The Guy Who Came In From the Cold

The weather over the last few weeks has been obnoxiously brutal. I am not a cold-weather person. I do not mind the serenity of a snowstorm, but I certainly don’t want a foot of that stuff, much less sleet and ice.

Going out to shovel the snow this month was unpleasant. I went out after the first storm hit and cleared the front and back steps and made a path along the walkway. I cleared out the driveway as best as I could. But the heaviness of the snow and the nasty 30 mph wind just made me stop.

The problem with this methodology is that you feel frustrated during the entire process. You know that more snow is coming. You know it’s going to be garbage out. But, you also know you need access in and out in case of an emergency.

So with this thinking in my noggin, my dumb ass went out and did some shoveling. It wasn’t all bad. I did it in moderation, and the crisp air was nice when the wind wasn’t whirling. Eventually, I called it a day and went inside to a cup of tea.

I didn’t do my radio show that night, opting instead, to run a prerecorded program from the KDHX archives. I hate missing shows. When it happens,I get this empty feeling in the gut, an unsatisfied fix. Anyway, staying in was the prudent thing to do.

The next morning saw the full force, the big show. All of the weather folks said we were going to get snow, and they were right. It started light and lasted over 12 hours. It was wet, heavy, and compact snow, over a few inches of ice.

I got up that morning and did another go-round with the shovel. It was a pretty crappy endeavor. There was just too much. It was the biggest snowstorm here since 1982 and the second-biggest since 1912.

When it all stopped that early evening I went out, and with the help of a few neighbors, got the driveway, stairs, and entryways done. I also cleared off the sidewalk. While I was outside I could not help but think how nuts you would have to be to live in a climate like that for a long time.

I hate winter. I hope this is the bloody end of the snow for this year. I feel bad for parents that have little mongrels running around sugared up and excited to go out and play in the stuff. I also hate how the entire city freaks out and decides to bum rush the grocery stores and gas stations. It is frightening that people think they need to shop like they are going on a safari or something just because there is a snowstorm coming.

Having no desire to go outside, I spent four days inside doing projects, reading, and watching movies. For someone who has been indoors most of the last two years, being inside because of a winter storm is a piece of cake. It’s not a hard decision really, it’s cold, it’s icy, you cannot see well, and the wind is beastly.

On the positive side, I got a respite from dealing with the public. These days you aren’t sure what to expect when you go out into the world. While there are a lot of kind and empathetic people, there also are morons who deserve the opprobrium heaped on him. Especially selfish people who are oblivious to the world and think everything is about them. Selfish people who seem oblivious to the world, instead of thinking everything is all about them.

While winter storms are an inconvenient disruption, they are also a chance to slow things down, get some projects done and catch up on books, movies, TV, etc.


I have been hearing more and more about Iceland over the last few years. I worked with a guy who went there often for music festivals, and another friend of mine was there a few times and loved it. Iceland also has become a more frequent subject of travel shows in recent years.

I am also curious about it because I listen to loads of bands from there. There is a musical vibe happening there, and it is so much deeper than Sigur Ros or Bjork.

This, along with my interest in history, led me to How Iceland Changed the World: The Big History of a Small Island by Egill Bjarnson. A journalist based in Reykjavík, who has championed his country in several publications over the years, Bjarnson has written a crisp book about the country he loves.

While I have read books about the Vikings over the years, I had not thought about Erik the Red or Leif Erikson since grade school. When you are young, their exploits capture the imagination. When you read about them as an adult, you quickly discover that Erik the Red was an exiled murderer and Erikson was a religious zealot.

Expanding his narrative to include Greenland and Northern Canada, Bjarnson’s chronicle of the country’s founding is fascinating stuff. Later, he moves on to Iceland’s role in the contemporary world. From creating natural energy to serving as a neutral arbiter in world affairs. Overall, this is a pretty compelling read.

Izumi Suzuki was a Japanese writer, actress, model, and countercultural icon. Her life came to a tragic end in 1986 after she committed suicide. During the last decade of her life, she produced an influential body of radical, punky, and groundbreaking fiction that is only now being discovered by English readers.

Terminal Boredom features an intriguing collection of stories that use gender roles, despair, and isolation as common themes. Translated into English for the first time, there are some great sci-fi elements to her work that are a throwback to some of the best SF of the 70s.

Each of the seven stories featured combines her black humor, sense of irony, and dystopian unease with clever storytelling that never rests on solid ground.

I watched a film from 1961 called The Hoodlum Priest. Filmed on location in St. Louis, it was interesting to note the different settings in the film. The movie is based on the true-life story of Charles, “Dismas” Clark, a Jesuit priest who helped the recently incarcerated find a new life.

The biggest takeaway I got from the movie was that there was a seriously seedy underbelly going on in the city back then. There were a lot of slums, underdeveloped areas, and forlorn residents.

Don Murray and Keir Dullea star in it. Murray played it serious in an intense performance. Dullea was pretty good in his first feature film.

The St. Louis of 1961 does not seem very appealing. Now I know why my mom hated moving here so much.

At the moment there are a lot of great bands coing out of Oakland and the San Francisco Bay area. there’s a lot happening there, and Artsick is at the center of it.

Hailing from Oakland, the band featues Christina Riley of Burnt Palms, bassist Donna McMean from Lunchbox, and drummer Mario Hernandez from Kids on A Crime Spree. energetic and raw,

As a whole, Fingers Crossed is fine collection of eleven songs steeped in power pop melodies and post-punk snarling.

On Fingers Crossed, released via Slumberland Records, the trio makes music that is spirited, and lively, resulting in a slick debut filled with catchy songs and clever melodies.

The Olympics are on. I have not seen as much of it as I would have liked. But the curling and speed skating have been great. The luge, skeleton, and bobsledding have also been competitive.

I watched the biathlon the other day. I still don’t get it. It just seems like a lot of work. Those rifles have to be heavy, and I am sure the athletes are exhausted after finishing.

I also am pretty sure that those kids who do the half-pipe and snowboarding are probably as annoying as the local skateboard kids in my neighborhood.

A few weeks ago saw John Adams conduct the St. Louis Symphony. he debuted a new work and selected a program of exceptional contemporary works. The SLSO has done a great job with social distancing, masking, and keeping people safe. They also got a rad new filtration system.

I have also seen some plays. Most of the smaller companies here are doing a great job of keeping people safe. I saw The Prom at The Fox and was a bit nervous by the volume of people and the great swarm of people who didn’t cover their noses.

In appliance news, I cleared out some calcium from the kitchen sink faucet. The UV sanitizer I got during the pandemic finally crapped out. It served me well.

The biggest domestic hassle was having a hinge snap on one of the kitchen cabinet doors. I jumped online to get a replacement and quickly discovered it had been discontinued. After more digging, I found one from a specialty seller and am hopefully good to go.

I also got some new sneakers for the first time in over two years. Going to a shoe store right now is pretty weird.

That should do it for now. After a slight warmup, it is cold again. People are still weird though. Much more than usual.