Try to Keep Your Buns Warm

I was out shoveling snow this morning in the subzero temperatures.  It’s getting down to 20 and 30 degrees below zero with the wind chills today and tomorrow—and likely beyond. Try to keep your buns warm in weather like that. Sena helped by making hot cocoa when I came in for a break. Little things like that make a big difference. Like many other people in the country, we’re getting out despite the wind chill warnings. There are a couple of reasons for that. None of us want our neighbors falling on our sidewalks. The other reason is that you look for just about any kind of a break from the indoor routine caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, part of which is the TV show lineup.

On the other hand, I get a kick out of the Ancient Aliens program. Last night, William Shatner, the Star Trek star who has his own show about the weird and wonderful, UnXplained. He sat at the head of a table lined by a group of Ancient Aliens heavy hitters, along with video guest stars including physicist Michio Kaku. I think Shatner was playing the role of devil’s advocate, apparently trying to argue against the idea that aliens are driving their UFOs recklessly around our planet while intoxicated on oregano, crashing them on the Weather Channel’s Highway 401 in British Columbia, forcing the Heavy Rescue crews to pull them out of ditches using 65-ton rotators (which look like they’re from another planet, by the way) and occasionally kidnapping various humans for the odd anal probing.

Anyway, I suspect Shatner was playfully provocative and this got the Ancient Alien crew to talking loudly and rapidly all at once, interrupting each other and challenging Shatner to a knife fight and whatnot. Just kidding; they were all very polite and respectful.

Me at the Star Trek Museum in Riverside, Iowa in 2016

I think it’s possible to take the Ancient Aliens show too seriously. I really wondered why Shatner was invited as a guest on Ancient Aliens. Maybe they don’t take themselves as seriously as some people think. Well, OK, they probably do.

In fact, I don’t think Shatner takes his own show, The UnXplained, seriously. I wonder if the title of the show is a sort of jab at the X-Files? Remember the 1999 episode, “The Unnatural”? Josh Exley (played by Jesse Martin) was an alien who took the form of an alien and was an excellent baseball player. He hid among an all-African American baseball team in Roswell in the 1940s but was executed by an alien bounty hunter who didn’t want him mixing with the human race. Think about that irony. The episode was warmly comical and at times, even poked fun at the preoccupation with alien invasions. I actually liked Jesse Martin’s version of the gospel song “Come and Go with Me to That Land.” There is no full version of it, but I also liked Sam Cooke’s rendition. Sena and I both really enjoyed watching the X-Files while eating popcorn. I treasure the memory.

Well, the sun is shining and it has finally almost stopped snowing. I have to go back out and finish shoveling.

Have a great Valentine’s Day tomorrow.

Me and my valentine in New York

The Snow Alien

We got more snow last night. Our neighbor really helped us out and cleaned up our driveway and more with his snowblower! Sena joked with him, “You don’t have to do that, we’re shovel people!”

I guess because we had a little less shoveling to do, thanks to our neighbor, Sena got inspired to build a—snow alien. Not a snow man but a Snow alien. Don’t ask me why. Maybe it has something to do with me watching Men in Black movies every other week.

I got the camera out. A couple of the neighbors who were out shoveling noticed her. I tried to act casual. I even helped—a little. We didn’t have any coals for eyes, no hat, no scarf, and she settled for a few shrub branches.

A new winter tradition begins—the Snow Alien.

Kindness Alert: Snowblower People and Shovel People Unite

We got walloped by that blizzard I mentioned yesterday. It left about 5-8 inches at least with a gift mountain about waist high on one side of our driveway left by one of the city plows. Later in the day another plow gifted us another driveway plug, not as tall but wetter and heavier.

This morning we shoveled hard and it must have showed. Three of our neighbors came over with their snow blowers to help dig us out. We were very grateful for their kindness. One of them must have been up before 5 AM to get started. Another powered her way through a good chunk of our driveway. Yet a third neighbor helped clear the gift mountain and more.

I think I may have got in the way a few times because I felt a little guilty about them doing so much work with their machines. I felt compelled to sneak in and scoop something because I felt terrible just standing there watching them.

In the afternoon we had to get back outside to clear the second driveway plug left by the second city plow. Our driveway had drifted in about to my hips. It took us a while to dig out.

Some have speculated about whether shovel people take unfair advantage of the generosity of snow blower people. After all, we tend to look kind of pathetic, so they probably take pity on us.

There might be an expectation in some neighborhoods for snow blower people to contribute to the community by being willing to go the extra mile and clear driveways for shovel people. I could find only one serious article on the internet about this, “Is There a Social Code for Snow Removal?” on the Scientific American web site.

I’ve not heard of shovel people coming to help snow blower people, but it happened this afternoon. After Sena and I cleared our snowdrifts, we visited the three neighbors who helped us this morning and scooped out their driveway snow plugs and a little more when we could.

Thank You!

Kindness Alert!

This is just a brief announcement—a Kindness Alert. This past Saturday, we got our first load of snow of the season dumped on us, which meant we had to go out and shovel. Our driveway is pretty big. We don’t have a snowblower. This means we were out there about an hour and a half powering our way through a few inches of wet, heavy snow.

And naturally, that meant the city snowplows plugged in our driveway shortly after we went inside, foolishly congratulating ourselves on a job well done. I think there must be some kind of local ordinance requiring all driveways to be plugged with snow right after the homeowners finish clearing them. I’ve posted about this before.

But then as we watched from our front window, our neighbor interrupted his own snow removal work to clear off our driveway plug and then some. In fact, he used a snowblower and a shovel! He spent considerable time on the job. It was an impressive act of kindness. I remember wanting to rush out in the cold to thank him.

Little did I know that I would have the opportunity to return the favor. Shortly after our neighbor finished, another snow plow rumbled through and dumped more show in our driveway and even spread it around more generously in other places near the curb—and even shoved snow over the curb on the lawn. By that time, the stuff had frozen into small boulders of ice and mud.

I plodded outside again and cleaned it up. Then I noticed that the snowplow driver had also piled more snow on my neighbor’s side. In fact, I did return the favor—sooner than I thought I would.

A big shout-out for my neighbor’s act of kindness!

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