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Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I've concluded that winter has an appetite, and it's eating everything in sight -- houses, freeways, automobiles and entire groups of men, women and children. The streets are barren so that's what's got to have happened, as I don't see a human being in sight within the environs of the relentless flakes.

Yes, the ding-snow ate your baby.

Winter 2010/2011 may go down in the record books as one of the snowiest on record, but frankly those of us who are stuck in the midst of this allegedly historic event are sick of the whole damn thing.

We have been shoveling, shoveling, shoveling now for a few weeks -- and the mounds of the stuff are getting larger and larger. There's nowhere to put it, so you sort of move it around in hopes that you can make it possible for mere mortals to maneuver.

Because of parking bans many of us will trudge to assorted public lots in hopes of finding our cars tomorrow morning, a ritual that is easier said than done because what you first find are nothing but mounds under which vehicles lurk. The guy who parked the car next to yours shoveled his auto out of the spot where he parked, but only by throwing the snow that was on his car, yep, right onto yours.

Or somewhere thereabouts.

If I talk to one more person who doesn't live where it's snowing about how romantic the whole thing is I may go postal. If I talk to one more local who thinks all of this shoveling is fine by him or her I may also go postal, or worse, shovel the snow right in front of their car.

This is getting ugly, people, and I'm warning you that those of us who live in the northeast are at breaking point, capable of doing all sorts of things because of all this cold, white cement which is everywhere we go.

It may be time for us to share with those of you who don't have any.

It's possible we might charter a huge airplane, fill the blasted thing with snow, and send it in your direction. No questions asked. We are mad as hell, and we are not going to take it anymore.

Amen, and pass the mustard.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Today someone said I was persistent. 

The tone of voice was derisive, because apparently the speaker didn't like that I was capable of waiting for an answer on a question I was asking.

It is not the first time I have heard this, and sadly, also not the first time I heard that tone of voice. In a past life I worked in journalism. Occasionally I would wrangle an interview out of someone simply because I stayed on hold, tying up their phone line until, exasperated, the person either would hang up or else finally chat with me.

I pulled that stunt on the former Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives awhile back, and got the interview, by the way. He said he was curious to meet the person who was “so persistent,” his words, not mine.

In geek-speak, persistent cookies collect computer information needed for the machines to function efficiently. Writers use “persistence” to mean a haunting, unforgettable quality.

Since when did a word that means consistency, determination and ultimately, the capacity to win become a derogatory term? Now every time I hear "persistent" it seems to mean someone who is oppressive, aggressive and apparently, a pain in the neck.

What would have happened to early settlers if they could not stick to the plan, been persistent? Would families, communities and nations be what they are today? I mean, what if the Pilgrims had packed it in and sailed back to England on the Mayflower? 

Plymouth Rock would be just another hunk of granite.

Amen, and pass the mustard. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I have spent the last few days hallucinating that I am somewhere around palm trees, or at least somewhere toasty and warm.  

Snow bunnies forgive me: when you were born around palm trees, their siren song is loudest this time of year.

This recent spate of raw and icy weather has not helped matters much, and hard as I try to focus on winter's beauty, the pull of the sun only becomes louder.

My poor friends endure my tirades about the cold, or the musings about trudging on icy sidewalks from the municipal lot where I have to park my car so the streets can be cleared, the gazillion layers that makes us resemble wooly mammoths, and the cold, ah, the relentless frigid air.

That said, some of those friends, who live in diametrically opposed places, have given me perspective. 

Denise lives in Grand Cayman, a tiny albeit gorgeous gem of an island where I spent a portion of my life. Two days ago I sent her a message yammering about warm breezes and fruity, umbrella festooned drinks and she shot back, "I'm working and I wish it was cooler." Apparently the AC in her building was on the fritz, something they rarely mention in tropical travel brochures. 

Then there is Richard, who a) is insane (aka a musician), b) lives in Alaska with his wife and kids and c) did I say he was insane? Richard hails from Woonsocket, so he's familiar with RI winters and throwing the kids out the window a cookie. He wrote, "A bit brisk here in Juneau. Winds gusting to 88 mph. Temperature 20 degrees, but wind chill well below 0 degrees. Anywhere else this would be severe weather. Just another day here." 

Meanwhile Hugh, another Rhode Islander musician (draw your own conclusions) who now lives in the land down under, is enjoying summertime and some well deserved vacation. Hugh will be coping with Old Man Winter when those of us in the U.S. are throwing shrimp on the Fourth of July barbecue. 

It's all relative, I suppose, and in this day of lightning communications via the internet, we get to share each other's lives and doings, enjoying personal weather reports as seen via the eyes of a friend.  What is invigorating cold to some is nasty to others, ditto for the humid warmth in which those palm trees thrive.

This writer, however, will trade a boatload of snow for a day of heat, cheap. Denise, I'll even deliver.

Amen, and pass the mustard. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


It appears that Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts believes that I'm fat. Ditto for the wellness group Shape Up RI, which just sent me an email insinuating that.

Now I know it's the time of year in which we all make resolutions, some good, some bad, some we keep, some we don't keep. A whole bunch of us have resolved that there be a little less of ourselves as soon as possible.

And I understand the basic premise of the mailing I received. We should all do whatever we can in order to get in better physical shape, to get as healthy as we possibly can. However, methinks the wording of the subject header -- Elizabeth Roberts Thinks You Belong In Shape Up RI -- was a little unwise. 

ME? Just me? I "belong in Shape Up RI?" 
I know I'm carrying around a little more weight than I was a few months back, and actually have embarked on a program to turn that around.

But I don't think I'm large enough to justify putting the word Goodyear or Goodrich on any part of myself. Also, I am hardly high enough up on the food chain (pardon the pun!) to have the Lt. Governor of my home state send me an email regarding what she thinks I should or should not do with respect to my physical plant.

I understand she's interested in health issues, and I understand the premise behind Shape Up RI. It's a successful venue that has helped many folks feel better in a whole bunch of ways. 

That said, methinks someone should have thought twice with respect to that subject header -- maybe "Join Elizabeth Roberts as we Shape Up RI?" Just a suggestion.

Amen, and, well, maybe this time I shouldn't ask you to pass the mustard.