Happy Birthday Dad

Well, times certainly have changed.

Well, times certainly have changed.


Today, my dad would have turned 58. Since he’s no longer with us, I wanted to do something to mark the day (pun actually not intended) and yesterday had a stroke of slightly selfish genius. Whenever I would come up to Massachusetts to visit Ryan, Dad would always – without fail – ask if we went to Pizzeria Regina. We never did during the long distance days, but have split pies on several occasions since I moved.

He had probably visited Regina about three times in the preceding 15 years. I’d assume he first encountered the North End’s finest pizza (in my not-so-humble opinion) while visiting Aunt Celeste. He dragged a big group of us there to eat in 2004 during the DNC pretty late at night after a then-14-year-old AJ got us turned away from a 21-plus party. When a satellite opened in Paramus, he drove many miles out of his way to get it. This I don’t really understand, because everyone knows Regina’s just regular pizza outside the North End. You need the original oven to get the good stuff. And, besides, in New Jersey, Reservoir is just as good.

But I digress.

It would have felt wrong to let the day pass without acknowledging it and yet I’m entirely sure how I’ve spent it the past two years in Boston. Maybe I went home? I don’t know. Continue reading


Bryan Adams: Poet Laureate of Beach Kids

Favorite place ever.

Three months a year, living in Boston becomes really difficult. June, July and August pretty much turn me into a surly, whiny mess, though I try my best to conceal it. No one likes Miss Pissy Pants. It’s not living in an apartment without A/C; it’s not navigating through glacially slow-moving hordes of confused tourists on the T or on the sidewalk, though these things really don’t help. Not being home at the Shore for the summer is quietly strangling my soul and sucking out any happiness I may have had left. I don’t feel much better about it until after Labor Day.  No, I’m not being overly dramatic. These are all accurate, factually true statements.

Don’t get me wrong – summertime Boston certainly has its perks. Pictures like this exist here. But I still have to drive to the beach and can only makes s’mores on our grill. Continue reading

Dear Boston, Welcome to Hell. Love, New Jersey

Since Jersey Shore exploded into our lives and exploited society’s worst notions about New Jersey, the Shore and Italian-Americans, the idea of a similar atrocity based in Boston has been bandied about. 495 Productions is finally threatening to make this reality come to fruition this fall with Southie Pride. Continue reading

Maybe Zach Braff was Right (but I still think Garden State sucks)

For the record, I still dislike this movie.

Way back when, a friend dragged me along to see ‘Garden State.’ As a happy, well-adjusted college student in 2004, it really rubbed me the wrong way. I had never grappled with struggle or sadness and had nothing but pride for my home state. Even now, I still don’t really understand what Zach Braff’s character’s upbringing had been like.  He hosted Saturday Night and, in his monologue, called Garden State his “love letter to New Jersey,” which I still don’t understand. Had such a love letter come to me in the mail, I’d return to sender. What I found so offensive about it was that he used the state’s official nickname as the title, as if to speak for all New Jersey’s residents. Little did I know what name-usurping, stereotyping train wreck was coming next. But I digress.

For a while, Garden State became one of those “statement” movies – you know, people would casually toss it into their list of favorites to show how deep, intellectual and edgy they were. For months after its debut, people plastered quotes from it all over their (about to seriously date myself here) AIM profiles and away messages. However, one stuck out at me as being profoundly sad. A grammar school friend whose parents had divorced when we were in college used it and even though we weren’t close anymore, it made me so sad that this snippet of dialogue spoke to her so much when we had shared such happy childhoods. I never really understood the concept of it until recently, faced with the loss of a parent and the prospect of our home being up for sale. Continue reading