The Big Digs

By Jason Schwartz | Boston Magazine |

WHAT A YEAR! We began with a Senate election, ended with a governor’s lawsuit-fest, and in between loved that dirty water (or not). Shaq became a Shamrock, Steven Tyler became a judge, and Ben Affleck made about 634 movies set in Boston. So in the vein of The Social Network — the one flick Affleck didn’t do — let’s just say we’re not here to make friends. Take a fond look back with us through the 50 stupidest, funniest, and most awesomely aquapocalyptic events of 2010.

[sidebar]1. In fairness, he only stayed for the short program. A Stoughton cop is forced to resign after sneaking off while on duty to a strip club to catch a special appearance by the 3-foot-9-inch porn star “Bridget the Midget.”

2. He no more split the uprights than he did an ion. Speaking at the dedication of the new Bobby Orr statue outside the Garden, Mayor Menino says, “In Boston, we have an amazing set of remarkable athletes whose actions have become ionic [sic] in sports. Havlicek stole the ball, Fisk waving the ball fair, Flutie launching the Hail Mary pass, Varitek splitting the uprights.”

3. Maybe this explains why he keeps asking us to run those naked pictures of him. In an apparent effort to draft on Scott Brown’s success, Mitt Romney takes to campaigning in New Hampshirein a Chevy Silverado pickup truck.

4. Another column, another missed opportunity to prove they’re not bottom-feeding scum. Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa, the Herald’s gossip columnists, write about President Barack Obama hitting the Vineyard Golf Club instead of church: “Another Sunday, another missed opportunity for President Obama to prove to America he’s not a Muslim.”

5. For the high-quality stuff, he uses a leg of prosciutto. A Holyoke man is busted by police, who say he attempted to hide a kilo of cocaine inside a hollowed-out bologna.

6. We can’t believe he didn’t bring this up in his victory speech, too. The New York Post reports that Barney Frank raised a ruckus when ticket clerks for a Fire Island ferry refused to give him the $1 senior discount because he didn’t have proper senior identification.

7. It may be winter, but the five-day forecast is HOT, HOT, HOT.
Relaying snowfall amounts during a January broadcast, Channel 7 meteorologist Pete Bouchard informs viewers, “The biggest amount that I could find — almost as big as me — [is] about nine inches.”

8. As predictable as Disney on Ice, but somehow with worse skaters. The Bruins pull a reverse Red Sox, blowing a 3–0 Eastern Conference semifinal series lead to the Philadelphia Flyers.

9. Arthur Sulzberger should shove that money so far up there that he needs a Spotlight Team to find it. In February, the New York Times Company reports a nearly $20 million profit on the year — the same amount it won in concessions from Boston Globe union employees after threatening to shut down the paper the previous spring.

10. If a tree falls in the woods… A man reportedly exposes himself at Watertown’s Perkins School for the Blind.

11. The rainfall was not as big as Pete Bouchard. Hurricane Earl threatens eastern Massachusetts — sending everyone into hysterics — but ends up amounting to little more than a strong breeze and a drizzle.

12. It’s already been created. It’s called fiction. Ben Mezrich, the fact-phobic author of The Accidental Billionaires, on which the movie The Social Network is based, tells New York magazine: “I write in a cinematic, thriller-esque style. It’s a valid form of nonfiction that dates back to Hunter Thompson and Tom Wolfe. Or maybe it’s a genre that I’m trying to create.”

13. Summarily, they’ve rendered this point self-evident. Private law schools protest the creation of a new UMass law school on the grounds that it would overburden Massachusetts with too many lawyers.

14. Sure, blame the computer. Because you guys have such a great track record with busing. With students arriving at school more than half an hour late, Boston public school officials say new software, intended to increase school-bus route efficiency, is the cause of the delays.

15. We’re still looking for a constituency he wouldn’t sell out. In his victory speech, freshly elected U.S. Senator Scott Brown declares his daughters to be “available.”

16. More proof Boston drivers are crappy.
A woman in Belmont is charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon after reportedly attempting to slow down a driver by hitting him in the face with a bag of dog poop.

17. The injuries were minor; and lo, verily he did rise again. A man named Lord Jesus Christ is hit by a car at a crosswalk in Northampton.

18. But when have you ever known Tom Finneran to exercise poor judgment? WRKO morning hosts Tom Finneran and Todd Feinburg, as well as their producer, discuss treasurer candidate Karyn Polito’s “tight little butt.”

19. And yet, Finneran could have made fun of her for being a bad driver. After single-handedly holding up a $430 million spending bill for a week, Polito, a Republican member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, shows up late the next Monday, allowing Democrats to push the bill through. She blames traffic.

20. We talked about how dumb this was on our way to Foxwoods. Despite general support from Governor Deval Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray, and Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, casino legislation fails, in large part because of DeLeo’s demand to license slots for the tracks.
21. He’s against government spending, except on him. Noted Republican Curt Schilling packs up his 38 Studios video-game company and heads for Providence, thanks to a $75 million guaranteed loan from Rhode Island.

22. He’s cheaper than a Filene’s Basement sales rack — and of lower quality, too. Vornado Realty Trust chairman Steven Roth, whose company owns the giant hole in the ground at Downtown Crossing, openly acknowledges his strategy for redevelopment: let vacant properties sit in decay until frantic local governments offer him more money to build, reducing the blight.

23. The nation engages in a middle school debate over whether playing softball makes you a lesbian. After she is nominated to the Supreme Court, former Harvard Law School dean Elena Kagan has her sexuality become a point of controversy when pictures of her swinging a bat surface.

24. If this doesn’t scream “accountability” and “fiscal responsibility”…  Sarah Palin brings the Tea Party Express to town for an April rally on Boston Common. The event is funded by the Tea Party Express PAC, which does not disclose where its money comes from.

25. He lacked the “intrinsic aptitude” to fix the economy.
After a lackluster turn as director of the White House National Economic Council, Lawrence Summers returns to Harvard.

26. H2OHHHHH, NO! Enough self-righteousness to power everybody’s Prius. On April 29, environmentally conscious Concord residents vote to ban the sale of bottled water.

Whoooooops. On May 1, a ruptured water main cuts the supply of clean drinking water to the Boston area, sending locals scrambling for all the bottled water they can find.

27. We don’t have a joke here. We’re still speechless. Days before the election, Attorney General and U.S. Senate candidate Martha Coakley tells a reporter she does not intend to meet potential voters outside Fenway Park. “In the cold? Shaking hands?”

28. And now let’s check in with someone who knows about campaigning. Upon hearing of Coakley’s gaffe, President Obama reportedly says to an aide, “No! No! You’re making that up! That can’t be right! Tell me she didn’t say that!”

29. Did they call up the doctors from Pawtucket, too? Sox M.D.s clear Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia for action, whereupon both players promptly reinjure themselves.

30. He was for “gay fellas” before he was against them. Charlie Baker comes out against a transgender rights bill, calling it “the bathroom bill.” (Some social conservatives argued it could lead to unisex bathrooms.) His running mate, Richard Tisei, whom Baker subsequently refers to as a “gay fella,” is the bill’s cosponsor.
31. He was just against gay fellas. Senator Scott Brown opposes the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

32. He left his liberal principles in his other yacht. Senator John Kerry is accused of trying to avoid $500,000 in Massachusetts taxes by docking his new $7 million yacht in Rhode Island, which does not tax boats.

33. Butt injections imply something else entirely where he’s likely headed. Roger Clemens is indicted for making false statements to Congress regarding steroids.

34. Putting the W in WTF.  Six months after its splashy October 2009 opening, the W Boston sells fewer than 12 of its 122 luxury condos, declares bankruptcy, and leaves its $10.5 million loan from the city dangling — alongside an impending foreclosure.

35. Yeah, because Alaska voters would never put up with an attractive but inexperienced and sometimes fumbling candidate. Criticizing our new senator for voting on occasion with Democrats, Sarah Palin says that Alaska voters wouldn’t put up with “Scott Brown and some of the antics there.

36. Wanna get away? Brookline police catch an alleged bank robber after they find him hiding in his car’s trunk.

37. To celebrate, school officials made it rain.
The $200 million Newton North High School finally opens.

38. New plan: Drop all the other drugs, keep the Ritalin. Steven Tyler’s year: He refuses to join Aerosmith on tour. Then when bandmates threaten to replace him, he rejoins the band. At one tour stop, he falls off the stage (again). When he recovers, he says he’d like to make a new album. But first, he signs on as an American Idol judge.

39. Apparently that “New Boston” he talked so much about is in Virginia.
Sam Yoon, the 2009 candidate for mayor of Boston, flees south, saying he’s had trouble finding a job here.

40. So this explains why he kept asking the caterer if he had any chicken fingers and Cherry Garcia. A Brockton wedding photographer is pinched by cops, who say he was attempting to pick up 700 pounds of pot. He pleaded not guilty, dude.
41. He apologizes about as well as he plays left field. Manny Ramirez tells the Red Sox he’s sorry for the way he left.

42. She could really use a good auditor. A Globe review of state auditor candidate Suzanne Bump’s tax returns reveals that she receives questionable tax breaks by claiming primary residency in two different towns.

43. Further proof that no one in the past 10 years has actually read a mortgage agreement. Bank of America halts foreclosures nation-wide after an employee admits, in a court case involving a Massachusetts homeowner, that she regularly signed up to 8,000 foreclosure documents per month without reading them.

44. A nice, long drive. A Brookline man ispulled over and charged with driving a golf cart down Beacon Street in the Back Bay; cops say he had stolen it at City Hall, more than a mile away.

45. Like Superman, Tim Cahill works alone — and is not governor of Massachusetts. Tim Cahill’s reaction to being deserted by his running mate, Paul Loscocco: “As for not having a lieutenant governor, I don’t plan to die, and we can save money on that useless job.”

46. Patronizing John Kerry makes the mistake of saying something true. The senator is slammed by the Herald for saying, “We have an electorate that doesn’t always pay that much attention to what’s going on, so people are influenced by a simple slogan rather than the facts or the truth or what’s happening.”

47. Take that, pesky customers! Louis Boston, long suspected of being annoyed by people walking into its Newbury Street store, moves to the retail Siberia that is the waterfront.

48. Transparency is great! We read that on some blog. Paul Levy, president and CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, keeps a blog detailing his hospital’s operations — but is mostly mum about that alleged relationship (or something) he had with that woman about whom nothing can be discussed.

49. Most people stop being rewarded for peeing by age three. After four years of contractual wrangling, the firefighters union and City Hall agree on a new contract, effectively giving the firefighters a raise for agreeing to participate in random drug tests.

50. Cut it out! Your husband is many things, but one of them is not a 16-year-old Canadian boy. Tom Brady explains his awful, Bieber-style haircut by saying that Gisele won’t let him cut it.

Your former quarterback is many things, and apparently one of them is a 16-year-old Canadian girl. CBS reports that shortly before he was traded, Randy Moss got into an argument with Brady in which he told the QB to cut his hair and that he looks like a girl.

No, we’re serious, Tom. Bieber called you out. Cut your hair already.

 

QUIZ: THE YEAR IN CANTABRIGIA

Which of the following things actually happened in Cambridge this year?
[a] 
The city printed yoga poses on parking tickets in an attempt to soothe penalized violators.
[b] 
The city council directed officials to examine the possibility of installing a slide at one of Cambridge’s T stations.
[c] 
MIT funded the installation of a dog-poop-powered lamppost in a city park.
[d] 
Longtime residents were discovered to be Russian spies, and were deported.
[e] 
All of the above, BECAUSE IT’S CAMBRIDGE.
                                                                                                    ANSWER: E


DEBATE: IS UMASS A GOOD SCHOOL? 

No.  On September 5, the Globe runs a story arguing that UMass “remains firmly lodged among the nation’s second-tier state schools.”

Yes.  The Times of London ranks UMass as the 56th-best university in the world; the school takes out a full-page ad in the Globe trumpeting this fact.

Yes?  Globe columnist and UMass alum Kevin Cullen responds, arguing that when you consider things besides intelligence and money, UMass is probably a better place than Harvard.

Yes!  On September 7, more than 300 people gather on the Amherst campus to attempt to set a record by building the world’s longest piece of sushi. They succeed, making a 422-foot-long California roll. The school issues an official release on this great accomplishment.

The verdict? Yes.  Sushi is delicious, and Kevin Cullen doesn’t go there anymore.

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