Saturday, October 01, 2005

killer intersection claims two more (vehicles)

Beautiful Saturday afternoon. Am sitting in the office, catching up on email, when BLAM! The sickening sound of metal against metal at 2:55 pm. I look outside—a little SUV smacked into a pickup truck at the intersection of Strawberry Hill Avenue and Tierney Street. Smoke billowing from the hood of the SUV. Looked like the truck was trying to make a turn onto SHA and didn’t clear the SUV which was going at the usual SHA clip of about 45 mph (in a 25 mph zone).

Firetruck came. Then an ambulance. I watched for about 15 minutes and never saw the cops arrive. As is typical here in Fairfield County, people refused to stop to let the ambulance maneuver into position—they were too important, I guess, to worry about someone who may be dying for lack of treatment. Looks like the woman driver of the SUV was banged up pretty good, but she was walking around. I think it was the truck driver trying to direct traffic. Doesn’t look like anyone was seriously injured or dead—this time.

I still cannot for the life of me fathom why the city or the state or whoever is responsible for this street refuses to put even a stop sign here. This intersection needs, badly, a traffic light. One was approved in 1998, but one homeowner at that intersection pitched a bitch so it was never installed. Traffic, since then, has gotten much, much worse. I am sure the mayor, Alex Knopp, who promised to help fix the traffic problem here in Norwalk but has done absolutely nothing to help, won’t do a frelling thing until a kid is killed while trying to walk home from school (there are still a few walkers).

posted by lee on 10/01/05 at 12:57 PM
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what constitutes a “rebound?”

Saw this headline today on Bloomberg:

Bush’s Approval Rating Rebounds on Response to Rita, Newsweek Poll Finds

Which surprised me, because I didn’t see much about how wonderful Bushie’s adminstration was about responding to Rita. So I read the article and found that Bloomberg’s editors, or headline writers, calls a 2% increase in approval rating a rebound. From 38% approval to 40%.

Two percent is a rebound?

Ya think Bloomberg might be a little biased?

posted by lee on 10/01/05 at 01:16 PM
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Saturday, October 08, 2005

my botswana obsession - rainy-day fun

copyright National Geographic: zebrasOddly compelling webcam, the wildcam on National Geographic that focuses on Pete’s Pond in Botswana.

There’s something just so fascinating about watching this webcam—maybe it’s that I’m looking at live photos of animals on the other side of the world. I’ve seen zebras and elephants, jackals, herons, chacma baboons, hyenas, impalas, and other creatures I haven’t figured out yet—and I’ve only been checking it for a couple of days. Oh, and there’s an audio feed most of the time as well. Ginger barks and growls at the baboons. I keep hoping I’ll see a leopard.

It’s the dry season in Botswanna—I think the monsoons begin in November, when the wildcam won’t be available, I guess because it’ll be so wet. There is a lot of information about the wildlife in this section as well as a blog written by members of the research team and staff at this wildlife preserve.

It’s rained more than 3.5 inches here the past two days, most of it today. That’s why I’ve been looking at this webcam rather than planting tulips and irises. Lots of rain! Thus ends our drought. I wish I had time to plant more grass seeds before the rains started, but oh well. This is what’s left of tropical storm Tammy, the weatherperson says. The trees here are about ten days behind schedule because it’s been so warm. With this front moving through, I think summer is really over. But autumn is my favorite season, so that doesn’t bother me very much.

posted by lee on 10/08/05 at 08:51 PM
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connecticut blogs in the new york times

Hey! was featured yet again by the New York Times, along with several other Connecticut blogs (not this one, boo hoo). The article appears in the Connecticut section and is titled Dear Blog: It’s Another Day in Connecticut (by Barbara Gordon). I think this article is in the still-free section.

Here is the section about has become the gold standard in Connecticut for blogs that focus on news and information. It is run by Gordon Joseloff, a journalist who worked for United Press International and CBS, and who said in an interview that he lives off his real estate holdings in Fairfield County because blogs make little to no money.

The blog makes liberal use of photographs of breaking news in Westport. There are images of downed wires, road construction, storm damage and car accidents like one in Westport last summer involving the singer and actress Eartha Kitt and her two toy poodles.

Within a few hours of that crash, photographs showing Ms. Kitt on the ground surrounded by emergency workers, her Range Rover on its roof and her toy poodles held on a leash by her daughter, were posted not on an Associated Press Web site or the local television news, but on Employees for The New York Post saw the posting, acquired the pictures and published them in the next day’s editions.

To get that kind of image, Mr. Joseloff has cultivated the good graces of stay-at-home mothers, retirees, students, aspiring photographers and anybody else with a camera and a willingness to take rudimentary instruction in shooting pictures.

Mr. Joseloff has come to know what writing a successful blog feels like. But he is also running as the Democratic candidate for first selectman of Westport, and Westporters have let him know they are concerned about the future of the blog if he wins.

Mr. Joseloff related a conversation he had with a Westportnow reader recently.

“Gordon, any bozo can run Westport,” the reader said to him. “But only you can do Westportnow.”

There are also a lot of links to other CT blogs that I wasn’t aware of, particularly a collection of CT blog feed put together and maintained by Tom Fausel, who lives in Harwinton (which is in Litchfield County, near Torrington—a gorgeous area in the state). This blog of blogs is (you have to use the www to get there). Oh cool, so many places to explore ...

posted by lee on 10/08/05 at 09:10 PM
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Saturday, October 15, 2005

sun - it really is sunshine!

It rained here for eight days and eight nights straight. But today, at long soggy last, a break in the rain. Sunshine—that’s sunshine I see!

The grand total for the eight-day storm’s worth of rain here is 9.6 inches.

Now it’s windy, really windy, and the lights are flickering once in a while. If it gets worse, we’ll call CL&P again to have them fix the loose connection. They were supposed to during the last windstorm, which occurred right before the deluge, but they didn’t.

We had out usual assortment of old-house leaks, and Stanley spent a good amount of time bailing out the cellar, but we emerged relatively unscathed from the downpours. We live at the top of Sunset Hill, so I wasn’t worried about floods. There is a lot of flooding in other areas of Connecticut, and it will probably take a few days before things are back to normal and there can be some total damage assessment. I don’t think any houses floated down any rivers, but a lot of houses were flooded.

What’s really strange is this rainstorm occurred almost 50 years to the day as the storm of 1955 where the torrential rains caused flooding that tore up a good many towns in Connecticut. There is a very interesting article in the Norwalk Advocate today about what the flood of 1955 did to Norwalk—which, truth be told, never really recovered. And the Norwalk River has been so straight-jacketed that it wasn’t even mentioned this week as a potential problem.

Seems like the planet is becoming a much more dangerous place to live.

Tomorrow, maybe it will be dry enough to finish planting my irises and our new rosebush and, maybe, we can put some more grass seed down. It’s too wet today.

We were supposed to go to Natick this weekend to watch Ben play football, but his game was bumped by the high school’s make-up game. So we will go next weekend instead. Next Friday, we are going to the other side of the state—maybe by then the leaves will have finally turned and it will be a pretty drive.

Damn, it’s clouding up again.

posted by lee on 10/15/05 at 12:32 PM
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Yesterday, we went to see Serenity, the movie based on the short-lived tv series Firefly. We’d spent a good many late nights viewing the DVD of the tv series (which we got from the Norwalk Library—how cool is that?) before we went to see the movie, and I’m glad we did. While the movie could be viewed and enjoyed without having seen Firefly, it is soooo much better if you know the backstories.

Firefly was astonishingly good. We never got a chance to see it while it ran on tv because Fox played so many scheduling games with it. It’s a series that should never have been cancelled until it played out.

Serenity is an excellent movie. I’m still in shock over a couple of things that happened in the movie, but even my distress over one event in particular doesn’t diminish how good this movie is. It most emphatically has a message, as all the best space operas/westerns do. What I liked about the movie was that it surprised me—some things, I didn’t see coming.

The actor who impressed me the most is Gina Torres, who plays Zoe. I’m looking forward to seeing her in other features. I know she was in one of the Matrix movies, but I don’t remember her role.

The thing I don’t like about the movie is that the music from Firefly is missing—the movie score isn’t anything special. Or even interesting. If the score from the series were available to buy, I’d get it in a heartbeat. The score from the movie IS available and I won’t bother. Whedon really dropped the ball here—why he didn’t bring back Greg Edmonton to do the movie music, I don’t know.

I don’t want to say anything about what the movie is really about because it would be too easy to spoil it—suffice to say that if you have any bit of a rebel streak in you at all, you will really like this movie. If you’re a bureaucrat or politician or middle management, you probably won’t.

posted by lee on 10/15/05 at 01:06 PM
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i like stripes

Who has better stripes? copyright 2005 by Lee Fleming, Norwalk, CT. All rights reserved.

(click to enlarge) lots of stripes

posted by lee on 10/15/05 at 08:55 PM
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ah, married life ...


(click to enlarge) This was taken on our way home from vacation. There we were, half way between vacation and home, in a hotel room by ourselves, no obligations, internet connections a pain in the ass so why bother, nothing on the telly, nothing to worry about, already had dinner. Perfect set up for, um, fooling around, right? This was taken at, oh, 9:30 pm. The kitty was happy. I got a lot of reading done. Stanley was pretty wiped out, obviously. Must have been the sunburn!

posted by lee on 10/15/05 at 09:09 PM
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tucker sneaks a snooze

Meet Tucker, who sneaked up onto Mom’s couch to get comfy. Tucker is a dog rescued by my sister Carolyn. The folks who talked her into taking him told her he’s a pure-bred Labrador. Biggest damn lab I’ve ever seen! They said he was about three years old. He looks like he’s part bloodhound or great Dane, and looks like he’s less than two years old. Whatever—he’s a sweetie. His coat is a mess as he’d been badly neglected and was emaciated when Cara got him. He reeks of the medicine that will cure his skin problem (whatever it is)—the coat that is left is beautifully shiny so he’ll be gorgeous when he’s cured. He eats like he’s part horse, and seems to get a little more filled out daily. We took him to the beach, figuring he’s take to the water like a seal as most labs do. Well, he did, but he’s funny to watch since he jumps over the waves rather than going through them. This is a great dog—I’m looking forward to seeing what he looks like when we see him again next summer (or sooner—depends on when my niece gets married!) (click image to enlarge)

Cara's dog Tucker. copyright 2005 by Lee Fleming, Norwalk, CT. All rights reserved.

posted by lee on 10/15/05 at 09:33 PM
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Sunday, October 16, 2005

now it’s the wind

Very frustrating day. It’s pretty out, mixed sun and clouds, in the low 60s—would be a perfect day to work outside. However, the wind is really bad today. It’s sustained between 10 and 20 mph, gusting to 40 mph. And by gusting, I don’t mean every once in a while—I mean it’s more like a rapid cycle. Which turns the ripe butternuts into deadly projectiles, not to mention various branches and the occasional Lil Tyke slide. (Are butternuts good for anything? Are they edible? I mean other than for squirrels.)

But what’s even worse is out power is going in and out. It was supposed to be fixed during the last windstorm, but was not—they called and Stanley answered the phone telling them that yes, the power was on (the wind had died down), so they didn’t bother to fix the problem which, they said, is a loose connection. Which made me mad—I yelled at Stanley and told him you never tell the utility company a problem is fixed until you’ve seen them fix it with your own eyes. (I don’t yell at anyone very much, so you can tell how frustrated I was. It’s so hard to work with everything flickering.) So now we have to deal with this nonsense again and, since there are so many power outages here in Connecticut, I’m sure we’ll have to wait and wait.

It’s impossible to do anything—I don’t have the light so I can’t work on my books (taxes are due tomorrow and this year I pushed it to the limit—I’m about two hours from being done with them). We can’t figure out why we still have an internet connection—other than there must be a power supply built into the power strips. Don’t know how long it will last. And I’m using the laptop—don’t know how long it will be before I have to turn it off.

A tree blew down today (click to enlarge):
tree down at Strawberry Hill Avenue and Walter, Norwalk, CT.
This is at the corner of Strawberry Hill Avenue and Walter, right in front of Nathan Hale Middle School, about a block away from our house. It’s mostly gone now—they worked pretty fast to get it taken care of since SHA is so busy. 

I’m nervous about losing one of our trees—the ground is just so saturated I’ll be surprised and grateful if we don’t. Maybe we can plant my irises and the new rosebush tomorrow.

posted by lee on 10/16/05 at 12:23 PM
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