UPDATE FROM SNOW-WEARY GUEST BLOGGER RICHARD GALGANO WHO HAS WAY TOO MUCH TIME ON HIS HANDS BECAUSE ALL HE CAN DO IS SHOVEL, WHEELBARROW, FLAME THROW, AND WHAT’S THIS NOW, “NUKE” THE SNOW AND ICE?

My ads on Craigslist have not provided a solution to the snow problem. All the dog teams are in training for the Iditarod race in Alaska. I received a link about building your own helicopter, but it would require dismantling the washing machine and dryer. Having cabin fever is one thing. Adding piles of dirty clothes is another.

The fire department will not issue a permit for the flame thrower. Apparently they would rather have alpine skiing held on the snow mountain in front of my house than speed skating on a rink created by melting the enormous amount of ice on my property. Darn, there goes my chance to meet the Erics (Heiden and Flaim).

Just received these notes:

To: Richard Galgano
From: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Re: Newly appeared glacier on your property
Dear Mr. Galgano:
Many thanks checking in with us. While we appreciate your condition, the use of a thermonuclear device is not yet approved for removal of personal glaciers even when roof collapse is imminent.
Sincerely,

NRC

P.S. Off the record, it sounds like an interesting idea. However, it will probably turn your house white, assuming the structure survives.

To: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
From: RG
Re: Glacier
Dear NRC. Thank you for your timely response. I’m disappointed but will not pursue efforts to obtain uranium. I don’t know what I would do with it anyway.
Sincerely,

RG

P.S.  My house has been white for a number of weeks now. I think it used to be blue. 

To: RG

From: NRC

Re: Glacier

Dear Mr. Galgano:
Have you considered using a flamethrower on your glacier? I suspect you may be able to obtain an old one from an Army-Navy store.

Sincerely,

NRC

Richard Galgano

February 11, 2015

CAN’T DRIVE. NO ROOM FOR SNOW. MUSCLES SORE. MUST BLOG. (WELCOME BACK, GUEST BLOGGER RICHARD GALGANO)

5 a.m.

It has stopped snowing!

The entrance to my driveway is filled again. I’ve resorted to using the wheelbarrow to move the snow to the other end of the driveway, where the front of my car would usually go. Fortunately, I cleaned out the garage a few weeks ago and may be able to fit a car in it. Hopefully the roof won’t collapse from the weight of a glacier.

Ad for Craigslist — Needed: One dog team, sled, and driver who has a permit to carry fuel. I found an Army Navy store with a Korean War flame thrower. The ban on driving doesn’t say anything about dog sledding.

Uh-oh. Miscalculated (underestimated) the amount of ice created by using flame thrower on a cold day.

Eureka! Acme Supply Company (of Road Runner and Coyote fame) offers a special on ice crampons and studded snow tires. Unfortunately, they can’t deliver due to ban on cars and trucks.

Next ad for Craigslist – Wanted: Helicopter with payload capacity to drop above package into our yard.

On the phone with Acme again. They are balking about inserting an electronic tracking device with the package. I’m trying to explain that the package may be lost for a long time in snow drifts.

Where there is crisis, there is opportunity. In addition to a new mountain for the winter Olympics, I’ll have more than enough ice for a speed skating track! Wonder if I’ll get to meet the Erics (Heiden and Flaim)? By the way, the largest snow mountain in my driveway is now tall enough for the downhill race.

Check this out! There is a St Bernard across the street thumbing (well, “pawing,” actually) rides. The sign reads “Florida or bust. Will share brandy.”

One of the meteorologists of Armageddon Storm Team is broadcasting. (I must have missed the others who went to the Florida Keys). We are going to get, you guessed it, MORE SNOW in a couple days.

It’s a good thing I have a two story house. I can still see out of the second floor windows.

Richard Galgano

February 10, 2015

Welcome Back Snow-Weary Guest Blogger, Richard Galgano

Armageddon Storm Team reporting live from just west of Boston.

It continues to snow and the piles in my driveway are taller than Kareem Abdul Jabbar. They are too high for Dwight Stones (high jumper) and too wide for Carl Lewis (long jumper). If they continue to get larger, Boston will change the bid and go for the winter Olympics instead. I’ll have a front yard view to the super giant slalom.

We have no place to put the newly plowed snow in the driveway so we cleared the lighter, 3+ feet of snow in our front yard to make a large, open area. We found our wheel barrel and have been “trucking” the heavy, salted snow from the driveway to the yard. Fortunately that section of the yard is half weeds, so the salt shouldn’t matter.

My hands are frozen despite wearing ski gloves. Time to use the Kelvin thermometer.

I have to dig out the crampons and ice ax. The icicles hanging from the gutters are now large enough to climb.

Watching a really proficient truck driver plow is a thing of beauty.

What’s this? Just turned on the TV and regular programs are airing! The meteorologists are on “assignment” in Key West.

The snow is so deep that our dog is teaching herself how to use the loo.

Wish I had taken up fly-fishing. Hip waders would come in handy right about now.

Call the police! The 5 feet tall wooden post fence in our back yard is missing! Never mind, it’s just buried under a drift.

Santa just called. He wonders if it’s okay to move his operation here.

Breaking news from the American Geological Institute. The earth has “rotated” and the 42.3 north longitude is now where the north pole used to be. Can’t wait to see the aurora borealis — that is, if we ever have clear skies again.

Maple syrup should be very tasty this year.

I’m going to find a bear den and try to hibernate for a while.

Richard Galgano

February 9, 2015

QUICK NEWS COVERAGE UPDATE FROM A MAN WITH NO DRY CLOTHES SHOVELING AGAINST THE TIDE — WELCOME BACK GUEST BLOGGER RICHARD GALGANO

“If one more plow fills in my driveway while I’m standing in it…”

Armageddon Storm Team 6 update: “It’s still snowing.” Thank God. I couldn’t tell with all that white stuff pelting my windows. So far, 24-plus inches have fallen. I’m grabbing a bite to eat and trying to warm up – for the past hour I’ve been attacking the glacier at the end of my drive. The glacier appears to be winning.

One of the city barns is on my street. All the trucks in our end of town have to drive by to get back to the barn to reload with sand, and so our street is always well-plowed. The disadvantage is that there is a whopping 10 feet of hard packed snow in our driveway.

Special Alert: As all the meteorologists are working, the broadcast cuts back and forth between them. One meteorologist standing outside near a highway, just announced, “When it’s snowing hard and it is very windy, you can’t see far.” She also said, “When there is a ban on driving in the Commonwealth, the highways tend not to have many cars on them.” God, what an education I’m getting.

Cut to the beach. It’s snowing.

Breaking news: “If it snows a lot, it can get deep.”

Ahhh! Something different! The station is now advertising their continuous coverage of the storm as well as cell phone apps.

Oh, Thank God… a real commercial!

Here’s something: One of the Armageddon Storm Team 6 vans is reporting and broadcasting as they drive down a local street. Sure hope the camera operator isn’t the driver. Oh well. It must be considered an essential vehicle. I wonder if they could pick me up a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee.

More news: “If you see the snow blowing sideways really fast, it’s probably windy.”

Change of pace: The regular news anchors are talking about… (wait for it), the weather!

We are at number 8 of the biggest snowfall totals of all time. Worcester is at number 3 all time. The airports are the official measuring points. I’m guessing they didn’t record the Ice Ages because there were no airports then.

Back to the beach. Do I see someone surfing? It must be the total white-out conditions wreaking havoc on my brain.

I changed channels; a rerun of a 70s police drama is on. Those ties are back in style.

None of my four pairs of gloves are dried yet; I can’t go back out. Why aren’t Dunkin’ Donuts delivery vehicles considered “essential”?

I need a change of pace. Time to flick on the radio and get the latest on Deflate Gate.

Richard Galgano

January 27, 2015

WELCOME BACK, GUEST BLOGGER, RICHARD GALGANO – IT’S SNOWING!!! WE’RE GONNA DIE!!!!! AAARRRHHHHH!!!!!

Today Armageddon Team 6 will be covering the end of the earth as we know it, live and remote, via digital TV, streaming video, radio, text alerts, loud-speaker, Morse code, semaphore, smoke and hand signals — 72 hours a day. Our digitally enhanced coverage of hell freezing over will turn you into a mass of shriveled, huddled, hyper-paranoid, bread and milk-hoarding, cabin-fever hallucinating, carbon fuel seeking, valium needing, sleep deprived, whining horde of viewers who will stay fixated on us and drive our ratings into the stratosphere. All other news and sports information will be suspended pending the next global warming.

To yesteryear: In business, the Dow rose 10 points to finish at 750. Soybeans are up, corn is down. And now for the weather. We’ll be getting a ton of snow. In sports, the Bolts won a close one in overtime……

Richard Galgano

January 26, 2014

Online Dating a/k/a “So, You Wanna Date?”

A few friends of mine and I were chatting over dinner the other night. Several told the group their experiences in the online dating scene. After many stories, laughs, a couple of bottles of wine and a round of hugs, I walked to my car silently cheering that I am happily married. Thank God I don’t have to handle the online dating angst; I don’t think I could do it!

For starters, my friends exclaimed that people in the dating pool absolutely do respond to their profiles and bios. Nine times out of ten, they told me, interested persons write scintillating missives such as: “Are you interested in me?” and “Do you want to date?”

Wait a minute. “Do you want to date?” This is the response you get to the bio that you took great pains to write after engaging in months of deep soul-searching? What, are we in first grade? The best conversation starter a person looking for love can wrap his or her little typing fingers around is, “Let’s go out.”? This is the way to woo a potential special someone? Now, perhaps I’m wrong, but I thought the point of posting a little bio is to provide discerning souls an opportunity to see if there is a commonality of interests. Does the profile author show a sense of humor? Is exercise, or music, or movies or travel important to this person? Do they like books? It doesn’t seem to be that difficult. How can individuals looking to share their life with someone be so bereft of the gift of gab that they can’t respond to any of these points? It’s not like they’re showing up at somebody’s doorstep with flowers for crying out loud.

Or perhaps these responders’ MO is a blanket reply; it’s easy to “Control ‘V’” a “Do you want to date?” one-liner and see where that lands you. I suppose there are calculated odds as to how many of these missives a person looking for a date needs to send out to garner a response. Think of all the time saved when you don’t have to read the bios! Just click on one, reply with your zinger, and move on to the next. It’s not a strategy that embraces discernment, but maybe it will work for a night at the movies, someday. Plus there’s no rejection. Maybe one of my friends should add, “I like to calculate the odds!” on a bio. It might lead to an interesting conversation. Well, whether or not one of my friends might want to start a conversation with anyone who chooses to honor her with a first grade sentence is another thing.

But it wasn’t just the replies to the biographies that got us going. The biggest roars came when people started to open up and state their own personal desires that would make for perfect relationships — but didn’t have the guts to state. Over more laughter, a list of non-negotiables began to appear.

I’m looking forward to sharing a glass of wine with my Sweetie who loves being handy in the kitchen! In fact, I hope my Sweetie is so handy in the kitchen that I’ll never have to step in that room again.

I’m looking forward to wrapping my arms around my special someone who embraces invigorating winter mornings and enthusiastically plunges into the morning chill to collect the paper from a snowy lawn and lovingly scrape ice off both our cars.

I’m looking forward to spending quality time with my true love, a good-natured and caring soul who is not afraid to apply a prescription medicinal cream to my dog’s backside.

I’m looking forward to living my life with my soul mate, that loving someone who is adept at unclogging relationships and toilets.

Kathy Galgano

January 24, 2015

It Means Mars To Me!

The moon and stars have long held a special place in songwriters’ hearts. “Fly me to the moon and let me play among the stars. Let me see what spring is like on Jupiter and Mars.”* How about: “When you wish upon a star — makes no difference who you are.”* And here’s a new one for you: “I’ve got Mars on a string.”*

It won’t be long now before we’re immersed in a slew of new idioms. Think about it. A wave of new speech will be the by-product of something else grand; idioms will come from new song lyrics, from new rap and poetry, from new works of fiction and nonfiction. Humans will go to Mars, and inherent in this experience will be the spirit to create – to create a new life in a new place, and to create ways to describe, portray or embody that reality. One can imagine that in the moment just before sleep consumes an exhausted crew member, images or words will emerge. Jokes and puns will be made during the day. Diaries will be dictated. Photographs will be taken. Comparisons will be made. And the world, oops – the worlds will amass a new sense of what is right and good.

Advertisers will tout adventures in a land that is neither verdant nor ultramarine, and yet this land will be beautiful. Beauty shifts as one gets used to one’s surroundings. A resident of an area that receives rain on summer days may have difficulty grasping that a rocky barren landscape can be a romantic site, at first, anyway. New renderings will expand our notion of what is beautiful. Add to this an economic perspective, and enterprising minds will cultivate not only ingenious business opportunities, but also add glamour to what is considered, for good reason, a formidable place.

Generations before us have sung and danced to tunes referencing the moon in a dreamy way. I remember my elders singing “Shine on, shine on harvest moon up in the sky.”* The old-time favorite “By the Light of the Silvery Moon”* scores the trifecta with the “moon,” “June,” and “tune” rhymes. Of course, lyrics can be more sophisticated; an updated effort for rhyme gives us the likes of: Mars, Stars, Ours, Quasars, Lodestars, Memoirs, Superstars and Repertoires. But the scope of engineering a habitable base on another planet is almost beyond comprehension, and it’s hard to imagine that simple rhymes can convey the depth of such a colossal undertaking. Our language had to suffice for previous lift-offs, EVAs and lunar landings, but for going to Mars? I wonder. Perhaps we’ll see new languages emerge. At the very least there will be huge additions to our lexicon. Human Martians (“Hutians”?) will necessarily live in an environment of conservation. People will have to conserve all of their resources, their oxygen, their fuel, food, even their own personal energy, and live in a way that maximizes everything. Is there a language more economical than Base Two? Time will tell.

Yet I doubt that Hutians will be chucking the standards of our archaic language any time soon. While a precise numerical system or language may best enable Mission Control specialists to understand accurately, react to, and provide for pioneers as these explorers routinely communicate their progress in building a base, their challenges to survive and ultimately thrive, and their physical and mental stresses, there’s still something to be said for feeding the soul. This will require different approaches, and our forward-thinking explorers will have to rely on their wits, their reactions, their own creativity and their knowledge of things past to create something new.

The times – they are a’ changin’,* and I’m over Phobos and Deimos just thinking about it!

*Here’s some info on the songs I reference:

“Fly Me to the Moon” (originally called, “In Other Words) was written by Bart Howard in 1954. Lots of people have recorded it, but it’s the Frank Sinatra version that many recognize.

When You Wish Upon a Star” was sung by a cricket — Jiminy Cricket, to be exact. You can hear Jiminy (Cliff Edwards) singing the song in the beginning and in the final scene of Walt Disney’s “Pinocchio,” released in 1940.

“I’ve Got the World On a String” was very popular. Harold Arlen composed the song in 1932; Ted Koehler wrote the lyrics. Lots of famous singers have recorded the piece; the “Chairman of the Board” Frank Sinatra recorded it in 1953.

The Ziegfeld Follies performed “Shine on Harvest Moon” in 1908. Nora Bayes and Jack Norworth are credited for writing the piece, but there is a bit of controversy over the credits. 

“By the Light of the Silvery Moon” was published in 1909. Gus Edwards wrote the tune, and Edward Madden composed the lyrics. Lucy and Ethel performed it in an “I Love Lucy” episode.

“The Times They Are A’Changin’” is Bob Dylan’s song and album by the same name. The album was released by Columbia Records on January 13, 1964.

Kathy Galgano

January 6, 2015

Copyright 1/8/2015. All rights reserved.

Kathy’s The Real Deal New Year’s Resolutions 2015

  1. I resolve to do my part during this time of serious drought in California by washing fewer dishes and eating out more.
  2. I resolve to restrain myself and not deck anyone who says “very unique.” By definition, “unique” means that it’s the only one. Nothing is ever “very unique.” And I can’t believe I just wrote this horrid phrase — twice.
  3. I resolve not to eat at a restaurant so uncreative that it’s called “Food.” That goes for the “exotic” fancy-named restaurants like “Cibo” (“CHEE-bo”) and means, you guessed it, “Food” in Italian.
  4. I resolve only to consume my weight in chocolate during the Easter and Christmas seasons when the Cadbury solid milk chocolates with that crisp sugar shell (green white and red) hit the shelves. I further resolve to curtail my urge to drive through my city to purchase every last bag of said Cadbury candies to stash away for the rest of the year. Besides, there aren’t any left. I checked.
  5. I resolve only to hum or sing nonsense syllables to my “Happy-Skippy” little ditty whenever somebody cuts me off while driving: “Da Dee Da-da Da Dee! Da Dee Da-da Da Dee!” That I am singing the lyrics “I hate the F*#!+*g jerks! I hate the F*#!+*g jerks!” in my head is a personal matter.
  6. I resolve to wish everyone a fine New Year. And I do.

Kathy Galgano

New Year’s Day, 2015

Copyright Kathleen M. Galgano — All rights reserved. January 1, 2015

Oh, Thank Goodness!

Thank Goodness, Thank Goodness the House approved a spending bill just before deadline. Could you imagine? How disastrous! I really did not want to have to start blogging daily again about it!

I know for certain I would not have been able to keep my tone civil. Up to this point, I have argued that somebody somewhere must provide a match light’s flare of reasoned discourse, and better yet if multiple people (dare I wish for “many” people?) strike a tone of civility. Some consider this a trifling exercise, but as the current modus operandi of unyielding non-compromise has proved unsuccessful, why not try a different tack?

Thank Goodness I don’t have to spend hours editing a post that, in a vain attempt to be “family-reader friendly,” would never be so. My anger would spill. It wouldn’t be pretty. And I doubt I would apologize for my curt and unceremonious missives.

At what point do I completely “lose it” and succumb to the very tactics I abhor? One of the most telling moments of my life came when I shouted at a mother carrying her child out of a line. This mother carried her young daughter past the hundreds and hundreds of us holding official purple tickets as we stood in a freezing tunnel in Washington, D.C. waiting to be let into the VIP section to witness the first inauguration of President Obama. The mood inside the “Purple Tunnel of Doom” changed as time passed, from joyful anticipation to a speculation that the sheer numbers of ticket holders could never proceed through the line and security in time, then to the stark realization that we were not going to get into the inauguration at all, and finally to a controlled but palpable near-panic that we would not be let out of the tunnel. I believe I was overcome by an initial sense of injustice. We had all waited so patiently, and here was this woman, leaving the line, just walking and pushing her way through the crowd, going on ahead of us. This was a wrongdoing.  And so I shouted at a mother carrying her daughter. It was only after this moment passed that I realized that this mother was securing her own, and her daughter’s safety.  I will forever remember my deep frustration, my anger, my fear for my own safety, and my almost immediate embarrassment, remorse and shame.  When pushed to the brink, I blew it.

Talk about your life lessons. This is not a surprising finding; there is often the threat of violence in large demonstrations. Reasoned and reasonable people, passionate over a cause, fervent, find themselves engaged in escalating arguments. Right now people are convening throughout the U.S. and abroad, raising their voices every night in response to Grand Jury findings related to the death of black men by the hands of police officers. Scary things can happen when people are angry. This country has a proud history, and this history includes stories where members of the highest political office engaged in debate that went beyond charged rhetoric. There was a wild floor brawl in the House that progressed from insults to blows to general melee.  I’m not talking about the House and Senate now, this happened in 1858.* And this continues to happen around the globe today.

I had figured the Congress would strike a budget deal. Everybody seemed to be fairly certain of it. But the fact that our elected leaders waited so long, with what appears to me, anyway, to be a “thumb your nose” attitude, once again not seeming to care that peoples’ lives are on the line, that our country’s image is reaching new lows, and that folks are getting sick and tired of business as usual, is disturbing. So knowing that I once yelled at a mother holding a child while she tried to escape a tense and dangerous situation, I’m not sure I can keep my goal of “showing the leaders how it’s done” in line.

I’m not condoning violence – far from it. I was scared in that Purple Tunnel of Doom. But I don’t know how to “attack” this situation. I’m getting really tired of business as usual. My efforts to model proper behavior to legislators might be a useless exercise. My pen may have to drop the “Miss Manners” approach. The question is, how do I ensure that I don’t sink to lows that rival elected legislators’ tactics?

* U.S. House of Representatives: History, Art, & Archives

http://history.house.gov/Historical-Highlights/1851-1900/The-most-infamous-floor-brawl-in-the-history-of-the-U-S–House-of-Representatives/

Kathy Galgano

December 12, 2014

Something We Can All Agree On – (Please, read to the end)

Dear Democratic Leader Pelosi:

I write to you here because as I do not live in your Congressional district,  my attempt to email you failed.

Congratulations on your election to remain the House Democratic leader.

Having said this, please know that I am removing myself from this email list, sadly. I am personally surprised at my fatigue in all things politics, especially now, after this month’s mid-term elections, when my Party’s numbers in Congressional representation have been reduced so significantly. And while I want and need to stay informed, I feel that there is a constant free-for-all in the emails that are sent to me. I am done with the emails that sensationalize everything, that always request a contribution, and that appear to divide the gap between the two parties even further.  

I received the news that you have been re-elected as House Democratic leader, and was asked for a contribution. I am always asked for a contribution, no matter what the news. I appreciate your hard work and tenacity, but, (and yes, there is a “but” here) must all emails include a request for money? Perhaps an announcement, and a call to rally would have been sufficient, and not tipped me over the edge. I am unsubscribing to these emails.

Here’s why I am tired — through this constant barrage of emails, the appearance is that elected representatives from both houses cannot do their jobs without airing dirty laundry, without constantly asking for money, without inane and sensational “Subject” lines that are at best humorous, and at worst, infantile and embarrassing. I am tired of reading multiple times a day that all is lost. I am also tired at the lack of respect for the offices of representing citizens; that respect has been whittled away by infighting, and also by these so-called “chummy” emails. Remember, citizens get these emails multiple times a day. Representing the people of the United States is serious business, and the behavior of elected officials as portrayed in these missives is unprofessional. This goes not only for the legislative branch, but also for the executive branch. Compound this constant campaign of ridiculous emails with the work that is not getting done in the beautiful and historic chambers in the Capitol building, and one might begin to understand why voters, well, I can only speak for myself here, why I am tired of the way business is being done today,

While something deep inside me knows that money is needed and campaign reform laws are paramount, I have been worn down to the point that I can no longer spend energy every day sorting through these missives, reading accounts of how the political parties continue to fight and how nothing is getting done, and then cringing as I am asked for and yet another contribution. 

Again, I sincerely congratulate you, Congresswoman Pelosi, and I wish you all the very best. I appreciate your hard work and tenacity and service. I also hope that a sense of decorum can be re-established, that people can see that the Congress is willing no longer to use the citizenry to jump in and take sides as if this were a big sporting match where we shout each other down. I fear that we have become a laughing stock. I look forward to a day when, while entrenched in vehement disagreement, there will be some respect for each other and for the electorate.

As you prepare for a new Congress, my thoughts are with you as you attempt to negotiate policy in a profound climate of non-partisanship, and urge you to take a new tack. I also urge your party members to do the same. Who knows? Perhaps this is something to which both sides can agree.

Respectfully,

Kathleen M. Galgano