John McIntyre, whom James Wolcott calls "the Dave Brubeck of the art and craft of copy editing," writes on language, editing, journalism, and other manifestations of human frailty. Comments welcome. Identifying his errors relieves him of the burden of omniscience. Write to jemcintyre@gmail.com, befriend at Facebook, or follow at Twitter: @johnemcintyre. Back 2009-2012 at the original site, http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/mcintyre/blog/ and now at www.baltimoresun.com/news/language-blog/.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Snow day 3

Reports are trickling in of the existence of readers who profess to enjoy this Snowpocalypse journal and want more of it. Perhaps they are having me on, as the Brits say.

Speaking of the Brits, You Don’t Say notes with sadness the death last week at age 89 of Ian Carmichael, the gifted British comedy actor who, in a long career on stage, in films, and on television, notably portrayed Bertie Wooster in adaptations of P.G. Wodehouse novels and Lord Peter Wimsey in adaptations of Dorothy Sayers’s mysteries. To have given innocent pleasure to so many for so long is one of the happiest of epitaphs.

In local entertainment news, we at 5516 Plymouth Road have been working through the complete Freaks and Geeks, which Kathleen bought at Barnes and Noble on the eve of the storm after she saw more than fifty people in line at one of the few remaining Blockbusters. I commend it to you as a salutary reminder not to grow nostalgic about high school.

The snow ceased about four o’clock yesterday afternoon, leaving us with an accumulation of twenty-four to twenty-six inches. We have cleared and kept clear the walk from the front door to the street and the front sidewalk, and also a path from the rear door to the garage. Shortly, instead of plunging into the fun of explaining paregmenon,* I will shoulder shovel and begin the work of clearing the snow between the garage and the street.

Mayor Rawlings-Blake has tweeted this morning that the city plows will begin clearing the secondary streets by midday. That does not leave me optimistic, because we have not seen a plow on Plymouth Road more than two or three times in the past twenty-two years. I will be surprised if we can get to a clear street by Tuesday.

Supplies are holding out. Potato-leek soup and tuna melt for lunch yesterday, chicken with white sauce and broccoli with farfalle at dinner. The goal, since eating is one of our principal activities, appears to be to create tasty meals while dirtying every pot and utensil in the kitchen. I leave it to you to guess who has scullery duty.

At Trinity Episcopal in Towson and Memorial Episcopal in Bolton Hill, a few sturdy parishioners are trudging through the drifts to read Morning Prayer in the absence of the clergy. Here, the family is sleeping in, the cats are dozing still, and all are warm and secure.



*Paregmenon is a figure of speech in which a word or its cognates are repeated in a short sentence: Youth is wasted on the young. Now you know.