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bending the knee

The following is a list of songs Your Humble Blogger listened to whilst shoveling snow in the last day and a half:
“Life During Wartime”, Talking Heads
“Through Being Cool”, Devo
“We’re All Light”, XTC
“At Long Last Love”, Lena Horne
“Oh, Lady, Be Good (Symphony In Swing)”, Artie Shaw
“Bei Mir Bist Du Schön (Means That You’re Grand)”, Andrews Sisters
“ver es hot (One Has Got)”, The Klezmatics
“Jackie Wilson Said”, Van Morrison
“Summer”, Jabbering Trout
“Manteca”, Dizzy Gillespie
“Blue Heaven”, The Pogues
“How’s Your Romance?”, Bobby Short
“Dr. Jazz”, Jools Holland and The Rhythm & Blues Orchestra
“Ev’ry Time We Say Good-Bye”, Ella Fitzgerald
“I Prefer You”, Etta James
“Monkey To Man”, Elvis Costello
“I Can’t Explain”, The Who
“Man In a Hat”, The Klezmatics
“Wave a White Flag”, Elvis Costello
“Funk Pop A Roll”, XTC
“Road to Morocco”, Bing Crosby
“I Need a Doctor”, The Nields
“Has Anybody Seen Our Ship?”, Noel Coward
“Ghost of Stephen Foster”, Squirrel Nut Zippers
“1-2-8”, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
“Mama, I Wanna Make Rhythm”, Cats & Jammers
“Make a Circuit with Me”, The Polecats
“One Week”, Barenaked Ladies
“(Sittin’ On) the Dock of the Bay”, Otis Redding
“On the Sunny Side of the Street”, Nat King Cole
“Slippery People”, Talking Heads
“My Best Friend’s Girl”, The Cars
“Ring Dem Bells”, Duke Ellington
“Manny’s Bones”, Los Lobos
“Top Hat, White Tie And Tails”, Louis Armstrong
“For Your Love”, The Yardbirds
“I Wanna Be Sedated”, Ramones
“Jumpin’ Jack”, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
“Black Coffee in Bed”, Squeeze
“It’s You I Love”, Beausoleil
“Beat Me Daddy, Eight To The Bar”, Andrews Sisters
“Girlfriend Is Better”, Talking Heads
“Tempted”, Squeeze
“Rock the Casbah”, The Clash
“Ring of Fire”, Johnny Cash
“Industrial Disease”, Dire Straits
“Caldonia (Live)”, B.B. King
“Gonna Get Through This World”, The Klezmatics
“Verdi Cries”, 10,000 Maniacs
“Roam”, The B-52’s
“Lullaby of Birdland”, Ella Fitzgerald & Duke Ellington
“I’m the Man Who Murdered Love”, XTC
“Not Fade Away”, The Rolling Stones
“Headdy Down”, The Klezmatics
There isn’t much to be said for shoveling, other than that it needs to be done, but here are some of the thoughts that were running through my head:
  • I like living in the early 21st century. Sure, there are problems, but there are mp3 players, too, which makes up for a lot.
  • The French Toast Alert System is clearly the best if not only way to discuss New England Weather. Tomorrow it will be again time to panic buy eggs and bread and milk and cinnamon and sugar and tasty maple-flavored sausages. Mmmmmmmm, storm.
  • As long as it is a personal decision, the fact that snowblowers are noisy, inefficient, expensive and polluting will not prevent people from buying them and using them. In fact, the snowblower serves as an excellent illustration of the need for public policy, as well as a problem of rhetoric and suasion. People are reluctant to believe in an oncoming disaster, because believing in it will (in their minds) require them to drastically reduce their standard of living. Bicycling to work, paying more money for less food (local, healthy, and so on, but less in quantity), wearing bulky and itchy sweaters indoors, eating lentil soup, smelling of patchouli oil, and spending hours clearing the damn driveway with a shovel like some sort of wild animal in the wilderness. Not going to happen. And, in fact, for individuals, drastically reducing carbon footprint is tricky without making substantial lifestyle changes or investing some serious money. On the other hand, if we converted our electricity grid to be much, much cleaner, and put some effort into making snowblowers and lawnmowers and chainsaws and cars work off that grid, we could slash co/2 whilst sipping hot cocoa by the fire. Yes, higher taxes for a while, but you get to keep your snowblower. Or a snowblower, anyway.
  • Klezmer music is terrific for shoveling, but you know what would be awesome shoveling music? Sea shanties. Wouldn’t that be great? Heave away, haul away.
  • OK, how about this for a gadget in one of those gadgetty catalogues: the town’s plows get hooked into a city-wide system with GPS and all, and you get an alert when they are coming to your block. It wouldn’t be in time to move your car (in my imaginary system), but it would be in time to put on your boots and deal with the ridge before it ices in place. Alternately, very small shaped explosive devices for clearing the ridge after it ices. You drill a hole, slip the thing in, go back inside and set it off. You would have to clear the ice rubble, afterward, but wouldn’t it be worth it?

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


I had a notion for a gadget that would be swell for such things as electric snow-blowers: a clip-on battery that recharges off your house power, that comes with an extremely short (say, three feet) cord, which you could use to power yard-work-type appliances. You could also use it for powering a laptop, for instance, or recharging it once the battery is low, if you are away from the power grid and using your laptop. On a plane, say, or in a park...

Oh, and Klezmer is awesome accompaniment for ANYTHING, and I'm sure shoveling snow is included in that broad category. I forget, have we already talked about Shirim Orchestra's Nutcracker? 17 minutes of note-bendy, Russianesque goodness, and the Xians in the crowd won't think anything of it if you stick it in the middle of your holiday mix.

Sea-shanties would almost certainly be the ideal snow-blowing music, however, you're right. I'll have to pick up a Stan Rogers CD before the next Big One (which here in Roanoke usually means ~ 2 inches...).


Funny, but before I moved to Roanoke, I was warned I was moving to Winter Hell Central, and at the very least, I'd need to get in the practice of putting on and taking off tire chains. There's been precious little winter weather since I moved here. The winter prior to my moving here featured a major blizzard, hence the warning I was given. (Since moving to Roanoke, I have actually played in a klezmer band, and still have the sheet music in my bass case.)

In Maryland, I knew a family that bought a house that had a heated driveway and sidewalk. For especially nasty weather, they could just flick a switch and the ice and snow would begin to melt. I expect they shoveled anyway, but it was nice to know that they didn't ever have to hammer away at layers of ice.

Listening, as I am right now, to DuOud's LeRetour dUlysse, I suspect that they would also make fine snow-shoveling music.

Just FYI.


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