You happy, soccer fans?


Ya couldn’t keep your mouths shut. For whatever reason it became so important to everyone to convert all the “non-believers” out there that soccer is a great sport…that you need to get into the game because it’s only a matter of time before everyone in the US morphs into an Italian Ultra on Saturdays. Well guess what…F’ you! I can’t enjoy my footie anymore because I’m constantly being trolled by assholes. I’ve got claptraps like Anne Coulter clogging my twitter feed with…well, I don’t know what she’s saying. I’ve got John Dennis declaring US Soccer as pathetic because they “parked the bus” against Germany (Google Chelsea-Champions League-2013). I’ve got Eric Wilbur taking a dump on what I would consider the most technically dominant performance for US Soccer on the World Stage…ever! I’ve got jackasses sitting on bar stools next to me plotting the installation of hockey blue lines.  I’ve got NBA fans on the other side telling me their disdain for tickie-tackie foul dramtics.

This could have been great, but no. Instead, I am forced to suffer until this god forsaken tourney ends and Champions League qualifiers begin in peaceful obscurity.

So do me a favor, if you’re not watching soccer, don’t. The sport sucks. It’s not worth your time.

This Week in Science in Haiku

Alaskan humpbacks.
Now making a huge comeback.
Tour dates coming soon.


Baby eagle died.
Parents abandoned the nest.
Webcam ratings up.


Fossilized feces.
Neanderthals ate veggies.
Weren’t dicks about it.


Crowd funding for Mars.
MIT sending selfies.
Mars don’t need that shit.


Big sharks look healthy.
2,000 plus in Cali.
Some just got work done.


Face made for punching.
Evolution’s defenses.
Caveman Boxing League.

Bike Ride to Walden

Thoreau kind of annoys me sometimes. In the age of the Pony Express he made a big deal about camping in his backyard and talked about living simply while sending his laundry out… which I guess is a pretty simple thing to do. Still though, if it weren’t for him (and Don Henley) Walden Pond would probably have condos all around it. So, thank-you Hank.

Walden as it stands is a pretty cool place. Other than the main beach (which they occasionally have to close down due to diaper rash epidemics) the water is clean. The two-mile trail around it is well-maintained, and the ticks are nowhere near as bad as they are in Connecticut.

The downside of Walden is having to pay for parking which I think is like seven bucks now. Easy way around that: ride in. The pond is a short and relatively flat fifteen miles from CrossPoint.

Full directions: Follow the Bruce Freeman trail all the way to the end and take a left onto 225 followed by a quick right onto Blane St which becomes West St before becoming Westford Rd. Then it’s a right turn onto Lowell Rd for a couple of miles (heavier traffic) before taking a right onto Keyes, a left on Main and a quick right onto Walden. Follow Walden a couple of miles to cross Rt 2 at the lights and Walden Pond is less than half a mile up. Bike racks available.

If you’d like to preview the ride just to make sure you’ve got it all down please watch the video from the comfort of your stationary bike. Enjoy.

Rob Gronkowski spotted in Lowell!


Sure, it could very well be Rob Gronkowski shuffling his way down Central Street. (I pictured Gronk as more of a Merrimack Street kinda guy, but whatevs…) It could also be Bill Belichick giving Gronk an “It’s a Wonderful Life” style glimpse of what his future holds should he continue to be a Vegas fixture. To me this just wreaks of Belichick sourcery: “See Rob, if you keep doing your rehab at Rehab, you’re going to become an aimless day walker cruising the sidewalks of Lowell in a half Canadian Tuxedo as the dew point approaches a 100% in June.”



Thanks Frank

30 year contract extension in Lowell.


We’re staying. Two kids, a transplant wife, and a Beagle.

There are probably a million towns between here and Boston that probably make more sense geographically for raising my family. If you’re a school system rankings kind of guy, the USA Today, Coaches, and the BCS Computer are all suggesting that we’re still chasing Lexington. But I can’t shake this place. I love it. I love the range. I love the history. I love the culture. I love the comedy. I love the sadness. I love the embarrassment. I love New Lowell. I love Old Lowell. I love the Asian Boyz and TRG.  I love the pride. I love the disdain. I love the indifference. I love the people who are passionately burning calories to make the place better, and I love the shitbirds that continue to make them feel like they HAVE to make the place better. I love reputation. I love disproving the reputation. I love Lamp.

…now back to the regularly scheduled “mean spirited” blogs.

City Council Agenda in Haiku for 6/24/14.

(for the complete agenda in its traditional format please visit )

Congrats Cobblestones.
20 years and still running.
Without punching kids.

ATM contracts.
For select city buildings.
“Not for bribes” big print.

Fireworks illegal.
Just like the rest of the state.
What am I missing?

Rita wants big fines.
Firework penalties too low.
“Special unit” time.

Time for Pickle Ball!
What the hell is pickleball?
Something no kid plays.

FEMA flood standards.
Thirteen hundred other towns.
Reason Rod says ‘no.’

“Inspect the bridges.”
Load limits are a big concern.
Time limits are not.

Can I Be Frank?: Guilty Pleasures: I am a Fanilow

(In honor of Mr. Manilow’s birthday and today’s WCAP discussion, dusting off this confession from a couple years back)


My name is Frank and I am a FANILOW.
What is a Fanilow?

Urban dictionary simply defines this term as follows:
1. Fanilow (FAN – A – LO)
Noun: A Barry Manilow fan. Thus, fanilow.
“Frank is a Fanilow and giant, raging closet queen.”
I added that last part of the sentence.
Embarrassed? Yup.
Disgusted? Yessiree.
True? You betcha!
Once again, I am reluctantly sharing another of my guilty pleasures with the world for your amusement. Unlike previous guilty pleasures I have described in the past, this one snuck up on me. Like the rest of you (whether you are being honest with yourself or not) I enjoy a few things in my life that I would just assume no one know about. However, most of those pleasures have been a part of my little personal secret for some time. This Manilow thing has taken me by surprise, but I have to face a bitter truth about myself.
I am a Fanilow.
I am trying to identify exactly when this metamorphosis occurred? I attribute it to a few recent episodes.
• The Tour. The Brooklyn, New York native (born Barry Allen Pincus – bet you didn’t know that? Why? You are clearly not a Fanilow) is currently touring across the U.S. and has an upcoming stop in neighboring Worcester, MA (nope, have no bought tickets…YET). With all of the commercials on both radio and T.V., The man who Writes the Songs that make the (nearly middle aged straight men cry) subconsciously slipped into my brain.

• Easy Access. My wife is a quasi-uncommitted-Fanilow but she does own his Greatest Hits album which resides in her car. Once when I happen to be the one carting my three (soon to be disgraced by their father) children on the weekends, I noticed the CD was playing when I started up that family wagon. Didn’t think much of it at first, but I also noticed I did not shut it off or even turn it down despite my kids plea to listen to some other annoyed pop crap. Kids, when will they learn to appreciate true musical genius?

• Lyrics. What I never realized was that I have unknowingly been cataloging all of the lyrics to many of his hits over the years and I was belting out Mandy all the way to swimming lessons.
Close your eyes for a minute and picture this scenario (never mind, you are reading, how can you close your eyes).
A beautiful Saturday morning in Anytown, USA. Sun is shining. The sounds of children playing. Lawnmowers are starting up all over the neighborhood. Off in the distance you hear a strange sound. Faint at first, it slowly becomes stronger. All of sudden, you notice a car barreling down Main Street. But, what is the noise coming from this Mom Mobile? Is it singing? Can it be?

In a squealy baritone you can finally make out the words…
“Well you came and you gave without taking
But I sent you away, Oh Mandy!
Well you kissed me and stopped me from something
And I need you today, Oh….”

Oh crap. Yeah, that sound was ME. And as I pull to the stop light I quickly realized the four junior high school boys riding their bikes are hysterically laughing at me. As the light turned green I slowly pulled away to the sounds of their laughter and feelings of shame.
(Inner Monologue)
Real slick pal! Might as well change the name of the song to ‘Randy’, Liberace! Maybe next week you can just fly the kids to their lessons on your Fruity Fairy Wings? You are disgusting! ”

How did this happen? Without any scientific evidence to back me up I am fairly confident that 37 year old heterosexual married men are not Barry’s prime demographic?
I need a game plan to rid myself of this newfound guilty pleasure. I need to cleanse, dare I say exorcise, this demon of an affliction that has taken hold of me.
Maybe I should drink myself half blind like Lola did every night at the Copacabana, you know, the hottest spot north of Havana?
Perhaps I need a long quiet Weekend in New England to gather my thoughts and retake my manhood?
Maybe, just maybe, I will Smile (again) Without You, Barry?
I know for certain I am Ready to Take a Chance Again with my manhood.
Even Now, I just don’t know anything anymore, but hopefully by Daybreak I will have some answers to why this has all happened?
Will I Make it Through The Rain?
I just pray that I will be able to say that it Looks Like I Made It.
Whew. Enough with the bad references.

I need to take the ‘MAN’ in Manilow and self-apply; STAT. Maybe I’ll head to the store and pick up a few things to break this spell.

Let’s see. Case of Budweiser? Check.

Carton of unfiltered cigarettes? Check.

Old Spice deodorant? Check.

Wrangler Jeans? Check.

Copy of ‘Manilow: Live at Royal Albert Hall’. Che…
No. Wait. DAMNIT!!!

A toast to Cobblestones!


Howl Magazine

It has been 20 years since Chef Scott Plath opened Cobblestones restaurant in the 155-year-old historic Yorick Club building across the street from Lowell City Hall. On Sunday, June 22, Plath and his crew are celebrating in style with an all-day bash full of food, live music and spirits. One lucky raffle winner will also walk away with a cruise to the Bahamas. The event doubles as a fundraiser with proceeds benefiting the Lowell Boys and Girls Club, says Plath, so you can soak up some summer fun and give back to the community at the same time.

Great Interview from Jen Myers with Chef Scott Plath here.

Congrats to Chef Scott Plath and Cobblestones for twenty fantastic years. Congrats for still being a place I look forward to going, for a night out. Congrats for being among the few to figure out a way to serve your patrons tasty brews in actual glassware without your dining room turning into the Double Deuce. Come to think of it, congrats for not turning yourselves into a bullshit night club. Congrats for figuring out how to make a business work among the shroud of Lowell High School’s best loiterers. Congrats for making ends meet despite our burdensome commercial tax programs that we’re told is killing business in this City. Most of all, congrats for making our downtown a better place.

Racism is apparently alive and well in Centralville

Lowell Sun
LOWELL — Cities from Boston to Atlanta to Chicago have had fiberglass cows standing on sidewalks as part of a public art project, among other ways cities work to brighten their common spaces.
A city that touts arts contributions of its own, Lowell now has a similar project, except with homemade scarecrows.
About a dozen are now on city streets, mostly in Centralville, with at least that much more or as many as 20 more to come.
“What the community needs to be aware of is that we’re trying to build the community and have fun,” Beacon Street resident Heidi Miller said.

We’ve chronicled extensively in this forum that pretty much anyone or anything flies in Centralville. Everyone that is, except for the Crows. The local community is sending a very loud and visible message: if you have black feathers, generally spend your days loitering, have an ominous juxtaposition, and a track record of annoying people when they’re trying to sleep, then you’re not welcome in this neighborhood. “Go back to we’re you came from, Crows!” said on vocal fella on Bridge Street. “Our power lines are for sneakers, only!”
This shocking display of imagery drums up memories of the neighborhood’s dark past. Those who are old enough to remember can’t help but shake eerie similarities of the Great Purge of the Back Yard Chicken circa 2013. A time that triggered widespread condemnation from across the Global community. A time that still haunts the city’s image to this day.

PS. I suppose its tough to pick a favorite with Humpty Dumpty’s disappearance, but I find it difficult to believe that any is better than this Rita Mercier scare crow.   A wonderful tribute. Continue reading