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Sunday, October 28, 2012


I follow the weather. 

It's a habit left over from my days working at a TV station euphemistically known as the Big Dime, when in particular the weekend weather weiners took up a lot of space, energy and time plying their trade. 

No jealousy here, it's part of the whole scene, and whether you liked it or not at the onset, eventually you, too, got the weather bug. 

I was in bed a little while ago reading in an effort to calm my head so I could nod off, but that wasn't getting me anywhere. Though my house is well insulated, this night, thanks to Hurricane/Tropical Storm/Whatever Sandy, the winds had picked up a bit. That characteristic wolf howling in the distance was happening, along with the skittering of leaves along the ground, a noise that always made me think the leaves were up to something suspicious.

When I got up to look out the window, the streets were quiet enough and brightly lit, the new asphalt shiny like a black mirror.  It was official, I was now "weathering."

Naturally, the noise is getting gradually louder, and as I was anxiously listening for the crescendos and the occasional passing automobiles sloshing my high alert activated one of my two cats, Morgan, who will use any excuse to get me to play.

From the depths of the living room I could hear him, that howling/yowling noise he makes when he's carrying around the blasted green fuzzy toy I bought him some time ago, one with which he is quite taken. So now, in addition to the increasing winds and sloshes, there was an extra addition for my listening pleasure.

Now I could not sleep for the din: Whoooooooosh! Whooooooooooosh! said the wind. Slosh, slosh, slossshhhhhhhh, said the cars. More-erp. More-erp. More-erp. said the cat.

Morgan wanted attention, poor little fellow (why I think of him as little escapes me since he weighs 16 pounds maybe it is because he is an inordinately sweet animal) and though I usually don't capitulate, this night I did. Sometimes our critters sense ominous goings on in their environment. I was sure that the cat knew something was afoot out there and needed some reassurance, like most of us under the circumstances.

Amen, and put down an extra blanket. 


They were whirling dervishes this morning at a local breakfast joint in my neck of the woods. Folks were crammed into tables and taking a spot at the counter in order to nourish themselves while in the midst of preparations for as yet another storm of the century.

Snapping and zizzling noises were coming from the grill, as yet another batch of diced potatoes and bacon made contact, dishes clacked in the back room while being loaded into the washer. "The water usually comes up to the front step but that's about it," said Bobby as he flipped a couple of muffins around a froth of butter. 

Theories and news flashes were spouted about with a lot of hand gestures and animated eyebrows. 

"They are evacuating lower Manhattan," said one man. "We are not supposed to get hit that badly," said another, "we've been through worse." One woman sat quietly in the corner taking it all in, while a female voice from the dishwashing area yelled out "I am so sick of hearing about this already!"

All across the East Coast this afternoon there are similar Hurricane Centrals, spots where people hang out for a few minutes taking a respite from the grind of gathering supplies, making sure they have enough non-perishable food on hand and figuring out contingency plans in case the schools close.

Bobby said the diner is always closed on Mondays, but he won't make any decision about Tuesday just yet. Echoing a sentiment felt by many after harried hours of preparation for the the effects of a storm which have yet to be made clear, he quipped "Bet you a lot of people won't mind sleeping in, though."

Amen, and pass the blankets.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


It's standard procedure now for anyone facing a "weather situation" nowadays to launch a massive assault on grocery and major box stores a couple of days in advance. There is a lemming-like frenzy that takes place, folks leaping into their cars and running into grocery and big box stores, wallets in hand, to purchase items that they fervently believe will tide them over should "the big one" hit their neck of the woods.

So now that Hurricane Sandy is mucking about in the Atlantic hell bent on reaching the U.S. with abandon, it's happening again on various levels. I hate to admit it, but this afternoon I spent several hours rooting around the food aisles picking up items that I might need to nourish myself without having to use a stove that just might not be working.

I threw countless cans of tuna and beans into the cart, added a few other nonperishable items and off I went home, thinking about how I had not purchased this much canned tuna since a friend of mine egged me on to stock the pantry during what I now call the Great Bird Flu Freakout. As we all know nothing came of that and I ate tuna for a couple of months after that.

Today's spree reminded me of another insane shopping spree in the wake of Hurricane Irene last year, and how one chick was tooling around the grocery store, her cart bulging with raw hamburger meat. I nicknamed the lady and others of her ilk in my Irrational Irene Idiots blog/rant, and yes, folks, I saw a few people with carts loaded with similar stuff this go round.

Are we that soft that a couple of days of tuna sandwiches and cold beans are going to kill us? I heard one guy on the radio yapping that he was desperately seeking a generator to make sure he could watch TV. Ever heard of a book, dude?

Amen, and pass the beans, please. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Not that long ago a certain political figure who will remain nameless touted the word "change" as an epic part of his election campaign.

It's a simple enough concept to understand; if you don't like something, then follow a different course or search out another alternative to the one you have now. The idea is to shake things up a bit, stretch out new muscles and thought patterns as you perhaps enjoy a little variety.

Truth, however, is that a lot of people out there are completely resistant to change and though they purport a willingness to embrace a new concept, the most they will usually do is perform a simple tweak to their routine. 

In Rhode Island, change seldom happens. The place is bogged down in traditions, red tape,  and a "we've always done it this way" thought system. Entrepreneurship is not particularly admired by some: ask the average resident and that person will most likely tell you that they would like to land a state job. 

It's a place where politicians get elected and stay in office until they leave in a wooden box, where the media is a small group of people who leave one job scenario for another across town, and where former "activists" end up in one of those state jobs, effectively silenced and now busy working from within to maintain that very system in which they are now embroiled.

Change is not for the timid. It's a willingness to rip yourself inside out in order to reveal what you really want and then pursue it with all you got. Unfortunately that takes guts, something that is in short supply these days.

Amen, and somebody clone Teddy Roosevelt.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Just wrapped up trying to watch the latest Rhode Island US District 1 Congressional debate on the tube. At odds: Democratic incumbent David Ciccilline and his Republican opponent, former State Police head Brendan Doherty.

I'm trying to be good here, I really am. But having worked in both the political and television arenas in past lives, I can't get past the image that first popped into my head when I turned on the debate.

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito in the film, Twins. 

The plot centered around two characters, vastly different from each other physically and in other ways, who discover they are brothers separated at birth. And so, they begin to dress alike.

Anyone who has ever organized a televised debate knows how many tedious details are discussed ad nauseam prior to the event. The backdrop, the podiums, you name it.

It's not unthinkable to imagine that both camps might opt to cooperate in terms of what each candidate might wear; witness presidential debates in which either wore a red or blue tie depending on party affiliation.  

But not in Rhode Island, not tonight. From what I could tell on my own television, both men wore brownish suits with reddish ties and somewhat off-white shirts.

Viewers were supposed to see the huge differences between Ciccilline and Doherty, but the visual spectacle presented was that of two guys cut of very same cloth.

Amen, and someone call Rachel Zoe.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


A few years ago my mother called me early one evening. She lived far from me and it was customary for her to give me a buzz on occasion when she felt chatty. I'd call her back on my cell so that she would not incur long distance phone bills.

The call didn't surprise me but the hour did, since she rarely phoned until she'd finished watching a batch of soap operas of which she was very fond. That night, though, her voice was a little different, and on questioning, I found out what was the matter.

One of her neighbors, whose young daughter had died recently, had a "birthday party" for the child that afternoon. The celebration consisted of the parents releasing a batch of pink balloons into the heavens, pink being the child's favorite color. This seemingly nonsensical act touched my mother deeply.

It was, she told me, something she thought I would like, something she thought I would do. I hate to say this but I didn't respond much to the conversation at the time, somehow made light of it. 

But last year, after my mother had died and her birthday had rolled around, the balloon story reared its head in my memory, and I acted on it, much like I did today, what would have been my mother's birthday.

I purchased three orange balloons (my mother wasn't a pink person, she was an orange sort) and headed towards the beach. The sky, bright and October brilliant, the sun blazing overhead, the wind just right; I released them and watched as they flew high, high, higher until they were just small specks.

Happy Birthday, Mami.

Amen, and pass the mustard.