John McIntyre, whom James Wolcott calls "the Dave Brubeck of the art and craft of copy editing," writes on language, editing, journalism, and random topics. Identifying his errors relieves him of the burden of omniscience. Write to, befriend at Facebook, or follow at Twitter: @johnemcintyre. The original site,, at, and now at

Friday, February 5, 2010

Snow day

We have coffee and bourbon. The snow shovels are propped by the door, and J.P. is poised to spell me with them. I have picked up Alice and her cat, Diana, from Garrison Forest School. Scout and Graymalkin are dozing as the barometer falls. Kathleen is out picking up whatever last-minute things are on her list as we await THE WHITE DEATH FROM THE SKY. When she returns, the whole family will be here to ride out the storm.

Snow hysteria is evident. As I was driving to pick up Alice and Diana, I saw a multi-car pileup on the inner loop of the Beltway at Perring Parkway — a multi-car pileup in daylight on a dry road. So the people who are rushing to escape the storm or make the last-minute trip to strip the grocery stores are getting edgy.

The predicted twenty to twenty-eight inches could maroon us on Plymouth Road for days. So be assured, you clients who are expecting me to complete freelance projects for you, I will have little else to do.