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More white death from the sky

I’ve been at this long enough to know what to do. So when the hysterics on television started carrying on about the quantity of snow expected yesterday, I put a clean shirt, clean underwear, and my shaving kit into a bag and headed for the paragraph factory.

The snow fell, outpacing the plows, motorists got stranded on the streets and highways, and the governor told us to stay off the roads. When I heard that my neighbor David Zurawik, The Sun’s television columnist, had taken two hours to drive six miles and could get no nearer than three blocks to his house, I knew it would be an overnight stay.

After closing the final edition, I trudged up the hill to the Tremont Plaza, where I had prudently made a reservation. The bar was closed, but I had brought provisions. After toying for some time with the remote control, I realized that the television wasn’t receiving anything. I would have called the front desk about that, but the telephone didn’t work either. So I sipped some bourbon and observed the paralysis of Mount Vernon and West Baltimore from the thirty-fifth floor.

Fortunately, the room was warm and the bed comfortable.

After breakfast this morning, with nothing else to do, I returned to the office, where I have amused myself by drinking tea, blogging, and switching back and forth between New Twitter and Old Twitter. Later, after the final edition is closed, I’ll head back to Hamilton, and hopefully* I’ll be in my own bed tonight.

 

*Stop twitching. I’ve told you that that is perfectly OK.

 

Posted by John McIntyre at 12:03 PM | | Comments (18)
        

Comments

Weren't you, just the other day, being disparaging about British weather? It's a judgement on you.

I was 10 floors beneath you, John. Got to the restaurant in time to dine with my boss at company expense. I won't mention how long it took me to figure out that the lack of TV was not a matter of operator error.

You had no book with you? Quelle oversight.

While we are on the topic of winter, Prof. McI, could you put a stake through the heart of the overused expression "the winter of our discontent"? I almost threw my snow shovel through the television last night. As much as I love Shakespeare, this one has gotten stale.

You mean to say that you actually put on the same tie two days running? Egad, sir!

Did not wear a tie to work yesterday. Many colleagues startled.

From the Tremont - the storm knocked out TV service... not quite sure what happened with the phone - so sorry! Lunch - my treat please!


Frankly, I'd take "white death from the sky" over Black Death (bubonic plague) from flea-infested vermin hordes that was the sorry lot of much of medieval Europe back in the mid-14th century.

Of course, The "Great Plague", or "Great Pestilence" was the most storied and devastating of old-world pandemics up till that point in recorded history, yet killer plague has plagued (sorry) various global populations for millennia, tapering off only in the early 19th century.

The world-wide influenza pandemic beginning in 1918 was probably the most devastating natural disaster in human history, w/ an estimated over 50 million people succumbing to this dreaded, widespread scourge. Sadly, both celebrated Viennese artistic geniuses, Egon Schiele and his early mentor, Gustav Klimt were victims of what they labelled at the time, the "Spanish flu'. Schiele was only 28 when he died. He accomplished in his relatively short creative life more works of sheer brilliance than many artists whose careers spanned many decades. But I digress.

So folks, we do know that local media loves to play up the catastrophic potential (raising the specter of fear) of these annual, sustained snow 'dumps', that appear to be getting more extreme as the global warming deniers' voices become more strident, and more defiant in their self-righteous intransigence.

Why here in Southern California, scientists dealing w/ all things meteorological, or natural disaster-related, claim that the Southland is overdue for a good 40-days-40-nights continuously steady deluge, which could flood virtually three-quarters of our So Cal land area. Forget the so-called "Big ONE", a devastating San Andreas fault- induced gonzo 9.0 temblor. 'Wet death from the sky' could well be OUR next crippling natural disaster here on the Left coast. Who knew?

Hmm........ I'm heading out to my local Home Depot to see if they still carry those aromatic cedars-of-Lebanon humongous wood planks for the ark I'll be building over the next few months in my backyard here in Van Nuys. HA!

(I know.......... those cedar groves have been totally leveled, probably back when the Phoenicians ruled the seas, and Carthage, and Tyre thrived as bustling, vibrant Mediterranean seaside metropolises.)

Being retired does have its pluses. Hmm...... if only I could be guaranteed Noah's longevity, and have been blessed w/ his native construction savvy, and grasp of animal husbandry. I'd be way ahead of the game. Wish me luck. HA!

("White death"? Hmm......I thought that was popular 'narc' lingo for cocaine? Just sayin'.)

ALEX


Frankly, I'd take "white death from the sky" over Black Death (bubonic plague) from flea-infested vermin hordes that was the sorry lot of much of medieval Europe back in the mid-14th century.

Of course, The "Great Plague", or "Great Pestilence" was the most storied and devastating of old-world pandemics up till that point in recorded history, yet killer plague has plagued (sorry) various global populations for millennia, tapering off only in the early 19th century.

The world-wide influenza pandemic beginning in 1918 was probably the most devastating natural disaster in human history, w/ an estimated over 50 million people succumbing to this dreaded, widespread scourge. Sadly, both celebrated Viennese artistic geniuses, Egon Schiele and his early mentor, Gustav Klimt were victims of what they labelled at the time, the "Spanish flu'. Schiele was only 28 when he died. He accomplished in his relatively short creative life more works of sheer brilliance than many artists whose careers spanned many decades. But I digress.

So folks, we do know that local media loves to play up the catastrophic potential (raising the specter of fear) of these annual, sustained snow 'dumps', that appear to be getting more extreme as the global warming deniers' voices become more strident, and more defiant in their self-righteous intransigence.

Why here in Southern California, scientists dealing w/ all things meteorological, or natural disaster-related, claim that the Southland is overdue for a good 40-days-40-nights continuously steady deluge, which could flood virtually three-quarters of our So Cal land area. Forget the so-called "Big ONE", a devastating San Andreas fault- induced gonzo 9.0 temblor. 'Wet death from the sky' could well be OUR next crippling natural disaster here on the Left coast. Who knew?

Hmm........ I'm heading out to my local Home Depot to see if they still carry those aromatic cedars-of-Lebanon humongous wood planks for the ark I'll be building over the next few months in my backyard here in Van Nuys. HA!

(I know.......... those cedar groves have been totally leveled, probably back when the Phoenicians ruled the seas, and Carthage, and Tyre thrived as bustling, vibrant Mediterranean seaside metropolises.)

Being retired does have its pluses. Hmm...... if only I could be guaranteed Noah's longevity, and have been blessed w/ his native construction savvy, and grasp of animal husbandry. I'd be way ahead of the game. Wish me luck. HA!

("White death"? Hmm......I thought that was popular 'narc' lingo for cocaine? Just sayin'.)

ALEX


Prof. McI.,

I apologize for the duplication of my last post.

When I initially attempted to send my post, a warning came up on my monitor that the server couldn't 'process' my dispatch, so I cut-and-pasted my initial post, and re-sent it.

But obviously my first posting got thru, no 'prob'------thus the duplication.

If possible, could you eliminate one of them, 'cause two lengthly posts in-a-row, frankly looks very lame to this jaundiced eye.

Thanks.

ALEX

Alex, I'm afraid if you undertake to become a modern-day Noah, you will end up on one of those animal hoarder reality shows.


Laura Lee,

Always great to 'hear' from you, sweet lady.

I doubt I could compete w/ that Old Testament life-saver, Noah, although I may have given comic Steve Carrell a run for his money in his less-than-satisfying send-up of the famed ark-builder and gonzo-beastie-boy. Just sayin'.

Although re/ the not-uncommon psychological quirk of chronic hoarding, i suspect I might have that annoying hoarder gene, but so far my obsessions haven't gravitated towards the dysfunctional collecting of teeming hordes of live animals.

I've actually been pretty much a one-dog-at-a-time guy for the past thirty odd years, w/ my sweet pooch of sixteen years, Ebony, having to be put out of her age-related misery just this past November. I'm still grieving my loss, while taking my sweet time in considering adoption of a new, hopefully 'pound-rescue' canine companion.

Frankly, my hoarding proclivities seem to lie more within the area of collecting books, and objets-d'arte, w/ a strong leaning towards all manner of tribal art, particularly African wood carvings (masks, figures, decorative hair pins, spoons), and intricate West African beadwork, plus Papua New Guinean ritual objects from the Sepik and Blackwater River regions, as well as polychrome-painted wooden shields, and figures from the Asmat people living in the western half of the island, now a territory of Indonesia. These were the folk who at one time practiced cannibalism, and allegedly had the young tribal art expert, and collector, David Rockefeller for their main coarse when his dugout canoe drifted into hostile waters, back, I believe, in the '50s. Hardly a pretty scenario.

In fact, when I was still working at the various animation studios like Disney and Warner Bros., I was kind of regarded as the in-studio 'book guy', since maybe a third of my voluminous personal 'library' would reside in my 'cube', (or office space), and was boxed and shipped from studio-to-studio as part of my itinerant reference trove whenever I had to change working venues, to embark on a new animation project.

I would let anyone of my animation studio colleagues who might need some specific pictorial reference, or were merely interested in a good read, just come and borrow whatever book(s) they either found useful, or intriguing.

In all the years working at the studios, i think I may have had, at the most, three of my books ripped off. Pretty darn amazing, considering most of my sundry cubical spaces were never under lock and key, and my 'library' was totally accessible. Maybe I was too trusting, but it seemed to work.

I also brought in, and hung some of my more unusual tribal pieces, to kind of add some visual interest to my work area.These strange works would often be the catalyst for lively discussion w/ my peers on the subject of tribal art, or just the wider realm of art appreciation beyond our narrow animation-centric field.

When I finally retired almost three years ago, I had to box up hundreds of my (mostly art-related) books, and bring them home to my smallish tract house that frankly was already bustin'-at-the-seams w/ hundreds of additional books-------many shelved, but also stored in stacked boxes.

A few years back, I kind of saw the light, and purchased a very cool vinyl backyard shed (10'x8'x6') which easily accommodated the 'studio-books' overflow. and freed up space in my spare bedroom (that had been cramped floor-to-ceiling w/ boxes of books Ugh!), which I eventually set up as my computer room, but still retaining several fully stocked book shelves, and plenty of art works on the walls.

It's become my blogging, web-surfing, digital creative inner sanctum, and just a perfect cozy little space to stay connected to the outside world, as well as editing, and tweeking my growing inventory of personal nature photos.

My adjunct 'prof' girlfriend, who lives in Huntington Beach about an hour's (mostly-freeway) drive south of me situated in the heart of "The Valley", feels claustrophobic in my admittedly cramped, some might say, cluttered abode. She's actually, mostly in jest, threatened to come to my place w/ a couple of those huge wheeled plastic City of L.A. recycling bins, and start tossing out what she deems expendable. Of course, in my myopic view, NOTHING is expendable HA!

So needless to say, my mild hoarding affliction has become a long-standing issue between my girlfriend and moi.

Well enough about sicko me.

Fellow bloggers, what are your hoarding obsessions?

I heard Noah loved to collect animal-motif salt shakers. I kid you not. HA!

ALEX


What is an animal hoarder reality show, Laura Lee?

Very interesting, Alex. When we added on to our house one room was designated as a mini-library (of course I still have books in every room of the house--except the dining room and the bathrooms). But I had an uncle who actually added on a room just to store (wait for it) his junk mail! Is there a hoarding gene?

PBI @Picky: OK, I'm not Laura Lee, but here is the answer to your question: http://animal.discovery.com/tv/confessions-animal-hoarding/cases.html
(Warning: Safe for work, but not for the faint of heart.)

Oh my paws and whiskers!


Dahlink,

Although dedicated, brilliant, and clearly very patient geneticists have managed to finally map the entire human genome (a herculean task, to say the least), as well as locate specific genes that are significant 'markers' for predicting a strong proclivity for certain diseases like breast cancer, Down syndrome, or dementia, I would doubt the search for a possible 'hoarder gene' is high on science's priority list for isolating, and identifying those very unique marker genes. Hoarding isn't generally a fatal affliction. HA!

Dahlink, it would be very cool though, if they could. Then if that eccentric uncle of yours who went to the extreme of building an additional room exclusively for storing his steady accumulation of personal junk mail, ever got officially tested, and indeed, carried the newly-discovered 'hoarder gene', you might not be as hard on yourself re/ you clearly mild, hardly obsessive hoarding leanings. For me, one can never have TOO many books. HA!

I contend, unlike your uncle, most junk hoarders would not go to the lengths of adding on a junk-mail-only repository (room), but would leave this flood of unsolicited printed matter strewn all over their totally cluttered and cramped living space, along w/ old newspapers, magazines, junk food detritus, and god-knows what other sundry useless, discarded accumulations.

So to be kind, I would think your uncle could be justly labelled an 'orderly' hoarder (an oxymoron?),opposed to your garden variety, free-range, scatter-shot hoarder, whose motto could well be, "Leave it were it lies."........ not unlike the fundamental golfing axiom, "Always play the ball wherever it may lie."

Well, indeed, the hoarding phenomenon is a most curious one. Sadly, psychologists, and 'shrinks' have theorized that the malady is largely an overcompensating aberrant behavior, filling the void, emptiness, or anomie the typical hoarder often feels, only exacerbated by continued chronic social isolation, and very limited social intercourse. (I said SOCIAL intercourse. Oh behave! HA!)

Hoarders, IMHO, should be viewed largely as folks , not to be mocked, or deemed weirdos, or kooks, but regarded more sympathetically for their seeming internally driven compulsion to collect and cherish objects/ things, often hampered in their ability to develop normal friendships and human connections.

In other words, most hoarders feel they have some control of their, to the outsider-looking-in, chaotic living environment; a sense of feeling safe, and secure amidst the flotsam and jetsam of their fractured lives. Enough said.

Dahlink, hope your week is unfolding as it should.

It's actually dipped down into the 50s-F here in La La Land over the past few days. So I'm obviously paying for my braggadocios tone a few days ago re/ our summer-like, low-80-degrees L.A. weather. Serves me right. HA!

Dahlink, I grew up back in the northeast, specifically Toronto and environs, where we experienced four distinct seasons. But the popular notion, particularly from Right-coasters, that Southern Californians are spoiled rotten w/ eternal, perfect summer conditions 24/7, 365 days-per-year, is clearly overblown, and off-base, from my thirty-some year perspective of calling L.A. my adopted hometown.

We do actually have loads of deciduous trees out here, and as deciduous trees are want to do, their leaves gradually turn into all manner of gorgeous transitional colors, and eventually fall to the ground. We have incredible liquid amber trees that are from the same family as the maples, native California sycamores w/ leaves as broad as jumbo dinner plates, gingkoes whose leaves turn a brilliant lemon yellow, various species of willows, cottonwoods (also foliage shifting to a stunning golden yellow hue), and Chinese elms, to name just a handful of deciduous tree species whose turning leaves actually tell us Angelenos that, indeed, Fall is definitely in the air.

Depending on if we are blessed, (or some would argue cursed) by an El Nino heavy-rainfall season, our winters can be on the low-precipitation side, but still daily temps are generally way below summer highs, and the night temps can often dip near, or below freezing, w/ risk of frost damage to plants and shrubs.

So I would argue that our 'seasons' here in L.A. may not be as extreme, or as clearly defined as back east, but there's definitely enough variance in climate, flora-and-fauna (bird migration for example) and widely shifting temps to feel the difference in one phase of the year to the next.

But Dahlink, I must admit I do miss the glory, and verdant explosion of spring back in our northeast, and the visual splendor of Fall's multi-hued palate. But the winter snow and ice, I can definitely do without.

Dahlink, sorry for that tangential weather/ seasons report. HA!

ALEX

Alex, you are of course correct about fall color in California, but even as a young child I felt that it was wrong to see the hills green up only with the winter rains.

I am not defending ice, however. It is VERY icy here today, so I am hunkered down at home. When I can't get off my front steps without slipping and sliding, it's very bad indeed. And more on the way ...

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About John McIntyre
John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at john.mcintyre@baltsun.com.
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