For whatever reason, I can't seem to get the Jerry Jeff Walker song, "Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother" out of my mind. Actually, Ray Wiley Hubbard wrote it, but it will forever belong to Jerry Jeff.

Regardless, it keeps looping through my mind as if on an endless, looping reel and it just occurred to me that perhaps this is what insanity really is, one song playing over and over in your head until reality shrinks to a tiny chorus and the rest of the world fades to black.

I believe that's what got Schumann in the end. Anyway, these days I'm happy just to drive to work and not have any new warning lights pop up on my dashboard, regardless of the mental soundtrack.

It's been quite a fortnight, yes? One mayor leaves our fair city for state employment, handing out money to the police and fire chiefs on her way out the door like a game show host gone wild in the lightning round, and another shows up proclaiming she's all about bringing the fun and the happy back to government.

Oh dear.

Look, I get the whole Sefatia "Godmother" schtick and find it mildly amusing. I think it's great that a Sicilian, a people largely responsible for building this city and its heritage, finally graces the corner office. I also believe that the new mayor has probably helped more people, through her time on the city council and her duties at Addison Gilbert Hospital, than probably everybody else on the city council combined.

But she has to know that government isn't supposed to be fun and that the last thing most people expect from their governing executives is happiness.

It's about competence. It's about identifying the issues that affect everyone and mobilizing the city's resources to solve those problems. It's about leading, which is not to be confused with calling for another round of giggle juice.

Government, like democracy itself, is hard, roll-up-your-sleeves work. It's not Pee Wee's Playhouse.

The new mayor has 11 months to show us she understands that. Let's hope she doesn't waste this chance to craft her vision or a working, thriving city of substance and opportunity.

In the end, that's what would make most of us happiest of all.

This, That and the Other . . . 

I don't know about you, but I've never purposely gone searching for a specific type of bird in my entire life, unless of course we're adopting the British usage of bird.

But God love them, there are apparently legions of folks who do just that, getting up at some ungodly hour and tramping through the woods or wandering the beaches in search of the Double-Jointed, White-Breasted Sea Zelck.

I know. I often see them on weekend mornings on Rocky Neck, rolling into the parking lot on Rocky Neck Avenue like they're conducting a raid, alighting with purpose from their cars, packing binoculars and cameras with big long lenses, first doing recon on the Smith Cove side and then across the street to Wonson Cove.

I always thought they were some sort of Bulgarian spy ring. Who knew?

Well, apparently the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce knew. The Chamber, along with a host of other folks, such as Swarovski Optik, The Retirement Financial Center, Thomas T. Riquier and Mass Audubon (what, no Bird's Eye? Come on, it's a natural) are hosting the sixth annual Cape Ann Birding Weekend the weekend of Jan. 30 to Feb. 1.

The Elks at Bass Rock will serve as birding headquarters (BHQ to the uninitiated). Seven Seas Whale Watch will host a bird-watching excursion ($60 a head) out of Gloucester Harbor on Feb. 1 (I wonder if it includes watching the Seahawks in the Super Bowl) and there will be a host of other activities, including a live owl presentation by Eyes on Owls (click here to check out their website).

You can find the whole magilla at the Chamber website (click here).

Take wing, my friends. You have nothing to lose but your earthly bounds.

Sporting Press

In the 26 years that I've been penning this blog, I don't believe I've ever said the following: Let's talk about the Celtics for a second.

OK, covered that. Moving on.

The Bruins finally seem to have caught a bit of fire, which is a fine thing heading into the portion of the NHL schedule that separates the playoff wheat from the lowly chaff. Still, each night I watch them I can't help but note that they always look like the least athletic team on the ice (Speed? What speed?), their power play knocks like a mistuned car engine and that they will have to outwork their opponent each and every night if they are to get back to the Eastern Conference finals and perhaps beyond.

The Red Sox have reworked their rotation (though it appears from afar like a good Black Jack hand . . . a bunch of threes and fours) and upgraded their offense (though the thought of Hanley Ramirez in left is going to leave the Legend of Mike Greenwell looking like Willie Mays).

Fine and dandy, all that. But this week, also irrelevant. This week it's all about the Pats. Can they get any pressure on Andrew Luck? Can they finally run the ball? Can they perhaps get it out of first gear before the first half ends? Will they finally trot out that tackle-eligible option pass they've had in the playbook for Nate Solder all year?

Many questions, but really only one valid one: Will they beat the Colts by two touchdowns or three.

I never do this. Never. I never pick the Patriots to just roll on someone, mostly because they almost always play down to their competition and I'm a complete scarrity-cat.

But I just don't see how Indy stays with them. Most lines have the lads giving 6.5 or 7 points. This seems preposterously low.

I say this: Pats 37, Colts 21 and on to Arizona to face whomever the NFC dares to send.

Last Song Out the Door: What else? Jerry Jeff Walker's iconic version of "Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother" off his 1973 album "Viva Terlingua"

Contact Sean Horgan at 978-675-2714, or shorgan@gloucestertimes.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SeanGDT and check out his blog, Glosta Daily, on gloucestertimes.com

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