Rated BLG

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Because of the snow over much of the US yesterday, I received several visits to my How to Drive in Ice and Snow posting from people doing Google searches on How to drive in the snow.

I gather that the fact my tongue was planted firmly in cheek while writing this post wasn’t completely apparent, because a reader left the following comment:

I was driving and certainly I was on top of that black ice you can’t see. Car started to spin and when I open my eyes my car was stopped by two others cars inside an auto shop. Nice try to tell people what to do in a snow storm. If a driver is not experience in driving in hazard conditions not tell them what to do. You know how teenagers are and they will go out there and practice what you guys are telling people to do. Be a little more responsible when posting things that young people could read.

That got me to thinking that a lot of my posts could influence young people to act in a contrary manner. For instance, there’s probably a teenager out there right now telling their Dad not to vote for George Bush. Ever. And there might be a teen girl who doesn’t blush and giggle because a group of boys whistle at her as she walks past.

My own irresponsibility shames me.

What we need is a weblog posting rating system — just like the ones the movie, music, and computer game industry use. You know, the ones that attach a Mature rating to a computer game about stealing cars and killing people, which parents then ignore because Joe Jr. keeps nagging them about it?

So here’s my proposed rating system. Please feel free to extend the list as you see fit:

G – Highly innocuous content unlikely to offend — or inspire — anyone

PG – Some independent thought could result from this posting, use caution

R – Post includes coverage of violent topics, such as war

ISM – Post uses language that some readers might find offensive or lacking in humor

TECH – Post contains technical material that may not be suitable for young children and people who go “Gah! Not Again!” when they see acronyms such as: RSS, RDF, XML, XHTML, and CSS.

WAR – Post is about the War on Terror. May not be suitable for those with a low burning point and a heart condition

ME – Post is about me and may not be of interest to people who aren’t interested in me

INTL – Post contains a lot of big words and covers a lot of really intellectual stuff that might cause real pain to some people.

CAT – Post contains some reference to cats. Use ~Cat when referencing dogs or kids

BLG – Post is about blogging, and my not be of interest to people who don’t like to read about blogging

SEX – Post contains material related to sex. Additional ratings associated with SEX are: SEX-R — risque; SEX-M — really risque; SEX-XX — Suzy down on the farm stuff

WTF – Used to gently remind the reader that not everything they read on the web is real


Fire and Ice

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

One unusual quality to weblogging is reading about summer fires one day, and major ice storms the next.

I must check my map before calling out greetings to friends, such as “Stay cool” to Jonathon and Victor; and “Stay warm” to RyanSharon, and Jeneane.

As for me? I exist in a perfect state of being at this one moment, for which I feel no guilt; but can scrape together enough empathy to wish my friends coolness. Uh, warmness. Wait. Wait! Coolness. No, no. That’s not right. It’s warmness…

“Do not seek for warm fire under cold ice” – Samuel Rutherford

Update: I had forgotten that Mark Pilgrim also lives in the Carolinas. To my surprise, Sam also was hit with the ice storm (for some reason, I thought Sam lived in the West Coast — my powers of observation must suck). Joe Gregorio is also in N. Carolina. So my warmest thoughts go out to them, too.

I lived on Grand Isle in the middle of Lake Champlain in Vermont during the Ice Storm of ’98. We were without power for close to four days, which was a real problem because we had an electric pump system for water. No water, no flush toilet. Believe me, there are worse things than not having heat. Just after the storm, the only movement on the island was National Guard helicopters, called in by the governor. That, in itself, was a bit spooky. We felt as if we were in a war zone.

Most of the trees in our area were decimated in that storm. But oh, that ice was beautiful. Deadly, but beautiful.

I feel for all those caught in yet another “storm of the century” ice storm.


O’Doul’s takes Australia

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I had books to ship out to friends and family and took them to the local mail service shop. As the counter person was typing in the shipping information, I asked about several boxes next to the counter, all with Australian addresses.

It would seem that an American living in Australia missed O’Doul’s non-alcoholic beer so much, he had his sister ship him 13 cases of it.

Cost? $600.00 for the beer, and $1300.00 for the shipping. That’s US dollars.

All I can say is that the man must love O’Doul’s.

Just Shelley

Power of the asides: Twas the night before Christmas

T’was the night before Christmas, and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

(Well, there was a mouse once. Name of George, married to a nice little brown field mouse named Alice. Last Christmas, George and Alice went caroling at the neighbor’s. There they were, singing Jingle Bells in these squeaky little voices: Jingle bells. Jingle bells. Jingle all the way. Oh what fun we’ll have… At that point Zoe, the house cat and resident music critic, ate them both.)

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
in hopes that St. Nicholas would soon be there;

(Damn right the stockings were hung with care. Four Christmases ago, suckers fell into the fireplace, caught on fire, generated a ton of smoke, and set off the fire alarm. The brand new fire system kicked in, spraying the entire living room with fire suppressant foam, destroying my widescreen TV and the new stereo.)

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;

(I let the kids eat way too much sugar. After they bounced off of every wall in the house, juggled the bulbs on the tree, played Frisbee with Aunty Jane’s fruitcake, and terrified the dog, they finally fell into a sugar-induced coma. Whereby I put the little cherubs to bed and went down and had a stiff drink.)

And mamma in her kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap.

(Mamma had a headache. Again.)

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

(Dammittohell, spilled my drink.)

Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

(I stumbled to the window, tripped over the dog, and stepped on the cat’s tail. After I cranked open the window, I tried to peer out through the bars.)

The moon of the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave luster of mid-day to objects below.

(Street lights helped some, too.)

When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.

(Shit! I knew I shouldn’t have dropped that acid in college!)

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

(It was on the news:  John St. Nicholas, wanted felon and bank robber. Personally, I would have picked something faster than a sleigh for a getaway. Wonder where he stole the reindeer?)

More rapid than eagles his courses they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On Cupid! On Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!

(Uh oh, I think we just entered into One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Where’s the Chief?)

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the courses they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas, too.

(Damn that stuff I took in college must have been good.)

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound

(Hey, we think something crawled in there and died a few weeks ago. Can you grab it on your way in?)

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;

(Man, fur is just so yesterday. No one wears fur any more.)

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack

(Damn door-to-door salesmen will stop at nothing to make a sale.)

His eyes — how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

(And he was the scariest son of a bitch I’ve ever seen.)

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;

(This is a no-smoking zone. Please extinguish all smoking materials.)

He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

(One word, bud: treadmill. Big time.)

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

(Hysteria will do that to a person.)

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

(Because I’m packing. A fully loaded 45 semi-automatic. One wrong move, Gift Man, and you’re toast. You and your little reindeer, too.)

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

(Yeah, there’s snow, and then there’s snow.)

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

(And at that point I woke up and realized that I must have been dreaming. Yeah, that’s it. It was all a dream. Except next morning when I went to get the paper there were these big piles of shit all over the lawn…)