Winter, Still

This isn’t fake news. We’re getting a major snowstorm tomorrow.

We might even see the biggest snow totals of the year, possibly 12 inches of snowflakes (they might even be 12 inches of liberal snowflakes, but that’s a conservative estimate). The name of this storm, by the way, is “Stella,” because we give snowstorms names now, apparently.

I was supposed to have jury duty, but they’ve canceled it. Governor says to stay off the roads.

We can get into a seasonal mindset rather quickly. Because of warm temps a couple of weeks ago and the lack of snow on the ground and the fact that we put our clocks ahead an hour this weekend, I was mentally prepared for spring. Now I have to go back to February “do I have enough rock salt?” mode. But I have plenty of that, along with tea and candles –  and I haven’t put away the flannel shirts yet – so I’m all set.

It’s comfort food weather, and my forecast calls for periods of pasta, with a 100% chance of pie.


Humans aren’t built to experience things at the speed of social media and 24-hour news. They not only overwhelm us they infect the way that we think about things, how we react, how we anticipate, even what we come to expect from one another.


(This is a rewrite of a post I did in 2013. I have to post it again after seeing the dolt – a beautiful dolt but a dolt nonetheless – that did it twice in the span of about 20 seconds tonight on Jeopardy.)

Somewhere along the line, while we weren’t looking, they changed our language.

We see the obvious culprits, the people who have ripped apart sentences and words and maybe even basic communication itself by doing nothing but text all day long (because they would rather use their phone for any other purpose than to actually talk to someone), completely forgetting about capitalization or basic punctuation, reducing everything to an LOL, a BRB, a “U” instead of you (because it’s too much trouble to type those two extra characters), tortured abbreviations, and maybe a 🙂 (emoticons have taken the place of emotion). We’ve seen the word “the” taken away from us. Suddenly everyone is saying “prom” instead of “the prom” and “hospital” instead of “going to the hospital,” like we’ve all suddenly become British (I’ll have some bangers and mash, and put them in the boot, please!). And we have the truly bizarre habit of using the word “so” to start a sentence, which can be fine if used correctly, but not when you’re simply answering someone’s question. Some quick examples:

Interviewer: “Where were you born?”

Hip Entrepreneur: “So I was born in New Jersey…”

Interviewer: “Tell us about your new app.”

Hip Entrepreneur: “So what this app does is…”

Interviewer: “Do you like pecan pie?”

Hip Entrepreneur: “So the first time I had pecan pie…”

Was there anyone who was the subject of an interview before the 2000s who answered questions like this? Of course not. When people were asked “What do you do for a living?” the answer would have been “I’m a writer,” not “So I’m a writer and I write about…” It’s really the weirdest thing in the world. It’s happening all the time now. You might not even hear it at first but once you do, it becomes very noticeable. It’s a verbal tic that tech and business people, most in their 20s and 30s (I first noticed it with Mark Zuckerberg years ago) but sometimes older, have adopted. Or maybe it’s not even a verbal tic. Maybe it’s actually the way people think you’re supposed to talk. I’d rather people say “um” at the start of a sentence. At least that’s a sound and they’re not inserting an actual word where one isn’t needed.

Communication is weird now. If we’re not starting sentences with the word “so” for no reason, we’re keeping our phones next to us while we eat dinner, getting irritated if people use periods when they text., or we think that people are wasting our time when they take the time to say “thank you.” If this is “progress” I don’t want any part of it.

Keep an ear out for it. You’ll be amazed how often you hear it. It might even start to bug the hell out of you because you’re noticing it and for that I apology in advance.


The Journalist

I can’t remember where I first saw the recipe for this drink – either in one of the many cocktail books I own or a web site – but I thought that in these tense days, reporters, correspondents, and writers in general need support more than ever. And booze is good support (also: money).

The Journalist

3/4 oz. gin
1/4 oz. dry vermouth
1/4 oz. sweet vermouth
1/4 oz. Cointreau (or orange Curacao)
1/4 oz. lemon juice
dash of Angostura bitters

Shake all ingredients with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Try not to tweet after having a few.


toothachegum1Toothaches are bad.

I know, I know, what a profound observation. To clarify: I hate tooth pain more than pain in other areas of my body. A sprained ankle or a bruised arm or a cut finger, while certainly irritating, can be dealt with. You stay off your feet for the day or you don’t use the arm as much or you put on a Band-Aid. But a toothache is one of those things you just can’t get to. You can’t “stay off your teeth.” The pain shoots up and gives you a headache, and you have to eat and drink liquid on the other side of your mouth, which never quite works because food and drink inevitably wander over to the side where you tooth is hurting you. Your days and nights involve a rotation of Advil and Anbesol and probably some other cures that being with “a” and you wait to see if the pain goes away because it’s “one of those things,” and then you realize the pain isn’t going to go away and you have to call the dentist.

Having said all that, I have a terrific dentist who saw me on short notice. He said it wasn’t too bad and gave me some antibiotics (“a”). Everything should be fine (until the next time it hurts – it needs to come out at some point). It feels a lot better than it did a few days ago, that’s for sure.

By the way, “wisdom teeth” should really be called something else.