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Iowa Caucuses: High Winds And Bluster Predicted For The MidWest

Have your shovels ready. We're getting a good blow tonight!

By Greg O'Brien, Codfish Press

The fact that a single digit turnout in a rural Midwest state to elect delegates to a county convention designates the pole position in a presidential race is proof positive that the campaign for the nation's highest office is far more about spin than substance.I'm Greg O'Brien and I approved this message. While the media waits today, as political storm clouds gather over Iowa, to coronate the next Republican and Democratic presidential frontrunners, derailing the candidacies of not-ready-for-prime-time players and boosting the campaigns of second place finishers, the vote will likely have more to do with political grit than ideas or a statewide consensus. But by the time the cameras rolls and headlines roar at the finish line, an attention-deficit American public will assume the winners embody the best of field. Perception, as the late Tip O'Neill would say, is reality, and reality-real or imagined-has wings to the Granite State.

Depending on what polls you read and how one discerns the methodology, both the Republican and Democrat contests are as tight this morning as a Des Moines cab ride to the airport on Friday. Conventional political wisdom has Democrats Sen. Barack Obama, Sen. Hillary Clinton and John Edwards all close to the margin of error, and Republicans Mitt Romney and upstart Mike Huckabee in a snowball fight, with Romney hurling ice balls and a ducking Huckabee citing scripture about turning the other cheek. "If a man gains the whole world and loses his soul, what does it profit him," the former Arkansas governor and Baptist preacher told reporters, a passage from a politician on the lip of a defining caucus that appears to come more from a political playbook than the Good Book.

In spite of one of the most completive fields since the first Iowa caucuses in 1972, today's turnout is expected to be underwhelming; fewer than six percent of the state's eligible voters turned out in 2004 to gather in livings rooms and school gyms to select delegates to county conventions-"the next step," as Reuters puts it, "in a drawn-out process that ends in the spring with selection of state delegates to the national nominating conventions next summer." On the surface, at least, this is about as meaningful as planting corn in February, and yet the candidates with the biggest snow shovels, largest fleet of vans, most sophisticated phone banking and best get-out-the-vote stratagems will somehow be (mis)perceived nationwide as the ones with the winning strategies for extricating ourselves from Iraq, stabilizing a volatile economy that is foreclosing on home mortgages at an distressing pace, and protecting the homeland from further terrorist aggressions now in the planning stages. "In the history of these caucuses, no candidate who has ever finished worse than third among the candidates has even gone on to win the nomination," David Yepsen, veteran political consultant for The Des Moines Register, told ABC news.

The fact that a single digit turnout in a rural Midwest state to elect delegates to a county convention designates the pole position in a presidential race is proof positive that the campaign for the nation's highest office is far more about spin than substance. Have your shovels ready. We're getting a good blow tonight!

Peace on Earth!

By Greg O’Brien, Codfish Press

Years ago, Simon & Garfunkel brought a smug nation up short with the lyrics to their classic song, “7 O’clock News,” a soul-searching version of  “Silent Night” punctuated with the grim news of the day at a time of year when everyone was preaching: Peace on Earth! As Simon & Garfunkel sang of holy nights where all is calm, a news anchor read the evening edition: “President Johnson originally proposed an outright ban covering discrimination by everyone for every type of housing, but it had no chance from the start, and everyone in Congress knew it … In Chicago, Richard Speck, accused murderer of nine student nurses, was brought before a grand jury today for indictment. The nurses were found stabbed and strangled in their apartments.”

Every year during this season, we blithely proclaim “Peace on Earth,” but is it within reach? Is anyone really listening? Does anyone know what it means or care? News reports today are filled with coverage of wars and rumors of wars, atrocities, sickening acts of terrorism, discrimination, murders, rapes and other violence. And more is on the way in ’08.

Webster’s Random House Dictionary defines peace as, “freedom from war, the absence of hostilities, a state of harmony between people or groups, freedom from dissension.”

We all sign up for that, right? Sounds good, but the devil — in the way of evil, apathy or self-righteousness — is in the details. “We have a big problem,” Jack Trout writes in Forbes. “The Christmas season’s ‘Peace on Earth, good will to man’ is not playing well this year. Ironically, the problem that this religious holiday is up against is, of all things, religion.” Quoting Philip Jenkins, one of this nation’s top religious scholars, writing in The Economist, Trout notes Jenkins asserts that when historians pick this century apart, they will likely cite religion worldwide as “the prime animating and destructive force in human affairs, guiding attitudes to political liberty, concepts of nationhood, conflicts and wars.”

Oh, the things we have done over the millenniums in the name of God!

Writing in the Naples Sun Times on the subject of tranquility, Michael Hickey correctly notes that peace “carries a positive connotation because few of us would admit to opposing wars, but people differ radically about what peace entails and how best to achieve it.”

The late Pope John XXIII, no stranger to the subject of peace, wrote in his celebrated 1963 encyclical “Pacem in Terris” that “Peace on Earth — which man throughout the ages has so longed for and sought after — can never be established, never guaranteed, except by the diligent observance of the divinely established order.”

So, next time someone casually espouses in a Christmas card or holiday greeting, “Peace on Earth,” you might tell them that it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be. For now, it is the hope of peace that sustains us. And hope, as declared in Romans 5:5, never disappoints!

Wireless Politesse: Give People A Chance To Miss You!

By Greg O’Brien, Codfish Press

My younger brother, a venture capitalist type, was talking at me the other day, a serious conversation about a doctor’s prognosis for my 83-year-old mother, entering the final stages of Alzheimer’s, and my 86-year-old father, who has multiple illnesses with a life expectancy measured in months. Having completed his thoughts on the subject, he asked for my assessment, then seconds later whipped out his new Blackberry to return a corporate e-mail and text message a client.

WHAAAT?” he asked in denial, “I’m listening to ya!”

Eavesdropping, perhaps, but not listening.

My techno-driven, attention deficit brother is not alone in his wireless transgressions. Millions of individuals routinely interrupt conversations, driving, dinners, meetings, presentations and the like, with wireless etiquette that is, as one observer of the scene calls it, “hugely disgraceful.”

Coast-to-coast, it’s “frustrating and inappropriate,” the president of a Seattle area bank carps in a business journal report.

Many call it an addiction, or a misguided belief that users are more essential than family, friends or colleagues. Expect these collective indiscretions to get worse, much worse, as more state-of-the-art wireless devices come on line. Industry analysts predict that 1 billion mobile phones and related devices will be sold worldwide in the year 2009.

“The decibel (and distraction) level is rising,” writes Joanna Krotz on the subject. “So are the transgression and intrusions — and car accidents.” Notes Robbie Blinkoff, principal anthropologist at Context-Based Research Group in Krotz’s piece, “People are defining new rules and new behavior … Technological change leads to social change.” 

And you can see it coming: “That telltale defocusing of the eyes, that sentence left hanging, that thought sent fleeing,” as Road and Travel magazine laments.

So, how do we deal with such high-tech social change? It is not enough to put your device on vibrate.

Dan Briody, writing in InfoWorld years ago, affirmed “Ten Commandments” of wireless etiquette that still apply today. Among them: “Thou shalt not subject defenseless others to cellphone conversations; thou shalt not set thy ringer to play La Cucaracha every time thy phone rings; thou shalt not wear two wireless devices on thy belt; thou shalt not wear thy earpiece when thou art not on the phone; and thou shalt not try to impress” with thy wireless devices.

Or more simply put, as comedian Jerry Seinfield once said, “Give people a chance to miss you!”           

Reflections On The Holidays

The Evil Within

Ever since Cain whacked his brother, Abel, as detailed in the Book of Genesis, the presence of evil in the world has been debated. Does evil exist and, if God created everything, did the Almighty create evil? To some, the answer is as shapeless as the count of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

Years ago, a young student was challenged by his university professor to prove the existence of evil. The student, we are told, responded, “Evil does not exist, sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God.”   

The student’s name was Albert Einstein, and he later remarked that “the world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.”

As we embrace Christmas and Hanukkah and other forms of holiday celebrations, the prickly subject of good versus evil is upon us yet again — a universal conflict that is a common thread of human nature, expounded throughout the scriptures and in literary works from Sophocles’ Oedipus the King, to Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. In traditional terms, this eternal clash is embodied in the conflict between God and Satan, the ultimate good and evil in Judeo-Christian belief, a clash that ultimately ends in the triumph of what is pure over what is wicked.

But what about today? In the wake of mass murders, rapes, bombings and other horrific terrorist acts, or simply the genetic codes and milieus that make each of us good or evil, as Time magazine pondered last week, how do we discern evil and what do we do about it?

 “If the entire human species were a single individual, that person would long ago have been declared mad,” Jeffrey Kluger writes eloquently in Time. “The insanity would not lie in the anger and darkness of the human mind—though it can be a black and raging place indeed. And it certainly wouldn’t lie in the transcendent goodness of the mind … The madness would lie instead in the fact that both of those qualities, the savage and the splendid, ?can exist in one creature, one person, often in an instant.”

In an instant, we all have capacity for good or evil that runs the gamut from cheating on an exam, to cheating on a spouse, to corrupting or harming a life.

Some suggest science may hold the answer to turning from evil; others advise that it is a matter of the heart for most of us — something to consider at this hallowed time of year. So, how do we define evil in our own lives? To paraphrase the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart when asked to decipher pornography: We should know it when we see it.

The question, as Einstein would ask, is what were we going to do about it?

Winning Is Everything!

By Greg O'Brien, Codfish Press

As the New England Patriots redefine greatness on their own terms, the subject of winning has crept into the national psyche with all the understatement of a down and deep Tom Brady-to-Randy Moss exchange.  "We are trying to kill teams," Brady declared last week on a WEEI radio interview. "We're trying to blow them out if we can."

Not so fast, says Washington Redskins linebacker Randall Godfrey; the Patriots "need to show some respect for the game." Whines MSNBC contributor Steve Silverman, "The Patriots have gone against unspoken NFL etiquette." Their sin: winning at all costs when playing against millionaires who rank among the best athletes in the world.

"If winning isn't everything, why do they keep score?" coach Vince Lombardi once asked."If winning isn't everything, why do they keep score?" coach Vince Lombardi once asked.

Silverman is unimpressed. "The Patriots are playing with a special edge not seen in the NFL since George Halas's 1940 Bears eviscerated the Washington Redskins 73-0 in the NFL championship game," he writes. The Patriots, he insists, "are becoming less popular around the league than a Red Sox fan in the middle of Times Square."

And your point, as my 19-year-old son, Conor, would say?

There is nothing wrong with winning in such competitive forums. It is difficult to imagine beating up on grown men the size of trucks. The lesson for the ages here is excellence, not winning for the sake of pounding the snot out of someone. And when all the hype settles on critics' arguments to the contrary, the Patriots are making a statement about life: pursue excellence. Pursue it until it hurts.

This is not a new concept, and should not be lost on the younger generation-from those in Pop Warner, to Little Leaguers, to AAU basketball and soccer, to high school seniors competing for the college of their choice. The pursuit of excellence and the will to win are the cornerstones of any existence-simply trying your best wherever your best takes you.

Observed Lombardi, "Winning is not a sometime thing, it's an all time thing. You don't win once in a while, you don't do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing."

So what's wrong with "going for it" on fourth down with a big lead in the fourth quarter?

 "What did you want us to do?" laments Patriots coach Bill Belichick. "Kick field goals?"

Field goals in life are often a substitute for calculated risks. Next time someone says winning isn't everything, cite Winston Churchill on the subject: "As long as we have faith in our own cause and an unconquerable will to win, victory will not be denied us."

Certainly nothing wrong, as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, with winning "as if you were used to it."

On fourth and short, Bill Belichick and the Patriots, showing great faith in their own cause and "an unconquerable will to win," have redefined greatness in a way that all of us, in every aspect of our lives, should buck up and take note.

Fact Or Fiction: Cape Cod And Plymouth?Where It All Began?

pilgrimaliens340_340By Greg O’Brien, Codfish Press

Feast on this: with apologies to Cape Cod and Plymouth, maybe George Bush knows more about history than we think. In a celebrated Thanksgiving visit with all the public-relations stuffing, Bush stopped off days ago at Berkeley Plantation in Charles City, Va., where English settlers held a Thanksgiving service almost two years before the universally accepted first Thanksgiving feast in Plymouth. Earlier in the day day, he made a brief appearance at an area food bank, where he loaded a few crates of oranges, potatoes and macaroni and cheese onto a rolling car, then good naturedly pressed a pastor standing next to him in the assembly line, “C’mon, man, let’s go!”

No stranger to White House encounters, Berkeley Plantation has hosted visits from the nation’s first 10 presidents. John F. Kennedy even acknowledged the site in a 1963 Thanksgiving Day Proclamation that read, in part: “Over three centuries ago, our forefathers in Virginia and in Massachusetts, far from home in a lonely wilderness, set aside a time of Thanksgiving.” On Dec. 4, 1619, to correct the record, Capt. John Woodlief and 38 crewmen observed a “day of Thanksgiving” upon their arrival in Virginia.

A Berkeley Plantation Charter proclaims in old English: “Wee ordaine that the day of our ships arrival at the place assigned for plantacon in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually kept holy as the day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.”

So, what was all this Thanksgiving hype about Plymouth, Plymouth Plantation and parts of the Cape; is it historical fact, or fiction? Or is this recent Plymouth snub a Republican conspiracy designed to take aim at what the GOP perceives as two of the Democrats’ biggest turkeys—Ted Kennedy and John Kerry?

Hey, intrepid Christopher Columbus still gets a holiday!

By any measure, Bush’s excursion to Berkeley Plantation has taken a big slice out of Plymouth’s claim to fame, and has chamber-of-commerce types wringing their hands about an identity crisis on a day reserved for national reflection. However, upon further review, the institutional memory of the first Thanksgiving celebration in Plymouth is loaded with myths, detailed on History.Com. Here’s a sampling direct from the website:

Myth: “The first Thanksgiving was in 1621 and the pilgrims celebrated it every year thereafter.

Fact: “The first feast wasn't repeated, so it wasn't the beginning of a tradition. In fact, the colonists didn't even call the day Thanksgiving. To them, a thanksgiving was a religious holiday in which they would go to church and thank God for a specific event, such as the winning of a battle. On such a religious day, the types of recreational activities that the pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians participated in during the 1621 harvest feast--dancing, singing secular songs, playing games--wouldn't have been allowed. The feast was a secular celebration, so it never would have been considered a thanksgiving in the pilgrims minds.

Myth: “The original Thanksgiving feast took place on the fourth Thursday of November.

Fact: “The original feast in 1621 occurred sometime between September 21 and November 11. Unlike our modern holiday, it was three days long. The event was based on English harvest festivals, which traditionally occurred around the 29th of September. After that first harvest was completed by the Plymouth colonists, Gov. William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving and prayer, shared by all the colonists and neighboring Indians. In 1623 a day of fasting and prayer during a period of drought was changed to one of thanksgiving because the rain came during the prayers. Gradually the custom prevailed in New England of annually celebrating thanksgiving after the harvest.

“During the American Revolution a yearly day of national thanksgiving was suggested by the Continental Congress. In 1817 New York State adopted Thanksgiving Day as an annual custom, and by the middle of the 19th century many other states had done the same. In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln appointed a day of thanksgiving as the last Thursday in November, which he may have correlated it with the November 21, 1621, anchoring of the Mayflower at Cape Cod. Since then, each president has issued a Thanksgiving Day proclamation. President Franklin D. Roosevelt set the date for Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday of November in 1939 (approved by Congress in 1941).

Myth: “The pilgrims wore only black and white clothing. They had buckles on their hats, garments, and shoes.

Fact: “Buckles did not come into fashion until later in the seventeenth  century and black and white were commonly worn only on Sunday and formal occasions. Women typically dressed in red, earthy green, brown, blue, violet, and gray, while men wore clothing in white, beige, black, earthy green, and brown.

Myth: “The pilgrims brought furniture with them on the Mayflower.

Fact: “The only furniture that the pilgrims brought on the Mayflower was chests and boxes. They constructed wooden furniture once they settled in Plymouth.

Myth: “The Mayflower was headed for Virginia, but due to a navigational mistake it ended up on Cape Cod.

Fact: “The Pilgrims were, in fact, planning to settle in Virginia, but not the modern-day state of Virginia. They were part of the Virginia Company, which had the rights to most of the eastern seaboard of the U.S. The pilgrims had intended to go to the Hudson River region in New York State, which would have been considered ‘Northern Virginia,’ but landed on Cape Cod instead. Treacherous seas prevented them from venturing further south.”

In spite of all the fact or fiction on Thanksgiving lore, Cape Cod and Plymouth are secure in their place in history. When it comes to the Pilgrims, at least, here’s where it all began.

Praise The Lord And Pass The Gravy?And A Drumstick Or Two!

By Greg O’Brien, Codfish Press

Pack it on for the winter; put another Butterball on the barbie. The government, no stranger to bloating, now says in a new study released in time for the holidays that 25 extra pounds of personal cargo doesn’t appear to raise your risk of dying of cancer or heart diseases. But appearances, as we know, can often be misleading, and in the case of additional body fat, hard on the eyes for a spouse or significant other.

Before you reach for the drumstick, understand that overweight people, the study concludes, have a higher chance of dying of diabetes and kidney disease, and those 30 pounds or more overweight have a greater risk of dying from other ailments. But the conclusions are clear, and “seem to vindicate Grandma’s claim that a few extra pounds won’t kill you,” the Associated Press reports.

“This is a very puzzling disconnect,” says Dr. JoAnn Manson, chief of preventive medicine at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “That is a conundrum.”

Far more of an enigma, we suspect. Results of the study, published in the Journal of American Medical Association, also conclude that overweight people were in some cases 40 percent less likely to die of such illnesses as emphysema, pneumonia and various infections, and that the those benefiting most from extra love handles were ages 25 to 59.


Publication of the study was followed by news reports about the food industry’s ongoing imbroglio with the government over labeling and the definition of what is “natural,” a classification that has been stretched like saltwater taffy. With all the dangerous additives, preservatives, sodium lactate and high-fructose corn syrup dumped into our food, “natural” these days ought to be limited in scope—perhaps only defined as Roy Hobbs of the New York Knights igniting the vapor lights with his legendary bat “Wonderboy.”

To government and industry types, however, the definition is far more obscure. “It’s worth bringing in the rabbis to analyze these situations because it’s complicated, it’s subtle. You can argue both sides. It has fine distinctions,” Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, states in the AP report.

Like weighty issues as food consumption, the definition of “natural” is sure to shift, as the food industry distends the definition and the government folds to pressure. “At stake,” notes the AP, “is the estimated $13 billion-a-year market for ‘natural’ foods and beverages.” So often in life what comes around, goes around. What’s harmful today may good tomorrow.

Let the buyer beware. Maybe someday smoking will be deemed acceptable, even therapeutic, for your health. Light up. May it be as good for you as it was once for me.


Inquiring Minds Want To Know!

By Greg O’Brien, Codfish Press

Psst! Hard to keep a secret these days. Your privacy has become everyone’s domain, and outfits like Google, YouTube, MySpace, Facebook and others are making your personal space their business. Then there’s the government, the menacing older sibling, the Big Brother who’s watching your every move where possible — and sophisticated new technologies have made the possible more probable. The party line is just that these days: the government, as evidenced by the Bush administration’s contentious emergency surveillance, may be tapping in.

Wrong numbers and suspected plots to blow up the universe may be no more than the tawdry details of a night on the town.

And don’t try to hide behind e-mail, a firewall is as impervious as tracing paper. The government claims it can subpoena stored copies of your e-mails, and last month the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati conceded to the government’s request for a full-panel hearing on the issue, writes Mark Rasch online in The Register.

Bare all, literally, as there is hardly a Puritan among us today. “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life,” Oscar Wilde, Irish playwright, poet and novelist, once wrote. Wilde might have thought otherwise if he had lived in a glass-cubed, “curtains-optional” condominium or apartment in Manhattan where “urban exhibitionism” is the rage. In its Sunday edition, The New York Times offered an intimate “Yours for the Peeping” gaze at a proposed glass-walled condominium tower to be built in Manhattan’s financial district in 2009. The expansive glass walls of “W Downtown” will “allow … residents to see, and be seen by, passers-by” below.

“Goldfish, by inclination, at home in a YouTube, Facebook glass-apartment world,” the Times notes.

So, what’s all the fuss? If someone wants to shows all, who cares?

Depends on who’s watching — whether it’s shadowing the streets below, stalking the Internet or Uncle Sam with too much time on its hands.

“Our right to be left alone has disappeared, bit by bit, in little brotherly steps,” suggests Time Magazine, noting that technology and culture may have “outpaced the law.” “The technology is getting ahead of our ethics,” Kevin Kelly, executive editor of Wired Magazine, is quoted in Time as saying. “What’s gone out of whack is we don’t know who knows about us anymore. Privacy has become asymmetrical.”

Some have called for tougher legal restrictions to safeguard privacy, but others fear that could open Pandora’s Box. And, in a voyeuristic society, many can’t wait to see what’s in the box. So, beware — eyes wide open. Big brother, sister, mother and father are all watching your every move. Inquiring minds want to know!

Warning To Cape Parents: Take MRSA, A Deadly Staph Infection, Seriously!

We know firsthand in our household about the horrors of MRSA

By Greg O’Brien, Codfish Press

Sandwich parents were notified this week that an Oak Ridge School student had been inflicted with a serious staph infection that has killed four students nationwide, the Cape Cod Times reported. “The infection, known as Methicillin-resistent Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is a form of staph infection that cannot be treated with common antibiotics. Extreme cases can lead to serious complications, such as wounds that don’t heal, bloodstream infections, organ damage, and even death,” the paper noted, citing recent student deaths in New York, Virginia, New Hampshire and Mississippi.

While there is some question as to whether the Sandwich staph diagnosis is that of the "superbug," we know firsthand in our household about the horrors of MRSA. Two years ago, our son, Brendan, then a junior in college, was diagnosed with the killer infection, and doctors were not sure they could save his life.

Here are excepts from a column I wrote on this at the time:

“I received a call at 2 am from an emergency room several hundred miles away in North Carolina, from a doctor who wanted to speak with me. My 22-year-old son, Brendan, a senior at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, had been rushed to the hospital by ambulance with a life-threatening case of staph infection. He had contracted the disease several weeks ago while surfing in a coastal area where effluent had leaked into the sea. You can’t put an old head on young shoulders, they say.

“Brendan, a graduate of Nauset High School and a member of its state championship golf team in 1999, had been taking antibiotics, but the staph, a resistant strain called MRSA, accelerated when he cut his right knee during an intramural football game, a lesion that quickly ballooned to the size of a grapefruit, then spread up his thigh. After consulting with disease control specialists, a hospital surgeon called in the dead of night to say he had to operate on Brendan to remove part of his leg, the infected tissue. There were no guarantees, he said. I would know my son’s fate at 4 am.

“Brendan, I was told, could die.

“I was allowed to speak briefly with him, and wondered if it was to be the last time. I then spent the night in prayer and reflecting on all the lost opportunities between father and son, the times I had taken for granted.

“Brendan safely made it through the operation; doctors successfully removed the infected tissue. He’s on heavy duty antibiotics and morphine now, as doctors wait to see if the staph returns (if it mutates there is no cure). My blessing that night was realizing the gift I had before I lost it.”

Brendan still has bouts with this infection that never leaves the body. Months ago he was on antibiotics again after his immune system had worn down. It will happen again, doctors say.

Google “MRSA, staph infection” for a candid clinical assessment of what Time Magazine has called one of the new killers of the 21st Century.

Shipping Up To Boston: Youth And The Red Sox

By Greg O’Brien, Codfish Press

Boston youth, take note, with apologies to the psalmists: the city is yours, “and all it contains.” 

Once a place dominated by sedate old Yankees (excuse the pun), holding court in mahogany boardrooms as dark as a late afternoon in January, youth now owns this town, and we’re better for it. For the young bring more energy, tons of it, a clearer vision for the future—their future—and the resolve to walk in their dreams. This isn’t your grandfather’s Boston, and a cosmos from the world of “first Bostonian” William Blaxton, who lived alone in 1625 in an area that is now Boston Common and Beacon Hill. The “Athens of America” has morphed into a city of far greater promise. Shout it out for Boston. The torch, as JFK would say, has been passed to a new generation, and the ruling class must now mentor. “Down by the river; down by the banks of the River Charles.” Oh, we love that Dirty Water. Boston, no longer the essence of old-school, you’re their home. 

No where was this more apparent in this city of champions than in yesterday’s feting of Red Sox, with the swagger of yet another pageant in February with an “under-achieving” football club named the Patriots. As cigar-chomping closer Jonathan Papelbon, dressed in a kilt, jigged to the Dropkick Murphy’s “Shipping Up To Boston” theme for the movie, “The Departed,” with his broom guitar, youth and the young at heart stood shoulder-to-shoulder in a wave of red and blue that crested on City Hall Plaza—packed with a crowd that looked at one point as if it exceeded the population of the State of Rhode Island and framed in the distance by the new Boston emerging downtown and springing up from the vacuous parking lots of South Boston, not far from where young Boston rebels more than two centuries tossed tea into the harbor, signaling a change of heart and direction. Whew!

Symbolizing the new Boston, it was youth—Papelbon and company—that delivered Boston its second World Series championship in four years and the auguring of more to come with the announced departure of A-Rod from nemesis New York.

“It took Jacoby Ellsbury all of 47 major-league games to win a World Series and Dustin Pedroia 184 games, so forgive the two if they’re wondering what all the fuss is about,” notes sportswriter Jeff Blair, noting they “barely broke a sweat” in doing so. “Babe Who?”

Forget the Babe. Forget Pedro. Forget Clemens. Not that we couldn’t get here without the high-priced bats of elders Manny and Ortiz. Manny being Manny, however, will always be a kid, but Ortiz, a larger-than-life mentor and father figure has carried this club and this city, and is an example for other veterans of Boston’s business, financial, medical, educational sectors to follow.

Gotta love that Dirty Water if you’re young and in Boston. The city is yours. Revel in it!