Thursday, July 10, 2008

Rhody's Believe it or Not

Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her parents 81 whacks only because she knew that most of the Fall River Police Department was out of town that day, partying in Rhode Island. At least that's the story told by filmmaker David Bettencourt in the DVD version of his documentary, "You Must Be This Tall: The Story of Rocky Point Park."

"Apparently, when Lizzie Borden was allegedly killing her parents, like 92 percent of the Fall River Police Department was at an outing at Rocky Point," Bettencourt said, adding that the theory is believed to be true by a majority of Lizzie Borden scholars and historians. "And you'd be surprised at how many people in this area consider themselves Lizzie Borden historians."

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Rhody Universe: Abu Dhabi

The land of the low-numbered license plate reaches far and wide, from Misquamicut to the Middle East, from the oyster beds of Apponaug to the sands of Arabia. Consider the following item posted in the "Briefing" section of the July 14, 2008 edition of Time magazine:

'It's not enough to just have a Ferrari.' - Abdullah Al-Mannaei, resident of Abu Dhabi, on Arab businessmen who spend millions on single-digit license plates.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Rant of the Week: Bag the tag

Governor Carcieri last week vetoed a bill that would prohibit the use of radio frequency locator tags on student backpacks. Advocates of tagging say that keeping track of your kid's whereabouts is a matter of public safety. You'd know whether they got on the bus or not. You'd know where they were in the event of weather disasters, acts of terrorism, criminal activity, field trips or off-campus extracurricular activities. Earlier this year, the Middletown School Department experimented with the technology, dubbed in Big Brother-speak as the "Mobile Accountability Program," or "MAP." More than 90 percent of parents participated. Of course, a backpack isn't the same thing as a body. A student could switch backpacks with someone else, or drop one in a location that would raise no alarms, while he or she went off to - Zeus preserve us - engage in rebellious, anti-social behavior. So after backpacks, what's next? Human implants? MAP also doesn't safeguard students from anyone with access to the school's computer network. In the wrong hands, students could actually be targeted with this technology. But get used to it. In the 21st century, Orwell runs amok. Before long, we'll be tagging criminals, immigrants, employees, scholars, activists, artists, op-ed writers, you name it. Just another waste of money in a state where tracking down anything is simply a matter of knowing a guy who knows a guy.