CSotD: Friday Funnies

Edison Lee provokes a great deal more thought than I had been planning to pour into anything, but this question actually came up in my hometown a quarter century ago.

A microburst ripped through the Adirondacks July 15, 1995, taking down half the trees on a 100,000 acre swath of destruction that included Star Lake.


The most astonishing part was that we had the rest of the state’s attention for a minute or two.

I drove over from Plattsburgh, about two hours away, with candles and ice and other emergency supplies and had to pass through a cordon of State Police who only admitted me on assurances that I was “local.”

Meanwhile, younger son was a counselor at a summer camp in the southern Adirondacks and they had some tree damage, but also were very near to one of the half dozen fatalities, this one at a campground where a tree fell on a tent.

To get to Edison’s question, the damage in town was reparable. My mother only had small damage to the house, which had enough lawn that there were just a few places where falling trees damaged the roof, but she’d lost the view of gentle forest out the windows, replaced by giant shattered jackstraws.

Others fared worse.

She contacted one of the local loggers and I don’t remember if money changed hands, but they came, cut up and hauled away an acre or two worth of millable lumber and marketable firewood.

Not that anybody within 60 miles bought any firewood for a very long time.

The greater debate centered on the trees outside of town, within the Forever Wild protection of the Adirondack State Forest, with locals fearing not just that the fallen trees rendered the forest impossible to get through but would season into a tinderbox of dangerous forest fires.

But even fallen trees deserve a hug, and the law, backed by the roughly 99.3% of New Yorkers who don’t live within the Park, maintained, as Edison puts it, the Calvinist position that what happens in a protected forest is part of some larger cosmic plan.

I responded at the time with a column suggesting that downstaters shouldn’t run snowplows on that same principle, but, a quarter century later, I have to admit that the forests seem to have repaired themselves.

We didn’t have any major forest fires and my friends have still been able to supplant their family budgets with the yearly venison bonus each fall.

That’s not to say there wasn’t significant impact, and this memoir by our local Ranger tells the story of the blowdown itself and the years that have followed. It’s well worth a click.

But mostly, we save our quarrels with the experts these days over whether there are cougars back there (I’ve seen one).

However, if they are there, nobody is allowed to build housing projects on their habitat.

Live and let live, or, if the experts are right, live and let not live.


And, on a related topic …

Meanwhile, over in Pajama Diaries, Jill is rebelling against the weather and, while I think she’s a little young to be such a baby about it, there’s certainly a reason why we’ve got snowbirds who hightail it to Florida at the first flake.

As the conversation continues — this is today’s strip — it develops that the reason snowbirds can do that is that (1) they’re retired and (2) they bought that second house back before real estate prices went nuts.

Neither of which applies to the Kaplan family.

And, by the way, I’m seeing a lot of snowbirds begin to realize that they can only pay taxes and maintenance on one of those houses.

The tradition is Thanksgiving with the family, then bolt to Florida, though one place I lived, the guy across the street was a stingy son-of-a-bitch who would leave for Florida just about now, a week before Halloween, good timing if you can afford two houses but can’t shell out five bucks worth of candy for the neighborhood kids.

Maybe that’s how you afford two houses, but I’d rather have good karma in one, even if I have to shovel it out from time to time.

And speaking of Halloween, here’s our

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Off the Mark)


Not much to comment on except that these really did occur on the same day, and I like a Juxtaposition that makes you say, “Wait, didn’t I just read this one?” and then scroll back up to make sure you’re not losing your mind.


Just when you thought it was safe to wear lime green and pink again

Barney and Clyde — admittedly a bastion of “Get off my lawn” comedy — takes on the resurgence of the Don Johnson look.


I had a girlfriend, back in the day, who would tease me by cooing “Oooh, Don Johnson!” if I didn’t bother to shave, but she was the same one with whom I had a standing date to watch “Miami Vice,” “Falcon Crest” and “The Colbys” and make fun of them all.

And I’m particularly with Lucretia here, because it bugs me to see Ari Melber go on the air looking like he’s been on a three-day drunk, when the women on those political shows have to wear false eyelashes that I’m sure they don’t bother with in real life.

To which I’ll add that I am developing a genuine respect for any black women reporters on those shows who not feel compelled to adopt the apparently mandatory Afro-Sheen Cascade.

Or is that just one wig that they keep in wardrobe?


Meanwhile, over in Retail, Marla is a woman who thinks for herself, except that while she was thinking for herself, she lost track of what other people were thinking she should volunteer for.

Been there, though my favorite space-outs on conference calls were the numbskulls who’d put the call on “hold” without realizing their company had hold music.

Good times.

No urge to go back.


(Wouldn’t mind going back here, snow and all)