Biscuits and the Political Graveyard

By Phineas J. Stone

The tide comes in twice a day in Boston, and goes out twice a day as well.

In and out, in and out…very predictably – in fact to the minute if you care to consult the tide charts. So much of life is the same if you’ve been around a while and know how to read the tea leaves.

I’ve been around long enough to smell out something odd in the political circles of Boston when the aroma wafts – even if ever so slightly.

So it was when former mayoral candidate John Connolly emerged from the political graveyard to start endorsing people in the current city election – even endorsing Mayor Martin Walsh a few weeks ago.

Now this guy was Walsh’s nemesis and they waged a mighty war for the high office but four years ago.

Now they’re best buddies.

Doesn’t work like that without some sort of exchange, at least in my jaded outlook on Boston pols.

So I sit here and wonder what they’ve got up their sleeves.

Perhaps it’s nothing, and old Connolly is done with politics and thinks Mayor Walsh has done a wonderful job. So, the former political enemy is giving a pat on the back to his old adversary.

But the old Boston in me knows that anyone who ever ran for mayor, and got that close, can never quite shake the desire to want to try to be mayor again.

Mayor Walsh has shown in his first term he knows how to keep his adversaries close – giving jobs to several of the competing candidates from the Preliminary Election four years ago. Has he done the same thing here with Connolly?

Connolly is a schools guy. My buddy thinks there could be something in the works there. Maybe Walsh has bigger plans along federal government lines in the future, and he’s lining up a successor.

After all, in Boston politics, you don’t need voters.

You just need a good plan.

  • ••

One of the saddest parts of life on the couch these days is the decline in good snack foods.

It’s all about getting the most exotic flavor, and nothing to do with variety. It’s like having 500 of the same thing, but all in different colors.

All of the best things have faded away, and if they’re replaced, they are replaced by extremely subpar substitutes. Naturally, I enjoy peanuts, cashews and popcorn, and minus the microwave for popcorn, those things have never changed.

My big beef is how  Nabsico has pretty much taken over Sunshine Biscuit.

Sunshine Biscuit is not a Boston company, but they held a great part of the market here as they had a great old factory in Charlestown. It was called Sunshine because the ownership preferred a factory with lots of natural light – which meant their plants had more windows than the typical plant in those days. That was the case here.

They made Cheez-Its, Hydrox cookies, Vienna Fingers and a couple of other treats that are long, long gone.

Most of what they produced was in my school lunchbox, and in most of the other kids’, too.

The Hydrox cookie was way better than any Oreo I’ve ever had, but it’s only available in photographs now.

It seems the mantra of snack foods is that it’s all about having thousands of flavors of the same type of snack rather than having a variety of unique sorts of concoctions.

I even saw potato chips the other day that were flavored like biscuits and gravy. I’m no culinary genius, but why would you eat a potato chip that tastes like warm, soft breakfast foods?

I’d rather eat a Hydrox.

I will say one thing, the new owners of Sunshine Biscuit (Keebler) really got it right when they introduced well-down Cheez-Its. I’ve been wishing for that for years. In fact, I used to make my own by putting regular Cheez-Its in the oven on 300 degrees for about 10 minutes.

Now, Keebler saves me the trouble.

A small victory in a larger war for couch surfers.

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