

The Anatomy of a Termite: What Signs Do They Leave?

Termites have lived on Earth for more than 250 million years and are part of the ecosystem, helpful in breaking down rotting wood in the environment. When they get in your home, however, they can cause costly damage. They are not easily detected, and can do their dirty work long before a homeowner notices any damage. The best protection against termites in your home is learning what they look like and the signs of damage they produce.

In Massachusetts, the most common species of termites swarm on a warm day after a rainfall. Swarms may occur during the winter in heated buildings. Eastern subterranean termites (which are the most common form of termite in MA) typically swarm during the day from March to May. But regardless of these times, damage from termites can be discovered at any time of the year.

There are about 45 species of termites found in the U.S., each of which falls into one of the three main termite types – subterranean, drywood and dampwood. Each species has unique biology and behavior that impact what part of the country they live in, where they build their nests and their likelihood to damage homes. Massachusetts is at high risk for subterranean termites. But, many cases of drywood and dampwood termites are found each year in MA as well.

Subterranean termites live in the soil and build the largest nests of any insect in the U.S. Their nests connect to each other using channels called “mud tubes” which help protect them, hide them and also supply food. Food sources include trees, fence posts and structural timbers in houses. Subterranean termites, which can live in every U.S. state except Alaska, are responsible for the majority of termite damage in this country.

Drywood termites typically live in wood, such as dead trees, structural timbers or hardwood floors. Drywood termites do not require contact with soil to thrive, and they can also cause significant damage to homes. Drywood colonies tend to be smaller than subterranean termite colonies, so they typically cause damage at a slower rate. They are also difficult to detect, so substantial internal damage can be done before you notice any outward signs of damage to your home.

Dampwood termites live in wood with high moisture content. Most dampwood termites do not require contact with the soil, so they are rarely found in homes or other man-made structures, since wood in these structures typically does not have enough moisture.

To protect your home, you need to learn how to be a termite detective. The first step to identify termites is to recognize a termite as a termite. Many homeowners may fail to make this distinction. To the untrained eye, swarming termites may look like flying ants and worker termites may look like any insect larvae.

It is also recommended that homeowners in areas of the U.S. prone to termite infestation, such as Massachusetts, schedule annual inspections by termite control experts. This is very important since a house with damage from termites often looks the same as any other house on the surface. Termites can build nests hidden inside walls, causing damage for years before it becomes apparent. Termite control experts are trained to spot signs of termite activity, potentially before the colony has damaged the wood inside a home.

There are also some telltale signs of termite infestation you can look for. Subterranean termites may be detected by the sudden emergence of winged termites, also called swarmers, or by the presence of mud tubes and wood damage. A “swarm” is a group of adult male and female reproductives (i.e. termites that can reproduce and increase their numbers in your home) that leave their colony in an attempt to pair and initiate new colonies.

Large numbers of winged termites swarming from wood or the soil often are the first obvious sign of a nearby termite colony. Swarming occurs from mature colonies that typically contain several thousand termites.

When temperature and moisture conditions are favorable, usually on warm days following a rainfall, swarming occurs during a brief period of typically less than an hour. The pests then quickly shed their wings. Since they are attracted to light, you may find evidence that a swarm occurred indoors when you find wings in window sills, cobwebs, or on other furniture. The presence of winged termites or their shed wings inside a home should be a warning of a termite infestation.

Other common signs of termite damage include:

  • Discolored or sagging sheetrock on the ceiling or walls
  • Floors that buckle or sag
  • Loose tiles
  • Hardwood floor slats that pop up
  • Laminate floors that bubble up or sag
  • Tiny pinpoint holes in drywall (where termites have damaged the paperboard)
  • Bubbling or peeling paint
  • Damaged wood that crumbles easily
  • Jammed doors or windows
  • Wood that sounds hollow when tapped

Experts also are trained to identify termites by their behavior. Subterranean termites build mud tubes, which can be seen on a home’s foundation. Drywood termites push fecal pellets called frass through small holes they make. These pellets form small mounds near wood damage.

The pattern of wood damage also helps a pest control expert identify the type of termite causing the damage. Subterranean termites eat along the wood grain, leaving wood with a honeycomb appearance. Drywood termites eat across and with the grain, excavating large rooms connected by tunnels.

How To Take The Green Line

Most everyone who goes to Red Sox games at Fenway Park has two recommendations on getting there: do not drive, and take the "T".

Driving to and parking at Fenway Park can be done, but it can be a struggle to find affordable parking close to the ballpark, and even if you do, getting out will take some time. In some places you're at the mercy of someone who has parked you in, never a good thing. Unless you're familiar with the area, you're much better off using the "T", as Bostonians refer to it.

The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) operates several subway lines across the city of Boston proper, and they are among the cleaner and more efficient of big city transit systems. There are four color-coded subway lines; Red (for the crimson colors of Harvard University where it originally ended), Blue (for the water on the nearby shoreline and Boston Harbor), and Orange (for Orange Street at the middle, now called Washington Street) all connect with the Green Line at some point, which in turn takes riders to the Kenmore Station, a short stroll over the Massachusetts Turnpike to Fenway Park. The Green Line is so named because it passes through the "Emerald Necklace" section of Boston.

The Green Line has four separate routes: B, C, D and E, all of which end at different stations. All but E stop at Kenmore; the E train veers off north of Kenmore but stops at the Prudential Center, which is about a ten block walk to the ballpark. The D route of the Green Line stops at a "Fenway" Station; This is not significantly far from the ballpark but is not the actual Fenway Park exit. This may be for the benefit of Yankees fans, to wear them out before the game.

You should use the T for no other reason to share the whole Fenway experience. On game days the Green Line becomes packed with Red Sox fans heading to Fenway, and after games trains becomes similarly sardine-packed. But this is of no nevermind to Red Sox fans, many of what were smart enough to stay slim in order to fit in those Grandstand seats. A member of Red Sox Nation has no problem sharing a small space with a fellow member in good standing. This is also a reason for the popularity of local joints near Fenway like Cask-N-Flagon; fans need a place to wait out the post-game train crowds.

If you're looking for more spacious alternatives, you could use the E route on a nice day if you do not mind the walk, which would keep you out of the standing room only crowd that only knows to not use the E. Or you could use the Orange Line and get off at the Back Bay Station-this is a few blocks east of the Prudential Center. That one's a hike, but you can get a good look at a beautiful city along the way. There used to be a "Ruggles Shuttle" that took riders from the Ruggles Station on the Orange Line to Fenway, but that is no longer active as of this writing. You can still use a bus from there but you have to pay for it (or use a "Charlie Card").

A ride on a T train is $ 2 as of this writing; it's cheaper for seniors and students and free for children 11 and under riding with an adult. So a two-train ride to the park and back is $ 8 for an adult, plus whatever you may pay for a park-and-ride lot (somewhere around $ 7). Considering that some nearby places charge upwards of $ 30 for parking and the traffic you will encounter, Boston may be the one baseball city where public transportation is a better option than anywhere else, even more so than Chicago, Washington or New York.

Not many folks drive to Fenway Park. They just do not. So remember, do not drive and use the T.

Antique Desk Furniture Historical Comparison

I finally realized it is not a Western desk; it is an English desk from the early 20th century. The clues are the wood itself and the hardware. English oak from this period has a distinctively different grain from the Golden Oak of American furniture of this period. The oversized hardware is also distinctly English. The odd pattern of shading was caused by someone stripping the original dark finish but giving the hardware areas a wide berth, creating the like and dark patterns in the wood as the result of really poor workmanship.

A “dresser w/desk pull down” is a 20th century recreation of a variation of the 19th century “butler’s desk”. Legend has it that the butler in an upper class 19th century household was never seen to sit. Since one of his duties was also to keep the household accounts he had to have a desk but he did not sit there. It was designed so that he could stand and do his paperwork. The desk unit was incorporated into a chest of drawers to conserve space. That piece is in fact made of maple, probably in the 1950s or 1960s.

Bodart Furniture Co. was in business in Grand Rapids, from 1949 to 1973. Bodart made quality reproductions of antique European furniture forms, including desks, tables, chests and upholstered pieces. As they obviously are not in business now, you may have difficulty finding the matching chairs. But I’ll bet you can find lots of nice chairs that would match this table fine. They don’t necessarily have to be Bodart chairs.

The first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony was a man known by the name of John Winthrop. Born in Surrey, England, legend says Winthrop came to Massachusetts with an original piece of furniture that instantly gained favor with the colonists: a slanted drop-front desk. After the desk became popular, it was re-named in honor of its original owner.

While the story is nice, there is little truth to it. Governor Winthrop was a real man who ruled Massachusetts until his death in 1649, but this was a good 50 years before the first drop-front desks appeared in his native country. The famous curves attributed to the Gov. Winthrop style weren’t created until the mid-1700s, when Thomas Chippendale designed the first desk of this variety.

Although many members of the public believe this style of furniture was named for a specific man, looking at this story from a historical perspective, it is obvious Governor Winthrop never owned the piece of furniture attributed to him. While Thomas Chippendale technically invented the design, he never labeled it as a “Gov. Winthrop,” either.

The answer to this riddle rests with the Winthrop Furniture Company of Boston, who created a new model of the desk in 1924 and called it the “Gov. Winthrop.” The name is now a common part of furniture vocabulary, and has increased the popularity of other furniture of the same design, commonly known as the “Gov. Winthrop” style. Many different types of antique furniture can be found today bearing the name Winthrop due to this unique design.

We installed a humidifier for the winter, which certainly helps the furniture, but summer we cannot control, as we have no AC. I am not familiar with Arizona, but I take it its very dry there, so yes putting some humidity back into the air should help. Other than that, keep all wood furniture out of direct sun and heat sources. A good paste waxing with bra wax for instance is about the only thing I can recommend to use on this piece. Apparently all pieces made with a particular type of imported mahogany carried the label you described.

The desk is from the late 19th century or perhaps even the early 20th century and is part of the great “Golden Oak” period. The style is very similar overall to the famous Larkin desks of the turn of the century with the open shelf in front below the drop. It could be an American piece but the decorative motif is more European or English. Also the desk is made of flat cut oak and shows none of the quarter cut oak generally seen on American pieces of this era. The finish has been redone and it looks more recent than the 1960s.