Good day! It’s Tuesday, Sept. 27, the 270th day of the year. It’s Ancestor Appreciation Day, designed to encourage everyone to trace their genealogy to make sure that, unlike royal families, you don’t marry your cousin.
Sunrise in Boston was at 6:36 a.m. and sunset will be at 6:32 p.m. for 11 hours and 56 minutes of sunlight. The waxing moon is 4 percent full.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac suggests spider plants are a good houseplant, but warns they grow fairly quickly and can easily become pot-bound. Sort of like those of us who grew fairly quickly during the pandemic and became pants-bound.
What’s it like outside? The clouds have cleared out and temps hit the low 70s. It will be in the mid-60s for the next few days, and could be pretty breezy again on Thursday.
Hurricane Ian is lashing Cuba right now, but soon will be barreling toward Florida as millions of people evacuate their homes.
Hey, sport: Three more games against the Orioles (who won last night) at Fenway, three against the Blue Jays in Toronto, and three against the Rays back at home, and the Red Sox’s miserable season will finally be over.
If you go to any of the remaining games at Fenway, be sure to applaud J.D. Martinez, who becomes a free agent after the World Series and is unlikely to stay with the Sox -- especially since management hasn’t said a word to the 35-year-old designated hitter about an extension. Granted, he had a below-average year (there’s evidence that MLB deadened the ball), but he was a terrific player during his five years here.
As the Globe’s Peter Abraham writes:
‘Martinez was a four-time All-Star who had a 1.005 OPS in 23 postseason games, never spent a day on the injured list, and up until this season was one of the best run producers in the game.’
Peter Abraham, Boston Globe
Thanks, and good luck.
Patriots QB Mac Jones has a fairly severe high ankle sprain with ligament damage (according to the NFL Network), so perennial backup Brian Hoyer -- whose real first name is Axel -- will be under center when the Pats face the Packers at Green Bay at 4:25 p.m. Sunday. Not sure whether Jones will need surgery or how long he’ll be out.
The 36-year-old Hoyer’s career has been marked by inconsistency: Since 2009, he has played for eight NFL teams (and is on his third stint with the Pats), but every time he was named a starter because of good performances, he either blew it by having bad games, or got injured.
But he’s made some decent cabbage -- close to $33 million in 14 seasons. Of course, there are eight NFL players who are making more than that just this year, but Hoyer is no Josh Allen.
BTW, the Globe’s Ben Volin says the best team in the NFL right now isn’t the Bills. It’s the Dolphins.
The Celtics open training camp today with coach Ime Udoka suspended for the entire year and mangenue Joe Mazzulla in the hot seat. Mazzulla was arrested in 2009 and charged with domestic battery after he grabbed a woman by the neck at a Morgantown bar while he was a basketball player for West Virginia. He also was charged with underage drinking and fighting with police in 2008 and public urination in 2010.
It doesn’t appear that he spent any time in jail for the domestic violence. Not surprising.
All the incidents involved booze, so he went into treatment and has been sober for 12 years. “I’m not the same person that I was,” he said during media day Monday. You better not be.
The House Jan. 6 Select Committee has postponed its next hearing, originally scheduled for tomorrow, because of Hurricane Ian heading toward Florida. But whenever it’s held, it could be the panel’s last public hearing before it issues its comprehensive year-end report.
First, a recap:
The first hearing on June 9 set the stage for the hearings to come by showing the bloody, murderous result of Trump’s Big Lie: The insurrection at the Capitol. New video from outside and inside the building was quite disturbing: raw, graphic, and emotional.
Hearing No. 2 focused on Trump’s knowledge that all of the claims of fraud and conspiracies were completely false. He was told so multiple times by his White House lawyers, his campaign lawyers, and his staff. But he willfully ignored them.
In addition, the committee pointed out at this hearing that there was much more at stake than just Trump’s insatiable thirst for power: Money. Turns out he raised $250 million from gullible supporters with the promise that the money would be used to fight election corruption. It wasn’t. A big chunk of it ended up with his hotels company.
Hearing No. 3 focused on former VP Mike Pence and the incredible pressure campaign orchestrated and carried out by Trump to try to force Pence to violate the Constitution by throwing out Biden electoral college votes or return them to key states -- states that happen to have Republican legislative cowards who would likely have swapped in Trump electors.
The committee also showed evidence that Pence’s life was in danger and how close he came to be discovered by the mob rampaging through the Capitol. And Trump’s statement that perhaps the rioters who were chanting “Hang Mike Pence” had the right idea.
The fourth hearing was quite emotional. It featured testimony from three state elections officials who were bullied by Trump personally as well as by allies like Rudy Giuliani to either “find” votes for Trump that didn’t exist or somehow invalidate Biden electors.
The committee also heard from a Georgia election worker and her mother, both of whom Trump publicly attacked by name, because he knows when he does that, his followers will attack those people in violent, vulgar, and racist ways.
In hearing No. 5, the committee heard from three top former Justice Department officials about Trump’s pressure campaign on the department to open a fake investigation into his fake fraud claims about the 2020 election. (They didn’t.)
Hearing No. 6 featured Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to then-chief of staff Mark Meadows, who told the committee that Trump knew his supporters were carrying weapons, but demanded that metal detectors be removed from around his rally because his supporters weren’t going to hurt him. (The implication being that it was okay if they attacked Democrats.) She said he also physically struggled with his Secret Service detail when they wouldn’t let him go to the Capitol.
(I kind of wish they had. I would have liked to see photos of him shirtless, wearing a furry, horned headdress, sprinting through the Capitol screaming for Nancy Pelosi’s head. You know I’m kidding about the sprinting part. The first ramp he encountered would have done him in.)
The seventh hearing involved testimony from a Capitol rioter and former right-wing extremist about how Trump’s tweets and speeches inspired them to attack the Capitol.
The eighth and latest hearing set out in excruciating detail how Trump fiddled while the Capitol riot raged, members of Congress fled for their lives, and Cabinet members, aides, and even his kids begged him to do something to stop it. Except that he didn’t just fiddle: He watched the riot live on TV, grinning as he used his short fingers to stuff cheeseburgers and French fries into his mouth.
Aides could tell he was in a good mood because he ate all of his food instead of erupting and throwing it, shattering White House porcelain plates and leaving ketchup dripping down the wall. He must be lovely to live with.
So what’s going to happen at the next hearing? Not sure. Committee members haven’t talked about what they are going to reveal or if anyone will testify. Here’s what we do know:
-- The Washington Post reports that the committee will show footage from a documentary by Danish filmmakers -- called “A Storm Foretold” -- who followed Trump BFF Roger Stone around on and off for about three years (and survived). After getting a subpoena, the filmmakers agreed to let the committee have eight minutes of video.
Clips show Stone, as far back as July 2020, already plotting and advising Trump, if he lost, to declare the election was rigged. But he went even further: He said Trump should seize the presidency and declare he won. He also advocated having armed guards turn away duly elected electors if they tried to cast their Electoral College votes and rely on loyal judges appointed by Trump to support him in lawsuits.
In fact, Stone didn’t even want to bother to wait for any votes to be counted. The day before the 2020 election, he was recorded by the filmmakers saying, “F*** the voting. Let’s get right to the violence. Shoot to kill. See an Anitifa? Shoot to kill. F*** ‘em.”
Jeepers. At least all Trump does is throw plates loaded with ketchup.
Stone says he challenges the authenticity of the video.
-- Ginni Thomas, the wacky wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, has agreed to testify in private. She pushed Trump aides and state election officials to overturn Joe Biden’s victory and hand the election to Trump.
-- The committee is still trying to get testimony from Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, a Republican who was pressured by Trump to create a set of fake electors and overturn the state’s popular vote for Biden. Vos didn’t go along, but he is refusing to testify. (A bunch of Republicans, helped by the state Senate leader, formed a bogus slate anyway.)
-- The committee still hasn’t decided whether to subpoena Trump or Pence. It also hasn’t decided whether to enforce the subpoenas it already issued to four Republican members of Congress: Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, and Representatives Jim Jordan of Ohio, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, and Andy Biggs of Arizona. All have thumbed their nose at the committee.
-- It also hasn’t agreed whether to make a criminal referral to the Justice Department. Such a referral has no legal standing; it doesn’t require the department to do anything. But it could increase the pressure on Merrick Garland to act. On the other hand, if he does get just such a recommendation, and later indicts Trump, Republicans will claim he caved to pressure from the Democrats on the committee.
-- It’s not clear whether the committee will use anything from a new book, “The Breach,” written by Denver Riggleman, a former Republican congressman who was a senior adviser to the committee and helped analyze 20 million lines of data, including e-mails, social media posts and phone records.
He says that at about 4:30 p.m. during the Capitol insurrection, someone in the White House called one of the rioters. Unfortunately, the call cannot be traced because the WH phone system routes calls from desk phones through a call manager that strips the original number and substitutes a default number to protect the identity of the caller.
Oh, and the rioter says he can’t remember who called him because, you know, one receives so many phone calls from the White House.
The committee isn’t happy that Riggleman wrote the book. On the other hand, they already knew about the call, and other information, so maybe that will come up.
-- If this is the last hearing, some committee members want part of it to be forward-looking, suggesting ways to prevent such sedition from happening again. Or maybe they’ll hold that for their final report. Either way, the hearing is well worth watching.
Speaking of sedition, jury selection began today in the biggest trial yet of those involved in the attack on the Capitol. Five members of the extremist group Oath Keepers, including founder Stewart Rhodes, are facing several charges, the most serious of which is the rarely-used seditious conspiracy.
High school students across Virginia walked out of classes today to protest new Governor Glenn Youngkin’s attack on transgender youth. His directive would require schools to force transgender children to follow their “biological sex” when using bathrooms, locker rooms, and other facilities, as well as when participating in activities. His order is probably illegal, violating both federal and state transgender rights and anti-discrimination laws.
Oh, and he’s a Republican, but I probably didn’t have to write that.
Watch for Russia to quickly annex four regions in eastern Ukraine where it held sham referendums, complete with armed Russian soldiers forcing Ukrainians to vote and then standing over them while they filled out their ballots, which were not secret.
Remember to submit your creative writing to our new reader essays feature. I toyed with a title of “Fast Tales” because the essays have to be short -- just 200 words -- and to keep it connected to Fast Forward.
But FF reader Ellen Joseph came up with something far more brilliant: “Fast-Told Tales.” That not only reflects the brevity of the essays, it also evokes Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1837 “Twice-Told Tales.”
Now, Hawthorne’s book was a collection of previously printed short stories -- hence the “twice-told.” And it came from William Shakespeare’s “The Life and Death of King John,” specifically the lines,
Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale,
Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man.
Despite Hawthorne’s self-deprecating title, I do not expect your short essays to be dull or make me fall asleep. (I have liquor for that.) Indeed, those I have received so far are lovely.
I had suggested that you read some of the NY Times’ “Tiny Love Stories,” which are 100-word submissions about, well, love. They are interesting, creative, poignant, funny, and just really good reads. Since many of you don’t have a subscription to the Times, here are a few for you to use as a guide for what I’m looking for.
Notice the essays have a beginning, middle, and end, and most connect the ending to the beginning:
The Mystery of His Words
”I love you, sweetheart. I’ll never forget you.” For years, I puzzled over my grandfather’s last words to my grandmother. He wasn’t a religious man, and it was he who was dying. Was he confused? Delirious? Eventually, I stopped wondering, stopped trying to apply logic. After all, contemplating the mystery and simplicity of his words has given me comfort ever since, as I’m sure it comforted my grandmother before she passed. Perhaps it was his way of saying that their love would endure, that their bond was so strong it didn’t matter who was leaving, who was staying.
What It Means to Be Rich
In 1980, lured by more shifts and a 25-cents-an-hour raise, I became a security guard at the Roosevelt Field mall on Long Island. My new gig led me to spot a pretty sales clerk when I should have been watching the breezeway door. That led to a date, marriage and two wonderful children. The department store where I was stationed is gone and the mall’s been remodeled, but somehow the terrazzo where I first saw my wife remains unchanged. When I revisit that spot, I think about how much poorer my life would be had I been richer.
Changing Our Language
When my husband and I would say, “Good night; I love you” to our three children, our eldest and youngest would respond naturally. Our middle son would not. Though he talked our ears off, any questions we posed lingered and never found connection, as if he couldn’t hear. When he was 4, his tantrums worsened until a doctor softly said, “It’s autism.” We realized that it was our language that needed to change. We began sharing scripts with him for daily conversations, captions to our emotions. It hasn’t been smooth, but at 6, our son replies, “Good night; I love you too.”
To recap my announcement last week, I want your essays of no more than 200 words on a timely or timeless topic. This month’s subject is A Beloved Pet. It can be a pet you have now, a pet you had as a child, a pet that recently passed. Tell us about it. Some of your essays will be sad, but others will be humorous or inspiring. Send along a photo if you want.
I’ll publish some of your work in a special Fast Forward about once a month.
Future topics could be immigration, a recent trip, a lovely memory, democracy, bullying, death, book banning, a favorite teacher. Feel free to suggest topics.
How can you be sure you don’t exceed the 200-word limit? Use one of the free word counters easily found online.
Send your essays to me via e-mail at email@example.com
Deadline: Tuesday, Oct. 11
Finally, tomorrow is Frances Willard Day in Minnesota and Wisconsin to celebrate the contributions of the American temperance leader, reformer, and suffragist.
She was an important figure in the fight for Prohibition, which, by the way, was not a crusade by humorless nags out to rob men of their fun. Some who pursued the ban were religious groups opposed to drinking, as well as citizens concerned about the proliferation of public drunkenness.
But the motivation for many women was simple: Drunk husbands and boyfriends were sexually assaulting them and beating them and their children. Drunk strangers on the street were verbally and physically harassing them.
Of course, the ban didn’t really work and eventually was dropped. But the assaults and harassment have never stopped. And men don’t have to be drunk to do it.
Thanks for reading. I wonder which investigation Trump fears the most. If he can keep track of them, that is. E-mail comments and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow me on Twitter @BostonTeresa. See you Friday.
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