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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.

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Uncategorized

Pizza Night! Post Your Pizza Pictures Here

Let’s see what you’ve got.  Post a link to your pizza pictures in the comments section.  Ours were perfect, even if the toppings were not particularly inspired–two pies with pepperoni on half and just cheese on half.  One of the better crusts I’ve made in a while.  Sorry the post is late–couldn’t take my eyes off of that Steelers game, and then it took me twenty minutes to find the damned cord to connect the camera to the computer.

Here’s mine:

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Categories
Commentary

Autumn Found Photos: This Is Going to Be Difficult

imagesfAn initial foray into the world of autumn posts revealed a whole lot of gifs, clip art, graphics, cute photos of other people’s children raking leaves or going on hay rides, and creepy-ish images that remind me of stuff cut-and-pasted from an LL Bean catalog.  Or Sears Roebuck, even.  There’s also a lot of clearly professional, for profit stuff I don’t feel comfortable pilfering.p6  I have to admit that I’m a little worried–I feel committed to this whole seasonal photos thing.  If I can’t manage autumn, it sort of makes all the work finding cool summer photos a vain pursuit, don’t you think?  And I’m compelled to make it through because I already have dozens of absolutely outstanding images set aside for next summer.  It’s interesting to think about, though.  Summer Couple Raking Leavesphotos encompass a wide variety of activities and one general component I find almost inexhaustible: the beach.  Autumn photos seem centered around a relatively small number of holidays and things: Halloween and Thanksgiving, and leaves and pumpkins.  Fall foliage is resplendent and all that, but it’s best to limit the dosages.

It seems I’ll be required to be creative.  Fortunately, Fall is the shortest season in these parts.  At least for the purposes of my reckoning.  The dates work out sort of like this:

Summer: Labor Day to Fall Equinox (about 120 days)
Autumn/Fall: Equinox To Black Friday (about 67 days)
Winter: Black Friday to April 1 (about 118 days)
Spring: April 1-Labor Day Weekend (about 60 days)

Now there are years where all of November feels like winter, and Fall feels like it landed with the County Fair and the advent of football season at the end of August, and years when Spring hits in March–or hides until May–but these dates reflect my seasonal moods and interpretation of environmental factors.  Like the borders of small European nations prior to World War 2, the boundaries between the seasons are highly flexible–it was 72 at midnight on Dec 22 last year, during our Christmas Party, although we’d already had several meaningful snowfalls.  Not surprisingly, we had a frost in June and a number of strangely cold days this past summer.  With the changing global climate, all preconceptions are off the table.

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Something else I learned is that there are literally thousands of Fall Festivals in the USA and Canada, all of them running pretty much simultaneously during the first two weeks of October.  Cider and antique automobiles are prominently featured in most, along with hay bales and piles of pumpkins.  I did, however, in keeping with the O.R.A. standards, find one Autumn Festival that wasn’t mired in gauzy images and mundane pumpkin costumes.  What they do have, apparently, is pole dancing.  Go figure.

Enjoy.

Categories
Photo I Like summer photos

Found Summer Photo: Equity

A few folks have asked me, “Chuck, why do so many of your summer photos feature women?  What’s the deal?”

I get it. I do. It’s probably a cop-out to point out that beach, and beach-related attire, are iconic summer images, but there’s that.  I struggle with the whole objectification issue, I really do–but if someone wanted to objectify me I’d be okay with it.  I’m sure there’s some twisted fetishist out there for whom my whole “fat old man” vibe resonates.  Dream away, friends–just remember that I’m taken.

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In the end, it comes down to public safety.  Stray too far from the time-tested memes of summer, and there’s no telling what you’ll get.

We’ve only got four days of Summer remaining, and I’ve not only got Found Summer Photos lined up for each of those days, but I’ve collected a fair portion of next year’s entries as well–something to which we can look forward over the long, cold winter that’s sure to come.

Categories
Commentary Journal

500th Post

500-postsWay back in the dark days of early summer, in the year 2013, I set my mind to sustaining a blog for at least a year.  Dedicated readers who don’t have a lot else going for them might recall that the original impetus for Old Road Apples was as an outlet for some old and some not so old poetry.  That I named the blog as a pun on horse turds should not be taken as an indication of my regard for poetry–quite the opposite is true, in fact. I consider it to be the absolute highest form of art, available and accessible in one form or another to anyone who embraces it.

I haven’t posted that much poetry, sadly enough, as I quickly squandered all the usable material from my youth while simultaneously devoting the lion’s share of my attention to a novel that is turning out to be not half bad–it’s got killing and a timeless rite of passage theme, which are always good things to have in a story, but thus far my efforts to include a peppy teen heroine and a sexy but broody vampire have failed.

What I didn’t expect to do was to pummel the internet with all manner of images, videos, and other non-writing, off-point things.  (By the way, sorry about that.)  The daily blogging requirement, and the familiarity I’ve developed with a core group of readers/followers has awakened by insidious, inner entertainer.  I feel a little bad about that, like I’m shirking, or like I’ve become like that creepy co-worker who sends out 40 emails a day with dumb memes and bad jokes.  Wait! I actually feel good about that.  It’s a form of sharing and intimacy–just ask my wife, who is surely sick of me yelling, “Come in here, I’ve got to show you something.”

I’m cool with it, though.  Five hundred of anything is cool, right?  I’d write more, but above and beyond the novel, there are just so many damned good blogs out there to get lost in, so many interesting people to stalk  er  follow um get to know.  So if you want more from me, write less–or write worse.

That said, I want to thank anyone who ever visited this page–the handful of old friends who stop in here now and again as well as my new “electronic” friends.  I wrote 500 posts trying to make you laugh, or get pissed off, or whatever–and have got almost 17000 hits in the process, along with over 475 followers.  Man, do I make good use that sort of affirmation!  The question, of course, is whether or not I can improve on that for the upcoming year–it should be interesting to see.  I’ve never really aspired to something tangible, let alone quantifiable, before.