Google Webmaster Central

Saturday, October 29, 2011


It's blowing stink out right now, a whooshing, high pitched wailing wind that is the earmark of a Nor'easter. An occasional vehicle can be heard passing by the streets, kicking up semi-frozen water that also makes a very particular sound, one that becomes quite recognizable to those who have heard it before.

That said, I grew up in this neck of the woods and have strong memories of snow storms on Halloween, having to wear thick woolen coats over my costumes as the kids in the neighborhood went trick or treating. It took some of the joy out of the whole shebang.


The newscasters are positioning this "storm" as a freak of some kind, an event simply too early in the season. To hear some of them it's as if the Great Blizzard of 78, which shut down the northeast region for over a week and left cars stranded on the highways for days, was about to hit. 

And yet, because of changing global conditions, this once customary event --SNOW IN OCTOBER! has now been labeled an unusual situation, and managed to freak out the locals into making major purchases of bread and milk in preparation. One local bakery owner told me they had sold $450 worth of goods within an hour as a result.

This weather pattern is only supposed to drop an inch or three on us, right now the cars outside sport a light dusting, but nothing earth shattering. 

At most it would definitely signal the time was ripe for the first fire in the fireplace.

Given the winter of 2010-2011, which dropped a boatload of snow on us, precautions are indeed wise -- but after the massive purchases of generators, snow blowers, road salt and assorted other flotsam from last year -- you think most of us would have some leftover?

I mean yes, stock up on batteries since those do get used up -- maybe bring down the blankets from the attic to add extra warmth to the bed. 

But really, people, don't you think you should have done that already?

The Boy Scouts call it being prepared. 

Amen, and pass the extra blanket.

Monday, October 24, 2011


There is a lovely vineyard that I pass by every day as I go to and from work -- and during this time of the growing season, the owners drape the vines with yards and yards of white netting.

The bridal style veils are to keep the birds from eating the smaller grapes that will help along next year's crop, or so I'm told.

Whatever the reason, a few days ago it struck me that these vines looked very much like "Ghost Bushes."

The "Ghost Bushes" term is not something I dreamed up, frankly it's a derivative of "Ghost Plants," a nickname given by a very dear friend of mine, Jane, who was an avid gardener.


Jane loved growing things. Jane loved growing people, too, by the way, and I was one of those fortunate ones in her garden of human flowers.

Her garden consisted of so many different items -- but a very common element in Jane's pastures were the plants better known as Dusty Millers.  Dusty Millers are those plants with silvery leaves that have a way of shining bright on moonlit evenings.

Jane grew many Dusty Millers, and she had a way of describing them that was uniquely hers. She called them "Ghost Plants," and as she used these words her eyebrows would rise and her voice would drop an octave to speak of these oh so mysterioso plants.

Needless to say, the other day I found myself driving by the grape vines in the vineyard, draped in fall netting, and I heard Jane's voice calling the sight, "Ghost Bushes." A smile grew in my heart.

Jane has been living in the Great Beyond for a bit, and those of us who were in her orbit while she was among us were lucky people indeed. She had a lot of adoptive daughters in addition to her own brood, fortunate women who enjoyed her presence, laughed at her jokes, called her "Mom" and most of all, to this day are able to identify "Ghost Plants" or "Ghost Bushes" thanks to her incredible mindset.

During this autumn season, may I suggest that you try to spot silvery trees or bushes or plants, and smile broadly when you realize that you are looking at "Ghost Plants."

Jane would so approve.

Amen, and pass the mustard. I miss you, Mom.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


They are everywhere.

"They" are a haphazard motley that has turned up at assorted U.S. cities big and small, in an apparent movement to get corporations, banks what-have-you to part with cash. 

It's all in the name of the common person, supposedly, a protest against "corporate greed" and "capitalism" and how life is just so unfair.

It's all about how some organizations and people have all the luck to have a boatload of money, while others, well, others just do not.

It's all about a sense of entitlement.

And so the hordes occupied Wall Street and they occupied that and they will occupy this, all the time thinking that somehow they are going to break down the barriers and just like at Jericho Wall Street will come tumbling down and everyone will be equal.


I don't know about you, but if there is a dollar out there to be had, I will do everything in my power to get the whole thing.  This means I get up in the morning and go to work to earn that dollar. And when I get my mitts on it, I'm not sharing it with anyone who squandered a day waving signs and being a public nuisance. This is not to say that I don't believe in helping those who truly need assistance. Not a single bit.

But, guys, it's costing cash strapped cities and towns a lot of money to get extra police out to make sure you don't destroy property which does not belong to you while you are out to make your point.

Think about it: if all you occupants showed up at the polls next go round, you could, as the platitude goes, "make a difference." Are you upset that the politicos voted to bail out the banks? Then mobilize and get those politicos out of office. You might even get one of your own elected. I could totally respect that. 

Amen, and pass the mustard. And by the way, I mean all of it because I worked hard to get it. Can you say the same?