Blackout followed by whiteout – snowbirds stranded

Posted on January 19, 2012


We are gathered in the warmest part of the house finishing the last crumbs of our breakfast and chewing the ice balls off our toes.  We stayed up very late last night finishing an excellent storybook, No Life for a Lady, the memoir of Agnes Morley Cleaveland.  Miss Agnes was born in New Mexico Territory on June 26, 1874, the night Clay Allison shot up the town.

She was the daughter of Civil War veteran William Raymond Morley, and knew a thing or two about the Wild Wild West. Also about writing. Maybe I’ll write more about that later.  First, your weather report.

It’s winter.

The county plow roared along the road as we headed out for the Record-Eagle. How, you might ask, could I expect the newspaper to be there?  Experience. Dean Peters is intrepid. As we expected, he had tucked the paper into its green tube well before the plow came along to throw snow all over it.

Airlines are altogether wussier. Babs and Betty Jo headed back from Key West last night, but their flight was delayed in Atlanta. They made it to Detroit Metro eventually, but missed their connection to Traverse City and spent the night at an airport hotel in Romulus courtesy of their airline. Oh the irony. They went off to Florida, we had balmy weather. They decided they might as well come home . . . stranded in Romulus. It could be worse. They could still be in Atlanta.

Bruce Laidlaw changed his plans, too.  It’s one thing to drive up in snow, and The Weatherman is as intrepid as Dean Peters, but the wind is drifting snowpiles across the highways and then hiding them in whirling clouds of spindrift.

See how nice that is, that link to Wikipedia?  I couldn’t have left you that yesterday because of the SOPA/PIPA protest blackout.  Which brings us to Bruce’s note:  Good to see that your Torch Lake Views blackout lasted only a day. Do you understand the bill that has caused the controversy? I have read so many different explanations that I am totally confused.  Looks like snow is building up at the cottage.

Bruce Laidlaw's guard deer

Now Bruce is a lawyer. When he asks if I understand the bill I protested with my 12-hour* blackout, I hear a serious question. The serious answer is yes, I believe I do understand. I thought about it for quite awhile before I decided to participate.  *(actually more like 11 hours and 45 minutes on account of I wanted to edit the copy in the protest message—are you surprised?)

There is an enormous amount of foofaraw swirling around about the issue, but two things are true. The first is that of course intellectual property must be protected, are you kidding? The second is that Congress should be ashamed of itself for habitually passing legislation made on K Street. You want to address the real issues of internet piracy?  You think DMCA doesn’t work well enough?  How about if you sit down with people who actually know something about the internet???? Not having done that, the sponsors laid a minefield of unintended consequences. At least I hope they were unintended.

The internet is full of spaces where anyone can build a soapbox.  This, in my view, is a good thing.  When someone uses that soapbox to give away property that does not belong to her, her soapbox must be taken away.  Hers.  Not mine, not yours, and not the fellow’s over there.

Now we’re going to put a blanket in our soapbox and take it out for sledding.