A Photo a Week Challenge: Crowd Control

An ordinary day in a small town. An ordinary day … about to become … different. Exciting. Memorable. Because on this day, the power went out in Hannaford. It was only dark for a few seconds, after which the emergency generators kicked in. It could have been worse.

It was dark throughout the plaza. We will never know why. The wailing siren of a passing police cruiser and the ambulance that followed it might be a hint.


Despite all the computers being down, the lights dim while running on generators, no panic ensued. We waited, patiently, at the pharmacy. We had been waiting to get our flu shots. Although you can give a vaccination without a computer, record-keeping is computer-based.

No computers? No medication. No vaccines. No nothing until the power is back and the computers reboot. You can buy groceries in the dark if you have cash or a paper check, but everything medical is regulated. Sorry, no sale.

Garry took it personally. Another version of slow drivers.

Just as we were about to give up and go home … the lights came back. And all was well. Life was good again.


An entirely uninteresting new story? Right now, that pretty much sums up the news, not counting the stories that are merely depressing, aggravating, demoralizing, and/or infuriating.

The "Dodge City Peace Commission", June 1888. (L to R) standing: W.H. Harris, Luke Short, Bat Masterson, W.F. Petillon. Seated: Charlie Bassett, Wyatt Earp, Frank McLain and Neal Brown.

The “Dodge City Peace Commission”, June 1888. (L to R) standing: W.H. Harris, Luke Short, Bat Masterson, W.F. Petillon. Seated: Charlie Bassett, Wyatt Earp, Frank McLain and Neal Brown.

We don’t have a newspaper delivered. Garry usually goes out to buy one. Sometimes he misses a day and makes do with the Internet, but he likes having a paper to hold and peruse.

As a former TV news reporter for a network affiliate in Boston, he used to read three newspapers every morning, looking for items that might make a good story for him. Now, he studiously avoids the daily reports of violence and human misery … and politics … and goes directly to sports. It’s baseball’s playoff season and the Cubs are in it for the first time in many long decades. That’s about as good as the news gets these days.

Doesn't this seem strangely familiar?

Doesn’t this seem strangely familiar?

We watch The Daily Show in the evening. Though technically it’s comedy, there’s more real news on it than we find on the so-called “Real News.” Mostly it is all politics. Republican politics, since it is they who are hosting the circus. I suppose we can look forward to the second act when the Democrats get into stride. How depressing.


I’m not a Republican and I would probably vote Democratic anyway …. but I’d like to have a meaningful choice. We are supposed to have two parties. I do not have to agree with a party in order to respect its representatives. The bunch of clowns and opportunists supposedly in the running for the GOP nomination are an embarrassment. To me, to the nation, to the world.

Gee. It looks like nothing much has changed, eh?

Gee. It looks like nothing much has changed, eh?

The party of Lincoln has turned into a joke and it makes me sad. Are these men and women truly the best and brightest the Grand Old Party has to offer? Of course, we aren’t the only country where this has or is occurring, but it’s here that it really hits me where it hurts.

Uncle sam political cartoon 1899

I had thought things couldn’t get any worse, politically speaking … but I was wrong. Garry says it’s my fault for thinking things couldn’t get worse, for allowing that random thought to pass through my brain. I apologize. I never thought it could get this bad and although I would like to believe that party politics has bottomed out, I fear that there may be even worse to come.

We fought. We died. Please get out there and vote!

We fought. We died for the right to vote. Please vote!

How does that effect me? How could it not affect me? And you and you and you and you and you and you …




Given the furor over gay marriage, it should have come as no surprise that there would be hysterical outrage over the legalized joining of humans with their favorite device, animal, mineral, or plant.

As soon as the technology became available, millions of teenagers raced to fuse with their cell phones, nerds with their computers, aviators with fighter planes, animal rights activists with their favorite vanishing species (leading some to wonder if this will not signal the death knell for many species) and tree huggers with large forests. Fundamentalist Christian groups — never imagining the far-reaching implications of this law — scrambled to get out of church and on the street.


“Clearly,” stated the Reverend Righteous P. Indignation, spokesman for the Church of the Ridiculous Assumption, “This is not what God had in mind. Although the Bible does not specifically mention marriage — or fusion — with non-human things, this can’t be right in His eyes.” Indignation’s statement was greeted by catcalls, neighing, bleats, beeps and a goodly amount of shrill ringing.

Many, mirroring the human yearning for the freedom of flight have chosen to form a union with some kind of bird. Eagles were most popular, with geese, swans, and other water fowl close behind. Racing enthusiasts have become mostly horse, often with the rear end as the dominant segment while their bookies have chosen chainsaws and jack hammers.

While corporations hustled to reinvent themselves in light of a weirdly altered target audience, communications providers from television to Hollywood tried to reconfigure everything from seating in stadiums to snacks at movie kiosks.

The potential impact on major sports has not yet been calculated. Some prefer to be a ball and others a bat, so to speak.

Only Walmart, ever sanguine, merely widened aisles in super-stores.

“We never care what customers look like,” said a spokesman. “If they look or behave like sheep or cattle, as long as they pay at the register, everyone is welcome at Wally World.”



On the evening of March 3, 2013, a young paleontologist named Nizar Ibrahim was sitting in a street-front café in Erfoud, Morocco, watching the daylight fade and feeling his hopes fade with it. Along with two colleagues, Ibrahim had come to Erfoud three days earlier to track down a man who could solve a mystery that had obsessed Ibrahim since he was a child. The man Ibrahim was looking for was a fouilleur — a local fossil hunter who sells his wares to shops and dealers.

Among the most valued of the finds are dinosaur bones from the Kem Kem beds, a 150-mile-long escarpment harboring deposits dating from the middle of the Cretaceous period, 100 to 94 million years ago.


After searching for days among the excavation sites near the village of El Begaa, the three scientists had resorted to wandering the streets of the town in hopes of running into the man. Finally, weary and depressed, they had retired to a café to drink mint tea and commiserate. “Everything I’d dreamed of seemed to be draining away,” Ibrahim remembers.

Ibrahim’s dreams were inextricably entangled with those of another paleontologist who had ventured into the desert a century earlier. Between 1910 and 1914 Ernst Freiherr Stromer von Reichenbach, a Bavarian aristocrat, and his team made several lengthy expeditions into the Egyptian Sahara, at the eastern edge of the ancient riverine system of which the Kem Kem forms the western boundary.

Despite illness, desert hardships, and the gathering upheaval of World War I, Stromer found some 45 different taxa of dinosaurs, crocodiles, turtles, and fish. Among his finds were two partial skeletons of a remarkable new dinosaur, a gigantic predator with yard-long jaws bristling with interlocking conical teeth. Its most extraordinary feature, however, was the six-foot sail-like structure that it sported on its back, supported by distinctive struts, or spines. Stromer named the animal Spinosaurus aegyptiacus.


Stromer’s discoveries, prominently displayed in the Bavarian State Collection for Paleontology and Geology in central Munich, made him famous. During World War II he tried desperately to have his collection removed from Munich, out of range of Allied bombers.

But the museum director, an ardent Nazi who disliked Stromer for his outspoken criticism of the Nazi regime, refused. In April 1944 the museum and nearly all of Stromer’s fossils were destroyed in an Allied air raid. All that was left of Spinosaurus were field notes, drawings, and sepia-toned photographs. Stromer’s name gradually faded from the academic literature.

Read more! Source:

I’ve always been fascinated by dinosaurs. This is a fantastic find. I thought maybe you would find it fascinating too.

See on In and About the News


Yesterday, we gathered to celebrate the life of a friend who passed away earlier this year.

Our friend was Joe Day. Joe’s name should be familiar to those who’ve lived in New England during the past forty years. He was a highly respected TV news reporter for four of Boston’s major television stations (WHDH, WCVB, WGBH, WBZ). Joe specialized in politics. He covered presidents, governors, senators, congressmen and local elective officials.

But many of us fondly remember Joe’s “people” stories, vignettes about everyday folks living their lives in relative obscurity. That was Joe at his best. On and off camera, he was a modest, plain-spoken guy despite the richly deserved awards he received which recognized his career.

Yesterday, there were smiles and tears as people shared stories about Joe. We were mostly the generation of “old fart” journalists, recalling the days when news wasn’t just a business. Joe Day was at the core of all those memories.

It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces. We have drifted apart geographically and socially in many cases. Sometimes we paused before hugging because we no longer look the way we did in our “head shot” days.

Joe Day’s family marveled at the size of the gathering. It’s one thing to send an email or video tribute. But to turn out in impressive numbers on a hot August Saturday, that says so much about how Joe touched the lives of people around him.

Fame is fleeting and transitory in TV news. Friendship is another thing. Usually it fades quickly after changing jobs, states and retirement. You always mean to stay in touch but it rarely happens.

That’s what makes the celebratory gathering so special. All those folks bonding in their memories of yesterday when our world was young and Joe Day touched our lives, making each one of us a little better just for knowing him.

Such good friends.


We aren’t home. We are visiting friends. If we have not answered your comments or visited your site, it’s because we are vacating.


I’ll try to play catch-up, but I probably won’t entirely. This is a much-needed time-out of regular life. I’ll be back by Monday. We are fine. Better than fine. We are relaxing with friends!



The news has been slow around here. Just regular stuff. Accidents, government stupidity and incompetence, scandals of the famous and wannabes. Changes in weather. Boston has a new mayor, too. So after all this ordinary stuff, I was thrilled to find this headline. From Dublin across the seas, this pops up on my browser:

Italian lodger tells police he is ‘guilty’ of cannibal murder

Saverio Bellante is remanded in custody after gruesome killing in Dublin

I bet our newscasters would be really happy to have a shot at something this juicy. Yum. Since the demise of Jeffrey Dahmer, there hasn’t been an incredibly disgusting, gory serial murderer to liven up the news cycle.

That got me wondering about today’s prompt which asks us who we would want — of all the possible readers and followers — to be reading our blog. This isn’t bragging, but I know a few of my favorite authors drop round here now and again, usually when I review one of their books or feature an interview with one of them. I know because they send me little thank you notes, probably advisable for any author that gets a really good review from any reviewer. We are prima donnas no less than they and we feed our hungry egos with the cast off kudos of the great and nearly great.

But how cool to be followed by a cannibal? It would be a coup. Definitely would come with bragging rights!

Garry Clean Harbors-SMALL

While Garry was a working reporter, we occasionally got phone calls late at night from convicted serial killers, sometimes critiquing his performance du jour. Turns out, they watched him on the telly. Who’d have guessed that serial killers have phone privileges? Icing on the cake?

Perpetrators of gruesome murders currently on trial would wave and wink at him in the courtroom. I’m sure all the other reporters were jealous. Aside from being intensely creepy, it always made me wonder if their fondness for my husband and his work would count for or against us if they were to get loose and drop by for a visit. They obviously knew how and where to track him down. Find Garry? Find me too.

Garry with Tip O'Neill

Garry with Tip O’Neill

On second thought, I wouldn’t be surprised to discover I’m a major hit in the prison system. It would explain the thousand or so followers who remain nameless and never leave comments or even a “like.”

Personally, I’d prefer to be followed (breathlessly, eagerly) by a power player in the literary world. An agent!