Monday, October 31, 2005


Leaves and laughs and lunch

When most Americans think of weird weather this year they probably reference the Gulf Coast first, and with good reason. But there's been very real, if less spectacular, weather upheaval here in New England as well.

It started with "the endless spring" which was all cool and wet well into June. And it's ending with "the endless fall"—actually the endless Indian Summer. Temperatures this week will graze 70 almost every day. Periods of near-drought have been followed by catastrophic rains. And that greatest of tourist magnets, New England Fall Color, has suffered a real gut-punch.

There is some disagreement as to whether the coming of chilly weather or the shrinking of the amount of daylight actually causes the turning of the leaves from green into brilliant reds, yellows and oranges. Fritz has always maintained the latter—that shorter amounts of daylight make it impossible for the chlorophyll to remain stable in the leaves. It deteriorates and allows all the other color enzymes to emerge. But that hasn't happened this year—we're getting warmer days and green leaves together almost three weeks after the color should have been at its height.

Huge numbers of trees still have all their leaves, and those leaves are green. Maybe not the deep emerald green of high summer, but green nevertheless. Where color is appearing, it's muted and pretty but not the brilliant, almost garish display we're used to. Even the sugar maples, the showiest of all, are reticent this year. The big wall of sugar maples that ring the parking lot at Fritz's Center are a lovely butter yellow this year but only one has the (slightest) hint of fiery orange.

Has any of you seen The Borowitz Report? Andy Borowitz is a political humorist, maybe even a political satirist, on the web. Here's a recent example of his relatively brief, to the point columns:


The Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) began working around the clock to repair what they called "a massive leak" in Vice President Dick Cheney, the head of the USACE confirmed today.

Humorist Andy Borowitz

Lieutenant General Carl A. Strock, Commander and Chief of Engineers for the USACE, said that the leak in the vice president was approximately four inches in diameter and was located in the lower half of Mr. Cheney's face. "When we realized the size and scope of this leak, we immediately sent an emergency team of engineers to the vice president's head to address the problem," Lieutenant General Strock said. But even as the USACE team was dispatched to the vice president's secure, undisclosed location, some experts wondered why the leak, which reportedly first appeared in July of 2003, took so long to attract the attention of the government.

According to Dr. Lawrence Trester of the University of Minnesota's School of Engineering, "It strains credulity that a four-inch leak in the vice president's face wouldn't show up in one of his annual checkups." Dr. Trester added, "It's also surprising that no one knew about the leak, since apparently a New York Times reporter was in the vicinity when it burst."

At the White House, President George W. Bush also expressed surprise at the magnitude of the vice president's leak: "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of Dick Cheney's piehole."

Elsewhere, the World Health Organization said that in a worst-case scenario, the avian flu could spread from a bird to Jude Law and then to half the world's population.

He always ends his reports with an "Elsewhere" one line zinger on a totally different topic. The Borowitz report can be found at

I spent the ENTIRE day fantasizing lunch. Now I like food; I actually love food for its powers of bringing people together and for bringing me together with great carbohydrates and champagne. But I don't usually obsess. Today was different.

I had an annual physical exam that my HMO had rescheduled not once but twice from mid-August until today because of my doctor's shifting schedule. It was set for 4:40pm and I knew that in order to get everything done, including the blood work up in the lab, I'd have to be fasting for the whole day. So this day of all days, one of my colleagues had to bring in homemade rugelach. Another made a run to Au Bon Pain and conspiculously asked if I wanted an orange scone or an almond croissant, both of which I love. The smell of fresh coffee kept invading the paint floor where I was trying to immerse myself in work.

But I didn't give in and got it all done at the end of the day--including the single most enjoyable prostate exam my doctor has ever given me.

I love the fall colors of my youth in the New York and Pennsylvania....I miss them. Thanks for sharing the photos.
A prostate exam is a terrible thing to waste. It's nice when things work out in the end.
Those colors are gorgeous. I don't think NE suffered much for the weather. But that's compared to Ohio, which only has pockets of garish colors.

Borowitz is fun! Thanks for pointing him out.

Hmm, maybe Fritz needs to give you more regular prostate exams!
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