A Post post

satevepostsnowcoverEvery once in a while I like to post a reminder that I write a weekly column for The Saturday Evening Post. No, not on Saturday evenings but every Friday morning. Here’s this week’s edition, where I talk about a long lost Sherlock Holmes story, James Bond’s new car, various recipes you can make with strawberries, and why we really don’t need to change baseball.

There’s also new stuff up at Professor Barnhardt’s Journal. Go! Go read! And I’m working on the February Letter, which you’ll get in early March because sometimes the end of the month sneaks up on me. Have a great weekend.

Sick

I’m sick. Sick of the snow and sick of the cold and sick of not being able to go somewhere if I needed to. I’m sick of the non-stop coverage of the storms on television and the sound of plows going by my street. I’m sick of all the white and actually yearn for grey sidewalks and roads.

For those keeping score at home: 31 inches in the Blizzard of 2015 a couple of weeks ago, a foot last week, and two more feet yesterday and today.  Do the math yourself (no, seriously, do it yourself – I hate doing math). Another big storm this Thursday and another possible storm on Sunday. It has gone from “winter wonderland” to “depressing wasteland” in the course of just a couple of weeks. It’s hard to remember what everything looked like before 7 foot snow banks.

A drunk (I’m assuming) woman just walked by my windows and yelled “I DON’T WANT YOU! I DON’T NEED YOU! F**K YOU! GET AWAY FROM ME! I assume she was talking to her equally drunk boyfriend but I like to imagine she was speaking directly to the snow.

Also: I’m sick. Literally sick, as in coughing and body aches and a tired feeling and probably a fever too (I don’t have a thermometer), drink a lot of tea and try every medicine in the cabinet kind of sick. I never get headaches but when I cough I cough violently and the pain shoots up and slams me in the head. I’m coughing so much my throat feels like it’s lined with sandpaper. It has completely worn me out. Actually I’m so sick I don’t even want to sit at this computer and type things. Why am I writing this? Time to hit the Publish button and go lie down again under the comforter.

Snow! (Part 2)

As longtime readers of this site probably know, I love the cold and winter. But there comes a point where even the most diehard fan of the snow reaches a breaking point. I call that point “RIGHT NOW.”

We got 31 inches last week. Today we got around a foot. That’s a record for one week around here. There’s no place to put it. I have a long staircase I have to shovel, and when I got to the end of the stairs today and encountered a drift of snow about 3 feet tall and 15 feet long – formed due to the placement of the stairs between two buildings, the wind piling up the white in a small area – I just sighed heavily. It was one of those times I wished I had the powers of Jeannie or Samantha Stevens, where I could just blink or twitch the snow away and leave a clear path to the street. I’d even take the powers of one of Samantha’s addled aunts, the ones who could never do a spell correctly. Sure, the snow probably would have been transported to Florida accidentally or maybe turned into Napoleon, but both of those things I could handle (Napoleon was short and I think I could have taken him).

More snow this Thursday.

Blogging is alive and well

(An addendum to this post.)

This summer this site will be 19 years old.

Andrew Sullivan is giving up blogging (again) after 15 years. He wants to get back to the “real world” and away from the “digital life.” He wants to read slowly again, carefully, and think about things. He doesn’t want to have to blog instantly about something, and he wants to spend more time with family and friends and cut out the stress. Hey, I don’t begrudge anyone doing that, and he writes about what he’s been going through with eloquence. If he wants to give up the daily blogging to concentrate on writing for other publications and writing books and to have a deeper experience with what he writes and reads, that’s fantastic. It’s what more people should do (and I really hope he gives up social media too). What I object to is the reaction to his decision, which is…weird.

BLOGGING IS DEAD. ANOTHER NAIL IN THE COFFIN FOR BLOGS. NOBODY BLOGS ANYMORE, THEY’RE ALL ON SOCIAL MEDIA. Oh please. While I do see a disturbing amount of people who are doing everything on social media now, blogs aren’t going anywhere. It’s irritating when people in the media and tech – people who do this stuff for a living and maybe even for fun and should know better – constantly mark this as an end to blogs just become a prominent practitioner of the form isn’t going to do it anymore. People keep saying that blogs are just sooooo [take your pick: 1999, 2005, 2012]. It’s a tired story. Is writing going away? Is the web going away? Of course not. That’s why blogs will always exist, whether people get paid for doing them or not.

BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith not only calls Sullivan one of the first bloggers (I’m not even sure if he was if he started in 2000 – maybe one of the first bloggers of a certain kind, politics, and one of the first who became famous doing it), he also forgets history. He’s yet another person who seems to think that blogging started with political blogs and war blogs. That’s not true. I know, I was there. I’ve been reading blogs since around ’95 (and as I said above I’ve had this blog since ’96). Most blogs were personal, and in fact most still are. Alyssa Rosenberg at The Washington Post strikes a nice balance but seems to not understand that most bloggers do it because they like it and they like to write, and she puts way too much emphasis on people who blog for publications and people who go from independent blogger to “establishment.” Personal bloggers need more attention because we’re the ones who started all of this. (I also think her description of blogging as “the outpost of a lone obsessive with a WordPress account” is rather unkind.)

Whenever someone says “blogging is dead” what I hear is “writing is dead.” Isn’t blogging just another term for longform writing (at least it is now)? I’ve read some articles that say the form of blogging is dead because there are quicker, shorter ways of reaching a lot of people now. As if speed and convenience are the most important things. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to live in a world where everything written online is tweets and Instagram pics and 6 second Vine videos. I’m interested in the writing.

As I’ve said before, I don’t consider myself a blogger. I’m a writer. I don’t mean this in a snobby way, as if being called a blogger is insulting (though we all know a lot of people will use that term to belittle someone’s opinion – “oh, he’s just some blogger!”) But I consider a blog just the technology, the form, the delivery system. I wouldn’t call myself a newspaperer or a magaziner either.

Good luck to Sullivan though if he feels he has to get away from it. But if he goes back to his site in, say, a year, I expect to see a ton of “BLOGGING IS BACK!” pieces.

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Here are some posts related to this you might like to read:

If We’re Going To Have Comment Sections, Here’s How To Do It
Five Things About Media And Technology Right Now
Five More Things About Media And Technology Right Now
And Here Are Five More Things About Media And Technology Right Now

Snow!

We’re supposed to get a lot of snow late Monday night/early Tuesday. They’re actually using the words “destructive,” “crushed,” and “life-threatening travel.” I don’t know if they’ve given it an official name yet, but I’m sure it’s going to be called SNOWOCAPLYPSE OR BLIZZARDARAMA or HELLSNOW 2014 2015. Or maybe in the language of the week we can call it SNOWGATE.

Of course, meteorologists can’t just give us the forecast anymore. They have to take several minutes to talk about the various “computer models” that give 47 different scenarios for what could happen (I think it’s a way of covering their asses if they’re wrong – “hey, it was one of the things we predicted!”) They seem to think the more information they give us the better, and that we’re all interested in jetstreams and polar vortexes. Just tell me if I need an umbrella. One guy says one model shows we’re going to get 29 inches. Another model says we’re going to get 18. Yet another model says we’re going to get around 12.

I’m pretty sure I could have given that same exact forecast, sitting on my couch in my sweatpants drinking tea, looking out the window once in a while. I’m still not convinced the fancy “weather centers” are anymore reliable than the guys who used to do the weather with chalk and weather maps they pulled out of the wall by hand. And they didn’t remind me 5 times every newscast to DOWNLOAD OUR WEATHER APP. But it looks like we will get a good amount. I’m glad the snow and ice is gone from yesterday’s storm. All stocked up with hot cocoa and rock salt – the most important of blizzard provisions – so I’m ready.

Bing, Rosemary, Vera, and Danny are ready too.