Newburyport, et. al–One Step Back

Newburyport et. al (“et. al”=abrr Latin, et. alii=”and others”), “two steps forward and one step back.”

“Two steps forward and one step back,” according to Wikipedia, “Is a catchphrase reflecting on an anecdote about a frog trying to climb out of a water well; for every two steps the frog climbs, it falls back by one step, making its progress arduous.”

George loves this. George being one of the political consultants to the Newburyport Blog. Finally, after all this time a reference to “frogs.”


George extremely happy that frogs are once again being “taken seriously” on the Newburyport Blog.

George, btw, has been lobbying for his own “Fan Page” on Facebook, as the consultant to the Newburyport Blog. (I might just do it, to show him that his “fans” are most likely froggy few and far between.)

And for this “Liberal Democrat,” the election for the Massachusetts Senate seat is most definitely “one step back.” (A lot more than “one” step.)

And in my funk, (I am most definitely in a funk about the result of the Massachusetts special election), I’m thinking that the “two steps forward and one step back,” applies to almost every political attempt at progress, whether it is from a Liberal, Democrat, Republican, Progressive, Conservative, Rightwing, Independent, whatever point of view.

It’s just how stuff works. The Democrats made huge history, giant leap forward, with the election of an Afro-American president. In the cyclical nature of things, at least “one” step backwards probably could have been expected.

And in Newburyport, MA, the election of 2007 ushered in one of the most “progressive” Newburyport City Councils that I have ever seen. The mantra was for “hang on to your hats,” “full speed ahead” with a progressive agenda.

Election 2009, for a myriad of reasons, a progressive Newburyport Council, not so much. And why this should surprise me? It should not. In Newburyport, it has been my observation, that from whatever point of view, the path is never linear, it always seems to me to be, “two steps forward, one step back.”

Newburyport, Massachusetts Election Postmortem

Oy Vey.

I still haven’t calmed down. But Jon Stewart pretty much nails it for me in the segment the day before the “historic” Massachusetts senate race (a few things I disagree with, maybe more thoughts on that later).

The Massachusetts Election
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
Mass Backwards
January 19, 2010

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Daily Show
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Political Humor Health Care Crisis

And with all scathing criticism leveled at President Obama from the Right, Middle and Left, Jon Stewart also pretty much nails it for me on that subject as well.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
Barack Obama is Not a Magic Negro

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Crisis

Newburyport–Finding Out Where to Vote

People are trying to find out where to vote in Newburyport.

If you live in Newburyport and do not know where you go to vote, the Newburyport City Clerk has this link. Press HERE.

You just put in your street number, city/town, state and zip code.

It works for everyone in Massachusetts. It is from Secretary Galvin’s Office.

And vote for Martha Coakley, the Democrat (D).

Newburyport Winter Light

One of the things that I think Mother Nature definitely got right, is as the days grow shorter, and the sun is low in the sky, to make sure that the leaves fall from the trees, thereby letting in lots more light.

And in Newburyport, there comes a time in the fall when I am actually glad to see the last of the, by then, translucent, often yellow leaves float down to earth, letting oh, so much more light shine through into my dwelling, as the winter time frame for light becomes more and more undersized.

And there is always a point, sometime in the fall, when the light changes. It is a subtle change, but the hue is different.

And in the winter morning, as the sun rises later in the sky, the light touches the tips of the now leafless trees, and ignites them in a yellow-crimson light, that makes them luminous, and they glow in a way, that they never glow any other time of year.

And my discovery, as I sit in a reading chair one Sunday afternoon, after a Newburyport snow storm. The sun as it goes down around 4:30, lights up the now retreating clouds. And my neighbor’s 3rd floor windows facing West, hidden by trees in the summer, becomes an astonishing deep pink, yellow, blue color.

The windows are so bright that I wonder if my neighbors have done over their third floor, or gotten some exotic light fixture. But the color of their windows slowly changes to a dark and penetrating purple and then finally fades to black.

No, it is not a new decor, but a spectacular Newburyport winter light show, for free, put on by none other than Mother Nature.

Snow and the Newburyport DPW

I’ve lived here in Newburyport, MA a year shy of 3 decades now. Not to brag, but Newburyport City Councilor, Tom O’Brien, called me “an almost native.” May seem weird, but this really and truly is a big, huge compliment (I’m actually not kidding here).

And driving on Rt. 1A after a New England snow storm, one could always tell when one was entering a new town because of how the roadway was plowed. And for 3 decades, Newburyport, in the roadway being plowed department, has always stuck out, not in a good way. Definitely in the not as well plowed department. And after 3 decades, I’m beginning to think it’s just a Newburyport systemic thing.

I have found over the years, that calling the Newburyport Department of Public Works (DPW) and requesting better plowing on my street has worked wonders. At one point, I even sent them a “thank you” note, which they promptly pinned to their bulletin board. I think that they said that it was to boost moral, and that it might have been the only thank you note that they, the Newburyport DPW, had ever received.

During this recent snow storm, the first of January 2010, I called to say that the plowing job on my street was the worst I had seen in 13 years. The foreman (I believe that’s who it was) showed up on my street within about 15 minutes, and we had a very nice chat. Really, it was very nice.

Apparently, in its hope to do a good plowing job last year, the plows got too close to people’s property, and lawns and driveways were damaged (I believe that this was the gist of the informed information that I received). So this year to compensate, the folks (a lot of new folks apparently) were told to be very careful, the result being, plowing very far away from the Newburyport curbs.

I explained to the gentleman from the DPW who came for a visit, and the very nice and patient lady who answers the phone at the Newburyport DPW, that my neighbors and I were snow-blowing and shoveling our street, which, I was pretty sure was not the goal. They agreed.

When the plow returned to our street to finish up the job, it did one spectacular job. And I was impressed. So a big thank you from me to our Newburyport DPW.