Thursday, February 18, 2010

Isn't that pretty?

That urban scene of delicate nocturnal beauty was my street at the height of last week's second snow storm.

Now snow is melting, schools are reopening, streets are being cleared, and by sometime next summer, local media should stop writing and broadcasting about the storms. Here, snow is news. Back home we called it winter.

© Peter Rozovsky 2010

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44 Comments:

Anonymous John H said...

Peter it's absolutely gorgeous! It's to bad I can't include the picture I took from my porch on Christmas Eve. I even set it as my wallpaper it is so pretty. In the last several days the pile of snow along my driveway has melted down to about 5' and the roads aren't pure white anymore. But yes, we call it winter here.

February 18, 2010  
Blogger Brian O'Rourke said...

Peter -

Hope you don't have any would-be stalkers readings your blog. I can almost make out a street sign there...

February 18, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

No, you can't.

February 18, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

John, you folks are normal out there. I wonder what your newspapers fill their pages with instead of weather stories.

February 18, 2010  
Blogger Dana King said...

I'm with you, Peter. I'm sick to death of hearing about it. The storms were an inconvenience, not a catastrophe. (Unless you were among those who needed emergency services during the worst of it.) This is what winter is like; if they're right about climate change--which i suspect they are--then we might as well get used to it.

Anyone too terribly aggrieved over how much snow they had to shovel might want to consider a trip to Haiti. Then shut up about it.

February 18, 2010  
Anonymous solo said...

Peter, you may think Philidelphians got unduly worked up about the recent snow but here in Dublin we'll be talking about this meagre dusting for the rest of the decade.

I tried to get that image to open in a new window so navigating back and forth would be easier but I got a stern warning that using TARGET was not allowed.

February 18, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

There's a place for snow stories: Report the story and its consequences, and make room for a pretty picture or two. Then shut up and go look for some news.

I'd recommend the Dominican Republic, though. Same island, better building codes, less destruction. I hope someone is thinking of sending an army of civil engineers to Haiti instead of just inflicting another version of "We Are the World" upon millions of innocent ears.

February 18, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Solo, so the Salmon of Knowledge is a frozen fish?

Dubliners get a pass because I don't think you get all that much snow. We have no excuse.

God, it's too much. We get stories that this has been a record snowfall, then whimsically written follow-ups about how it may not have been a record after all. It's bloody excruciating.

February 18, 2010  
Anonymous solo said...

Peter, the link I put in that post worked fine in comment preview so I thought all was well. But I see it doesn't work now.

Oh, well. Just imagine O'Connell Street with a thin coat of white paint on it.

February 18, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Funny you should say that. I was already imagining O'Connell Street as a strip of white. O'Connell Street is my image of Dublin. Well, that and the jovial crowds at Croke Park.

February 18, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

At least some of you get real weather. Here in L.A. (Calif.), a 70% chance of 1” of rain in the forecast prompts a “severe weather alert.” I don’t know what would happen if 1”—let alone 1’—of snow was in our forecast.

February 18, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

One would think all the earthquakes and brush fires would make you all immune to weather scares.

February 18, 2010  
Blogger Bernadette in Australia said...

Not that I would indulge (because it's illegal and all) but 'people' here gamble on when out daily newspaper will run its first temperature related headline of the summer. Despite the fact that we routinely have heatwaves and temperatures in the 35-43 range (that's up to about 115 of your strange degrees I think) there are ALWAYS stories about heat as if it's the first time we've ever sweltered.

February 18, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I thank you for that comment. It's interesting to learn that newspapers in other lands think routine seasonal weather is news. Interesting too that you gamble on this. I made a joke yesterday about running a lottery on how long my newspaper would continue to spin stories out of the recent snowfalls.

I landed in Madrid one summer when was 43 of your strange degrees. I spent a few seconds of the cab ride into town behind a truck full of pigs.

"Muy calor," said the cabbie.

"Jamon," said I, pointing at the pigs.

February 18, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Won't weather, good or bad, get bumped from its front-and-center position for the next week or so? After all, tomorrow is the day "Tiger Talks."

February 18, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

It would be nice to be so rich that I could claim sex addiction if I couldn't keep my pants zipped. This is a re-enactment of that old line that poor people are crazy, rich people merely eccentric. But we'll still find a way to cram weather into the sides and corners even if the sex addict is front and center.

February 18, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Speaking of sex addiction and bringing the topic back around to crime fiction... Stephen Jay Schwartz's debut novel, "Boulevard," (2009), centers around LAPD homicide detective and sex addict Hayden Glass. Remember when it was enough to just let the detective have a few too many drinks on a bad day? If nothing else, I now know more of the most likely streets to pick up prostitutes in LA. Heck, I only knew about Sunset, Hollywood, and Santa Monica Blvds. before I read this book.

This is the first detective novel in which I can't recall the author ever referring to the detective by his last name, yet "Glass" seems clearly to evoke the character's state.

Had to skim over the very graphically depicted murders in this book.

v-word = whoure Presumably what Hayden Glass picks up on the boulevards of LA?

February 18, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Not unless he's fresh off the boat from Ireland would he pronounce it that way. "Whoure" is part of what he would say after having a few too many drinks on a bad day: "Whoure you?"

Do the author or the detective in Boulevard ever call the character sex-addicted? If so, do they do do ironically?

Incidentally, a supporting character in Roger Smith's Mixed Blood might be called a sex addict if only he were unable to master his urges.

February 18, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

"Do the author or the detective in 'Boulevard' ever call the character sex-addicted?" Yes, the detective's Sex Addicts Anonymous meetings are an element of the story and his sex addiction is never dealt with ironically or humorously. It can distract him from the more important task of murder-solving and he does try to master it. He is ashamed of it and how it has prevented him from having normal (well, what passes for normal in LA) relationships with women, including his ex-wife. He became a sex addict during a stint in Vice.

I've heard that vice cops should stay in that dept. only a few years as it can be so personally and professionally corrupting, as many a crime novel has shown.

February 19, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

OK, now I ache with commiseration for Tiger Woods' personal hell.

Allan Guthrie also gives the name Glass to the central figure of his current novel, Slammer. It, too, is an apt name.

February 19, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Now you're making me more sympathetic to Hayden Glass than I ever was reading the book! His addiction _is_ a kind of hell; it's sleazy, not much fun, and tends to take place in cheap motels and cheaper apartments with not very appealing women. If he's going upscale he might drop into a massage parlor.

A far cry from the luxury hotels and (I'm trying to use the words "first class service" here somehow, not very successfully, as in "room service," not as in the sexual innuendo kind) first class treatment, don't worry about the tab, escapades of Mr. Woods.

Schwartz lavishes far more attention on the gruesome murders than he does Hayden's sexual detours. I guess because when it's made into a film they can get all that stuff onscreen with an R rating; couldn't get much sex onscreen without risking an NC-17 rating.

I've been meaning to read "Slammer." When I was looking to read another book by "Little Caesar" author W.R. Burnett, it was Guthrie's recommendation at the Rara-Avis group that led me to "Dark Hazard."

February 19, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I'd likely find Hayden Glass more sympathetic than Tiger Woods, too.

Schwartz lavishes far more attention on the gruesome murders than he does Hayden's sexual detours.

I can believe that. Sex addiction may be for him whar alcohol or some other personal problem or handicap is for other crime writers.

Still, don't ask me to feel sorry for Tiger Woods. Well, not too sorry, anyhow.

February 19, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

"Sex addiction may be for him what alcohol or some other personal problem or handicap is for other crime writers." -- In an intro to a short story compilation of 1940s crime fiction the editor noted that detectives with various afflictions--debilitating alcoholism, wheelchair-bound, blindness, etc.--entered the pulps as readers began to tire of the same old detective types and men with these kinds of disabilities came back from the war. Sex addiction is just another "affliction," and one that 1940s pulp fiction wouldn't have been able to publish.

I wouldn't dream of asking you to feel sorry for TW; how could I when I don't myself?

Speaking of afflictions, it's happy hour and time for a wee drop of the green fairy at our house!

February 19, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Took a drop of the pure to keep your heart from sinking, did you?

That history of afflictions is interesting because it tallies so well with a suspicion I sometimes have in lighter moments such afflictions were, in fact, marketing gimmicks. But I'd never thought to ask about the phenomenon's history.

The first blind detective I know of, Max Carrados, first appeared in 194, by the way. I don't know how long he stood alone among afflicted fictional detectives.

February 19, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

That's 1914.

February 19, 2010  
Anonymous John H said...

Elisabeth is it possible the whoure is from the British Isles?

February 20, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I can't think of that v-word without hearing Ronnie Drew singing this verse from "The Rish Rover":

For a sailor it's always a bother in life
It's so lonesome by night and day
That he longs for the shore
And a charming young whore
Who will melt all his troubles away

February 20, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

But why shouldn't you hear it, too?

February 20, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

John H, I'm afraid the whoures in "Boulevard" are strictly from hunger. Nary an Irish, Scottish, etc. lass amongst them.

Peter, thanks for that ditty. Reminds me of my Steeleye Span period.

February 22, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I'm in my folk period now, and it's a direct product of my first trip to Ireland in 2008. Just last week I thought yet again that a good Irish reel sounds like what country music could have or once did before most of it turned into rhymically monotonous, lyrically cliched, self-pitying crap.

February 22, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Peter, I'll trade you that Irish tune for the Scottish tune "Nut Brown Maiden," a song that plays a crucial role in what may be my favorite film, a Powell-Pressburger gem, "I Know Where I'm Going!," 1945.

Couldn't find a version with bagpipes but here is The Corries' version of the tune:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXILQsEQJ-M

and The Rankin Family's version (too slow, but with the Scottish lyrics; apparently there's an Irish Gaelic version, too):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKsrYkKGsoY

I think the type of American country music you refer to is but one kind, although the kind that dominates mainstream playlists. There are people still making 17th-18th c. type music in areas of the Appalachians, I believe.

February 22, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Elisabeth, you have a real Powell-Pressburger jones. I'll watch some of their movies once I've made my rounds of seminal British noir. And I will be pleased to make the "Nut Brown Maiden"'s acquaintance. Thanks. Anything the Corries sings ought to be rife with sleepy, lilting beauty.

In the case of country, I think the music really is better the closer one gets to the source. And, since many of those Appalachian folk are Ulster Scots and maybe Irish as well, the musical similarities are no surprise. The Dubliners played some reels that would not sound out of place in the mountains of this country.

Incidentally, I'm reminded of an article whose author insisted that however good the music in "O, Brother, Where Art Thou?" may have been, it wasn't roots music. The Carter Family's records, the article suggested, were slickly produced by the standards of their time.

February 22, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Well, I wouldn't say it's a jones. The P-P team just made several excellent films. The most famous one is probably "The Red Shoes," 1948. As far as noir goes, Powell's "Peeping Tom," 1960, sorta fits.

I didn't know you were systematically going through British film noir. UCLA had a brit noir fest last year. Perhaps there are some titles at this page you may want to add to your list...?
http://www.cinema.ucla.edu/calendar/calendardetails.aspx?details_type=2&id=350

v-word = derilips
There must be a clever gag in there somewhere, I'm just not clever enough to spot it.

February 22, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

OK, no jones, but it's not often that same commenter mentions a directing-producing team twice in about a week.

I was similarly exaggerating when I said I was working my way systematically through British noir. In fact, I've watched "Get Carter" and "Croupier" in recent days, and I have seen "Odd Man Out" referred to as noir.

I visited Derry last year. Sadly I kissed no Derry lips.

February 22, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Ah, "Croupier." Clive Owen before he got his teeth fixed and went Hollywood.

Derry lips, hmmm. I was thinking about "derelict" in some mutation.

February 22, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I don't usually have much use for actors who confuse lack of facial expression with good acting, but Clive Owen is pretty good.

"Derry lips" sounds like a partial line from, if not title of, a wistful folk song, doesn't it, preferably with "sweet" thrown in there somewhere.

February 22, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

I'm double-dosing on my anxiety medication now that I see another foot of snow is in the Phila forecast over the next couple of days! Maybe you call it winter back where you came from but we don't "do" winter in LA.

February 24, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Yeah, we can expect a blizzard of weather stories the next few days. I think the snow is supposed to hit Thursday and maybe into Friday, so you should be all right.

I proposed that weather "news" in my newspaper be strictly tied to the amount of snow: 12 inches of snow, 12 column inches of storm coverage and no more. But, as my humorous Scottish and Irish crime-writing friends like to say, no joy.

February 24, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

With all that "news" emphasis on weather in Phila, do you know of a central city webcam I might view? I hunted and pecked for one but couldn't find a "live" one.

February 24, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Elisabeth, see if this helps. Here's one from the airport.

February 25, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Thanks, Terrifying, but perfect. Expect the worst is our motto.

February 25, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I hope you can make it.

Here's part of the top weather story in my newspaper's online edition:

So far, generally 1 to 3 inches has fallen across the region. That's less than expected, and not the only surprise with what is shaping up as perhaps the most peculiar storm of the winter.

...

The flakes have been fat and watery.


Peculiar is good. Fat and watery is even better.

February 25, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Fat and watery is good; it's the words "steady" and "accumulating" that unnerve me. Just came back from my on-site weekly chair massage. Massage therapist is also an Aries and as she pointed out, we just don't have patience with uncertainty (the stuff life is full of). We want definitive answers and we want 'em now! Flight with same # as mine was canceled this AM. Perhaps due to, not just snow, but high winds expected later today. (Just ignore; I'll stop hyperventilating soon. And then my grammar will improve).

v-word = prottl I think that's a not-too-subtle hint for me to stop doing just that...

February 25, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I once took a ten-minute chair massage from an old Chinaman in Central Park. After five minutes I had ached and pains in muscles I'd never known I had.

What worries me about flights since the advent of the hub system is that bad weather in one part of the country can mess things up for days thousands of miles away. I advocate a Zen-like state of acceptance.

February 25, 2010  

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