From the archives

The Boston Phoenix has been covering the trends and events that shape our times since 1966. These selections, culled from our back files, were compiled by Eleanor Mary Boudreau.
By  |  January 4, 2006

CAUGHT IN THE WEB
5 years ago | December 29, 2000
Dan Kennedy discussed the coming Internet revolution.

“Fundamentally, however, the Internet isn’t about selling things, or about how media companies, old and new, can find yet another outlet for their content. Rather, it is about revolution — not the kind of business-oriented revolution you see endlessly celebrated in magazines such as Fast Company and the Industry Standard, but the kind of overarching cultural revolution that shakes society to its core.

“The Internet revolution is about empowering the individual — putting more information in people’s hands, making it easier for them to form communities, giving them a voice with which to be heard. The dot-com universe may be shrinking, but the Internet itself continues to grow dramatically. According to a study by the US Department of Commerce, the share of American households with Internet access rose from 26 percent in December 1998 to nearly 42 percent in August 2000. Even the much-vaunted Digital Divide is shrinking, with the Commerce study showing that middle-income, rural, black, and Hispanic households were far more likely to be wired than they were before. A generation ago, Gil Scott-Heron proclaimed, ‘The revolution will not be televised.’ He was right. It will be webcast instead. And no network executive will be able to do anything about it.”

MR. CLEAN
10 years ago | December 29, 1995
C. Brian Smith spoke with L.T., the man who voluntarily cleaned the Brookline Avenue bridge.

“What inspired L.T. to clean the bridge in the first place, especially since he doesn’t expect to be paid? He has his reasons. ‘It was covered in filth,’ he notes. The first time he crossed the bridge he saw broken glass, cigarette butts, hot dogs, paper, peanuts, pizza, and popcorn. ‘If I didn’t clean during baseball season,’ he says, ‘there would be rats. This bridge is a haven for rats.’

“Cleaning the bridge is also L.T.’s therapy. He says it keeps his mind from wandering into dangerous territory. ‘Idle time is the devil’s workshop,’ he says. Most important, he cleans the bridge because he wants ‘to be an asset to the community.’

“L.T. finds old brooms in dumpsters, and local businesses give him other supplies. Cask ’N Flagon, located on the corner of Brookline Avenue and Lansdowne Street, provides him with garbage bags and serves him food and drinks.

“L.T. came to Boston in 1980. The year before, a blood clot in his brain had left him nearly dead in an alleyway of his hometown, Pittsburgh. It also permanently affected his speech — sometimes he slurs his words — and caused nerve damage to his right leg, which explains his limp.

“Since moving to Boston to live with his parents (who have now retired to North Carolina) and recover from surgery, L.T. says, he has worked many jobs.

“But cleaning the bridge has been the most rewarding.”

COMFORT FOOD
15 years ago | December 28, 1990
Mary H. Frakes spoke about trends in dining.

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