On those days and nights when the Red Sox play, the Bleacher Bar fills with patrons hoping to catch a ground-level glimpse of the game through a picture window onto center field. But on off-day spring afternoons, the bar is a quiet place to sip a beer, its front door propped open and the picture window raised so that a mere screen separates one from the fresh green lawn patrolled by the likes of Tris Speaker, Dom DiMaggio, Fred Lynn, Ellis Burks, and Jacoby Ellsbury. Fans drink quietly and watch such off-duty players as Diasuke Matsuzaka and Tim Wakefield trudge silently across the outfield to the clubhouse. There are very few places outside of Ireland to better enjoy an afternoon drink...
Another small pleasure of Boston is whiling away the morning at an Au Bon Pain outside table, drinking an Americano, munching on a rasberry-cheese croissant, chatting with whomever happens to be at the next table, and perusing the Boston Globe editorial page. I come from a city with a notoriously parochial newspaper that proudly features disdainful, childish editorials that surrendered the attention and respect of the greater Puget Sound area long ago.
So, I don't take lightly the niceties of a town with big-league journalism as well as sports. It was refreshing to read an editorial that explicated the complications of voting on a defense procurement bill instead of resorting to boosterism. Paul Starobin described the difficulty that the United States faces in maintaining relations with Turkey and an Israel bent on "self-defeating policies." (Although he immediately contradicted himself by describing Israel "a country that shares core Western values with the United States and Europe." Come to think of it, though, he may have a point.) And 90-year old Edward Brooke, the first African-American elected to the Senate by popular vote argued for and end to Don't Ask/Don't Tell with these ringing phrases:
Regardless of its target, prejudice is always the same. It finds novel expressions and capitalizes on new fears. But prejudice is never new and never right. One thing binds all prejudices together: irrational fear. Decades ago, black service members were the objects of this fear. Many thought that integrating black and white soldiers would harm the military and society. Today, we see that segregation itself was the threat to our values. We know that laws that elevate one class of people over another run counter to America’s ideals. Yet due to ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’’ the very people who sacrifice the most to defend our values are subject to such a law. We owe them far more.This afternoon, my son and I got in a taxi driven by a hack who looked late of an Ankaran rug bazaar. He drove us to Harvard, where we delved into a couple of bookstores, then retired to a beer garden for yet another relaxed hour.
Tonight, we met up with some friends of his and had dinner at Pomodoro in the North End, a paradiso of Italian restaurants. I had the seafood fra diviola, "an assortment of fresh fish and shellfish tossed in a spicy marinara sauce over linguini." Pomodoro was late seating us, and made up for it with complementary calimari, garlic shrimp, and tiramisu. All in all, a place that values its customers!
Love that dirty water!