Dateline: Downtown

Dan Roche

Autumn quickens and a new semester harks, full of promise. The popsicles have been eaten, the sunburns fade, and here we are again, blinking in bewilderment and sidling up to another three months of academic quarantine. But to know where we’re going, we must first account for where we’ve been; so, let us look back, not in anger, but in mirth mixed with melancholy mixed with acute withdrawal at the summer that was. It was the spectacular Summer of 2006, the Summer of:

HEADBUTTS- Zinedine Zindane. I followed him when was with Juventus in the Italian League and loved his style of play. He was an artist. They come perhaps once in a generation to a sport, those rare specimens who are more gifted, more creative, and harder workers than anyone. These sporting avatars are often also prone to insanity. Ted Williams hunkered down previous to Red Sox home games and sniped pigeons with an air rifle. Bill Russell vomited before every Celtics game. Competitive anxiety tortures many a pro athlete, so when Zindane (who looks like a Mako shark) blasted Italian defenseman Marco Materazzi with his projectile dome, I wasn’t surprised. He’d done it before during a 2000 European Cup in which the headbutt he delivered someone resulted in a lesser sonic boom. There was, of course, an outcry from sissy-boys the world over (none of whom can take a good head whomp) regarding Zindane’s unique style of sportsmanship, but it made me fall in love with him all over again. Yes, I watch hockey for the fights. You gotta problem with that?

DOOM & COLLAPSE- Taking cue from Materazzi’s chest, the UMass Boston parking lot has finally closed. Now that it’s gone, I see a room for a demolition derby ring, storage for recovered interstellar craft, bazooka firing ranges replacing our beleaguered lot. Like the rest of the world, the entire substructure of this school is collapsing after 32 proud years of service, and I’ve got big, big ideas, folks. Build anew from the ashes of the old! Giant outdoor rat-pig chimera cloning lab! Ferris Wheels!

MORE COLLAPSES- Did you hear the Big Dig is crumbling? It’s true. A lady, Milena Del Valle, died, and her husband is going to sue Massachusetts for a lot of money. Good for him. I hope he receives a massive settlement. My only beef is that some will come from the public till. I want Bechtel and Modern Continental, the firms responsible for the fiasco, to pay every cent in blood money. ’tain’t gonna happen.

GUIDOS IN THONGS- Revere Beach has cleaned up beautifully, and I say that without a trace of irony. It’s now almost entirely mutagen-free! I was there in June with a couple of lady friends, I’d suggest a trip down there while it’s still nice out.

CREEPS- Following a busted lead on a decade-old murder, the media wasted precious resources that could have been spent focusing on who Paris Hilton is not boning or what Lohan is not snorting. It seemed so simple. Not only was John Mark Karr a child pornographer who had contact with Jon-Benet Ramsey’s family (who, between Karr and the sleazebags that run pre-teen beauty pageants, seemed bent on exposing the poor thing to every weirdo out there.) Not only did he sign a confession- he had three names. People with three names equal murder, every time. John Wayne Gacy, Mark David Chapman, James Earl Ray- you do the math. SNAKES- On planes, no less! Huzzah.There you have it, a full recap of anything of any importance that went on anywhere in the world over the last three months. Something happened in Lebanon, too, but we’ll get around to that eventually. In the meantime, enjoy your semester, folks.