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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

January's Un-Thaw

It's cold outside. Very cold. In fact, it's so cold that I don't have enough adjectives to describe how cold it is. I have an ancient thermometer hanging on my porch wall, but it's broken so I can't say for sure what the temperature is (and don't ask why it's still hanging there...memo to self: ditch the broken thermometer asap). Based on Facebook posts and the news, I guess it's below zero. Like, 20 below. A friend called a few minutes ago and said her thermometer says 16 below. Whatever, minus 16 or minus 20, it's just too cold. Harry refused to go outside this morning, just refused. I tossed him out the back door then stared pensively out the window to make sure he didn't turn into a frozen fishstick. He did his business in record time and was back in the house approximately 14 seconds later. So yeah, it's cold. Who needs a thermometer when you've got a dog? 

Speaking of cold and animals, I think I have a family of squirrels taking refuge in the attic. I hear them every morning racing around up there, lying to myself that it's really a pigeon clambering in the gable of my bedroom sleeping porch, in which there is a hole. I don't want to check the attic because A) how do I get them out if squirrels really are up there?; B) if I could figure out how to remove them they'd be freezing outside and I would feel guilty (sort of); and C) what if it isn't squirrels? What if it's a couple of raccoons who managed to get to my third floor space and then challenge me and my squirrel-banishing broom as I peep past Christmas decor and empty suitcases? What if I end up with angry raccoon teeth clamped to my leg? So I've decided to believe it's squirrels and that I don't care. I'll deal with it in the spring, if spring ever comes.

Heard the news that the father of an old friend passed away today. He'd led a good life, was 89. Still, it's hard to see the elders pass. My 40th high school class reunion is coming up this summer, another clear indication that time is most certainly marching on.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Chris Christie: Republican Golden Boy, or Tarnished Spoon?

Admittedly, I've been a bit out of the loop for the past few days. As I've cruised through the news stations I've heard some here and there about a scandal involving New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, but I just wasn't engaging. This morning I finally plugged in.

I am appalled. As one who has traveled across the George Washington Bridge via Fort Lee more times than I can count and who has been trapped in New York/New Jersey's maddening traffic jams, I just can't get my head around the idea that the governor's staff...with or without his knowledge and approval...intentionally snarled traffic to "punish" the mayor of Fort Lee for his alleged lack of political support. The flippantly-written email by Christie's Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kellly saying "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee," sent to David Wildstein, one of Christie's top appointees at the agency that controls the bridge, is not hand-slap worthy, is not job-loss worthy, it's criminal. Wildstein's equally flippant "Got it" response is further appalling. Forget about the people just trying to get home who were caught in the supposed new traffic pattern, let's think about the emergency vehicles that couldn't get through to sick and dying patients, or the schools affected by children being delayed, or the wasted gas as cars sat bumper to bumper, or the thousands of other people whose late arrivals affected work and families in a domino effect resulting in who knows what. Whether or not Christie knew about it doesn't really matter. If he didn't know, this begs the question of what else he doesn't know regarding his administration. And if he did know? Shame on you, Governor Christie. Either way, he's got his foot stuck in a political bucket from which his brash "I'm a Jersey boy so suck it up" attitude might not extract him.

Speaking of that brash attitude, some find it "refreshing" and "charming." What, I'd like to know, is refreshing or charming about a politician calling a reporter an idiot when they ask a question at a televised press conference? I guess the insecure grown-ups out there who humiliated kids on the playground think it's funny. I certainly don't.  

Governor Christie, let's see if you take your own advice and cry mea culpa, or if you -- like so many other of your ilk -- toss your staffers under the bus so you yourself can crawl out of the muck toward the 2016 presidental run. New Jersey's fictional character Tony Soprano, the murdering yet strangely compelling and likable and yes...brash...mafiaso, was charming. You, governor, are not.

Oh yes, here's a quote for the books: In the mid-1990s, Christie told his then-running mate after being verbally attacked by another politician: "I'm a Sicilian...we don't get mad, we get even."

Staffers, no matter what your governor says at his press conference today, you'd better get a helmet.

About Me

Newspaper columnist; blogger; author of Delta Dead; author of 101 Tip$ From My Depression-Era Parents; author of Australian Fly; editor: ...And I Breathed (author, Jason Garner, former CEO of Global Music at Live Nation), "A History of the Lawrence S. Donaldson Residence"; "The Port Washington Yacht Club: A Centennial Perspective"; "The Northeastern Society of Periodontists: The First Fifty Years"; editor: NESP Bulletin; editor: PWYC Mainsail; past editorial director: The International Journal of Fertility & Women's Medicine; past editor of: Long Island Power & Sail, Respiratory Review; Medical Travelers' Advisory; School Nurse News; Clear Images; Periodontal Clinical Investigations; Community Nurse Forum