Working two full-time jobs can take a toll on one’s free time, health, family, household chores — and more importantly — one’s blog. I can’t believe it’s been over two months since my last update, so to clean out the filing cabinet and get myself caught up, here comes a whole flock of mini blog posts. Ignore them one at a time, or all at once, at your leisure.
Buy Local — Why do I seem to be the only one not to get the buy local campaigns? On its face, they sound like a great idea — why spend my hard-earned dollar in Providence Place or on Amazon.com if I can support one of the bustling three or four stores occasionally open right here in Chepachet! I get that part. But doesn’t “shop local” also mean that people from Worcester or Putnam will stop coming to Chepachet, and shop in their own obsolete, dreary downtowns? The effort all seems circular to me and represents a collective waste of energy better focused on improving prices and service.
Things That Go Bump in the Night — An era ended quietly this Fall when The Town removed the speed bumps from the end of Absalona Hill Road near Route 44. No longer will residents be able to sheer off their mufflers and set their minivans onto their front grills as they speed through the countryside. The nearly invisible, badly-signed bumps have been the bane of commuters since they were installed, and we will now, sadly, have only our repair bills and memories to honor them.
In the News — Eagle-eyed friends, relatives, and those who still pay attention to local TV news coverage may have caught a glimpse of yours truly on a number of local stations last week including Channels 11, 12, 10, 6 as well as www.GoLocalProv.com, rallying the cause of my new employer Big Brothers Big Sisters, who were recently victimized by the theft of bins and donations meant to fund mentoring programs for kids. Can there be any act more shameless than stealing from needy children? Perhaps not. But in the spirit of this season of shamelessness, look for me to make another surprise, self-indulgent media appearance in the feature section of next Tuesday’s Providence Journal.
Dumps — Is an unpopular “Pay As You Throw” trash program the inevitable result of a poorly operated transfer station, an irrelevant Town Council whose messages are ignored, an apathetic populace too lazy and self-indulgent to sort out their own bottles and cans, or perhaps all three? Despite the grumbling, evidence is clear that “Pay As You Throw” programs not only work but show dramatically positive results — and if you don’t like it, you can just dump your stuff over the border into the woods in Burrillville.
REM — In September, after 31 years together, REM announced it was disbanding. The news came as a shock to many who thought the band disbanded years ago. But no matter how irrelevant and uninspired their songs had become in the modern era, their influence on rock is permanent, and deserving of Rolling Stone Magazine once calling them the greatest rock band in the world. REM invented and defined the sound of music for my generation. So beware, that ear-splitting sound you hear in the middle of the night may not be the screeching mating call of the fisher cat after all, but might just be me with my guitar in my basement belting out one last cover of, What’s the Frequency Kenneth.
Connecticut Junkies — A rash of serial break-ins in the Foster area in October inspired State Representative Mike Chippendale to alert his friends and constituents, via email,to be alert and lock their doors — a bit of absolutely wise advice, of which my family has dutifully followed. However, the eyebrow-raising part of his message surprisingly identified the bad guys, “...when we see serial break-ins, it’s usually junkies from over the CT border…” Egad! Who knew all those old people driving down 395 to Foxwoods were heroin addicts! Considering Foster has had its own share of serious crime stories this year, and the recent and troubling raid in Chepachet that netted marijuana, cocaine and two semi-automatic pistols, Rep. Chippendale’s finger pointing at “them” and not “us” not only demonizes whole communities who are more than likely innocent, but also provides a false sense of security in our own communities where the real culprits may lie.
Out on a Limb — I have been baffled at the attention everyone is giving Governor Chafee’s big, dead evergreen at the Rhode Island State House. Rather than express my opinion on whether to call it a “Holiday Tree” or a “Christmas Tree” I’ll say this. I know how hard it is to motivate people to volunteer, coach Little League, help at their schools or mentor a child in need. So when people who are enamored with their own self-righteousness are suddenly motivated to show up and rudely interrupt the Rhode Island Children’s Chorus with a protest-inspired rendition of Oh, Christmas Tree, I know, at least, what I want to call them.
The New Book — Many have asked, and yes, my new novel is underway! But it will not be a sequel to Confessions of the Meek and the Valiant. The new book is titled Manisses and if successful, I hope it will change how people view history and their role in it. But don’t worry, it won’t be some boring textbook — there will be Indians, pirates, spiritual channelers, shipwrecks, lobsters and lots of other fun stuff, too. I promise.