Quickly Around Town

Nika: The Victory Storm

The impending winter storm due to hit Wednesday morning’s commute is named “Nika.” It is a Greek word for “victory” or “conquer.” Let’s hope it does neither to the stout citizens of the Commonwealth.

It also brings to mind the Nika Revolt, the insanely serious riot between Constantinople’s racing fans in 532. Yes, there were chariot hooligans in the late Roman empire, and they were so powerful they rioted when the Emperor Justinian did not appease pardons for faction members and other political favors.

The Nika Revolt was one of the worst riots in all of history. While you are snowed in persevere against the elements, get your learnin’ on by going right to Procopius, or, for those less interested in sixth century historians, just watch the damn History Channel special.

Paul Freedman’s Yale course on the history of the Middle Ages is also great.

Photo of the Week

Photo of the Week: May 29, 2013

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An ode to ponchos.

People have been proudly rocking ponchos for hundreds of years. Granted, it’s been pretty much a South American thing historically – until Disney World. But with New England weather being what it is, Boston is for sure no stranger to this versatile garment.

It doesn’t get much easier than a piece of fabric with a cut-out for your head and a hood. You can make them out of pretty much anything – the city’s many runners will attest to how a garbage bag poncho can keep you dry before a rainy race. And no matter how techy, Gore-Tex-amazing your rain jacket is, I’m guessing you can’t fit it in a clutch, right ladies? Not a problem with a brand-new poncho!

This past weekend, a stacked one with Memorial Day, Boston Calling, the Run to Remember, and “To Boston With Love” at the MFA, also passed on a side of nasty weather on the East Coast. We saw upstate New York get three feet of snow, and parts of Vermont get 13 inches. And, Bostonians felt their fair share of Mother Nature’s wrath too – case in point the folks in this photo, which inspired the reflection on the often underrated awesomeness of ponchos.

We know that the all-knowing weather people are predicting 90 plus temperatures for the next few days, but the next time it gets rainy out (maybe in the next five minutes), throw on a poncho and go frolick and puddle jump your face off.

Take photos and share so that we can show that not only is the poncho extremely functional and efficient attire, but fashionable as well! And we know how good Boston is at that, right GQ?

Photo of the Week

Photo of the Week: May 1, 2013

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“Nearly everyone gets twitterpated in the springtime,” is what I thought the other day when I saw two squirrels flirting behind my apartment building.

And it’s true. The weather is nicer, the sun is out, people frolic outside more and get tan and, we’ll just say, antsy. I think it’s something about the flowers. Some sort of secret pollen-pheromone thing, right scientists? Or, it’s just gonna be May.

Before May Day was affiliated with the 8-hour workday, workers rights, and worldwide protests, it was traditionally a celebration of spring. Of the twitterpated ones.

According to the Encyclopædia (say it like Ted Mosby) Brittanica, rites were likely performed to “ensure fertility.” A May King and Queen were crowned, people danced around Maypoles (phallic?) and played an ancient form of ding-dong-ditch with baskets of pretty flowers. And the whole thing was so risqué that the Puritans banned its observance.

While we recognize the need for labor standards and fairness and economic justice, the original, pagan roots of this holiday seem to be more up Boston’s alley and mood right now after an emotional couple of weeks.

So grab some pretty flowers, put them on your neighbor’s doorstep and run (cough, take a photo of them to post on We Love Beantown’s Flickr page first, cough), gather some friends and dance merrily around a hightop table at a bar, and go talk to that person that’s got “your head in a whirl.” Happy May Day!

Quickly Around Town, Things to Do

Sea Level Rise in Boston: How do you Prepare?

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By now you could be addicted to the Climate Central tool that forebodes flooding destruction.  The sliders show that if the sea level rises just 5 feet in 10 years, South End residents of Boston will not only have waterfront property, but may also be living Venice style using gondolas to get to and from Mass Ave.

If Boston’s sea level changes fascinate you like they do me, you may want to check out this month’s breakfast program from Massachusetts Building Congress on Thursday March 4th. Continue reading