Archive for the ‘Watertown’ Category

In Which The Other Title Was Better But I Changed It

December 11th, 2007 7 comments

[Note – Please look at this really cute picture of this adorable baby.


OMG!  Couldn’t you just eat this little one up?!

Well, if you do not read this entire post AND agree with it I will eat this baby and it will by YOUR FAULT.  Enjoy the post.  Someone’s life depends on it.]

One of the numerous phrases I hate is when guys say “I gotta watch my girlish figure”.  This weird throwback to a time when Bugs Bunny could crossdress and no one thought anything of it bothers me for that precise reason.  This is just a roundabout way of saying that, yes, I did have a donut on my walk home from Town Council, I have a fairly healthy body image and I don’t care if you crossdress.  (Seriously.  Agree with everything I say.)

I really thought twice about going out on this cold December night.  The rain.  The cold.  The night.  Why not stay home and watch Town Council on cable?  Oh.  That’s why.  Because the sound is horrible and quiet so you have to crank the volume on your TV all the way up and you invariably forget to turn it back down when Town Council is finished and you change the channel to calm yourself down by watching Silence of the Lambs and wind up blowing out your speakers.  By the time I remembered this, Town Council already began.  I figured there’d be a decent breaking point for me to walk down.  And I was right.

You have to wonder if Clyde watched Pulp Fiction before the meeting.  Not because he was swearing profusely or gave everyone foot messages but because, to quote last week’s Town Council, everything was out of order.  By which I mean that the agenda pretty much got tossed to the wind.  Hence, Clyde started off with the President’s Report and expressed his displeasure with Mike Driscoll’s legal action of the recount.  He also made reference to two other parties also engaged in legal action over the recount.  We all know what stickler Marilyn is for detail – dotting “i”s and crossing “t”s, making sure the car is registered, following procedures – so it was no big surprise when she breathlessly requested to correct Clyde’s statement.  So, for the record, Marilyn is not involved in any legal proceedings.  Related to the recount, that is.  Let’s be precise.

One of the things I love about working for myself is that I don’t have to attend my company Christmas party.  (A comic friend of mine does a bit about working for yourself, going to the Christmas party, getting drunk and sleeping with the boss.)  I also don’t have to listen to retirement speeches.  Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate (most) of the councilors and they deserve thanks for the work they put into governing Watertown, but instinctively I knew that the presentation for Steve Romanelli was the perfect opportunity to turn off the TV and walk down to watch in person.  So off I went, to brave the elements of that cold December night; past the Dunkin Donuts, through the CVS parking lot with the woman parked perpendicular to the parking spaces, past the police station and, at last, Town Hall.

And it was SRO!  There was barely enough room to swing a baby.  Was Chuck Norris endorsing Marilyn, too?  Either way, just as I suspected, the Romanelli tribute had not yet wrapped up.  Among other things, I think they gave him an axe.  The thought of an axe readily accessible during Town Council made me shudder.  Steve thanked lots of people.  Lots of people thanked Steve.  Marilyn wept a little.  And…

Huh?  Look, I understand there was a Christmas party before the meeting and I understand that nothing says Christmas like red and green (except, of course, for the word “Christmas” itself) but you have to admit that for Marilyn to wear a red dress after all that’s been going on…well, I couldn’t help thinking of Anjelica Houston in Prizzi’s Honor – “Yeah, I’ll be at your funeral and I’ll be wearing a red dress”.  But, like I said, there was a Christmas party earlier.

The speeches ended and the “fun” began when Marilyn raised her hand with a “pick me, pick me NOW” gesture and dequested (demand + request) that her proclamation get moved up immediately.  Right now.  Post haste.  Really important.  She wasn’t able to get up a head of steam over it because Sideris had already moved the proclamation up to, well, immediately.  Maybe it’s me but Marilyn’s shoulders always droop a little when she gets what she wants without having to scream about it.

And it’s PROCLAMATION TIME!  But not just any old proclamation time, no, proclamation time with a special guest star.

At this point in time, I would like you to look at the baby again and remember that I will eat it if you disagree with this post and it will be your fault.


Are we clear on this?  I truly hope so.

Where was I?  Oh, yes, special guest stars.

“Mr. President, I’d like to speak from the podium,” proclaimed Marilyn as she strode to the podium (and I’m paraphrasing from here on out), “I have a special guest here that I would like to speak on MY PROCLAMATION.  It’s the proclamation that I WROTE by myself and put MY NAME on because it’s MY PROCLAMATION written by ME, MARILYN DEVANEY.  Now, I have here in the audience…”

But Clyde would have none of’t and started talking about some stupid “rule” that only bad, mean, evil, corrupt people use to stifle the truth tellers of this world.  So, Marilyn just ignored him and waded through the crowd to get her special guest star who was…


…no, not the baby, but a 97 year old survivor of the Armenian Genocide.  That’s right.  In order to further her own personal agenda and push through her horribly written, ADL bashing proclamation, brave Marilyn Devaney used a 97 year old woman as both a prop and a shield.  And I am completely serious – say anything about my analysis of using the elderly as a tool of intimidation and I will eat this baby.  It’s your choice, folks.  Choose wisely.

“I WANT YOU TO HEAR THIS WOMAN’S STORY ABOUT HOW WHEN SHE WAS THREE YEARS OLD SHE WAS NEARLY LEFT BEHIND TO BE MURDERED…”, Marilyn brayed and if nobody understood how horrible the Armenian genocide was.  Could it really be true that what Marilyn took away from the last meeting was that the town councilors hated the Armenians and insisted on standing shoulder to shoulder with the ADL?  I have to believe that on some level she did.  Even after Hecht tried to assure her two weeks ago that her idea was sounded but the execution sucked, she still saw this as some kind of David and Goliath struggle.  It’s not.  Hecht said quite plainly that the whole council should be involved in writing, not just her.  What’s the problem with that?  Evidently, the problem is, as it always is, other people.  Marilyn is a democracy of one.

To their credit, no one really fell for the “you bastards wouldn’t even let a 97 year old woman speak because you’re all out to get me” ploy.  On the contrary, everyone wanted the woman to speak.  The problem was that Marilyn wouldn’t shut up.  A woman in the back of the room broke in and loudly said that the proper thing to send to the MMA was a resolution and not a proclamation.  Marilyn quacked snidely at that suggestion and the woman shook her head in disgust and walked out.  Good for her.

Meanwhile, Clyde (after a couple of squeaks of the gavel) somewhat restored order (Romanelli continually urged Marilyn to return to her seat) and asked that the 97 year old prop speak.  And she did.  She told the story that Marilyn told and it sounded horrible.  At some point, a man, probably a relative, crept beside her and told her to say that she supported Marilyn’s proclamation.  Instead, she continued talking about what happened after she was saved from being killed by the Turks.  Once she finished, she went back to her seat and Marilyn was on her own.

Points of procedure once again flew from the other councilors to which Marilyn, in the best rhetorical tradition of Socrates and Plato responded – “SHE CAME OUT ON A COLD DECEMBER NIGHT TO TELL HER STORY AND TO SUPPORT MY PROCLAMATION.”  To Marilyn supporters reading this, I hope it’s sinking through that while your girl may get you services and fix your potholes (with or without a hot line) she outright refuses to play with the other children.  This isn’t about oppression or corruption or the old boy network or serial calling – this is simply about Marilyn not getting what she wants.  Period.  It’s not a democracy for her if her side doesn’t win.

She huffed, she puffed, she whined, she rolled her eyes and shook her head so hard that I felt concerned for her spine.  She asked the town attorney for a ruling in voice that just reeked of “but you said I could have a white pony”.  The lawyer did not tell her what she wanted to hear, which means we’ll need a new town attorney, I guess. 

At one point, someone (Clyde, if I remember) cut her off in the middle of a rant and she bellowed, “BE RESPECTFUL!”  And I tried to keep it in, honest I did, but I hooted out loud.  It’s just about the funniest thing in the world for Marilyn, who cuts off pretty much anybody she cares to because it’s her God-given right to do so, to even attempt to chide someone for being rude.

And, in fact, not too long after that, Sideris asked for and received permission to speak and began to explain that, “two weeks ago, you dropped this thing in front of us with no notice whatso-”  “I WON’T HAVE YOU TELLING LIES ABOUT ME!”.  So, you see, Marilyn always has a good reason to cut somebody off but the reverse can never be true.  After Marilyn allowed Sideris to continue his points were –

1) Legally, a proclamation can not have someone’s name attached to it, as this one did
2) Proclamations are for people, resolutions are for action.  As such, this should be a resolution.

Marilyn’s sensitive and insightful political response?  “Resolution, Proclamation – who cares?”  And that IS a direct quote.

As if to test that hypothesis, Hecht and Sideris re-worked the proclamtion into a resolution that the other councilors approved.  Except Marilyn, of course, because it didn’t slit the throat of the ADL by using words like “hypocrisy”.  “THE ADL IS THE WHOLE POINT!”, she bellowed, really playing the crowd that came to cheer her on.  But it’s not really the point at all.  The point is not to say the ADL sucks.  The point is to force the MMA to withdraw from No Place To Hate.  Those are two radically different concepts.  Marilyn wants to blame people…other people.  The rest of the council wanted to fix a problem.

After the new resolution was read, Marilyn was livid.  “WHAT YOU DID WAS TAKE MY PROCLAMATION AND TAKE OUT ALL REFERENCES TO THE ADL.  EVERY SINGLE ONE.  AND THAT WAS MY PROCLAMATION!”  At this point, Clyde said something that to almost everyone else might have had some effect.  “This town council is not about ‘I’.  It’s about ‘we’.  ‘We’ work together to make things run.  Not ‘I’ but ‘we’.”  And in an amazing mini-version of Alice Through The Looking Glass, Marilyn replied, “THAT’S WHAT I’M SAYING.”

In the end, the rest of the councilors wound up passing the resolution while Marilyn continued quiver and quail about her proclamation.  It was really quite stunning to watch.  The council continued on with its business while Marilyn just kind of divorced herself from the present.  She was so involved with herself that she didn’t even seem to understand that the vote had come up.  Angie (who I’m certain would get sorted into Hufflepuff) voted against the resolution simply because she felt some of Marilyn’s language should be discussed for inclusion.

Public forum consisted of a guy angry at Driscoll, a woman from B5 who pushed for a run-off between JD and Marilyn, a man pushing to get the bus stop back and a shout out to the DPW and their new digs.

Clyde wanted to add a tax credit item to the 09 budgetary guidelines.

Angie wants info from Driscoll that she still hasn’t gotten and wants to talk about after hours security at town hall, which I can understand why some people would want.

Announcements came and I was fading so my hand written notes (my laptop screen died) are illegible.

Clyde made the motion to go into executive session at which point Marilyn piped up, “Are you skipping announcements?”

Clyde laid out the agenda for executive session, which included what to do about a possible re-recount.  Marilyn looked bewildered when the vote came, so much so that she had to be prodded to give her voice vote and wound up just shrugging.

The session ended but Marilyn was still rockin’ the mic.  “I…I don’t know how we’re supposed to fairly talked about the election.  How are we supposed to do that?  I mean Hecht endorsed JD.  Everybody’s gonna have to recuse themselves….Except Romanelli.”

And with that, Steve turned in the doorway to the executive chamber and said, “No way.  I’m done.  Leave me out of this.”

Smart man.

Don’t make me eat the baby.

Categories: Donuts, Watertown, WWMDD Tags:

In Which It’s A Bang AND A Whimper AND Neither

November 27th, 2007 4 comments

*I'M* outta order!??? 

At 11:17pm stopped at Summer St and Mt. Auburn, I sat in my car staring at the Dunkin Donuts sign.  I really shouldn’t, I told myself, you don’t really need a donut.  I agreed, but just as I turned left onto Mt. Auburn my other shoulder angel (I have two) said, fuck it – after that town council meeting you deserve a goddamn donut.  I agreed.  And it was satisfying.  It wasn’t satisfying.  I’m not going to tell you what I thought about it.  Maybe I’ll tell you on the 30th.  Maybe I didn’t even get a donut.  Shame!  Shame on you!

Confused?  What the hell do you expect after three and a half hours of the Marilyn Devaney Show town council meeting?  No one knows if this was her penultimate town council meeting – only her hairdresser knows for sure.  And maybe a priest friend.  She gave nothing away so it’s hard to tell if her performance tonight was a Norma Desmond thing or just run of the mill Marilyn.

Sure, it started off nicely enough with the obligatory presentation on the background, current state of and suggestion for this year’s property taxes (an increase of 1.75% and a 25% residential exemption – please check facts in the Tab on Friday).  The presentation covered the ground thoroughly and prompted Marilyn to offer that “there’s really no questions to ask but…” and then continued to talk anway.

They went on to the issue of continuing to double of property tax exemptions for the elderly, veterans and the blind and agreed to do so.

Marilyn then laid the groundwork for things to come by insisting that her last minute agenda item be brought up.  Clyde said no, not yet at which point Marilyn pulled a cross out of her purse and began to nail herself to it.  “I PUT TWO AGENDA ITEMS ON AND YOU TOOK THEM OFF!  WHY AM I NOT ALLOWED THE COURTESY…” and you can fill in the rest yourself.  Clyde worked the gavel and did his bad parenting thing where he tries to calm her down by yelling back at her.  (Sidenote – is there any way we can swap the wood gavel for one of the squeaky plastic ones?  It’s much more appropriate.)  Somehow, Marilyn understood that she could bring one of the items up after the last scheduled item.

Donohue then brought up the desire to explore moving the town council towards becoming a paperless body.  The idea is that each councilor would get a laptop, prompting Devaney to ask the musical question – “Does this mean we’d by nine laptops for nine people?” and assert that “I don’t even have a computer.”  It’s not Marilyn without a conspiracy theory and she didn’t disappoint, quickly pointing out that email was just another form of serial calling.  “This,” she stated unequivocally, “is another technology that can be abused.”  Oddly, enough, so are microphones.  It’s hyperbole to say the brakes were off that that point but not much.  Lawn, after enthusiastically backing the idea finished off with, “I object to a councilor accusing this council of serial calling.”  Despite the fracas, the councilors managed to stay on topic and not get too far baited.  Sideris did a Reagan impersonation pulling out a thick stack of papers that constituted all the revisions of the Coolidge School lease.  At the end of it, they agreed to pursue the idea.  Even though I support the idea, I’m not sure it’s ready for prime time since laws still dictate paper copies of everything for the public record and, unless they’ve hidden the SSID, Town Hall does not have wireless yet.

The show began in earnest.  Rather than gracefully present her agenda item, Marilyn started off with a diatribe about her mistreatment on the council and how this item got knocked off the agenda of the last meeting and “WHERE IS THE DEMOCRACY!!??” when she’s not allowed to -.  Clyde cut her off.  “You’re bringing it up now, right?”  With the wind taken out of the sails of her ego,  she read the full, horribly written text of a resolution to tell the Mass. Municipal Association to sever ties with the ADL over their denial of the Armenian genocide.  Call me old fashioned, but I don’t think that any government document should contain the word “hypocrisy”

Hecht, a member of the MMA, spoke about the process the MMA was going through.  While he supported a resolution he felt that he could not vote on it since “we got it 15 minutes ago and….”  Marilyn doesn’t need permission to speak, so she cut him off revisited the theme of “I PUT TWO AGENDA ITEMS ON AND THEY WERE TAKEN OFF!”  More gavel action from Clyde (squeak-squeak-squeak…see how great that would be?!!).  We all took a side trip to visit “Yes-You-Did-No-I-Didn’t-Land. 

(Sidenote – If I could write music, I would compose a duet called “The Harpy And The Mole” with a soprano sax and a bassoon.)

Marilyn’s fury reached it’s peak with what I believe to be the greatest single thing I’ve ever heard from her.  Imagine it’s 1979 and Marilyn is Al Pacino in …And Justice For All.  Clyde squeaks the gavel and tells her that she’s out of order and she belts out, “THIS WHOLE GOVERNMENT IS OUT OF ORDER!!”  Really.  I swear.  It was all I could do not to laugh out loud.

Hecht, sensing a way to regain control, began to say something and, because Marilyn doesn’t need to speak, she cut him off…again.  “DOES HE GET TO SPEAK TWICE?  DOES EVERYBODY HERE GET TO SPEAK TWICE EXCPET ME??”  Clyde wet his double reed and piped, “I think he’d like to finish his statement”.  Hecht, who I believe to be the model of decorum, calmly finished his statement – We just received this.  We should have a chance to look it over, discuss it and make changes to the language so that it represents the whole council.  My translation – Don’t think you’re going to push this horribly executed documents down our throats just because it’s a good idea.  Let’s vote to talk later.

Here’s why Marilyn is bad for the town council – Clyde made the motion to table the resolution for later but because of the all the drama it took five minutes to simply understand what they were voting on.  Right up to the vote, Marilyn’s addled mind still thought they were voting for the resolution.  It would be one thing if this was an isolated incident but too frequently all the quacking and honking obscures the actual work that should be accomplished.  Finally they voted to table it while Marilyn intoned, “Shaaaaaame.  Shaaaaaaame on youuuuu,” as if she were the wife of Jacob Marely.

I can only hope she was talking to herself.  Where the hell does she get off sitting in judgement on the rest of the town council?  Damn near everyone on that the town council plays by Robert’s Rules except her.  The “shame” is in the time that she wastes with her shrill, petulant, childish chiding of everyone.  I’m not surprised that she can’t find the democracy since she spend so much of town council dictatorially monopolizing the discourse.

I won’t go into her ballot initiative which met the same fate and pretty much followed the same script.  Instead, let’s skip of 11pm and “Announcements”.

“I have an announcement,” Marilyn said, her voice trembling.  “First off, I’d like to  apologize to the citizens of Watertown for losing it…”  Not surprisingly, this turned out NOT to be an apology but a doubleplus good rationalization of her abhorrent behavior and, in a move she should patent, disclaiming any responsibility for it.

And then – oh, boy…oh, boy, oh, boy, oh, boy – how to approach this?

Before I continue let me just say that I know that I can be a bit of an asshole.  I take full responsibility for that.  I may not see things the same way as you.  I’ve been known to over-analyze benign things into something shadowy and unclean.  I don’t think I’m always wrong, though.

One of the classic ploys is the “Did you say something about my mother” gambit.  What’s great about it (from the point of the executor, that it is) is that no matter what you say and even if you say nothing, you wind up getting your ass kicked.  Another great ploy, as bush will tell you, is to use tragedy.  Who in their right mind would argue with a 9/11 survivor?  I mean, besides Ann Coulter.

When you spend as much time as Marilyn screaming about how you’re not allowed to talk and then start off a speech with “Please respect me and not respond to the comments I’m about to make” well, the blood rises to my head.

The speech, such as it was, said…nothing.  If you’ve read her stuff in the Tab, you get the idea.  She would not accept any speeches or tokens of thanks for her service.  Her deceased husband, a firefighter, did not receive anything for his service.  She recounted in great detail for everyone to hear all of the wonderful things that he did anonymously.  He didn’t expect (or receive) appreciation and neither would she.  He didn’t want it and neither did she.  But if she did, he wouldn’t be there to witness it.  But she didn’t.

It left many scratching their heads.  What did she say?  It sounded like she was pissed off that the town did not recognize her husband, but was she?  Should we do something about that?  Did this mean that she would not follow through on the recount?  Or was this speech a hedge in case she lost the recount?  Was this the Watertown version of the Checkers speech which is the final word in passive-aggressiveness?  Like a sphinx guarding the Curlergates, Marilyn kept mum, letting her words hang in the air like sticky cobwebs you can’t brush off.

Will town council, as Clyde was quoted as saying, run smoother without Marilyn?  I can’t imagine it wouldn’t.  Easily an hour could have been chopped off of the running time had Marilyn kept within Roberts’ Rules OR Clyde finally tossed her out for contempt.

After we filed out, dazed and bleary-eyed, someone said that town council meetings could get very dull without Marilyn.  “That’s true,” I said, “Godfather 2 is almost three hours long, but I enjoy sitting through that.”

Categories: Lovable Psychos, Watertown, WWMDD Tags:

In Which Clyde Fears The Future

May 22nd, 2007 1 comment

With staffing for the Fire Department possibly on the line (a reduction from 19 to 18), Town Council was SRO.  I literally sat on the floor in the back.  The plus side – difficult to fall asleep.  The minus side – easy to bang your head unceasingly against the wall while trying to prevent yourself from jumping up and doing the whole Al Pacino “you’re all crazy” speech from …And Justice For All.  Seriously.

Rachel Kaprielian (whose name, I’d like to say, I spelled correctly the first time) gave a brief overview of a state bill allowing towns to get in on state health insurance, thereby saving money.  Nice.  It’s not passed yet, but chances are good it will be.  Jonathan Hecht made a motion for the Council to add its support for the bill.  Not to switch over to state health insurance, mind you, but just to say it has Watertown’s support.

Not so much.

Several councilors voiced their concern over the fact that the bill was not finished and found it unseemly to support something that wasn’t done.  Angie Kounelis pointed out that all the council had received was marketing material.  Ok.  I can kind of see that.  Rachel herself frequently repeated that things could change.  As Clyde Younger says – “how can you know what will happen?”  Giants bats with a special mind-changing venom could bite lawmakers who completely re-write the bill and enslave us all.  So the motion went down to defeat.  C’est la vie.

BUT – Hecht, very reluctantly, read a motion to pretty much stop talking about switching Watertown’s pension fund over to the state pension fund.  Hecht did not want to read it.  He’s four switching the pension fund.  According to Hecht, if the money Watertown put into it’s own pension fund had gone into the state’s instead, we’d be up $9mil.  Younger wrote the motion to keep the town pension fund from making more money than it currently is.  (The logic, as I understand it, says – “we’re meeting the goals that we have to meet”.  Yeah.  I don’t get it either).  As Clyde says, “how can you know what will happen,” meaning, I guess, giant bats with a special mind-changing venom bite the fund controller who embezzles all our money to start a chain of pizza stores in Bosnia.

The punchline?  The pension bill isn’t finished, either!

So, just to clarify – Clyde doesn’t like the unfinished health care bill but writes a motion to defeat an unfinished pension bill.

This is my town council which lasted about three and a half hours tonight.

Clyde requested an inventory of parking meters two weeks ago.  We got that report tonight.  I’m not exactly sure why Clyde wanted it.  It didn’t seem to fit into a grand scheme.  Perhaps he likes parking meters.  Still, it was almost worth sitting through to hear the presenter sum it up with a deadpan – “So…that’s my presentation…about parking meters”.

On and on it went and, thank God, I couldn’t drift off.  I can’t say that I took good notes but the worst was yet to come.

Apparently, one of the councilors received a nasty email.  I honestly don’t know much more than that.  (Not quite true, but I’ll be discreet.)  Clyde asked Chief Deveau to look into it and brought up Chief Deveau to report on it.  Clyde is not a riveting speaker, nor am I, for that matter, but listening to Clyde is like watch Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off played about quarter speed.  He ploddingly recounted the email and asked Chief Deveau the outcome of the investigation.  Not much.  It turns out that according to local, state and federal law, whatever message the email contained was for all intents and purposes, legal.

Clyde would have none of’t.  “Don’ t you think that email constituted a hate crime?”

“It’s not really about what I think,” Chief Deveau responded.  “According to the law, it’s not actionable.”

And thus began the struggle.  Clyde wanted the case reopened.  Clyde wanted to know all about the investigation.  Chief Deveau returned each slow volley making it clear that nothing could or would be done about it.  Clyde insisted they find out who sent it.

“Hypothetically,” he said, “if I can send that kind of an email, what’s my next move?”

HUH?  It’s becoming clear to me that Clyde either comes from the future or is just obsessed with it.  He’s the worst kind of over-protective parent.  It was the same thing when he wasted tax payer money to get a report on library security because a pedophile was found in a library in another town.  Sweet Jesus!!  He was hell-bent to prove that our library security would allow a pedophile to kidnap and rape children right in the children’s library.  Why?  Because it happened somewhere else.

This is why we pay to have metal detectors in schools.  This is why we pay cops to patrol the hallways.  Not because there’s any real good reason for it but because some other town in America had a problem once and we can’t risk it happening here.  And yet…it still happens, because life is messy and unpredictable.

Maybe my brain fled into fantasy, but when Chief Deveau asked what Clyde would want to do if the phantom emailer wound up living in, say, New Hampshire, I heard the word “dragnet” in my head.  I saw Clyde directing the Watertown Police to direct all incoming traffic to a single checkpoint to check the ID of every single driver.  The offending emailer would be sent away shamed and drowsy after listening to a lecture from Clyde.

This whole exchange took, I think about ten to fifteen minutes.  So…tell me again what the job of Council President is?

Oh, that’s right – micromanagement.  As in Clyde’s motion that if two sub-committee meetings were scheduled at the same time then the last meeting scheduled would be dropped.  Apparently, it happened once or twice and Watertown almost didn’t recover.  Giant bats…etc.

On plus side, the council voted themselves the same health benefits as the town workers, which doesn’t mean all that much since most have their own health insurance, but morally it’s a great thing to do.

And, as to Marilyn, she brought no priest and still managed to somewhat behave herself.  You know who Marilyn is, right?

Ok.  I’ve got to put some more ice on the back of my head.  I hope I don’t have a concussion

Categories: Watertown Tags:

In Which The Metaphor Doesn’t Quite Work

May 9th, 2007 11 comments

In the restroom after the Town Council meeting, I asked someone, “So…um…who was the hate speech guy?”

“I dunno,” he responded, “but what the fuck??  He starts talking and I got no idea where he’s going with it and…” he shook his head, “what the fuck??”

Then, with a sort of geographic editorializing, we flushed.

Oh, Ralph Filicchia, what can be said of you?  h20town took the time to transcribe the vast majority of what you said but nothing can match the stellar delivery of

The proclamation says that “we’re going to work very hard to promote and recognize diversity.” Well, I don’t like that.


I was going to mention homophobia. Homophobia is not a crime. I consider it a virtue, because that point of view, I think, is the right one.

You really had to be there for the full effect.  The Council sat stunned and, in some cases, open-mouth as each perfect, toxic jewel dripped from his mouth. 

The catalyst for Ralph’s appearance during the Public Forum portion of the Town Council was that (two years after the fact) he hates the No Place To Hate resolution passed in July of ’05.  The Anti-Defamation League sponsors the No Place To Hate program and since Ralph insisted that “the ADL isn’t gonna tell me what I can and cannot think” it’s safe to say that he doesn’t have a lot of Jewish friends.  Or at least not anymore.

But the pro-hate speech folks (and I can’t say that without tipping my hat to James Dobson and Crosstalk) don’t always quite grasp the importance of consistency in advancing the cause of hate speech.  After, well, let’s call it “tough loving” the ADL, Ralph got a tad tangled up –

Diversity is not something that came down from Mount Sinai, yet it’s treated like it was.

Here’s the thing – if you’re going to bitch about how the Jews are fucking up your right to say that you hate pretty much all ethnic and sexual groups except your own, don’t use Jewish metaphors to make your point.   Mount Sinai, of course, is where God penned not one but two copies of the Ten Commandments since Moses got pissed off and broke the first copy.  You could, I suppose, make a case that Ralph slyly chose Mount Sinai as a swipe at the Jews, but, again, you had to be there to understand that simply isn’t possible.   It’s more likely that Ralph doesn’t understand that God gave the Ten Commandments to a Jew and not to Jesus.

I could spend about twelves straight hours parsing Ralph’s speech but…ok, here’s my own personal favorite.  Ralph starts out this movement rhapsodizing on his idyllic childhood when Watertown apparently only consisted of white people (outside of the greasy, immoral Italians).  He knew his culture but his grandchildren may not.

…I have a funny feeling that their culture will end up being two flags, Taco Bell, and Cinco de Mayo parades.

Sweet merciful fucking Jesus!  Try as I might, I don’t think I could come up with something that treads the fine line between real-live racism and satire like that line.

The line that h20town missed, according to my notes sums Ralph’s point perfectly.  It’s so shockingly close to an haiku that I’m compelled to write it as such

you should have the right
to say what you want to say
and not be called on (it)

If it weren’t for the last line, I’d support him 100%.  I am so free speech that I tried to defend David Duke’s right to speak at Downtown Crossing many years ago.  He’s one of the biggest assholes on the face of the Earth and I support his right to prove it to as many people as possible.   Free speech without consquences, though, is bullying, pure and simple.   Of course, the pro-hate speech lobby will be the first complain about the violation of their free speech rights. 

If Ralph Filicchia honestly practiced what he preached, then I should be able to call him a dog-fucking, greasy, lazy-eyed, Chianti-swilling, failed Mafioso closet-case and he’ll smile and walk away because, after all, I have the right to say what I want and not be called on it.

Right, Ralph?

And to undermine his case further – when he finished his little speech he bolted from the room because, after all, he might have gotten called on what he said.  And you can’t have that.

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In Which She Made The Front Page

April 30th, 2007 No comments

They say that overnight stars are never born overnight and that’s true.  Rarely does the general public ever see the hard work that went on behind the scenes – the striving, the combativeness, the multiple arrests – it’s almost like Marilyn Petito Devaney consciously built her own E! True Hollywood Story.

Voiceover:  (A photo of Marilyn slowly bleeds from color to black and white) And then…things began to go wrong.  Horribly wrong.

A couple of things bother me about this story.  It’s not the abuse of position or mistreatment of curling irons that only wish beautify, not harm, people.  After all, celebrities get away with something close to murder every day.  Paris Hilton and Marilyn both dye their hair, too.

It becomes more obvious that Marilyn lives in an alternate universe.  When the Globe asked her to respond to the allegations of assault with a deadly weapon (a curling iron!) Marilyn responded

I will not respond to rumors and innuendo. The truth will prevail.

That’s not rumor and innuendo.  That’s an allegation that Marilyn broke the law.  The alleged victim is not spreading unsubstantiated gossip nor is she implying that Marilyn assaulted her.  She’s making a blunt accusation which, if proved true, means conviction on assault charges.  In other words – a crime report. 

I’m not trying to nitpick here.  Marilyn somehow believes that she has some Shakespearean gift with the English language.  However, this claim only works if she lived in the late 1500’s.  The only gift I’ve seen is the ability to pound out a 300+ word letter with absolutely no identifiable subject and FLAGRANT ABUSE OF CAPITALIZATION.  Despite that, I truly believes that she thinks all of this is somehow happening outside of the little bubble of “truth” that she lives in.  Otherwise, how could she make statement like

Unlike some others in town, I think abusing one’s authority is unethical and immoral

Am I the only one that sees a disconnect between word and deed?  Am I the only one troubled by it? 

Reading some of the responses on the Tab site depress me.  The pro-Marilyn forces honestly don’t care what she does.  In fact, they’re contemptuous of those who feel like public officials should behave just slightly better than those who elected them.  Once upon a time that was called “leadership” and “role modelling”.  That, apparently, doesn’t hold much water anymore.  We now teach our children that you can do whatever you want as long as you shore up your base.  

Some pro-Marilyn forces take the “it’s just Marilyn being Marilyn” argument and that leads me to assume that they also believe that boys are never responsible for date rape and that teenage shoplifting is just something everyone does.   They pat their children on the head as they toss their empty Big Gulp containers onto the pavement because, after all, it’s not their fault there’s not a trash container there and everybody’s doing it anyway.

Others take the even less productive “I didn’t know everyone else was so perfect” approach since, when you have no solid ground to stand on, resort to passive aggression.  “It’s like nobody else in the whole world ever threw a curling iron at someone else because they got asked for their driver’s license!”  Or “I drive without my license all the time, don’t you?”

I don’t doubt that, as people point out, Marilyn served her constituency well.  She threw herself at every event and endeared herself to everyone she could.  But something changed.  Watching her at Town Council meetings she appears to only want to fight.  She almost begs the other councilors to put her up on a cross and pour the vinegar over her as she sings her greatest hits of “You’re Disrespecting Me” and “The Old Boys Pub Club”.

Think about this, though – for all her conspiracy theories about how Watertown is run, might it be possible that she’s just mad because her pub and backroom buddies are losing?

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In Which, In The Meantime, I’ll Gladly Sell You Product

April 27th, 2007 No comments

In the midst of puzzling out these new and exceedingly amusing developments with Marilyn Devaney, you can go over to Cafe Press and pick up some “Don’t you know who I am” hats, bumper stickers and bibs!  You can also pick up What Would Marilyn Devaney Do stickers, as well!

NOTE – If you’ve got a copyright and royalty free picture Ms. Meglomania of 2007, shot me an email – hbeeinc at gmail dot com.  Let’s tawk.

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In Which I Think I Might Understand

March 14th, 2007 No comments

Driving around this morning my mind wandered to the town council meeting of the previous evening.  Of everything that was said, shouted, screamed and shrieked, one phrase stuck in my mind.  At one point Marilyn said

Boy, do I miss a government, of the people, for the people and by the people.  That was a democracy.


What that statement implies, however,  is that nobody else on that council got elected.  None of the councilors, with the exception of Marilyn, talked to the people of Watertown, made their best case for the position and then sat back on election night and waited to see how the vote turned out.  None of them.

Obviously, then, the only people who need representation in Watertown are Marilyn’s constituents.  If they’re not getting what they need then the system is broken and cannot be called a Democracy.  The other councillors represent no one but their own self-interest.  They work only for themselves and have no accountability.  They were never elected and therefore don’t have to worry about getting re-elected. 

Thus, there is a grand conspiracy of…stuff…that controls Watertown and the rest of us poor slobs have no recourse but to shrug our shoulders and drink our Victory Gin.  After all, only Marilyn’s district participates in true Democracy.  Only Marilyn’s opinion speaks of truth, goodness and the American Way.  The rest of Watertown lives in a sad self-deception of “reality” that I imagine looks like The Matrix.

Am I suggesting that Marilyn is Neo?  Yes.  I am.  Or at least she think she is.

The non-Matrix view is different.  Out of the seven councilors, Marilyn is but one.  Yet she comports herself as if the other six should kowtow to her.  When someone speaks while she’s speaking it is over the top yet when she speaks out of turn it should be understood that her rights are getting trampled on.  She is the underdog and the rules don’t apply to the underdog. See this post

When you are the minority, you get special privileges.  After all, that’s what Democracy is all about.  Right?

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In Which It’s Fur or Fireworks

March 13th, 2007 No comments

[Massive disclaimer – none of this should be considered fact.  I’m not a reporter.  I’m going off hastily scribbled notes that are about as impressionistic as this will be.  Dialogue cannot be verified.  The agenda does not follow the official agenda handed out.] 

I don’t want to be fascist and tell you what flew this evening at the Town Council, but it went something like this.

Everything seemed to go swimmingly until the dreaded recycling center came up.  Perhaps “swimmingly” isn’t the proper phrase to describe a tax presentation, but it wasn’t a contentious presentation.

Then came Mark Sideris’ report on the recycling center and “a motion to remove Filipello Park from consideration for a recycling center”.

Sideris gave his report, made some comments and the motion got put a – WAIT.  Marilyn invokes charter privilege to table the motion but 1) doesn’t wait for a motion to be made and 2) as I recall, just kind of blurted it out without getting recognized.  Clyde points out that no motion has been made.  Marilyn says that it doesn’t have to be since she’s shooting it down.  Thus the Clyde and Marilyn show began.

As a first time viewer, they’re both at fault.  Yes, Marilyn jumps in without recognition but Clyde’s blood pressure rises too quickly and the whole thing descends to local politics directed by Robert Altman except louder.

Anywho, Clyde calls a five minute recess while Marilyn proclaims that you cannot call a recess in the middle of a motion being made.  I don’t know the rules, but let’s say that Marilyn is right.  A motion never got made.  Several councilors leave their seats to mill around the chamber while Marilyn pummels (verbally) the town attorney for a ruling on the situation which she already knows the answer to.  She goes on a nice monologue about calling the District Attorney and how the town government actually meets in the back rooms of pubs and the average citizen hasn’t got a chance.

The storm passes.  The councilors reseat themselves.  Clyde decides to move on to the next item and come back to the recycling center when cooler heads prevail.  And so onto the community center.

Cooler heads?  No such luck.  Marilyn takes umbrage at the time of the 1:30pm meeting and I really couldn’t follow exactly what the problem was.  Possibly it was in the back room of a pub.

I’ll get into the absolute insanity of Clyde’s request for the library to stop pedophiles entering the library by putting internet filters on the computers in the children’s section later.  I promise.

Either way, it’s back to the recycling center and absolutely nothing has changed.  Marilyn invokes Charter Privilege on a motion not yet made, to which Clyde responds, “Let’s get this motion made and seconded and then you can invoke charter privilege until Hell freezes over.”  This causes Marilyn to go off on another reverie about being the only person ever kicked off a committee and starts in on some head and body shots on Clyde.  Clyde damn near breaks his gavel calling for order and huffing that he will not be insulted in that fashion.  More Altman-esque dialogue until Clyde thunders – “I WILL HAVE YOU REMOVED AND DON’T THINK I WON’T.  Go ahead.  Test me.”

“Shuh,” snorts Marilyn, “and you’re coming with me.”

Annnnd breathe.

Back to the Community Center.  (Dialogue paraphrased and shortened)

Devaney:  Isn’t there supposed to be a fiscal note to bring this up?
Donohue:  It’s a concept.  There can’t be an estimate on a building that doesn’t exist.
Devaney:  There’s supposed to be a note
Donohue:  It’s exploratory to see if anyone is interested.  You can’t put a price on a building that you don’t even know if you want to build.
Devaney:  There should be a note.

Back to the recycling center.  Sideris says something to the effect of he simply wanted to make a motion to talk about it.  Predictably, Marilyn invokes…well, you know.  Clyde manages to spit out a motion, which someone seconds and Marilyn shoots down.

Clyde:  See?  That was simple
Marilyn:  (snort) Simple.  Yeah.

Another fiscal presentation.  This time about the pension fund.  If I understand it, the town currently manages it.  The question is whether to give it over to the state.  The General Manager points out that it’s making 8% return.  Jonathan Hecht points out that out of 105 state pension funds only one is not making 8% and that the percentage of funding has decreased in the past couple of years.

There’s a reading of a loan order to pay for the police station and it’s on to announcements.

There’s this announcement, that announcement, the Raiders won the game at whatever the Boston Garden is called now and then and 10:12pm…

Marilyn starts talking about the recycling center again.  Sweet fucking jesus.  We’re thrown back into chaos.  She makes a motion about something lost in the Altman-esque fray.  Clyde repeats the motion.  No second comes.  “There is no second,” Clyde says tensely, “so it DIES.”  Naturally, Marilyn’s not going to take this standing up and protests.

“There is no second,” seethes Clyde.

“Hrrrmph, hrrmph”, hrrmphs Marilyn.

“I’ll second,” pipes up Hecht.

“Don’t try to placate me,” she hisses.

“I’m not,” says Hecht, “I think we should talk about this.  I think that everybody should be aware of what happened tonight – how one councilor spent the evening silencing debate on the issue of the recycling center only to bring it up during the announcement section so that we all had to listen to her and were not allowed to respond.  Because that’s what happened.”

And in the back of my mind I heard the words, “Have you no decency, Senator?  At long last, have you no decency?”

[Once again – this is subjective and not a complete picture of the meeting and should not be considered fact]

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In Which It Needs To Be Said

March 13th, 2007 No comments

I honestly do understand about how the Watertown Raiders are doing well and get to play in whatever the Boston Garden is called now, but…you just can’t escape the irony that March is Arts in Watertown month and the annual BANDORAMA (yes, it needs to be written in all caps) concert tonight because of the game.

Moral – Sports win.

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In Which I Wish Her/It/Us A Happy Birthday

March 9th, 2007 No comments

h2otown’s birthday party was this evening and a good time was had by all.  It was a pleasure meeting everyone!

Given that to enter, you needed to sign a non-disclosure form, I’m afraid there’s little else I can say.


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