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February 12, 2013

Is snow an emergency? CNN post

CNN.com has posted my op-ed about why we treat snowstorms as emergencies.

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February 9, 2013

Why we were better prepared

The Boy Scouts are right: Be straight prepared. I’m looking out the window at what’s less like a blanket of snow and more like 5 stacked futons of snow. As quaint as a herniated disc.

Yet New England seems to be suffering the minimum amount of damage conceivable. What did we get right, especially compared with the freeze-in-your-car 1978 blizzard?

1. Weather forecasting has gotten much better. We were not taken by surprise.

2. We had appropriate plans in place. I heard, for example, that some local hospitals had arranged a pick-up service for medical personnel who otherwise couldn’t have gotten in to work. And a big hug and cup of warm cocoa to everyone working out in the cold to keep us safe. The nine most comforting words in the English language: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

3. Our leaders are newly motivated not only by wisdom but also by fear. The price of being unprepared has gone up. I’m not saying our expectations are reasonable. We Americans generally don’t have a theory to explain why bad random things happen. ff afflicted by a natural disaster, we call a lawyer to sue the weather, the asteroid, someone. Still, it keeps our leaders on their toes.

4. It’s just snow. A lot of snow. You shovel it. You put on cleats once the sidewalks are walkable. For once in your life you don’t drive like a dick. It gets gray, black, and it melts. It’s just frozen water. got spring on our side. So, suck it, snow!

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January 27, 2011

Boston surrenders, snow declares victory

That’s it, snow. You win.

After two more hours of shoveling this morning, the pile in the yard is approaching 7 feet. Our neighbor kindly agreed to let us deposit snow from our driveway onto their narrow walkway. Without that, we would have had to clear the snow by melting it teaspoon by teaspoon in our mouths.

Not that it matters, but you shouldn’t feel too smug. You only won because you were able to throw more and more troops into the fray. No strategy, just a ruthless willingness to send your young — each a unique individual, not that you care — into the breaches that we kept trying to open. Whatever clever stratagem we came up with, you countered simply by throwing more snow at it. Still, it worked. We hope you’re very proud of yourself.

So, call off your dogs. No need for another blitz. We surrender unconditionally. Please take these frozen tears as a first small token of our capitulation. Plus Fluffy, whom we haven’t seen in a couple of days anyway.

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January 11, 2009

Snow grinch

“Oh, I just love snow”

Fine. You can have all of mine. Here’s a shovel.

Me, I don’t care for the stuff. Sure, I liked sledding when I was a kid, because sledding takes all the skill of falling down, and, by the way, works on the same basic principle. But now, slipping downward without the ability to stop is pretty much just a description of living day to day, except sledding is colder.

As for all that great cardiovascular exercise that shoveling is supposed to give you: Then why don’t you see snow shoveling machines in health clubs? The answer is simple: It’s. Bad. For. You.

Yes, snow is pretty. See, I’m open minded. And then, after a couple of hours of city traffic, the pretty snow is like the white handkerchief a doctor has a smoker blow through to show the damage the tobacco is doing. Snow is white so that it can display the city’s sputum ever so much more clearly.

Bah.

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