Boston Fail 2012
Let’s be frank: 2012 was kind of a bummer year.
To remind you why, we’ve compiled a list of Greater Boston’s most embarrassing moments of 2012. Let’s take a moment to reflect on these past mistakes that made us cringe or feel embarrassed for all of humanity and resolve to take these lessons with us into 2013.
Soak in the schadenfreude.
The Red Sox had a lousy year with underachievement, choke jobs, and crybaby, overpaid ballplayers.
Pictured: Third baseman Kevin Youkillis grimaced as Angels Peter Bourjos crashed into him. Youkillis lost control of the ball on the collision.
Next: The Fred Flintstone re-enactor. Next
What could make a person’s day worse than getting hit by a truck?
How about said person being hit by his or her own truck...and then receiving a ticket for it.
Police found Brian Reynolds, 40, of Lynn, lying face down in the road.
He told the officers that as he was driving down the street, the brakes stopped working on his 1987 Chevy. In response, he tried to stop the moving vehicle the old-fashioned, Fred Flintstone way.
He inevitably fell out and the truck drove over his left leg, rolled further down the street—luckily without involving any other vehicles—and crossed the road before hitting a fire hydrant and coming to a stop.
Police fined him $25 for driving with defective equipment.
Next: “I’ll stop if you let me buy you a drink” Next
In July, an audition tape featuring Patriots owner Robert Kraft with his much younger, bikini-clad lady friend, Ricki Noel Lander, leaked online.
The pair were reading lines for the upcoming Vince Vaughn-Owen Wilson movie, “The Internship.”
The video has since been pulled from YouTube, but many saw the almost-two minute clip in which Lander read for the role of a stripper.
Kraft issued a statement: “I tried to help Ricki prepare an audition tape for an upcoming Vince Vaughn-Owen Wilson comedy by reading Wilson’s lines. I never intended that it would be made public and I regret that it has. I think we can all agree that Owen Wilson has nothing to worry about. I am going to stick to my day job.”
Next:Don’t tase me, bro. Next
In early December, a Newton woman was tasered outside an Apple Store by police after refusing to leave.
Xiaojie Li, 44, was charged with criminal trespass and resisting arrest, according to Nashua police Captain Bruce Hansen.
She told WMUR that she was trying to buy multiple iPhones for her family but the store did not allow her to get more than two at a time. Store management and a Nashua police officer working a paid detail in the store asked her to leave but she only asked repeatedly “why.”
Li was then escorted outside, tased, handcuffed, and arrested.
Pictured: The Apple Store at South Shore Plaza.
Next: Classy hockey fans. Next
Boston’s hockey team had to address hateful racist commentary circulated by Bruins fans and others on social media after Joel Ward, a black forward for the Washington Capitals, scored the winning goal in overtime of Game 7 in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs in April.
In an episode that renewed the conversation about racism in sports and society, the Bruins had barely finished shaking Ward’s hand and saluting their fans from the Garden ice after the game when Ward was targeted with scores of racist posts on Twitter.
The Bruins, Capitals, and NHL immediately condemned the commentary, but the damage was done, as media outlets across the country once again raised questions about Boston’s turbulent racial history, although it was unclear how many of the comments actually came from Boston.
Next: Eye of the beholder. Next
Some anti-Muslim statements were made online in response to a 70-foot tall mural painted at Dewey Square in August.
Brazilian brothers Otávio and Gustavo Pandolfo, who collaborate under the name “Os Gêmeos” — Portuguese for “twins,” painted a brightly-colored figure in pajamas with its head wrapped in a shirt on the air intake structure as a companion to their exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art.
A TV station asked viewers on its Facebook page what they thought the painting of a crouching figure with a garment wrapped around its head looked like. Many replied with words such as “terrorist,” “Taliban,” or “Arab.”
Speaking during a day of Brazilian- and art-themed activities in the Dewey Square Park, Greenway Conservancy Executive Director Nancy Brennan said she supported a viewer’s right to interpret art however he or she will.
“Art is all about interaction with the viewer. Whether Michelangelo or Os Gêmeos, they’re counting on that exchange and don’t try to enforce how you’re going to interpret it,” Brennan said.
Pictured: Mason SooHoo, 3, played in Dewey Square underneath the seven story Os Gemeos mural.
Next: Never ever getting back together. Next
Taylor Swift and Greater Boston had an odd flirtation in 2012.
The relationship-obsessed singer was reportedly involved with Conor Kennedy, a teen still in high school.
Swift crashed a wedding and might or might not have thought about buying a home nearby the Kennedy clan.
Then in August, visitors of the website 4chan campaigned to commandeer an online contest to send Swift to perform at the Horace Mann School for Deaf and Hard of Hearing. School officials said they would welcome the performance because people who are deaf and hard of hearing can still enjoy music through vibrations and visual assistance.
What started as an insensitive internet prank turned out in favor to the deaf school based in Allston. Taylor Swift donated $10,000 and other sponsors matched her donation, netting $50,000 total for the school. On top of that, Swift said she would give tickets to every student to attend her next local show.
Next:Sex toys find a new entry point. Next
In October, city officials scrambled to block the free distribution of vibrators as part of a Trojan company promotion.
Though the land was public property, Boston’s chief of property management said the act would be “an inappropriate and irresponsible use for the plaza” because families and children walk through the plaza daily.
Eventually, the marketers responsible for the giveaway found private property in the South End to hand out the free sex toys. The line extended down Tremont Street and onto Clarendon Street from the Cyclorama.
Pictured: Thousands of Washington DC residents lined up to receive a free Trojan vibrator in November.
Next: Southie’s about to get its close-up. Next
A 56-year-old woman from South Boston tried to ride her motorized wheelchair up an escalator at a Subway station in July.
Gravity kicked in, sending the woman and her scooter tumbling backward. A man nearby tried to run over and help, and he was almost pulled down in the process. An MBTA worker then ran over and pushed the emergency stop button.
The woman in the chair was able to get up and walk away with no injuries.
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Next: Employee of the year. Next
Former state chemist Annie Dookhan triggered a crisis in the state’s criminal justice system that has set convicted drug dealers free and may cost tens of millions of dollars to fix.
Dookhan, 34, of Franklin, who allegedly mishandled evidence she was supposed to test at a state drug lab, has been indicted by a grand jury on 17 counts of obstruction of justice, as well as 10 other charges, including tampering with evidence, perjury, and falsely pretending to hold a degree from a college or university, prosecutors said.
Dookhan allegedly “dry labbed’’ seized drugs, falsely certifying that she performed the required testing of seized suspected contraband when, in fact, she had not tested, but had merely made a visual examination.
Dookhan also allegedly tainted samples by mixing substances she knew were illegal drugs with samples she knew did not contain illegal substances. She also allegedly forged the initials of a supervisor on reports in an attempt to cover up her misdeeds.
Law officials are still bracing for the consequences. Immigrants convicted of drug charges may have already been deported. Property seized in drug cases may have already been sold off. And even jury selection in future drug trials could be affected. The scandal could put felons back on the streets, inundate courts, and damage public confidence in the justice system. Scores of officials and lab workers have resigned or been fired already.
Pictured: Annie Dookhan at her arraignment in September.
Next:Strapped and hosed. Next
The story about how Mitt Romney once drove to Canada with his dog Seamus in a carrier strapped to the roof of the family station wagon in 1983 was first reported in The Boston Globe in 2007, but the story reached a fever pitch in 2012 during the presidential election.
The tale inspired ample political commentary, a few columns from New York Times’ Gail Collins, and several books and magazine covers mocking the former governor of Massachusetts.
An informal online protest movement known as “Dogs Against Romney” formed, followed by an actual political action committee backed by millions of dollars called “Animal Lovers Against Romney.”
Next:Best and brightest, huh?
A Boston University task force revealed its findings in September, concluding that the men’s hockey team was detached from the general campus and that a “culture of sexual entitlement” exists among some players, a mindset college officials say contributed to two alleged sexual assaults on campus during the previous season.
The task force was launched in February after two BU hockey players were charged with sexual assault. Its public report made 14 sweeping recommendations, which the school intends to implement.
Pictured: BU Hockey standout Corey Trivino, 22, stood beside his lawyer Conrad Bletzer in Brighton District Court where Travino plead guilty to two counts of assault and battery and one count of breaking and entering the room of a fellow Boston University student on the night of Dec. 11, 2011.
Next:Innovation, but not that sort of innovation. Next
Forget using an app to find personal transportation. The City of Cambridge made clear in 2012 that it wants you to take the good ol’ fashioned hail-a-cab route.
In September 2012, the City of Cambridge sued to overturn the state’s ruling allowing Uber, maker of a smartphone app that people use for private car transportation, to continue operating despite complaints from traditional taxi services. Cambridge originally tried to halt the service in May citing that traditional taxis were safer.
Next: Unban my heart. Next
A local branch of Ben & Jerry’s apologized for briefly offering a frozen yogurt flavor inspired by professional basketball sensation Jeremy Lin that included fortune cookie pieces, in an acknowledgment that the dish could be seen as playing on Asian stereotypes.
The Harvard Square Ben & Jerry’s store replaced the fortune cookie pieces ingredient with a waffle cookie served on the side after what Ryan Midden, general manager of the local shops, called “a bit of an initial backlash.” Plus, the fortune cookie pieces, which had been mixed into the first patches of frozen yogurt pints, turned out too soggy.
The fortune cookie pieces, which had been mixed into the first batches of the frozen yogurt pints, were also soggy.
The limited-edition flavor has since been sold out.
Next:50 Shades of Bleh. Next
“Fifty Shades of Grey,” an erotic novel, has been the most-requested book in the Boston-area library network.
Librarians say they are obliged to provide patrons with open access, no matter what they think about individual titles.
“It’s amazing the old ladies that come in and ask for it,” said one librarian.
Next: Maybe we should walk with a helmet.
Beware of cars in Quincy. The city had a total of 95 pedestrian accidents in 2012, from cars rolling over their owners to rain foiling brakes to jaywalkers darting in front of accelerating vehicles. Quincy officials have said they are trying to enforce pedestrian safety for walkers and drivers.
Next: Somervilled dumped by the Swedes. Next
After more than a decade of planning, the furniture giant Ikea decided in July not to build a second Massachusetts store at Assembly Square in Somerville, punching a hole in the city’s effort to redevelop a huge swath of former industrial property near its border with Boston. The Assembly Square Mall has not been viable for about seven years.
Next: Unwelcome visitors. Next
In December, police said they found a Quincy man after he had broken into the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, lying on the ground with an open bottle of sacramental wine and an opened container of the Eucharist, or consecrated bread.
Officials said Jorge Jose Guavara broke into the church, lit multiple candles, and mad his way through the attic and basement.
A witness said he found the man eventually inside the front storage area behind the altar.
Guavara told police he went to the church seeking peace.
Next: Ignoring the street signs. Next
Storrow Drive underpasses are not built for trucks, yet every year we hear about truck drivers who unsuccessfully risk it. Drive along Storrow and Memorial Drive, check out the many scars on overpass bridges left behind by oversized vehicles, and cringe.
Next: Perks after being fired. Next
Fired Newton police chief Matthew Cummings would top all other retired workers in the city’s system if he qualifies for an annual government pension of as much as $129,000.
Cummings was fired in early October after a dismissal hearing into complaints about inappropriate comments that he allegedly made to three women in his department, including his former secretary.
While Newton officials found the behavior to be egregious enough to fire Cumming, it doesn’t reach the bar for losing a pension.
Next: Cohasset’s spending problem. Next
The small coastal town of Cohasset, with a population of just 7,500, spent almost $350,000 on legal fees last fiscal year—more than five times as much as other Massachusetts communities its size. Actions by the Board of Selectmen have been blamed for the high expenses.
Next: Cambridge’s mayor problem. Next
Ending almost two months of deadlock, city councilors elected Henrietta Davis the mayor of Cambridge.
During that time, impatient constituents (or people who just find the situation amusing) went to Twitter with neighborhood-related jokes on how a mayor should be determined.
Pictured: City Hall Annex in Cambridge. Back to the beginning
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