The wind and mice that roared

Fall's crisp winds must be blowing more than leaves askew. How else can one explain mice that stop trains, an overly contemplative light bulb, and a part of New York City that threatens to secede. (From the Big Apple, we presume, rather than from the US - others have already tried that, without success.)

The mice are in Britain, the light bulb in Massachusetts. New York City is, well, New York City.

The leaves are everywhere. It's a wry application of the ''share and share alike'' principle, which leaves - excuse the phrase - homeowners to rake from their lawns first their own leaves and, for several succeeding weekends, someone else's.

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As to the mice, they invaded a British signalman's train tower and he fled, leaving it unmanned for hours and delaying commuter trains. Women's lib can prevent a repetition, once the braver sex begins to replace timorous men in the signal towers.

The light bulb was less hasty. A homeowner we know screwed it into an outdoor lightpost one August Saturday, but it adamantly refused to glow. For three days it glowered darkly, contemplating whether to shine. The next Tuesday it decided, and has happily lighted every evening since.

In New York City the would-be secessionist is physically disconnected from the rest of the city anyway: it's Staten Island, down there near the Statue of Liberty. It may want its own liberty, says its state senator; he threatens to ask the state Legislature to let residents consider secession if the city government dilutes Staten Island's influence on a city board.

To the rest of the US it all sounds humorous: But New Yorkers being New Yorkers, nobody should take anything for granted.

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