Daily Archives: June 18, 2010

Friday Hubbub: Food, Falmouth, A Frightening Fall

Published June 18, 2010

Solstice isn’t until next week. But Radio Boston’s Friday news in review roundtable regulars were already in a summer mood today when they shared their favorite stories of the week.

Peter Canellos, editorial page editor of the Boston Globe, whetted my appetite for some street food on the Greenway. There’s been debate over whether to require local-only food, or to bring in the tried-but-true kid-friendly hot-dog vendors. Canellos thinks they came up with a good compromise: Ethinic food carts. Put a little spice into downtown Boston where Irish pubs currently dominate. (No offense to my Irish friends. And anyway, I’ve been told that curry is so popular, it’s become the national dish of your neighbors across the Irish Sea.) I’m hoping for kebabs, burritos and sushi. Yum.

If you’re wondering what to do with all those boxes of bottled water you bought when greater Boston was under its boil-water order, Alison Lobron of Commonwealth Magazine suggests heading out to the Cape. Falmouth was put under a boil-water order on June 16 when high levels of coliform bacteria were found in the local water supply. Alison says you can enjoy a weekend on the Cape, use up all that bottled water, and maybe even help out a local who doesn’t relish the idea of cart-to-cart combat over supplies of water at the grocery store.

My hubbub takes us south of the border, to Newport, R.I. The Cliff Walk there is one of my favorite summer strolls. Beautiful views, crashing surf, peeks into the lawn parties of the ostentatiously rich. Oh, and what about the fence? It’s not there yet, but a recent Rhode Island Supreme Court ruling has prompted talk of fencing off much of the Cliff Walk. In April, the court ruled that Simcha Berman of Brooklyn, N.Y., could sue property owners after the ground gave way under his feet on one section of the walk. The fall left Berman paralyzed from the neck down. The court found that Newport had long been aware of the Cliff Walk’s “latent dangers,” including erosion on the trails. So now, the possibility of putting up more fencing is the talk of the Walk.

What's A Celtic? And Why Do We Say It That Way?

Published June 18, 2010

The Hot Word, a blog on Dictionary.com, explains where Boston’s NBA team got its name:

The Celts were various peoples who lived across Europe when the Roman Empire was expanding. The common factor between the tribal groups was the Celtic family of languages. The region where Celtic languages still have the strongest presence is Scotland, Wales, part of France, and Ireland.

NBA.com gives the following reason for how the Boston Celtics got their name: Team founder Walter Brown thought of an earlier basketball team from New York named the Celtics and figured since Boston had a large Irish population, the Celtics was a great name to use again. The moniker stuck.

As many commenters have noted, the pronunciation of “Celtic” is a messy thing. While we say the Boston “Celtics” with the C sounding like an S, when one talks about “Celtic” language or anything that refers to Celtic culture, the C sounds like a K. But if we talk about “the Celts” to describe the ancient people of that name, the C sounds like an S. Yet another demonstration that language can be as inconsistent as the world it describes.

Also of note: why LA’s team is named after a water body you don’t really find in Southern California.

Boeri: 'Enough Of The Ankle Biters' From Boston Latin

Published June 18, 2010

Yesterday I wrote about the ongoing and annoying debate about which high school in Boston is the oldest in the country. I thought I settled the debate, which is really a matter of semantics, but reporter David Boeri is still putting up with “the ankle biters.” Here is his screed:

Having had enough of the ankle biters from “Sumus Primi,” aka Boston Latin, who have continually accused me of inaccurate and, worse still, irresponsible reporting in my reference to Boston English as the “oldest public high school” in the country, yesterday afternoon I decided to pull the trigger.

I called the superintendent of schools, Carol Johnson.

For some reason, being the first public school in the country isn’t enough for some of the (school motto) “We Are First” crowd at Boston Latin. They claim ownership of the title first public high school, as well. It’s with no small sense of entitlement that they embrace their motto Sumus Primi.

Twice before they’d put me to the test. That’s why I pulled the trigger.  Through her spokesperson, the superintendent  states that it is both the position and policy of the Boston Public Schools that English IS the first public high school in Boston and the first in the country.

For written confirmation, go to Boston Schools, BPS Facts, No. 17, published February 25, 2010, and you’ll see English posted as “the first public high school” and Boston Latin as “the first public school.”

To help drive a stake into the heart of the vampire that won’t die, I also obtained a statement from a member of the Boston School Committee — Mary Tamer, a proud graduate from Boston Latin — reaffirming the fact that English High is indeed the first public high school in Boston and the country.

From now on the dead-enders can deal with the superintendent, the school committee, and official policy. I’m done. Almost.

Thanks to the endless history submitted to me by the development director for the alumni of the “Sumus Primi” school, I have now discovered that for two years during the Revolutionary War Boston Latin was actually closed: “War’s begun and school’s done.”

And because it was closed, Roxbury Latin, which began a few years after Boston Latin  in 1645 can make its own competing claim. Though it’s a private school, Roxbury Latin claims to be the longest continuing school in the country. How this goes over at the country’s first public school, I can only imagine.

Let me close with a stanza from America’s oldest public high school:

Shall they stream of learning wide,
Through the ages grandly glide,
Ever thy sons pride,
English High, our English High

The English High School is the oldest public high school in America. Full stop.

Yesterday I wrote about the ongoing and annoying debate about which high school in Boston is the oldest in the country. I thought I settled the debate, which is really a matter of semantics, but reporter David Boeri is still putting up with “the ankle biters.” Here is his screed:

Look On The Bright Side

Published June 18, 2010

After last night’s win, the Red Sox are only two away from first place!