Tags: FIX THIS, Lowell, Lowell Sun
UPDATE: For local readers, there will be an anti-violence rally thingie in response to this tragedy at Lowell City Hall on Tuesday, May 19 at 5 PM. Additional details are available here, and more pensive reflections than mine can be found here.
This morning while walking along the Suffolk Street canal – my regular route to the train station – I noticed a mound of flowers and candles along the sidewalk across the street, outside of the row of public housing. I figured someone had died in a car accident or something, as it’s not that uncommon to see such displays with paper-mache crosses or hand-made signs.
Then I noticed a couple trash bins filled with used police tape. This was not unusual either. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything ‘unusual’ while walking along Lowell’s canals. Their waters and banks are clogged and littered with condoms, shopping carts, televisions, toys, weapons of mass destruction, etc. I would not be surprised to stumble upon the $850 camera that I left in a New Orleans taxicab five years go.
At the train station, I got my paper and immediately noted something that did strike me as odd – the mere size of the headline font. Such bold block letters are generally reserved for grave, unexpected, or historic national events. And occassionally, a local story will also rise to that level. Sadly, this was the case.
I generally wait until I get on the train to read anything, but the headline read “CAUGHT IN CROSSFIRE,” and it showed a photo of the sidewalk that I’d just travelled*, with an inset headshot of Tavaryna Choeun, 17, who the caption said “died yesterday morning at Lahey Clinic in Burlington.” I walked slowly while I read, careful not to fall down the stairs to the platform, growing sadder and more stunned with each paragraph from Dennis Shaughnnessey’s report.
The 17-year-old girl was shot in the head as she sat in the passenger seat of a car in Lowell’s Acre neighborhood late Tuesday night, according to Middlesex District Attorney Gerard Leone. The shooter was aiming for the driver, he said.
Choeun was left at the side of Suffolk Street, less than a mile from where the shooting took place near the intersection of Cross and Willie Streets. She died early yesterday morning.”
This is some bullshit! What the fuck is going on???
I’m not ignorant to the fact that violent crime is nothing new in Lowell. On the front page of today’s Local section, a headline reads “Shooting suspect arrested in Billerica.” This charmer, Dennis King, shot a pregnant woman twice at her home in April. That was literally footsteps from my front door, right next to Brother’s Pizza.
But this most recent incident is an outrage. These are children! And sadly, it’s hardly a surprise, because they’re everywhere, out all night in this city. You should see them. From the moment they can walk, they’re out on the streets, many of them barefoot, especially once the weather turns. And when school lets out? Good God. It’s like an ant farm in The Acre.
And so many of these kids are really wonderful. One of my favorite parts of living here is the neighborhood kids we’ve become friends with. And I’m terrified for them; if something happened to little Xiomara or Christian or <GASP AND PERISH THE THOUGHT> my dearest Carmasita, my heart would shatter to such a grave extent that I’m not sure I could recover.
This is insane. The girl’s friends didn’t even call for help! They left her on the side of the street! And I’m going to raise Nola Jane around this madness???
I tried not to think about anyof this on the train. It’s important to go into the workday with a clear, positive frame of mind. And I did successfully evict Tavaryna from my thoughts for a while, thanks to a chilling and strangely hilarious description of genital mutilation in Iraq from the FANTASTIC “Bowl of Cherries” and the beats pumping into my head from an equally FANTASTIC mix made by Lucy the Blog commenter mdub.
But as I was boarding the EZ-Ride shuttle bus, a girl in the first seat jolted upright with a look of horror and fear at the man across from her. I was certain that the man must have drawn a gun or, perhaps, whipped out his peter for some morning commute self-pleasure time. (Hey, we’ve all done it.)
Tags: Lowell, Lowell Sun, MediaNews Group, not-so-fresh thinkin'
Much like you, Lucy the Dog has long wondered when we’d finally be able to pay a fee in order to read the musings of Chaucer the Cat and Lowellita the Walking VD on a website that looks and functions as if it was designed in a grade school computer lab.
Well, according to the intrepid and overgrown Scandanavian doofus Pax Arcana, that day is nigh. If nigh means near, which I assume it does. Though I don’t think I’ve ever used it, and I’ve never looked it up.
In any case, the brain trust of MediaNews Group – which owns The Lowell Sun – is apparently sharpening the final nail for the Sun’s coffin by threatening to charge readers for online content.
In last week’s memo to the staff of its empire, Dean Singleton and Jody Lodovic wrote :
“We will begin to move away from putting all of our newspaper content online for free. Instead, we will explore a variety of premium offerings that apply real value to our print content.”
The Singleton/Lodovic memo rambles on and on, with a list of initiatives that will re-energize newspapers and send profits skyrocketing. I don’t have much to say about them except that they’re wholly uninspired, and I want a refund from BU for my print journalism graduate degree.
If you’re interested, you can click this link to read the NewsMedia Group’s plans. But most of them are likely to have failed by the time you do so.
Tags: Evil Tribune, inflatable rats, Jim Campanini, Lowell, Lowell Sun
Throughout its storied history, Lucy the Blog has taken some well-deserved shots at The Lowell Sun.
It began nearly two years ago, on May 9, 2007, with our *NEPA award-winning evisceration of the paper’s plump n’ pasty editor, Jim Campanini. Thanks to that fine piece of journalism, a basic Google search will now tell you all you need to know about this skeevy predator, who continues to embarrass his unfortunate staff on a semiregular basis.
Shortly thereafter, we exposed the Sun’s loathsome and underhanded efforts to intimidate and mislead American Idol voters, thus derailing the AI dreams of the dreamy Sanjaya Malakar. Scoundrels!
Ultimately, it was not their chronic ineptitude or their flamboyantly whitebread columnists or their fabulous typos that caused us to give them the final gooseface by canceling our subscription. It was the simple fact that they relied on 7-year-old children and drunken vagrants to deliver the paper in a timely fashion. Some of my best friends are 7-year-old children and drunken vagrants. But I would not ask them to deliver a newspaper on a daily basis.
Lately, however, I have been having a bit of a love affair with the paper, or at least my relationship with it. Its faults remain, but I look forward to reading it, so that must count for something. Of course, this is mostly due to my relatively recent commuter status. Pricepoints and convenience go a long way, and the guy at the train station hands you the paper if you give him a quarter. One Quarter. I’m no economist, but that’s a good deal. I can almost always find a quarter before leaving the house. At the full cover price of 75 cents, I’d probably stop reading. Or maybe I’d only buy it on Thursdays to torture myself with Lowellita’s column; just reading about one of her late-night romps a few weeks ago left me with a mild case of the crabs.
In any case, given our past criticism, it is only fair that we occassionally commend the paper’s editorial staff, most of whom perform a commendable job in a thankless industry that swallowed me whole and crushed my spirit in less than three years’ time, leaving me with little more than a heavy debt load and lingering animosity.
I loved reading the Sun this week. In large part, this was because of events on the ground here in Lowell. The reporters had a lot to cover, but they covered it. And if they hadn’t, well…I guess these guys would have. And these guys would have. And in their own way, they would have and they would have too. But they certainly wouldn’t have been able to alone, or at least not for any sustained period of time. That’s why newspapers matter.
Because of the Sun, I know that cops arrested 22 drunk drivers in 3 hours at a Thorndike Street sobriety checkpoint. Is that not insane? These people should be executed immediately. All of them. Scary, scary shit.
I also learned about the United Teen Equality Center’s continued awesomeness. They’re planning a $6.3 renovation to their facilities, which will hopefully get a boost from President Obama’s socialist pork funds. As a result, UTEC will be able to serve even more kids and steer them from a life of hoodlum shenanigans. Fuckin’ libruls!
(And speaking of this worthy organization, have you seen these lovely paintings of UTEC youths? Why don’t you buy one of them, you cheap, selfish bastard? Our family’s diapers, Perk Is A Beast t-shirts, and Budweiser drinks aren’t gonna pay for themselves, you know!!!)
Tags: Lowell, Lowell Sun, Nola Jane, Superintendent Chris Scott, swine flu
I generally ignore such hysteria, but now that I have a vulnerable and precious little creature to protect, I’m admittedly a bit troubled by today’s news that two middle-schoolers from Lowell are the first confirmed swine flu cases in New England. They likely contracted it during a recent trip to Mexico.
Amidst all the deathly implications, I found one quote from today’s Lowell Sun to be particularly disturbing.
Apparently, the mother of the infected children is a teacher’s aide in the Lowell public schools. And, reports the Sun…
“Superintendent of Schools Chris Scott said she was unsure whether the mother returned to work yesterday.”
Uhhhhh, excuse me?
Wouldn’t that be a good thing to know? I mean, the kids haven’t returned to school since last week, and they were tested on Monday. So it should come as no surprise to their mother that they’re sick. Thus, as a precautionary measure, one would assume she should not be going to school.
And one might even assume that the superintendent should be aware of the situation–I was, after all. Perhaps she might even advise the mother to take a day or two off. At the least though, you’d expect Scott to know whether the teacher’s aide (who, I remind you, is potentially carrying a potentially deadly virus) had, yaknow, showed up to work.
Is it really possible that Chris Scott didn’t know? If so, that’s pretty lame.
ED. NOTE: I apologize for the hyperlocal Lowell coverage of late. I realize that our only Lowell reader is my wife, so this is probably a bore for the rest of you. But that’s your fault for not living here in the swine flu capital of New England. There’s a lot to like about Lowell!
Tags: "Tax on Plastic Grocery Bags", Chaucer the Cat, Lowell, Lowell Sun
In this morning’s Lowell Sun, columnist Chaucer the Cat comes out aggressively against proposed state legislation that would, according to Chaucer:
“…tax consumers 5 cents per bag for each plastic grocery bag they use at the checkout counter at a supermarket.”
Given The Sun’s traditional pro-tax stance, it’s surprising that they allowed Chaucer the Cat to stray so far off the reservation. But Chaucer has never been afraid to tweak The Establishment.
“Here’s one for the outrageous pile,” (s)he(?) writes in ‘Plastic-bag tax? Paws-itively nauseating,’ arguing that the tax will force society’s most vulnerable out of their homes and into the aisles of our local Hannaford’s.
“Hopefully, many will be out when this comes up for a vote, otherwise you’re going to be pack-mule-ing your groceries home or living at the supermarket, and that’s going to be very crowded. “
Chaucer also asks who will replace our prune juice, in the event that the legislation passes and the whole world goes to shit.
Tags: Dan Phelps, Flamboyance, Lowell, Lowell Sun, Perez Hilton
“If you don’t know who Perez Hilton is, then I am sorry to be the one to introduce you to him.”
So begins the column “Gay blogger’s behavior shows his own intolerance,” written by Dan Phelps in this morning’s Lowell Sun.
If you don’t know who Dan Phelps is, then I am sorry to be the one to introduce you to him.
He’s a generally harmless white nerd, who is in his late-30’s or early-40’s, were I to guess. He’s a local columnist and not a bad one at that. Or so I thought. But my prior opinion could have been favorably skewed by the fact that he is neither Jim Campanini nor Lowellita. All things are relative.
Before this morning, I’d never been moved much in any direction by Phelps. He leans populist-conservative, I guess, and he’s quite vanilla-ish. (I know, you’d never guess by the picture!)
Today, however, I was a bit taken back by his borderline (if not outright) homophobic screed. Picking up from where we left off…
“He [Hilton] is one of those in-your-face, flamboyangly gay pseudo-celebrities who is famous simply because he writes trash about other celebrities in an online blog.”
Let’s break this down.
(1) “one of those”: No one wants to be “one of those” anythings; the phrase inherently conveys a sense of disdain. I mean, really, what are you more likely to hear? “He’s one of those really nice guys who holds the door open and never cheats on his taxes“? Or “He’s one of those pole-smokin’ types“? “One of those” is rarely used in a favorable light.
(2) “in-your-face”: Really? He’s “in-your-face“? I have a link to Perez Hilton on this blog, but that’s only because I’ve been too lazy to update the Blogroll feature. I visit Perez Hilton.com once in a while, hoping to see a nip slip, but it’s not part of my regular online diet. I find it quite easy to keep Perez Hilton out of my face. Every time I see articles about his Miss USA scandal, I ignore them. In fact, I wouldn’t even have read this one, except I thought the headline might be referring to Andrew Sullivan.
(3) “flamboyantly gay”: “One of those” “flamboyant gays”! I’ve had it with all of them! Why can’t they just be nice, non-threatening white nerds like me and Lucy the Dog?
Tags: A lot to like about Lowell, irrational love for Louis C.K., Ricky Gervais, This Side of the Truth, Tina Fey's rear
And we welcome any exposure or economic and cultural gains brought to our beloved Lowell by the filming of This Side of the Truth.
However, the first frame has yet to be shot and the city is already swooning like starstruck schoolgirls.
I love Ricky Gervais’s humor as much as anyone. And if I stumble upon Tina Fey, I will have no choice but to cop a feel of her adorable buttocks. But we’re not talking about Ridge Forrester or Sanjaya Malakar. Get it together, people.
Yesterday, a Boston Globe headline proclaimed, “As Lowell prepares for its close-up, locals have stars in their eyes.”
“Merrimack Valley, don your shades: Lowell is soon to be the location of a film shoot for a major motion picture with a star-studded cast, including Jennifer Garner.
‘Jennifer Garner coming into Lowell – that’s a 10!’ said Mayor Edward “Bud” Caulfield. ‘We’re really excited about it. It will certainly put Lowell on the map.'”
Tags: Lowell Sun, Lowellita nip slip, Ricky Gervais
Lucy the Blog has long been a fan of the proofreading gaffes that litter the Lowell Sun. And it seems the rest of the world is taking notice.
Here’s a great video blog by Ricky Gervais catching a Sun boo-boo in a recent article about his upcoming film “This Side of the Truth,” which will be shot right here in “LA (Lowell Area, that is).”
Tags: your mother
But at the moment, the sun is shining on Lowell and the weather is ideal for a stroll down memory lane.
Yesterday marked one full year of soul searchin’ and knowledge-droppin’ at Lucy the Blog headquarters. And what a year it’s been for the Dog.
We laughed. We cried. We learned 12 things about Tyra Banks’s vagina. We opened foreign bureaus in Pakistan, Sweden, and Chechnya. And we licked the interior of our anus. It was awesome!
So today, please take our paw and join us as we revisit some highlights from the last 365 days. Or don’t. It’s Friday, so do whatcha wanna, do whatyalike, and do what you feel.
Cue sappy accoustic Green Day song, and commence nostalgic clip montage.
Tags: Jennifer Lopez baby pictures, Lucy the Blog exclusive
Lucy the Blog generally doesn’t indulge in salacious celebrity news. But when an opportunity like this presents itself, far be it from we to release our anal sacks.
This may be difficult to follow, but my brother-in-law gets his nails done by a guy whose sister is one of the nannies to J-Lo and Marc Anthony’s baby twins, Max and Emme. As you may know, the twins have never been seen by the public. UNTIL TODAY!
That’s right! Lucy the Blog has secured exclusive pictures of the newborns, and they appear after the jump. The images were taken by a cellphone, so the quality is less than ideal. But I think you’ll agree they are adorable!
So a hearty congratulations to Marc and Jennifer. And suck it, People magazine!