Friday, March 09, 2007

Off The Bench

I’d love to tell you that I took a minute out from packing for a weekend vacation in Maine to write.

I’d love to. But I can’t. We’re not going to Maine.

Simple economics and common sense won out in the end. In good conscience, The Wife felt that while the trip would be good for us emotionally, financially it wouldn’t work. So we’ll go with Plan B. Perhaps a day trip, then dinner on Saturday night. Sunday is our 12th wedding anniversary, so that’s why we were going to go in the first place. We’ve been there before, and it’s not going anywhere, so we’ll get back. That’s showbiz. The reality is that while one can say “let’s just go for it because we can’t take it with us when we’re gone”, we are still here. Gotta be smart.

So it’s Plan B.

As I mentioned, we’ve been to Maine a bunch of times. We’ve even daytripped it there. Yep, that’s right. Out of the house by 6:00, in Freeport by, say, 11:00, back on the road by 4:00, back home by 11:00. Long day, but fun. We’ve also stayed there several times. Lately, our luck has been to struggle with the weather. We outran a storm one time, had snow start as I turned off the car engine in Freeport another time, and was done by the time we left. Then came the time it snowed…and snowed…and snowed. The innkeeper at the Harraseeket Inn (an incredible place) refused to let us leave. We stayed for an extra night at a reduced rate.

One of the coolest things about Freeport, Maine – besides the great food and small town feel (despite the tourists) – is LL Bean. That is the reason to go to Freeport. Plus they never close. I think they threw the keys away in 1951, or something like that. I tested that theory one year. I woke up around 3:00 in the morning one night, and tossed and turned for a bit before deciding to get up. The Wife got up briefly and I asked her if she wanted to take a walk. Of course, her response was a firm “no.” So I got up, got dressed, bundled up, and headed out into the snow – at 4:00 AM!

The Harraseeket Inn is located right on US Route 1, up the road from LL Bean. It might be two blocks – not much more. Anyway, at 4:00, the only thing on route one was me. I walked down the middle of the road, and could hear the snow plows off in the distance. In fact, you can see the snow falling in the pictures I took. I reached Bean’s front door a few minutes later and, as promised, they were open. Just a few hearty soles stocking shelves, and ready to serve customers if necessary. One of them offered me a cup of coffee, looked out at the snow with me, and returned to her business. It was great.

I didn’t buy anything – I just enjoyed the quiet, and began to make my way back to the Inn. I was snuggled back into bed by about 5:15.

Route 1, Freeport, ME - approximately 4:10 AM

All stories for another time, I guess. Someday, maybe I’ll put some of my travel journal writing on here.

I know, some of the things that I do for fun are a little off the beaten path. I can live with that.

Onto other goodies.

Did you hear the story about the goings on in Cross River, New York? That’s where John Jay High School is, and where the latest touch of suburbia gone insane has occurred. Seems John Jay High School was hosting an open mic night and three young ladies wanted to perform a portion of Eve Enslers’ “The Vagina Monologues.” Supposedly the school told he girls that they could not use the “V” word in their reading. Then the girls went ahead and used it. The school responding by suspending them. Now the who-said-what-game is being played. Let me bottom line it here. The school district looks foolish and puritanical, plus they’ve given a whole new life to the word “vagina.” Let’s be real here. Vagina is not a naughty word. It’s a body part. There are other words for that particular part that are quite bad. I don’t need to spell it out for you, but one in particular has frankly replaced the “F” word on the holy-of holies list.

Way to get some much-needed attention there, John Jay.

Today’s Journal News featured a piece by Rick Carpiniello about a very human sports official. I think we all forget sometimes that those who overseeing athletic events, especially at the high school and youth level, make mistakes. We’ve seen too many arrogant umpires, referees, etc. Joe West, in baseball, thinks we pay money to see him run his mouth. And there are plenty of truly bad officials at every level. But what I read today proved to me that these people have a conscience.

The official in question ruled that the shot clock should be reset towards the end of the sectional basketball game between Lakeland and Peekskill. The reality was that the Peekskill shot never touched the rim, thus meaning the shot clock should have expired and the possession should have gone to Lakeland. Instead, Peekskill grabbed the rebound and put the ball in for the win. The official was able to see some video later on, and the conclusion was that he blew the call. After losing sleep, he called Lakeland’s Athletic Director and coach and apologized to both of them. But he went one step further and declined the opportunity to officiate any games in the state tournament.

These people are human, and they make mistakes. This man stood up and admitted it. I applaud him for it.

I listened to Montgomery Delaney’s CD’s and they are just tremendous. I don’t like putting labels on things, so I wouldn’t automatically classify it as folk. Sometimes words like that scare people away – unfairly, I think. So if you like James Taylor, for instance, or someone a little less known but very popular – like Martin Sexton – then you will most definitely like Monty’s work. Plus from our couple of correspondences, I can tell he’s a great guy. So tell me – what’s not to like?

I tread on tough ground here, but I am so disappointed and embarrassed that we didn’t do any basketball or hockey games on WGCH this year. There are reasons for it, but as a person who prides himself on our commitment to local sports, I am horrified. I thought I was going to do the Greenwich-Hamden basketball playoff game last Monday night on SportingNewsCT, but let’s call it a miscommunication that led me to not do it.

Again, life goes on.

As a country, we should be mortified. We’ll go rescue those who suffer in a typhoon, or Angelina will adopt more children, or Oprah can go open some school – all on foreign soil. But when our soldiers are recovering at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington with rats and mold and filth, that’s OK, right? Yeah, let’s go save the rest of the world, but not take care of those who are trying to take care of us.

This should not be happening, and people in the military should be losing their jobs. It’s disgusting.

While I’m railing at things that we can blame on the Bush Administration, that sure was some compelling stuff with Scooter Libby, eh? Our Vice President just seems like a great guy. Not too paranoid, is he? The rifle thing in Texas takes on a whole new life, doesn’t it?

Thanks to those of you who touched base to offer condolences following my latest career turn. I appreciate your thoughtfulness. My spirit is fine, and I’ve put a few feelers out there. I’ll keep you posted.

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