Lucy the Blog: the Resurrection

April 13, 2010 at 11:06 pm | Posted in Lowell | 4 Comments
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Oh, hello.  It’s been awhile.

Last spring, while walking with Ashlee, Lil Nola Jane, and Lucy the Dog, I stumbled upon this abandoned, helpless bear.  An encounter that, for me, was akin to finding Jesus Christ on a grilled cheese sandwich.

I felt an immediate, profound connection with him, and the memory of his deranged smile, in the midst of grave peril, fortifies me on a near daily basis against the slings and arrows of life.

There is no more apt symbol for the depravity of man than Lowell’s canal system.  On a good day, if the tides are right or the heroic Canalwater Cleaners have been at work, the glistening waters recall Lowell’s past moniker as “Venice of America.”

On most days, however, those canals are congested with shit–extraordinary amounts of shit, from Twizzler bags to Honda engines.  And each piece of said shit can be traced to a single human being who simply didn’t give a shit.  Just dropped his shit and moved on.  It’s somebody else’s shit now.

My mother is surprised by the shit, almost to the point of disbelief.  She thinks I’m exaggerating when I explain that people in my neighborhood routinely drop trash on the sidewalk without breaking stride.  In suburban New Jersey, where she and my father raised me, there’s far less shit.  Here in Lowell, even the city government leaves its shit around at least once a year.

It can be disheartening to walk the canals and see the consequences of such selfishness, stupidity, and disregard.  And of course, if you extrapolate further and consider what else is begot by that way of (not) thinking…well, you just might toss yourself into that canal.

The shit is pervasive.  Big bank shenanigans.  Endless war.  Political ineptitude.  Tea-bagging retards and Nazi-boning infidels.  Pretty much all the columnists at the Lowell Sun and every boozy T rider who curses in front of kids.  What’s up with their shit?

Early Easter morning, a guy who worked at my dad’s company was murdered with his fiance in Jersey City.  They were both shot square in the head on the sidewalk in front of their home.  Execution style.  They’d just come home from their engagement party.  Two 19-year-old girls and one 19-year-old male were arrested.  The male was charged with three unrelated murders.

That, dear reader, is some low-down dirty shit.  Shit that’ll break your heart right in half.

When our canal systems swell with so much shit, it’s easy to go under.  But look at this bear.  Surrounded by all that is awful, he perseveres and floats on.  He looks to the sun and he smiles.

It’s a defiant smile that hints at insanity, but defiance and insanity are required in this modern century.  For without them, one could easily drown in despair.  The bear knows this.  And whenever I start to lose sight of it, I think of him, belly up and smiling.  He may be worse for the wear, this bear, but he’s still got a pulse and a smile.  They haven’t finished him yet.

It’s been a long time gone for Lucy the Blog.  But we return today with a fuzzy bear’s frame of mind.

Life is cruel.  Life is hard.  But above all, life is beautiful.  Smile at the sun.  Fight with defiance and insanity.  And keep floating through the shit.  There are no other options.

More to come.  But in the meantime, sing us home, Bruce.

Be There!

July 14, 2009 at 1:57 am | Posted in Lowell, Muzak, New Orleans, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Small Person, Giant Presence

June 24, 2009 at 6:40 am | Posted in Lowell, Nola Jane | 3 Comments
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Oh, hello there.  I almost forgot about this dump. 

We’ve been a bit frazzled of late, with Ashlee scrambling to finish her show, and Lucy the Dog ass-deep in strong and supportive artist-spouse mode.  A true hero, he!

Her show is quite good.  It’s about moms and babies and shit.  So go check it out if you like art or meatballs.  I’ll be making some of the latter.  Crockpot, holla.

Small Person, Giant Presence
Ashlee Welz Smith and Meghan Moore
*OPENING RECEPTION:  Saturday, June 27th, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Loading Dock Gallery, 122 Western Avenue, Lowell, MA

"Transition: Part I" 2009 - oil on wood - 24" X 30" 

*The show runs from June 24th to July 26th, 2009 at the Loading Dock Gallery.  For hours, click here.

Lowell Folk Festival 2009: with Rosie Goodness

May 31, 2009 at 9:56 pm | Posted in Lowell, Muzak, New Orleans, Video | 2 Comments
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yes, please.

yes, please.

If you’re to believe the Bible of communist arugula-drinking Brooklyn hipsters, then Lowell, Massachusetts is the place to be on the weekend of July 25 and 26.  

But this time, dear reader, those queers at the Times got it right.  Suck it, Goldberg!

Yes, there are days when you may get shot in our fair city.

But I’m sure you’ll agree, a non-life-threatening injury is a small price to pay for a few moments dancing in the glory of Rosie Ledet’s pussiere.

So, please.  Let Dr. Michael White take you to school.

Let Glen David take you to church.

And then let him take you to the streets.

Alive.  Unique.  Inspiring.  Luscious, strong thighs that make your loins burn.

Yes indeed.  There’s a lot to like about Lowell.

RELATED: One Summer, 14 Weekends, New York Times
RELATED: Lowell Folk Festival Homepage

Do What You Feel Friday!: Calm the Fuck Down!

May 22, 2009 at 9:05 pm | Posted in DWYFF!, Lowell, Muzak, Video | 5 Comments
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bookendsToday marks the much-anticipated return of Do What You Feel Friday, Coach Football’s favorite blog feature and the preferred reading for his candle-lit mastubatory sessions*.

We’ve been dwelling on violence here at Lucy the Blog, in the wake of Tavyrna Chouen’s murder and my growing homicidal tendencies.  Last night, the face of violence quite literally showed up at our doorstep.  Hijinx did not ensue.

It came out of nowhere, really.  Ash was putting Nola to bed, and I was slogging through the wreckage of our home, trying to make sense of the chaos and clutter.  We’re having repairs done to flood damage in our bedroom and nursery, which required us to move everything into the office, where we all live like hobos under the glow of the iMac.  Because Ash can’t go to the studio, her painting gear is scattered about the living room, along with baby gymnasiums and chewed up dog toys.  All quite lovely.

It started with a few screams in the distance.  And then in seemingly no time at all, two grown men were rolling around our front yard, surrounded by a crowd of people cheering and hollaring, encircling the brawl like it was a cockfight.

Continue Reading Do What You Feel Friday!: Calm the Fuck Down!…

City Hall Anti-Violence Rally: Let Me Walk With My Brother

May 21, 2009 at 12:45 am | Posted in Lowell | 6 Comments
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UPDATE:  The Lowell Sun’s Police Line Blog by Robert Mills posted a couple videos from the rally. I embedded one of the spoken word performances at the end of this post, and you can click here to see the other two.  (At the 2:12 mark of the middle video, look for the sexiest bitch in Lowell on a leash held by a dirty hippy. Thanks to Robert Mills for posting these.) 

Yesterday afternoon, Ashlee strapped Nola Jane into her hippy-mom papoose device, and along with Lucy the Dog, we attended our second peace rally/vigil thingie in as many years.

Eddie, 2008, oil on linen, by my brilliant wife

Eddie, 2008, oil on linen, by my brilliant wife

The event was organized by members of the United Teen Equality Center, in response to last week’s murder of 17-year-old Tavaryna Chouen. 

As with the first vigil, held after a gay man was savagely beaten downtown, I didn’t know what to expect or why I was even going.  I generally recoil at such demonstrations, but even after a weekend of relaxation, I was still quite angry about Chouen’s death, and I wanted to be around other people who were equally angry.

We walked down Moody Street through the public housing projects, and Lucy the Dog decided to take a dump right next to two women who were loudly threatening to rip each other from fat-laden limb to fat-laden limb.  Apparently, minutes earlier, one of the women had walked in on the other whilst she was boning the first woman’s husband.  They were both hideous monsters, and it’s a wonder that either of them ever got laid by anyone, much less the same man.  He should be given a medal of valor for performing such a noble charity.

We tried to swiftly pass the ladies before they brought out the heavy artillery.  But Lucy had made an uncharacteristically soft, shall we say, bowel movement.  So, as the two women exchanged their “bitch this’s” and “bitch that’s,” I stood by unassumingly, trying to pick the shit up with a Quizno’s bag, but instead just smearing it all over the grass.

Meanwhile, Ashlee walked ahead unfazed, threading the needle between the crazed ghetto queens, with one hand over Nola’s head and the other raised in a dismissive ‘talk to the hand’ gesture. She is cooler than Trombone Shorty sitting inside a Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine.

When we got to City Hall, there was a decent crowd, comprised mostly of Lowell teens and UTEC organizers.  I’d guess it was 150 people, but it may have been 18; I’m horrible with numbers as they relate to measurements or quantities.  If you told me, for example, that I walked 400 yards from my apartment to City Hall, I would believe you.  And I would also believe you if you said that I walked 4,000 or 40,000 yards from my apartment to City Hall. 

I can say with certainty, however, that the weather was indisputably gorgeous, which made it a challenge to maintain the simmering rage that had brought me there in the first place.  It was like a pleasant reunion, seeing some of the friendly faces who had helped with Ashlee’s Lowell Teen Portraits show last fall, including two of the teens that she worked with, Kim and Eddie.  I also got a delicious oatmeal cookie.

In the same week that Chouen was killed by bullets intended for someone else, and in the same week that her “friends” dumped her lifeless body on a Suffolk Street curb, UTEC learned that state budget cuts could put an end to its Lowell Teen Coalition program, which, according to the Lowell Sun, “has reached hundreds of city youths, ages 13 to 20, getting them into after-school programs, arts, gang-prevention programs, and putting them to work organizing anti-violence activities.”

Thus, some of the signs and speeches at the rally called upon investments in peace and, more specifically, support for the threatened programs.  But most of the language was geared toward the Chouen incident and the urgent need to “Silence the Violence.”  Three teens addressed the crowd in a commendable fashion, though none of them displayed the level of aggression that I personally yearned for.  I realize it was an anti-violence rally, but I wanted blood, goddammit. 

Continue Reading City Hall Anti-Violence Rally: Let Me Walk With My Brother…

Reflections on Killing from a Cold-Blooded Killer

May 15, 2009 at 6:54 pm | Posted in Evil Tribune, Lowell, Lowell Sun, MBTA | 3 Comments
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Tavaryna Choeun, Lowell Sun, 05.15.09

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 bullet that would kill Tavaryna Choeun was intended for someone else, officials said yesterday.

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???

Suffolk Street photo by Jon Hill, Lowell Sun, 05.15.09

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.)

Continue Reading Reflections on Killing from a Cold-Blooded Killer…

An Idea So Crazy It Just Might Work! Just Kidding, It Won’t.

May 12, 2009 at 11:40 pm | Posted in Lowell, Lowell Sun | Leave a comment
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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.

The Sun Also Rises

May 8, 2009 at 11:25 pm | Posted in Evil Tribune, Lowell, Lowell Sun | Leave a comment
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Throughout its storied history, Lucy the Blog has taken some well-deserved shots at The Lowell Sun.

Isunlogot 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.

Photo by David H. Brow, Lowell Sun

Photo by David H. Brow, Lowell Sun

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!!!)

Continue Reading The Sun Also Rises…

Gary and the Conductress: An Appreciation

May 4, 2009 at 10:50 pm | Posted in Lowell, MBTA | 6 Comments
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mbtaA couple of weeks ago, the MBTA distributed a survey to solicit feedback on its performance.  I attempted to complete it, only to be foiled by a convoluted line of questioning that was too challenging for my feeble mind.

For example, here is question 6A:

6a.  How long did it take to get from where this trip started to the first place where you boarded a public transit vehicle on this trip?

I started in Lowell, which was also where I boarded the public transit vehicle.  So it took no time at all, right?  Should it have?  And even if I had boarded in Wilmington, wouldn’t I have also started in Wilmington?  Or would I measure the time from Lowell, where the line starts, to Wilmington?  And if so, am I to assume that the trip left Lowell on time?  How would I know?   

The questions proceeded in this way, bending my mind with their leaps from my present trip to trips I’d taken and then off to theoretical trips that I might one day take.  When I asked a fellow commuter to confirm the cryptic syntax of the survey, she suggested that I might be overthinking the matter.  Though I suspect she was too unnerved by my astounding looks to adequately focus her own thoughts, I will concede the possibility that I may be too dumb or too impatient for the MBTA survey.  But I maintain nonetheless that it could have been more reader friendly.

Because I was incapable of providing my feedback through the conventional channel, I would like to instead use this space to publicly praise two of the MBTA’s finest employees, Gary the Conductor and Female Conductress Whose Name I Don’t Know.

Gary is the conductor who, morning after morning, transports us without incident to North Station.  Like so many of the last Great Americans, he is a man of few words.  And he is super-dapper. 

When he strides down the aisle to check tickets, it evokes images of Cary Grant or Fred Astaire.  He is light on his feet, this Gary, breezing by with a subtle nod to the regulars as he acknowledges their monthly Charlie cards, and effortlessly manipulating his hole puncher to mark tickets for those just passing through.  (I’m always astounded by the number of holes that need to be made on a ticket for one trip.  So many holes, what do they all mean?  It looks like fun, and I sometimes wish that my job required more hole punching.)

One morning, Gary chided me for exiting the train before it had reached a complete stop.  I felt like a shamed little boy.  He did not raise his voice or berate me in front of the other passengers.  He just gave me a stern look and warned me not to do it again.  He was right too because I damn near tore an ACL that day.  The train was crawling into North Station and couldn’t have been exceeding 1 mph.  But Kanye was in my headphones getting me all fired up for the day to come, so I prematurely stepped onto the platform all cool and shit.  I was not cool, dear reader.  I had underestimated the speed at which we were traveling, and my body was ill prepared for the transition to stationary ground.  Had I not jogged that shit out a couple steps, I would have suffered a humiliating and potentially grave face-first digger.

My point is that, if you asked me to show you a Real Man, I would show you Gary the Conductor.  Confidence.  Dignity.  Manners.  Style.  And a 10-pound belt buckle of a locomotive barreling down the tracks.  Gary understands his job and performs it with aplomb.  He was born to wear that conductor hat and never looks distressed or unhappy, though I’ve never seen him smile.  For that, I’m somewhat remorseful because I’d like to see Gary smile.  But perhaps it would in some way compromise his mysterious aura of debonaire charm.  I bet he got a lot of ass in his day.

Then there is Female Conductress Whose Name I Don’t Know.  There have been several occassions in which I almost laerned Contductress’s name.  It’s right on the badge that hangs around her neck, dangling before her ample bosom.  But whenever I get the right angle, the badge flips over, concealing her identity and thwarting my curiosity.

Continue Reading Gary and the Conductress: An Appreciation…

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