Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit

Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit,
In like a lion, out like a lamb,
Red sky in the morning.

These phrases come to mind,
as the temperature drops, again,
and the snow piles up.

This time, we made sugar on snow,
like we did when I was young
and like my parents did
when they were young.

A coyote ran down the street this afternoon,
perhaps hoping to catch a rabbit for dinner.

The dog sleeps on the couch next to me,
but it is not quiet.
My wife is watching television
and my daughter is listening to her music.

Was it really simpler, easier years ago?
Did the invocation
Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit
make the month any luckier?

And with climate change,
what creature does March come in like,
and what will it leave like?

The red sky in the morning,
with its sailors’ warning
hasn’t yielded to a red sky at night,
promising delight.

Instead, there is just more snow.

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Schriro and Vance

As a blogger and a professional communicator, I’m always interested in trying to get to the underlying story behind the headlines, and if the headlines involve a public information officer, it is all the more interesting to me. So, the recent transfer of Lt. Paul Vance from his current position as public information officer for the Connecticut State Police caught my attention.

A press release by the Connecticut State Police Captains and Lieutenants Union questions the actions of the state police commissioner.

“The manner in which Lt. Vance was removed was inappropriate and the actions of his removal indicates a disrespect for State Police Commanders.”

So, why would a very well respected police officer be transferred in this manner, especially in a day when law enforcement officers around the country have a desperate need for spokespeople who inspire trust?

One hypothesis is that it is age discrimination. I don’t know how old Lt. Vance is, but he’s been with the Connecticut State Police for over forty years.

As a communications person, I have to wonder about a different angle. First, I find it interesting that there has been no discussion of who the new public information officer will be. One would think that with an important and highly visible position like this, a new public information officer would be announced and there would be information about it on the State Police website.

However, the State Police website, last updated on Feb 18th, list Lt. Vance as the public information officer, and there is not press release on the website about it.

Instead, information about the reassignment seems to be coming via email from State Police Col. Brian Meraviglia, at least, there is who The Day quotes.

So, who is Col. Meraviglia? Back in June, Commissioner Dora Shriro announced that Meraviglia was replacing retiring Col. Danny Stebbins. The article in the CTMirror about Meraviglia said that “Stebbins was the subject of a no-confidence vote by the State Police Union”.

There isn’t a lot more about Meraviglia besides his appointment by Commissioner Schriro. So, the next place I started digging was on her.

This is where things start to get interesting. A search in the news on Commissioner Schriro brought up mostly negative stories. The top story is NYC Prison Scandal Continues; Times Editorial Cites 'Outrageous Behavior' By Dora Schriro, Now CT Public Safety Commissioner.

This article includes a statement from Sen McKinney and Fasano,

Earlier this month, we raised questions about Commissioner Schriro not disclosing at her legislative confirmation hearing that the U.S. Justice Department was investigating the New York City Department of Corrections at the time she headed it.

A subsequent editorial by the Hartford Courant asks, Is New State Police Boss Trustworthy?.

It seems problematic when the media questions the trustworthiness of a commissioner but not the trustworthiness of the public information officer that is being reassigned.

So, why is this coming up now? Earlier this month, the CTMirror reported, Schriro’s results in Connecticut outweigh troubles in NYC.

The Executive and Legislative Nominations Committee voted 5 to 3 to recommend Schriro’s confirmation by the House of Representatives for a full four-year term

It is hard to tell what is going on behind the scenes, but if I were Commissioner Shriro, I’d be looking for advice from a well respected public information officer instead of trying to get him reassigned.

The Daily Commute

I remember driving the interstate for my daily commute
from a town that was not my home
to a consulting job I knew would not last.

I didn’t know my neighbors
or anyone in the local shops.

The commuters, all behind their own steering wheels,
were as foreigners to me.

What were their lives like
in these suburban towns
their kids in the local schools
their wives waiting for them?

It all seemed so repetitious
as bland as the TV dinners.

Yet if you could get past the veneer
you would find pathos;
the dying father,
the deranged uncle,
the drifting brother.

If you could get past the pathos
you would find the hidden passions;
amateur radio,
model rocketry,
or some rare endurance sport.

A quarter of a million miles later,
I look out my car window on the daily commute
at the young kid who must wonder what my life is like.

Keep traveling, I think.
You’ll eventually find out.

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#llamadrama and #thedress

As the cold and snow lingers on
and spirits sag,
we, as a nation,
seek new distractions.

There have always been cat videos
or at least as long
as there’s been videos streaming online.
Their brief humor is therapeutic.

Yet as things look more grim,
we need something more potent:
therapist llamas on the lam.

Is it their cute frolicking that captures our hearts?
Their freedom? Something else?
Is it enough, or do need even more,
like a dress
that no one can agree the color of.

How do we see things?
How do we think?
How are we different?
How are we the same?

Soon enough, the dismal humdrums will return
but for now, we can smile at llamas
and think about perception,
at least for a moment.

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Ice Dams

It isn’t the cold that causes ice dams
nor the warmth for that matter.
It isn’t even the snow piling up on the roof.

When the first days of bitter cold come,
we hunker down.
We can outlast the cold.

We worry about the snow piling up on the roof.
Will the structure support the weight?
We read about barns collapsing.

Then, the warmth comes.
The snow and ice melts off portions of the driveway.
We talk about how balmy it feels
even though it is barely above freezing.

On the roof, the snowmelt heads to the gutters.
Some of it becomes beautiful icicles.
Some of it freezes on the edge of the roof.

It isn’t the cold that causes ice dams
nor the warmth for that matter.
It is that back and forth across the freezing line
as snow melts, pools up, and freezes again
causing unseen damage.

Yet that same back and forth
between freezing and thawing
is what makes the sap flow
into giant networks of tubing
that have replaced the old sap buckets.

Soon the sugar houses will be boiling sap
bringing additional sweetness
to the end of a long cold bitter winter
as we repair the damage from ice dams.

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