Categories
Commentary

It’s Snowy Deck & Patio Furniture Season

_99149104_20171210_145801Christmas is over and back in its box in the attic. The jet stream is blowing hard across the Great Lakes and pummeling us with sub-zero wind chills and lake effect snow, arctic clippers and blowing down across Ohio and, this week, that newest hyperbolic wild weather phenomena–the BOMB CYCLONE (oh how the marketing brahs at The Weather Channel must have sighed whilst excavating that gem of a meteorological wonder)–is hitting the mainstream, joining Snowmageddon and Polar Vortex in that rarefied caste of ratings-generating American Idol Weather Terminology.

This is not to undermine the effects of winter storms and the havoc they wreak. Every time it sleets south of Fredericksburg, Virginia dozens of Sons & Daughters of the Confederacy are lost to, or injured in, wholly avoidable automobile accidents. (HINT: Stay home, Beauregard, that white stuff is slippery.) And Boston got spanked by Flash floods that froze (WTF?) entire neighborhoods in place, which is messed up. But it is Boston and, well, karma. Right? Somebody has to bear the burden of the Patriots’ deal with the devil, and it ain’t going to be living Vegan Ken doll QB Tom “Quinoa Salad” Brady.

winter-snow-outdoor-furniture_lwtirzWhat does trouble me about these Twitter-friendly parade of ridiculous terminology is that shade they’re throwing on the time-honored, proven-to-be-accurate method of winter storm appraisal, the good old-fashioned Deck & Patio Furniture photo. For as long as I can remember (admittedly, not as long as I used to be able to remember), the severity of winter storms has been evaluated using observable scientific method, most recently on the internet but for many years before that in the form of winterizing-snowviewer-submitted photos and filler coverage by local news teams. Three generations learned to analyze the critical level of a “weather event” through this observable, utterly reliable data.

How would I know what winter was bringing to my good, decades-long friend Sally, who lives far away in Montana, if she didn’t apprise me of winter conditions north of Yellowstone with timely and evocative imagery of her deck, live and up to date?  That’s right. These are my actual friend’s actual photos of her actual furniture.

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It goes without saying that the level of personal connection forged between me and my friend–or any one of the millions of Americans who annually apprise the world of their on-deck snow conditions (looks like Sally has a nice 7 inch base with a few inches of powder on top)–exceeds anything a few bozos with an old meteorology textbook can manage with their horror-film vocabulary.

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And, final, overlook the community-building that comes from the ubiquity of patio-furniture. I don’t think it is overstatement to say that these photos–and the sense of kinship they evoke–are one of the deep and abiding bonds that hold us together as a nation, and as a people. Stick that in your Bomb Storm and smoke it, why don’t you.

Categories
Funny and/or Strange video Yinzerism/Pittsburgh Advocacy

Ah, Pittsburgh In The Snow…

Categories
Funny and/or Strange Photo I Like

Welcome, Spring

Forgetting for a minute that the forecast calls for cold overnight temps and 1-3 inches of snow, I’d like to officially welcome Spring.  So, “Glad to see you, Spring–sure as hell took you long enough.”  Just don’t be too enthusiastic and in a hurry.  #firstdayofspring

podborka_24

Categories
Photo I Like

Found Winter Photo: Snowman Contest

It’s warming up! I figured that I’d better get the last few found winter photos up–or hold my peace until next year. We’ll have a series from the Indiana Gazette’s recent Snow Creature Contest for the next few days, then end up with a few sundry others.
https://www.facebook.com/TheIndianaGazette/photos_stream

A girl i don't know, in a photo from a snowman making contest published at www.indianagazette.com
A girl i don’t know, in a photo from a snowman making contest published at http://www.indianagazette.com
Categories
Journal

Winter Cedes To Onions

Everyone else has been getting snow days–we’re at what is hopefully the bitter end to an uncharacteristic late winter cold and snow snap.  Temperatures have been up and down for weeks, hitting well below 0 degrees Farenheit zero (-18 C) on multiple occasions and, until the past weekend, ascending above freezing for just two days out the the past month or so.  Unfortunately, it rained like hell both of those days, in between snow storms, accumulating inches of slush that turned to the ice that lay beneath everything that hasn’t been constantly shoveled, scraped, and salted.  My wife is a teacher, and her school has cancelled at least 6 days, with at least that many late openings and early dismissals, combined.

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I grew accustomed to my kids are sleeping in morning after morning, classes on what seemd like a perpetual 2-hour delay, due to cold.  I sat at my desk one morning last week and guzzled coffee: outside it was  -4 F, which didn’t even feel that cold.  It was not so long ago I was bundling up in wool sweater, parka, gloves, scarf, and cap to go out to our community’s annual “It’s a Wonderful Life” light-up night back in November.  I remember the gentle winter breeze felt like it was cutting like a dagger.

It was 29 degrees.

If it had been 29 degrees last week I’d have gone outside without a jacket and washed the truck.

No precipitation right now, but it’s supposed to hit 50 degrees–we’ve been above freezing, with highs in the upper 30s and 40s for the past 3 days as well, and not a moment too soon.  If the meteorologists are to be believed (and they aren’t) things look good, and above averages, through the weekend.  Sweet. I’ve got yard work to do.   Apple trees and shrubbery to prune, fallen sticks and branches to pick up, and who knows what else is hidden beneath the foot or so of crystalized mess in the backyard.

Photo shamelessly pilfered from Eric Barker--sorry, Eric.
Photo shamelessly pilfered from Eric Barker–sorry, Eric.

It will be a treat.  I’ve got this little property maintenance gig, and one of the things I do is clear sidewalks for a local landlord whose student tenants are too lazy and indifferent (as I was when I was a student) to do it for themselves.  It’s always been fun, invigorating, especially since I stopped trying to wrestle a snowblower in and out of the truck and opted to do as much as I could by hand.  It’s good, clean work.  The sound of the shovel scraping concrete pleases me, and despite all those mothers in the world urging us to bundle up I think the cold, fresh air is good for me.  I know getting outside, even under cloudy skies, is a good thing–no seasonal depression disorder for me.  I’m the same level of grumpy as always.

But the level of weather has been bullshit.  I said that the other morning, when I woke to find three new inches when the forecast had called for “a dusting.”

“This is bullshit.” I said.  It didn’t help.

Normally, I expect to shovel 17 times, give or take.  Last year was high with 24 trips around town spread between early December and March. This year there was one day of work in December, nothing even in early January, but I’ve been out 37 times in slightly less than 2 months.  Some of those are two trips on the same day, and some of them were easy–a few inches of powder.  The heavy snow and slush of the past two weeks, on the other hand, has been a mess–impossible to clear without hundreds of pounds of salt, and hell on my arms. I’ve got what I think is tendonitis in my left elbow. Tendonitis!  From shoveling!

On the bright side: I’ve been planting.  My package from Fedco Seeds arrived a few weeks back, and I’ve got my onions growing in flats under lights, and the leeks are germinating and should sprout within the next few days.  We joke around here about “clinging to our guns and religion,” thanks to a certain President’s unfortunate, but astute observations of our regional mores, but at this point it is those little green blades of onion starts that are keeping me sane.

Remind me of this when I’m moaning about the heat.

onion_seedlings

Categories
video

Tunesday Preview: Be Good Tanyas–Light Enough To Travel

I’m starting to work back into the daily post thing–is it too cute to reconstitute the weekly music video as Tunesday…?  Seeing as it’s a pretty long stretch to call any business I’m about “cute,” I think I’m going to go for it–starting next week.  Since I already wrote the following introduction for today, we’ll call this a Special Preview.

It was still 4 degrees when I came in from shoveling snow this morning around 9am.  In the past 2 months I’ve had to heft, scrape, push, throw and chisel some sort of wintry substance–it’s been steadily frigid, so things have been consistently lovely, aesthetically speaking, rather than grey and brown and slushy, but I’m ready for the next step: daffodils.  I suppose they’re down there, somewhere, under all that snow, but until I see ’em for myself.
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In the meantime, let’s forget the chill for a moment with one of my very favorite songs, “Light Enough To Travel” by the old, long-gone Be-Good Tanyas.  It’s warm enough to melt the ice from our shoulders, at least for a while.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwkFySJmEJY

 

Categories
Photo I Like

Found Winter Photo: Surfing NYC

Brrrrrr.

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Categories
Uncategorized

Found Winter Photo: Snowman’s Had It

There’s a whole series of these–outstanding.

http://onecompellingimage.tumblr.com/
http://onecompellingimage.tumblr.com/
Categories
Uncategorized

Quotes From The Dark Side: Paul Ryan

Because he cares….

”We’re not going to give up on destroying the health care system for the American people.”

—Rep. Paul Ryan, March 12, 2013

Categories
Photo I Like Uncategorized

Still Cold As Hell

It’s still cold, cold, cold.  At least the latest (guffaw) “Storm of the Century” glanced by us, dropping about an inch of powder, after the regional meteorologists bent over backwards and lost their shit playing Chicken Little and pledging a foot of heavy wet snow.  I love wearing sweaters, but this is getting a little old and getting there fast.

So, despite the recent over-abundance of scantily clad women on this blog–(okay, there were about 2, maybe 3–at least I’m trying)–I offer this balm to the season, straight from some kid on Tumblr.

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