Waiting for snow.

It has snowed almost every day in the past couple of weeks, but there’s almost no snow on the ground. We’re getting a form of non-snow, I think, that always seems to be falling but never accumulating. There’s snow everywhere, but the grass isn’t covered yet, which has always been, for my money, the start of winter-in-earnest.

Meanwhile, it’s freezing everywhere else, particularly Florida, where, my newspaper informed me this morning, iguanas are falling from trees. This seemed to warrant further investigation, so — thanks, professor Google! — I typed “iguanas falling from trees” into the search window, and…

…may I just stop for a moment to marvel at that? I went to Ann Arbor yesterday, had lunch with a couple of people to talk about this and that. I mentioned my brother-in-law’s amazing ability, honed after years of falling asleep on the couch in front of late-night television, to be able to give you the name and stars of any Western movie you can name after less than five seconds of viewing time. In the time it takes you to stop on a channel and think, “What’s that?,” he will reply, “‘My Darling Clementine,’ Victor Mature, Walter Brennan, Henry Fonda.” He’s a human IMDb. Which made me think of working nights in a newsroom before universal ESPN and the internet, when all the staff did was answer the phone, report scores and settle bets. Who played second base for the Dodgers in 1950? Won won the Heisman Trophy in 1961? And so on.

Google handles all of that now. If you phoned a friend on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” today, and they were anything other than a hunt-and-peck typist, they could answer your question in the time it takes to exchange pleasantries. Once or twice, late in that show’s prime-time run, I think that actually happened. You either know about the Beaufort Scale or you don’t. It doesn’t come to you after a long uhhhhh.

To a future with fewer urban legends, if also not so many excuses to call a buddy and catch up, under the pretense of asking a baseball question.

Back to iguanas. It’s true, they’re falling from trees, and this is apparently an urban legend all its own. They’re not Florida natives, the little bastards were introduced by careless pet owners, and they’re spreading. Falling iguanas is, I hear, a “long-standing Florida urban legend,” but not any more — some TV guy captured an actual falling iguana on video, which is almost enough to forgive his atrocious English usage. (The cold weather, he tells us, is “an opportunity to rein in on the critter.” Although I bet, in the script, he spelled it “rain in.”)

But there you are, a frozen falling iguana. Don’t say I never did anything for you.

As long as we’re on the subject, though, I’ve given myself an opening to bring up a piece of e-mail that’s been kicking around since before Christmas, one of our regular readers, who quotes it here:

Crable ”didn’t need to do it. He wasn’t going to jail. He wasn’t under arrest. They were actually going to give him a ride out of there and give him a helping hand to diffuse the situation,” Troyer said.

Story here. It’s about a police shooting, so it’s maybe it’s a little tacky to bring it up in the context of a usage error, but oh well. I see “diffuse” and “defuse” mixed up all the damn time, to the point I don’t think anyone knows how to use them. I’ll give it a try:

Diffuse can be a transitive verb, but is mostly intransitive, and in my opinion, should stay that way. It means, “to spread over a wide area.” Bob’s beer fart diffused through the room, which quickly emptied. The writer of the passage above should have used defuse, as in disabling a bomb, or in this case, to reduce danger or tension. As the gasping crowd moved through the doors, the senator defused the awkwardness with a witty remark. Let’s try to remember this in our written expression, eh people?

You come here for chitchat, you leave with an English lesson. That’s the way we roll here.

Meanwhile, it’s snowing heavily all over the Midwest. Chicago is expecting a foot. All reports here say to expect it to taper off as it reaches southeast Michigan, and we may get an inch or so. In other words, the grass may well still be uncovered this time tomorrow.

I don’t know how many of you followed the link yesterday to the story about the Dearborn sweatshirt, in which the class of 2011 commissioned a design that depicted “11” as twin towers, with the school’s bird mascot bearing down on them, and the phrase “you can’t bring us down.” The fact the school in question is predominantly Arab is just icing on the cake of awkwardness, a situation just begging to be defused, but I had to chuckle at the e-mail I received from a friend, who said:

What goes around comes around. When I was in high school (class of ’86) our class had to have a unifying costume-decorating theme for the annual spring “Olympics” competition opening ceremony. Everything had been done already: cowboys & indians, rock & roll, military, etc. Then we seized upon a brilliant idea: ARABS. Yes, the whole class showed up in towelhead regalia. You know, like, rock the casbah? Inappropriately and inaccurately spanning everything from burqas to belly dancers to Sikhs. I wore a three-piece suit with a towel on my head and carried a gas can. You can be assured we never gave a single thought to any actual Arab-Americans who might have been attending the school or the ceremony. I do remember a banner in our hallway that read: We’re So Sheik.

That’s one way of looking at it. Remember the Iron Sheik, the wrestling heel? He wore a burnoose and waved an Iranian flag. Iranians aren’t Arabs and don’t wear burnooses, but no one ever said cultural caricatures were subtle. A photography intern I knew years ago took the Sheik’s picture backstage while he shaved his head and chest; I think he was naked, too. Good picture, although the goods were nothing special. Now you know.

Late start today, but a full day otherwise. Enjoy what’s left of yours.

Posted at 10:51 am in Same ol' same ol' |

55 responses to “Waiting for snow.”

  1. Jeff Borden said on January 7, 2010 at 11:04 am

    I am usually embarrassed by my affection for professional wrestling, but today, it comes in handy. The man who played the Iron Sheik in Vince McMahon’s WWE had been a bodyguard to the Shah and, I believe, an Olympic wrestler for Iran. There was another Sheik when I was a kid and the wrestling promotions were all regional. He was an American, of course, who wore a closely cropped beard and wrestling boots with the toes of his boots curling upward. He always pretended to be amazed at modern things –once, at an outdoor show, he pointed excitedly at an airplane overhead as if he had never seen one before– but reportedly was also a promoter and trainer of other wrestlers.

    Exploiting ethnic and national prejudices has always been a modus operandi in pro wrestling, which is why the villains of my youth were always Germans in tall black boots who gave the Nazi salute, or Japanese, who were always sneaky and devious. Down south, there was a bad guy tag team called The Mighty Blue Yankees, so you can exploit regional prejudices, too.

    Even women wrestlers get in on the act. There is a woman working now who goes by the name of Raisha Saheed, who wears an Islamic get-up in the ring complete with her face almost entirely obscured. You can probably guess she is a heel.

    If I were a promoter today, I might launch a character based on an investment banker or a mortgage loan officer. Everyone would like to see one of those guys get their asses kicked.

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  2. MarkH said on January 7, 2010 at 11:07 am

    We have a snow shortage here in the Yellowstone region as well. we a re pushing maybe 75% of normal content right now. But, we are back to bitterly cold weather, about normal for this time of year: -25 last night, maybe up to +5 or +10 today, continuing for another seven to ten days. But, not a cloud in the sky, the sunshine is glorious this morning.

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  3. Sue said on January 7, 2010 at 11:07 am

    You can have some of our snow, we haven’t seen the ground since before Thanksgiving. We’re expecting up to 10 inches today, but it’s the wind coming afterward to blow it all over the place that has everyone nervous.
    A few years ago I sent my daughter a birthday card with a photo of two young women chatting. One woman says, “Where’s the birthday party at?” The second woman says “Don’t end a sentence in a preposition.” Opening the card you see the same photo, and the first woman says “Ok, where’s the party at, bitch?”
    Yes, a birthday card AND a grammar lesson. That’s the kind of mom I am.

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  4. jcburns said on January 7, 2010 at 11:22 am

    “Let me tell you, Gordon Solie.” Yeah, I worked crew (incompetently) on some saturday morning Georgia Championship Wrestling tapings, and my favorite part was that they always referred to the host (and most of their opponents) by their full name, every time. It was, of course, also entertaining to watch them fume and sputter (“And brother, that Ole Anderson’s going down for the final time! I WILL FINISH HIM! This Friday! At the Omni!”) as the offscreen stage manager is counting him down: five, four, three, two, and….we’re out. Their outrage lasted precisely sixty seconds, and was logged as a sixty second spot.

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  5. brian stouder said on January 7, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Regarding snow – just this morning I saw something interesting. For the past few days, the weather folks have been all atwitter about ‘the approaching storm!’ – so we were braced to wake up this morning and see “an occurring storm” – but there was nothing happening. The young folks and I proceeded to the bus stop, and from there I went to Speedway for an icy cold Diet Coke – and that’s when I saw it; something was falling.

    It was completely invisible; it didn’t even register upon my windshield – but if you looked right at a person’s headlights, or at a bright-enough street light, you could see it in the glare.

    But now, all subtlety has been cast aside and the snow is showing itself and the storm is proceeding apace.

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  6. nancy said on January 7, 2010 at 11:30 am

    Somewhere in Nance’s File o’ Fotos, I have some of J.C. and m’self frolicking in that very ring. They set it up on Friday nights for Saturday taping, and I would sometimes fly down for weekend visits. They’d pick me up at the airport, and we’d head back to TBS to mess around at the station. And of course we couldn’t resist a few leaps off the turnbuckles — who could?

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  7. paddyo' said on January 7, 2010 at 11:34 am

    Jeff B, I too watched big-time wrestling in childhood, though I’d never look at it now . . . in LA in the early 1960s, we had a wealth of characters, some stereotypical, some not, on KTLA-TV’s (Channel 5) weekly wrestle-casts from the Olympic Auditorium. Mr. Moto qualified in that dept. (deploying evil and illegal karate chops!), but the famous Japanese wrestler, Shohei “Big” Baba, just a giant of a man on an extended visit stateside, did not. Bearcat Wright brought a rare African-American face to the game (and this was during the civil rights era). Haystack Calhoun was the prototypical/stereotypical hayseed-in-overalls . . .

    The rest were just plain colorful — Freddie “Listen you pencil-necked geeks!” Blassie, The Destroyer, Bobo Brazil, Pepper Gomez, etc., etc.

    As for life without Google, I can’t imagine any journalist, staff or freelance, getting a story together without it. We tried our best, in the pre-computer days, via encyclopedias and the Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature. The latter would send us hustling down to the public library in hopes of finding an article or backgrounder in a magazine or journal that the newspaper library didn’t carry. Doing research that way for daily newspapers would be roughly equivalent to sending in comments to nn.com today by snail-mail.

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  8. Jeff Borden said on January 7, 2010 at 11:34 am


    Those were the days! Gordon Solie was a regular visitor to my living room when the major draw on TBS were wrestling and the Atlanta Braves. The Andersons were great, but my favorite was always Ric Flair. He could wrestle a broom stick and make it look good.

    In the late 1960s, the sports editor of the small daily my dad ran was the son of the promoter for the old Cleveland Arena on Euclid Avenue, so we not only got a lot of free tickets, but visits to the lockerroom. It was such a blast watching Ernie “Big Cat” Ladd and Moose Cholak joshing each other and talking about their high spots, then going into the ring and acting as if they hated each other with the intensity of a thousand blazing suns. It only added to the charm that Ladd was terribly near-sighted and wore nerd eyeglasses.

    Somewhere in some dusty old album there is a photograph of me being bear-hugged by the Big Cat. He was really a very nice guy.

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  9. Jen said on January 7, 2010 at 11:41 am

    Yeah, we’re getting the deathsnow here. Walmart was packed yesterday, apparently, since the three inches of snow is going to prevent everyone from getting in their giant SUVs and drive 4 minutes to Walmart. Heck, most people could probably WALK to Walmart if things really got bad. Then again, I drove from my parents’ house in the country to work during a blizzard my first year at the newspaper, so maybe I’m just extra tough.

    My only concern with this storm is the mess it could make of the roads and air travel, since we’re driving to Detroit tomorrow afternoon to get on a plane and fly to Florida. My parents’ flight made it to Florida no problem this morning (Pilot Joe and Mrs. Pilot Joe are frolicking around Disney World right now), but they left before the snow started.

    I must say, I do love coming to NancyNall.com for all the learnin’. I now have a better grasp on diffuse/defuse, AND I know to watch out for the odd falling iguana while I’m in Florida, but not to spend the whole vacation looking up, watching for one.

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  10. john c said on January 7, 2010 at 11:41 am

    In my memory the Iron Sheik often wrestled in a tag team with Nikoli Volkov, a Russian. As for me, I always liked Classy Freddy Blasi, the Hollywood Fashion Plate.
    Speaking of which, has anyone seen “They Live,” and excellent bad movie starring Rowdy Roddy Piper?
    As for the pre-google days in the newsroom, I recently ran into the wife of a former colleague of mine. We were reminiscing about the days when she, as the reference librarian at the local library, was the go-to person for obscure questions from the newsroom. Tapping a few keys and getting and answer and then some in seconds is great. Don’t get me wrong. But it was always nice talking to Jane.

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  11. Jeff Borden said on January 7, 2010 at 11:56 am

    “They Live” is a great little B-movie with possibly the most intense fistfight ever committed to film between Roddy Piper and Keith David. And a great line from Piper: “I came here to chew gum and kick ass and I’m all outta gum.” Didn’t John Carpenter direct?

    It was kind of pre-“Matrix” in its vision of alien overlords controlling life and especially commerce while humans were oblivious unless they wore special sunglasses.

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  12. ROgirl said on January 7, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Were the alien overlords iguanasicles?

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  13. Julie Robinson said on January 7, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Aspiring rock bands need only to mine nnc for names: another great one today with Falling Iguanas.

    I’m starting to understand why so many retirees move south. With every year of age the cold is harder to fight.

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  14. Jeff Borden said on January 7, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    We’re getting a ton of snow in Chicago right now, but it’s light, fluffy and beautiful. Since my sidewalk is a mere 25 feet long, shoveling is not a big deal, though getting our car out of the garage and into the alley will be challenging at some point. Neighbors with SUV’s routinely plow their tracks and pile up the ice and snow, which leaves my lower slung sedan frame hung up.

    Julie, I do not love winter, but I hate hot, muggy, baking summer weather even more. Visiting my in-laws in Central Florida last July only underscored my desire never to live in a semi-tropical clime. It was ugly, wearing heat.

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  15. john c said on January 7, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Yes, “They Live” was directed by John Carpenter. But not THE John Carpenter, who only has an unpublished novel and several thousand newspaper clips to his credit. My favorite Carp movie is Christine, which features perhaps the best worst last movie line of all time: God, I hate rock and roll.”
    BTW, thanks to said movie director, the guy who killed Colonel Hogan, and the guy who won the first “Who Wants to be Millionaire,” my name is fairly google-proof.

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  16. brian stouder said on January 7, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    When I’m retired (if I live that long), I will still be right here in Fort Wayne. It actually would be cool to live downtown in retirement, I think – and when it’s cold and snowy outside, I’ll just roll over and go back to sleep

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  17. Deborah said on January 7, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    I’m with you Jeff B about never wanting to live in a semi-tropical clime, been there, done that, hated it. The snow isn’t so beautiful in the Chicago loop area though, it’s getting dirty fast.

    I laughed out load at so much in Nancy’s original post and the comments so far. I was on a boring conference call, pretending I was paying attention to my clients who were calling from Florida. I really wanted to ask them if they’d seen any falling iguanas today.

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  18. LAMary said on January 7, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    A Carp movie? I see those as a coming genre what with all those nasty giant silver Asian carp attacking people.
    Maybe you meant a Crap movie?

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  19. nancy said on January 7, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    You’re all wrong. The best John Carpenter movie of all time is, of course, “Escape From New York.” It features Harry Dean Stanton, Adrienne Barbeau’s hooters, the World Trade Center, Kurt Russell and Ernest Borgnine. If you can’t spin gold from straw like that, you don’t deserve to call yourself a director.

    UPDATE: Also, Lee Van Cleef. See above.

    SECOND UPDATE: And Isaac Hayes!!!!!

    THIRD UPDATE: And Donald Pleasance, as the president of the United States, not bothering to hide his British accent.

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  20. Jeff Borden said on January 7, 2010 at 12:46 pm


    Maybe that front has moved on, but hasn’t it been wickedly cold in Florida? One of the national newscasts did a piece on how even South Florida including Miami was bracing for an actual freeze. At least you could chide the Floridians that it’s not that much colder up here, lol.

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  21. Jeff Borden said on January 7, 2010 at 12:50 pm


    I remember when we all went to see “Escape from New York.” I seem to recall you were fascinated by the torso tattoo worn by Kurt Russell as Snake Plisken. I, in turn, was charmed by the Duke of New York’s wickedly outfitted Cadillac Coupe de Ville, which featured chandeliers on the front fenders.

    And you left out one of the true greats of wrestling who also appeared in the film: Ox Baker. He’s the big bruiser with the Fu Manchu mustache who battles Snake in a boxing ring armed with baseball bats with spikes. Ox’s gimmick was the “heart punch,” which as its name implies was a punch to the chest that was said to stop an opponent’s heart and cause him to collapse to the mat.

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  22. 4dbirds said on January 7, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    In Escape From New York, Kurt Russell’s first wife,Season Hubley, had a small smart as the girl in the store front who is taken away through the floor by the trolly people. I love that movie.

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  23. Jeff Borden said on January 7, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Speaking of professional wrestling, I am very much rooting for Linda McMahon to win the Republican Senatorial primary in Connecticut. The wife of WWE impresario Vince McMahon and the real brains behind the entertainment behemoth has been featured in many, many skits over the years that would be very entertaining in an opponent’s political advertisements. I wonder if Big Show, Triple H and all the other rasslers would make campaign appearances for her?

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  24. Julie Robinson said on January 7, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    I spent the summer of 2008 in Florida and would NEVER want to repeat that–I’d be looking for a happy compromise. Like the snowbirds, maybe.

    Is JeffTMMO out there today? I’ve been slogging through Let the Great World Spin at your suggestion and I would like to know why. Is there a great lesson I should be learning? I’m halfway through but I just peeked at the end and may not go back for the rest. I rarely do this but it’s leaving me flat.

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  25. Dorothy said on January 7, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    SUE!! I bought that very same card for someone – can’t recall who it was, but those are MY kind of cards.

    The snow she is a fallin’ right outside my window in lovely Gambier OH and it’s mighty pretty. I’ll just drive in 4 wheel all the way home in my father-in-law’s Jimmy come 4:30 and I should be fine. I think we’re supposed to get 3-5″, but the nervous Nellies in my office are stretching that to 6-8″. Like an old boyfriend of mine.

    And dear heavens, Julie, I said virtually the same thing to my husband over the weekend. I’m only 52 – how long until I completely abandon the North and become a snow bird in Florida? Never, ever thought I’d feel that way but more than anything, I’m afraid more and more of falling on ice. It’s like I’ve become paralyzed when it’s out there. Having bum knees is the main reason I’m fearful.

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  26. coozledad said on January 7, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    My wife is from the Orlando area, and we used to make the 12 hour drive to go visit her folks. I thought central Florida was pretty hellish regardless of the temperature. I also believe it’s the primary destination for people who’ve just completed their commission of felony while armed with handgun sentencing.

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  27. Julie Robinson said on January 7, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Oh Dorothy, I like your sense of humor!

    I did fall on the ice two years ago and have been fighting a crummy shoulder ever since. Everytime I walk outside I become a little old lady with baby steps and fear.

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  28. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 7, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    “Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.”

    (conclusion of James Joyce’s “The Dead”)

    Julie — no lesson, great or small, i just enjoyed the prose and the unfolding of it. YMMV! It doesn’t have a bang-zoom payoff, it just rolls along until you run out of pages. Sorry if it was a bum steer.

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  29. Peter said on January 7, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Dorothy – ba da boom!

    Yes, it’s still snowing in Chicago – according to the local weather shills it’s the worst blizzard ever recorded in history.

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  30. Julie Robinson said on January 7, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Thanks Jeff, I think I’ll stop. But I do highly recommend Barbara Kingsolver’s latest, The Lacuna. As always with her writing it is grim yet entertaining, a history lesson and commentary on today at the same time.

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  31. ROgirl said on January 7, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    Jeff TMMO, I always think of that passage from “The Dead” when the media starts hyperventilating about a snowstorm. I had a creative writing instructor freshman or sophomore year who spent class sessions reading short stories out loud, and that was one of them.

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  32. Sue said on January 7, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    I’m currently reading some very heavy stuff: “Caddie Confidential – Inside Stories from the Caddies of the PGA Tour”. That would be the one by Greg “Piddler” Martin.
    You may all bow before my massive intellect. Thank you.

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  33. Little Bird said on January 7, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    About that sweatshirt, it made it to Failblog(.org) this morning. A humor site. But I don’t think any mention was made about the students.

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  34. Dorothy said on January 7, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    Has anyone read David Boling’s “Guernica”? My son’s girlfriend gave it to me for Christmas. It’s good so far. Not the “I-can’t-put-it-down-it’s-so-fascinating” good but okay. I need to quit my job so I can stay home and read and knit and quilt and cook yummy soups, etc. All this whilst watching the snow fall with my kitty Lucy on my lap and the dogs snoring nearby.

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  35. shabbat mater said on January 7, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Dorothy @ 25: 6-8″ seldom applies to anything white.

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  36. Jenflex said on January 7, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Shabbat: not sure whether to be embarrassed at how long it took me to get that, or grateful for the best laugh yet from this thread.

    You all make my days…all of ’em.

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  37. judybusy said on January 7, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Have you all seen John Huston’s film of The Dead? So gorgeous and well done!

    Also, I was going to complain about my fave pet peeve of misuse, insure vs. ensure. I looked them up. I always thought insure solely applied to insurance, but it can also mean to “make certain of something.” So, now I can lay that annoyance to rest, all thanks to nn.c. I never would have looked it up if not for this site!

    shabbat mater, you have a lovely, dirty mind.

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  38. paddyo' said on January 7, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    Ahh, Snake Plissken:

    “When I get back, I’m gonna kill you.”

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  39. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 7, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    That’s a magical movie-watching experience, and i’ve read it was amazing to be there as John Huston literally gave his last breaths to make it. I’ve not found it on a Region I dvd yet, drat the luck.

    Looking forward to the Kingsolver book, Julie (sorry again for the #fail on my book sugg); RO, any creative writing teacher that reads out loud to a class is doing something right, IMHO.

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  40. ROgirl said on January 7, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    He also read some Eudora Welty stories (Why I Live at the PO, Keela the Indian Maiden, Petrified Man). I’d never heard of her before.

    Light snow has been falling since around noon, maybe 2″.

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  41. moe99 said on January 7, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    wandering off into something else, what if Shakespeare wrote The Big Lebowski?


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  42. Julie Robinson said on January 7, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    Jeff, no apology needed, we all have our individual tastes. Maybe you’ll hate the Kingsolver. I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing something by not reading the whole book.

    The Dead is available on Netflix but reviews warn that it is a shortened version and apparently the full version is NA from the distributor, Lionsgate. One reviewer said the original version is available on IFC. As an airwave viewer only I assume that’s a cable-type channel.

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  43. Rana said on January 7, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    The iguana news video was excellent – thanks for the link! I don’t know which I enjoyed most – the repeated clips of the iguana falling from the same branch; the story about the guy slinging frozen iguanas into his station wagon, where they revived; or the branch-crack sound during the final voiceover.

    I too have joined the ranks of the baby-stepping ice fearful; last winter a friend of ours slipped and landed chin-first, cracking her jaw in three places, resulting in a night of driving to and from hospitals and sitting around waiting for her to come out of surgery. She then endured several weeks of a liquid diet, only to have undergo further surgery. As the LOLcats say, DO NOT WANT.

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  44. nancy said on January 7, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    The repeat shots of some “shocking” video is so standard now in TV news I hardly notice it anymore, but the comical nature of this one — and I’m sorry, even as an animal lover, a frozen iguana falling out of a tree is pretty damn funny — made it far more enjoyable.

    Most writers of crime fiction pick one character and build a series around it. Carl Hiaasen’s genius was to make Florida itself the throughline for his work. And as he’s pointed out many times, all you have to do is take good notes. The weirdness just writes itself.

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  45. Deborah said on January 7, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    Regarding the movie “Escape From New York”. Many of the scenes were shot in St. Louis, using Union Station as the set before it was renovated. It was a falling down mess and really fit the bill for the movie. I remember folks from work going to gawk at the shooting (I lived in St. Louis at the time). Everyone wanted to see those hooters. But I’m not sure Adrienne was actually on the set or if she did all her parts in a soundstage in LA or where ever. We all watched the movie trying to pick out what we could recognize, it was a horribly wonderful movie.

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  46. MommyTime said on January 7, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    I realize this makes me totally perverse, but that falling iguana video just made my day. Thank you so much for the link.

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  47. brian stouder said on January 7, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    After watching that story, I have a quibble with Julie’s “Falling Iguanas” rock band name.

    The phrase that made me back up and listen again was the “seemingly suicidal kamikaze iguanas”

    (If it’s Heavy Metal, leave in the “seemingly suicidal”; and if it’s Pop-Rock, go with the “kamikaze Iguanas”)

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  48. Dave said on January 7, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    I have to chime in with the Florida talk. I used to make fun of the snowbirds, thought winter wasn’t all that bad but with advancing age, I see the merits of a Florida winter, as well as all the reasons of not staying for the summer. My in-laws moved there nearly 32 years ago and I think we’ve been there every month in the year, at one time or another, going again in a couple of weeks. I like it a lot better than I used to.

    The only problem is, I’ve known several folks who’ve retired to Florida and eventually came back, missing home, grandchildren, change of seasons, or other reasons and just tonight, I saw the obituary of a retired co-worker who wintered in Florida and summered in Ft. Wayne. A shock, I just saw him in a store a few months ago.

    Julie, I also fell on the ice just about a year ago and my shoulder still hurts, so you have my sympathy. I probably could have easily avoided it, that’s the part of the lesson I don’t like.

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  49. Dexter said on January 8, 2010 at 1:54 am

    Old school here. My brother’s fave rassler was Hans Schmidt, “The World’s Meanest Man”. He was billed as a wicked German but was from Cleveland if I recall right.
    We laughed at Gorgeous George and I loved to watch Dick the Bruiser. They televised matches from “The Armory” in Fort Wayne, I think. Someone will remember where it was, I don’t.
    As some out-grow baseball and other sports, I lost all interest in rasslin’ at age 9.
    My good friend in Coral Gables has been complaining about the heat in Florida
    since last Fall…I gotta email her and see what she says about lizards freezing up and falling out of trees. I’ll ask her how the cold is affecting the Nile Monitor lizards down there. Nasty damn things , they are. Ever see the size of these lizards?

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  50. John said on January 8, 2010 at 8:33 am

    Eudora Welty, a champion belcher!

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  51. ROgirl said on January 8, 2010 at 8:42 am

    The little lizards in Florida that dart around on sidewalks and garden beds are really cute.


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  52. Julie Robinson said on January 8, 2010 at 9:36 am

    Kamikaze Iguanas…even better!

    Dave, I fell on the ice while spreading icemelt at work, because I didn’t want any of our elderly volunteers to fall on the ice. You better believe I felt stupid, but I guess I proved the point that our parking lot was too slippery. I stopped doing the physical therapy exercises I was given and have noticed I’ve lost strength in that arm. I read an article about shoulder injuries that said everyone over 40 will eventually get one. A weak point in our bodies, apparently.

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  53. Jim in Fl said on January 8, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Those are anoles, ROgirl, and they are everywhere down here. It’s not unusual to find dead ones under the sofa or in the closet.

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  54. Jen said on January 8, 2010 at 10:35 am

    I talked to Mrs. Pilot Joe last night, and they reported no kamikaze suicidal falling iguanas. They, however, saw five armadillos. They did not say if they were kamikaze armadillos.

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  55. brian stouder said on January 8, 2010 at 10:55 am

    and indeed, when it comes to crossing roads, armadillos seem to have a kamikaze approach to ‘getting to the other side’ (much as raccoons have a sort of massed, Jim Jones/kool aid approach to that challenge)

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