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Friday, September 30, 2011


So sue me, I'm writing this for the men out there,.

Don't get me wrong -- I will be the first person to fight for your rights to wear whatever you choose to drape on your body.

That said, the recent spate of TV shows based on the 1960s -- an era in which all men sported serious suits, closed cropped hair and pocket squares are popping up everywhere I look. 

One of them, Mad Men, features a horde of those aforementioned fellows. Each and every one of them wearing a killer power suit as they go about their daily business. There's not a hair out of place, nor a wrinkle on their lapels. And yes, they wear that ubiquitous article of male clothing that makes no sense whatsoever -- a tie.

Meanwhile, these shows are popular in an era during which most of the guys I happen upon sport wardrobes consisting of sweatshirts, ripped jeans, old flip flops and a buzz cut that eliminates all hair, making most of them look like hard boiled eggs. I'm sure that Mark Zuckerberg, the gazillionaire owner of Facebook, whose look is exactly that, has been a strong influence on most of these dudes.

Now don't get me wrong -- I admire Zuckerberg's business savvy, ability to get the planet engaged in his enterprise and well, his insistence on a personal style.

But, guys, can you hear me out? While I don't like the notion of you sporting the proverbial ties that bind each and every single day, would you mind gilding the lily once in awhile?

We like it when you spruce up, enjoy when you don (pardon the pun) the Draper look simply because, well, it looks so damn good on you. Even though on many occasions I have worn a suit myself, fellas, they suit you so much better.

Would it kill you to humor us and once in awhile, skip the sweats and strut the suit?

Amen, and pass the mustard.

Friday, September 23, 2011


A rainy, New England fall night is part of the landscape. At least, it is where I live.
There are those who enjoy the "crisp" fall weather, and all of that which goes with the autumnal season.

But this time of year I always find myself in mourning, simply because I'm one of those people who does not naturally relish the upcoming months of darker, colder days that are on the horizon.

So tonight I sorted through my photo collection and came up with this one -- a simple photograph of Eden Rock near downtown George Town, Grand Cayman.
Eden Rock, Grand Cayman
It's a little bit of heaven, a spot I would frequent early on Saturday mornings, before breakfast, for a quick dip into the Caribbean Sea.

Ah, vida, as my friend Bela Madureira used to say with a loud sigh.

This Saturday I'll probably dig through the store of blankets and woolens that I stashed upstairs in the attic last April, somehow thinking that the time I would need them again would not arrive so terribly soon.

And yet, here it is.

Before I do that, however, I am allowing myself a short respite, a reminder that somewhere on this planet on which we live, it's not raining, the air is not cool, and Eden really does exist.

Amen, and pass the mustard.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


First, I need to qualify that I have an unabashed admiration for NASA, which unlike many governmental agencies really does deliver a lot of bang for the bucks.

However, these great folks have let us know that in the coming day or two or three, large chunks of their Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) may crash land on assorted, as yet unclear, parts of our planet.

Yep, satellite splatter.

The news sites are all a-twitter over this idea, and at this juncture so am I, especially when you consider that the UARS weighs about six tons -- roughly the size of a bus.

Kisenosato Yutaka
Now those cut ups at NASA, who love a good joke like all the rest of us, assure us that the UARS won't be landing all in one piece, thank goodness. It's likely to break up on re-entry, and they speculate that these hunks of space junk may range in size from the miniscule to some that could weigh more than 300 pounds.

That's like having Japanese sumo wrestler Kisenosato Yutaka coming at you from above at hundreds of miles per hour, without any prior warning other than perhaps his shadow looming overhead seconds before he lands. 

With apologies to Mr. Yutaka, that's not something any normal human should have to experience.

But worry not, NASA claims there is one chance in 3200 that any of these pieces will land on you.

Amen, and pass the mustard.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


In hindsight, perhaps it wasn't such a hot idea to attach the chain around the car's bumper. 

Once again, the story takes place on the island some call simply, "The Big Pig," another tale of transportation trials and tribulations, involving a very old Ford Fiesta with clutch problems, heretofore called FSquared. 

Incidentally, FSquared is way past its prime, lacking headlights and other amenities, used now only in a place where a scant number of vehicles exist and the preferred mode of transport is gonzo golf carting

The Old Truck & FSquared

N. and B. had been knocking heads trying to figure out how to "pop" the aforementioned clutch in a location that is fairly flat, and they hatched a scheme in which FSquared would be somehow moved along by a very, very vintage Ford truck, heretofore known as The Old Truck. They linked The Old Truck to FSquared using a very hefty steel chain they were itching to put to some kind of use, looping the chain around FSquared's rear bumper. The effect was the automotive version of Dr. Doolittle's Push Me Pull You two headed llama. 

I'm not entirely sure of the particulars of the whole scheme, but I think it involved trying to pull FSquared just enough to build up momentum for the clutch popping/whatever maneuver. 

N. got in The Old Truck and B. got into FSquared, and the fun began.
It didn't help matters much that The Old Truck's engine makes more noise than the entire drum section of ten full orchestras with a Sousaphone or two thrown in for good measure. 

They pushed, they pulled, they pushed, they pulled, kicking up a fair amount of dirt, drawing cheers and jeers from the rest of us and adding to the overall din with the grinding sound of metal on metal as the attempts continued.

Finally, the result they had not counted on -- The Old Truck ripped the bumper right off FSquared and clattered down the path until all activities ceased. N. and B. jumped out of their respective vehicles and begin to inspect FSquared, with much scratching of heads and getting down on the ground as they assessed the carnage.

At least, FSquared was now running., so N. and B. cashed in their chips, drove FSquared back  to a good spot and tranquility reigned once again at the Big Pig.

Amen, and pass the mustard.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Enroute to work this morning I found myself trapped in a line of SUVs, each and every one driven by a woman.

Now before anyone goes ballistic, I'm a card carrying feminist and prize the friendships I have with several highly intelligent and competent women. 
However, the women I encountered this morning are of another ilk, people whom I'm now going to put in the same category as "Old Men With Hats Who Drive Buicks." 

The lower sections of each and every vehicle around me had sustained some kind of damage to both front and rear bumpers, ranging from serious scratches to miniature versions of the Grand Canyon. 

To make matters worse, one had the ubiquitous "Baby On Board" banner and another had one of those bumper stickers bragging about their honor roll student offspring. Both, incidentally, were simultaneously talking on their cell phones while driving what is a fairly busy road that time of the morning, with school buses and commuters zigging and zagging.

What are these women doing behind the wheel of a vehicle they are clearly unable to manage? The damaged bumpers tell the story of a driver completely incapable of maneuvering the SUV into a parking situation because they are either not paying attention (that cell phone!) or else dumb drivers who should stay off the roads instead of posing a hazard to all others and a complete embarrassment to the rest of us women who know what we are doing when we get behind the wheel.

Amen, and pass the mustard.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


There's a part of me that doesn't mind roughing it -- for eons I've been visiting Hog Island, where for many, many years utilities were simply not part of the picture.

Although these days folks have solar panels and cell phones and assorted other things that have made summer on the Hog much more "civilized," (to quote my Caribbean friend Denise who resides on another island I love), when I was a kid most of those houses had gas refrigerators and simple oil lamps to keep the darkness at bay.

There were no cell phones, no TV sets, radios were battery powered and the entertainment in the evenings would involve board games or just sitting outside staring at what was a gloriously starry sky. Bare feet or flip flops were de rigueur. Time passed slowly, it seemed, and a weekend on the Hog was well, a little slice of Paradise.

In the aftermath of Irene, many of us on the mainland have been without power -- forcing some to entertain themselves in old fashioned ways. Last night on my way home I saw some neighbors with a little fire pit, several folks sitting in lawn chairs whiling away a summer evening and apparently enjoying themselves quite a bit. 

Now that the lights are back on, of course that fire pit is back in the garage, and everyone has settled into the routine that is every day life.

There is a part of me, however, that wonders whether or not we received a bit of a gift from Irene in a very roundabout sort of way -- an opportunity to reconnect with our families and friends without the distractions of electronic toys that sometimes keep individuals under the same roof so far away from each other.

I'm not sure about you -- but I'm planning a few evenings on my porch from now on in the company of friends, nights by candle light in which conversation and just being together will be the entertainment.

Amen, and pass the mustard.