The Blizzard of 2015: A Cautionary Tale

I was caught a bit off guard last week when the wife announced that, at 75, she was finished wrestling with our snow-blower and had recycled it.

As a writer, I don’t usually involve myself with day-to-day domestic matters, but, with Juno then impending, I was impelled to quickly go on line to seek alternatives.

My Google search soon came up with what looked like an answer to my needs. The Hyastani Snow Removal and Gas Grill Maintenance Cooperative on Nantucket had recently set up to service Eastern Massachusetts, the Cape & Islands. A productive conversation with owner Ardash Epranian followed, during which I determined that, as a Cypriot, he was intimately familiar with island-to-mainland heavy equipment operations. Satisfied, I signed up for the season and sat back to let the blizzard do its worst.

Well, the best laid plans…..

Now we know that, with Juno’s first icy gust, Nantucket went black, losing all electric power, including that needed to operate the doors of Epranian’s equipment garage. He was last seen going door to door in a skiff along ice floe-choked Main Street in search of a portable generator.

Meanwhile, back here in Cummaquid, I called every snow-plowing service on the Cape, only to be told that the earliest anyone could get to me was sometime in May.

Anyone out there got a snow-blower my wife could borrow?

This Is Not About Charlie Hebdo

Whenever serious (or, sometimes, merely frivolous) challenges to freedom of the Press arise, the watchdogs of the Fourth Estate hasten to remind us about the First Amendment and the significance of its position atop the Bill of Rights. Such prominent positioning supposedly reflects the framers’ intent to place it first and foremost in importance relative to the nine immediately-succeeding Amendments.

Journalism veterans and neophytes alike celebrate its sentiment, its economy of words and its clarity of meaning…and for good reason. It is emblazoned – four stories high – on the front of the Newseum in Washington DC. In my news-media lectures I have often referred to it (however hyperbolically) as “the most important 45-word statement ever written in American English”, postulating that from the freedoms it guarantees flow all the others

The worm in this otherwise rosy apple is that Founding Father James Madison and his Congressional colleagues who drafted the Amendments and submitted them to the States for ratification apparently had other priorities in mind. What they proposed as the first amendment had in fact to do with the number of representatives to be elected relative to the number of constituents. The second amendment proposed dealt with Congressional compensation (finally ratified as Amendment XXVII in 1992). This left our revered First Amendment running third on the list of twelve actually promulgated; it ascended to 1st place only when numbers one and two failed to make the cut.

There is not, of course, any historical document entitled “The Bill of Rights”. What remains for posterity is an original handwritten copy of “The 1789 Joint Resolution of Congress Proposing Twelve Amendments to the Constitution”, a transcript of which can be read here.

Heavenly Tourism

Publisher Tyndale House advises that a boy named Alex who — with his father — co-authored a book that became part of the popular genre “Heavenly Tourism“, has confessed that he made it all up…in order to bring attention to himself. Wow, a six-year old making up a tall tale to get attention!

You’d think the publisher might have become just a teensy bit suspicious when he noted that the kid’s family name was…get ready for it…Malarkey!

Ichthyological Ruminations

Has anyone else noticed how the Great White is gradually replacing the codfish as the graphic emblem of Cape Cod?

Not sure if this is an unwitting social commentary or a reflection of the effects of global climate change.

Shouldn’t be too many years before we have to change our name to Cape Shark, unless we sink back into the Atlantic first.