The Unexpected Three-Day Weekend Top 10

1) The Jumpbeats at the High Falls Café: Ska-Zydeco party music from a band tht has the credentials: ex-Toasters, Shane McGowan’s Popes and sundry other NYC exiles. Particularly loved the accordion-accompanied ska version of ‘Bank Robber.’

The Jumpbeats: Lively Up Yourself

2) Setting Sons. Working my way back through Jam albums I haven’t listened to in years, one peaceful Saturday morning at a time. Conventional wisdom has Setting Sonsrunning out of steam after six songs: not true for an album that concludes with ‘Saturdays Kids,’ ‘The Eton Rifles’ and Mick Talbot’s honky-tonk piano playing on ‘Heatwave’. And Side 1 includes possibly the most consistent run of Jam album tracks ever, including this line from ‘Little Boy Soldiers’ that never seemed more pertinent: “They send you home in a pine overcoat, with a letter for your mum, saying ‘Find enclosed one son, one medal and a note to say he won.’”

Setting Sons
3) One more day on the mountain. Eking what it could out of a miserable season, Hunter reopened for Friday and Saturday only. We made it out for a few hours of surprisingly quality Saturday afternoon skiing and boarding on the few runs that remained open, while fellow season ticket holders bitched about how the mountain was now shutting for good the day before a massive snowdump.

In 24 hours, this whole landscape will be white again. And messy.

4) The Saturday night social. Friends celebrate their new kitchen by throwing a party with enough food and wine for a wedding party. The mountain top location ensure the guests imbibe carefully: no drunken shenanigans to report at this one. Instead, little girls who obviously love dolls carry the hosts’ pair of pliant kittens round with them. An adult cat wraps it arms around its friend the tortoise. Kids toast marshmallows by a bonfire. Everyone is relieved the storm has not yet hit, given the location. The host looks at Noel and recognizes his top. Turns out it’s been handed down through several local parents before reaching our little’un. And it still looks brand new. Recycling comes in many forms.

5) New World A-Coming. Black author Roi Ottley’s New World A-Coming – Inside Black America” 1943 collection of essays traces the American Negro’s political and social advancements through the 20th Century, delivering sharp attacks both to Southern segregationists and self-appointed Harlem Messiahs alike. My copy from the Library looks close to a first edition and appears to have been borrowed just four times between 1952 and 1991 – and even then, I find several pages still print-sealed together. What do I read into this? That we all need an education?

6) School-daze: Did you know that Leonardo Da Vinci left almost as many unfinished projects behind him as he did masterpieces? That shortly after he died, his 13,000 pages of disorganized notebooks were given away, half of them never to be seen again? That the word Dictator stems from the Romans? That Dictators were originally just magistrates appointed by the consul? That Julius Caesar was not an Emperor? That his grand-nephew Augustus was the first to assume that role? Oh, you did? Then you must be in 6th Grade.

7) Step It Up. Grass roots green movement in America organizes 1300 demonstrations/celebrations across the country to launch Earth Week. The NYTimes magazine publishes a “green” special. So does Newsweek. Time did so two weeks ago. Green is the new black. But this is one trend I have no problem with.

8) Belleayre Bull. Prior to the warm-up storm of last week the Belleayre Mountain web site stated that “We expect 8” of snow.” (They received 2”.) Prior to the bigger storm that came Sunday: “We expect 30” or more of snow over the next 24 hours.” (They received 18” over the course of 72 hours, most of which immediately melted under the heavy rains.) We all know the need to wx positive, but when you’re the only mountain still open at the end of the season, do you need to be quite so bullish?

The storm kept us indoors for almost 48 hours; heavy rains on top of heavy snow made for miles of ugly mush, and ample opportunity for floods.

9) Snow joke. The Nor’-Easter does not bring ski-friendly conditions. We wake Sunday morning to several inches of snow; by mid-afternoon, it’s heavy rain, which turns to very heavy snow Sunday night, switches back to rain Monday morning (school is canceled, no great surprise), and continues to pour all day. (And night.) Our driveway is, almost literally, washed away in the process. We consider ourselves fortunate; many people are flooded out completely. The 7.5” of rain dropped on Central park on Sunday is the second highest recorded total in recorded history. Storms like this are meant to be dropping pure snow – much earlier in winter. As one official proclaimed about this strange winter that started with such a warm and dry December and January and yet has not now ended, “We might as well move Christmas to February.”

10) Shoot. A storm like this arriving during Earth Week, when the UN Security Council is addressing Climate Change for the first week, should dominate American news. But some idiot in Virginia has to take out thirty-plus young students instead. Yes, some people can be trusted with guns. Most can’t. Virginia has some of the slackest gun control laws in the USA. Sooner or later, this is what you get. Peace.

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December 2021