The Storm That Ate Christmas


Still playing at a theater near you, dispensing with marking myself safe from the snowstorm in Buffalo, and opting for annoyed. Can you mark yourself annoyed? I’m going to set precedent.

The multi-day, multi-foot deep snow storm that ate Christmas (most of which is still in my driveway) is a study in wisdom and foolishness and tragedy. Anything with a body count immediately loses access to terms like beauty and clinches like Winter Wonderland. When more than 20 people have died, aphorisms don’t cut it.

I questioned my own wisdom on the first night of the storm. A loss in power put a premature end of the work day and I was offered safe haven a block away where there was heat and light. With a vision line of about 20 feet at best, it was the longest short walk I’ve ever taken, like a chapter from a Jack London story. It was quite surreal to hear nothing but the wind and see little but snow bent on bodily assault. That assault would continue for the next 30 hours and upwards of 4 feet of new fallen snow, Despite that less than informed choice, I made it and had a good warm seat to watch the storm pummel the area from a fourth floor vista.

Watching the wind and snow blow about had the same effect of gazing at a campfire. What are you watching? Who knows, but you don’t want to miss it when it reveals itself. Buildings would fade from view like they never existed and then suddenly reappearing like the silhouetted monoliths they are, coming in and out of focus only being 50 to 60 feet away from the window I was gazing on them from.

When all was calm, the return trip was a little less Call of the Wild and a little more obstacle laden, better stretch before you pull something odyssey. The intense varying winds carved some interesting temporary snow architecture and the result was a random pattern of cars and SUVS in a variety of abstract positions as if a child tossed their matchbox cars in the air and the snowbound pattern was result.

I don’t know who built Hoak’s restaurant south of the city, but he or she did good work

But that all worked out, despite been not one of my better initial choices upon leaving my darkened house. It was heartwarming to read of the rescue of the theater worker in North Buffalo as that is how we should be looking out for another. I’m glad he was found and getting the necessary care toward recovery. It is also great that the bus of Korean tourists found safety in something they have never experienced before. It’s heartbreaking how many others didn’t fare was well.

I don’t really get the folks who want to compare “what storm was worse” as that doesn’t matter or the people going to facebook to get the best streets to get to a destination. I’d call the destination than try to cruise in lousy conditions with anecdotal testimony, but that is just me. I would however listen to the driving ban.

My actual driveway underscored that I have no choice in the matter. See below.

The peak there is about five feet high.

My personal hero so far is the guy whose job is to clear the sidewalks of the nursing home next to mine. He has set down the way to do it through sheer consistent pluck. He’ has been out there each day of the storm and as a result, there is pavement around the property. Unlike some leaders he didn’t blame residents, he focused on the task. If only that example would inspire say, building owners like, well, mine.

As I write this the landlord did send two guys with a snowblower to carve out the sidewalks at least, I applaud the attempt, but 12 year old me running Dad’s snowblower for the first time in winter 1976 got better results. Maybe they needed my dad to stare them into straight lines as it worked when I did that stuff.

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Ride, Captain, Ride


When you have been cooped up all day inside on a great looking outside day, sometimes you just have to steal a little. You might see some cool stuff if you make haste. With a related question, if you do make haste, what do you keep it in? Anyway, fresh air to sooth the office drone’s soul.

Hints of fall in the trees

Handlebar imagery


Took the holiday eve and joined a bike gang to pedal around our fair city. It is always good for my twisted view to see stuff from the open air. It helps my outlook to be a part of something bigger that me and a pedal trip around the city is a favorite mode of centering.

Good looks and had I been in the car, might have missed them

Pause


I was caught at a slow traffic light on one of the busier streets in my city last week. I couldn’t help but notice that, across the street, an attempt at parallel parking was going on. A young woman, with plenty of room for her car, was trying to maneuver her car. What was revealing was her reliance on just the backup camera. She didn’t crane her neck at all or look out the windows, just purely stared at the camera. It apparently revealed all that she needed to know, gently guiding her in to tapping both of the adjoining cars, despite the vast amount of space there was with which to work. Focused solely on the camera, the driver did herself a great disservice. By forgetting that she had both windows and a moveable neck, she managed to “kiss” both the cars on the edges of the space she was attempting to fill.

Later that night, CNN screened “Roadrunner,” the story of Anthony Bourdain’s rise to media prominence and his all too early end. While most celebrity passings come and go for me, that one did hit me rather hard. I really liked his writing and religiously watched his television offerings. The common thread between the programs was just showing things, customs, cooking, life entirely. It didn’t seem that he was rushing to confirm a particular judgement, but to seem something completely. Hopefully a better understanding was the end result. He tried vegetarian cuisines. He shot machine guns with Ted Nugent. He chatted with both Trumpers and nontrumpers. The fundamental curiosity and the willing to find stuff out I knew drew me in and at the heart of it, that helps me fuel my critical thinking and outlook. i really appreciated his notion of seeing the whole thing, being curious enough to find out, to use all that was available from enjoying a meal to forming a notion.

That seems to have evaporated. I mean it is okay to not have a take yet, but it seems like we are skipping the duty of being interested in finding something out then we are in having a snappy comeback,

It would certainly make all the media dogwhistles that we hear a lot less effective. Now, that isn’t a media thing. It’s not like there is a big conference call every morning where all the media gathers and decides things collectively. It’s the how we react to stuff.

This has been on my mind a lot of late. An acquaintance posted about the recent nomination hearings of Ketanji Brown Jackson. The acquaintance was against the nomination based mostly on the made for TV theatrics of Sens. Hawley, Cruz and Graham. The three stooges in their never ending quest for camera time ahead of time, you know, working, were trying to make a stink of the judge’s sentencing record. The hearing was filled with hysterically stated generalizations that didn’t take in account cases, legal nuances, charges or make much sense. I don’t believe they believe a word of it. They were just out to scuttle the nomination and screw up a president they aren’t fond of, the petty buffoons. The actual cases are too nuanced for those jamokes.

Ron DeSantis, in his quest to turn Florida back to the 1940s, got the Don’t Say Gay law put in place and is championing himself as the protector of the next generation. You do a little digging and find out that he didn’t win by much the last time, a little over 33,000 accordng to Politico. Maybe, I’m cynical…okay, I am. I don’t think he gives a rat’s behind about what gets taught. He certainly didn’t hold students in any high regard – berating those wearing Covid masks at a recent ceremony. He is trying to get apathetic voters to turn up to keep him employed. The Disney company admirably came out against the law with that pesky freedom of speech and DeSantis came out swinging against them. Facebook political “scholars” were cheering him on as he wants to take away Disney’s self policing of their Florida holdings. You did a little deeper and the bill the Florida residents would have to pay if this all actually came to pass should cause his impeachment. Good thing, it is all political theater.

I started writing this prior to the leak of the draft of the Supreme Court decision that could overturn Roe versus Wade. While that potential is horrifying enough as it will endanger women for the sake of control over them (as well as reveal how the past three justices perjured themselves to get their jobs), I am thinking that leak might have come from Justice Thomas whose spouse really wanted to abuse her clout to overturn the the 2020 election.

We need to stop and think about that.

We also need to stop and act more for the consequences of the Buffalo shooting. As it sits about 1/2 mile from my residence, I’ve been trying to pitch in where I can either financially, with sweat equity or just making space. As the cameras are dissipating, the hole in the heart of that neighborhood is deep. The help needs to be there as the wounds run very deep. The city hasn’t done much to help things aside from getting the supermarket there in the first place. But more needs to occur as the history even leading up the shooting isn’t good. This is a good piece for perspective. Jefferson, Bailey, Genesee, Fillmore should be just as significant as Elmwood, Delaware and Main. Hopefully this all proves impetus for a positive direction guided by the people who call it home. It’s beyond disturbing that teachers and grocery store employees have to plot hiding places and escape routes. I admire our sports team for offering help, but I’m not really comfortable with commemorative t-shirts and their revenues going down untold paths when there are grassroots organizations doing the work

It happened two weeks ago, and already the horror isn’t even the freshest nightmare, If you weren’t sure what terrible excuses for human beings Ted Cruz and Greg Abbott were before, they certainly showed it. With musings like bulletproof school doors (Cruz) to insight like “it could have been worse,” (Abbott), they aren’t exactly distinguishing themselves as public servants, just buffoons prioritizing their NRA donations.

Given that the AR-15 is the en vogue weapon of choice and there is absolutely no reason for civilians to own one (no, not even you, Joe Sportsman), perhaps look at making them tougher to get for disturbed 18 year olds.

This is not who we are goes the refrain. Sorry, but it exactly who we are. We need to be better to aspire, genuinely aspire to be better.

I was hard on myself for what I’ve done to help with efforts here in Buffalo as they felt a little lacking in my mind, but I know I’ve contributed more that either of those two jamokes will to better the situation in Texas.

In a world of Abbotts, be a Beto