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♦  Just returned from running Mrs. Robbo down to Nat’nal Airport, from which she’s hopping a flight to Flaridah for the weekend, leaving Self to ride herd on the gels alone.  Wish me luck.  (Mrs. R is going in order to celebrate the birthday of Mrs. LMC, wife of my co-blogger over at the Llamas, whose own abandonment of the vast but secure real estate holding known as Fort LMC will leave her husband literally holding the baby.  Frankly, he has a much tougher task on hand than I do.)

♦  This is the first time I’ve been away from the Port-Swiller residence since before the first of this week’s blizzards hit.  In the northwest Virginny suburbs of Dee Cee, there is a solid three feet of snow on the ground now.  The main roads are open, but the snow is piled everywhere and most of the side roads are awful still.  It’s amazing how this discombobulates the brain: Even driving along our own street I suddenly had the horrid thought that I didn’t actually know where I was.

♦   Metro is still not running above-ground service.  Nonetheless, Uncle decided to open up for biznay today.  Thus, even at 10:00 a.m., all the arteries into town from the ‘burbs were jammed tight.  Where everyone is going to park, Heaven only knows.  Not sure that was the cleverest decision on the part of the Guv’mint.  (It happens to be my day off anyway, but I think I would have eaten some leave in order to avoid the mess.) 

♦   Lemons and lemonade, though: As we crawled down the G-W Parkway, we had time to enjoy watching a pair of bald eagles fooling about and to admire the ice covering the upper reaches of the Potomac.

♦   I have absolutely no interest in watching the opening ceremonies of the Olympics tonight, but feel I am going to be forced to do so by the gels.  Indeed, I have a hard time getting much interested in the thing at all.  When I was a kid, I used to love watching the events, but the decision by the network in the 80’s and 90’s to focus more on “human interest” stories put me right off.  Haven’t got back into it since.

♦   Speaking of “human interest” stories, I was watching a program on the Discovery Channel last evening about that U.S. Air flight that ditched in the Hudson last year.  I almost never watch “science” programs anymore – are they all so uniformly awful?   I wanted to see a technical discussion of the bird-strike and the landing, not listen to a bunch of people blathering about what was going through their minds at the time.  (I was also disappointed that Capt. Sullenberger felt compelled to work in some comments on Obama and hopen’changiness.)

♦   Not to sound too much like Jay Nordlinger, but two musickal thoughts have been floating through my mind, and since this is my blog, I’m a-gonna share ’em.

The first is a piece of pure trivia:  Schubert’s last symphony (No. 9 in C, known as “The Great”) was not actually first performed until about ten years after his death.  I knew that already.  What I only recently found out was that the premier was conducted by none other than Felix Mendelssohn.  I think that’s kind of neat.  (There is another Who’s Who story about the premier of Beethoven’s 7th that involves the composition of the orchestra.  I believe Salieri was in their ranks, as were a couple other leading musickal lights of the time.  I’ll have to look that one up.)

The second is just a personal observation:  Having finished up Flashman and the Redskins yesterday, I had a sudden urge to listen to Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 “From The New World”.  Those familiar with this piece will know that several of the themes stated in the earlier movements reappear as the piece goes on, sometimes as straight repetition, sometimes developed differently.  Well, my very favorite example of this comes toward the climax of the last movement, when the opening bars of the second movement (which we first heard in slow and solemn form)  suddenly reappear in a faster, highly dramatic minor key full-orchestra crash.  Gives me the chills every time I hear it.    

♦   Not to harp too much on the blizzard, but I’ll end with a nice little story from this week.  The storm Tuesday night and Wednesday dropped another foot or so on us.  Wednesday afternoon I decided to get a jump on shovelling it, so dutifully slogged out onto the driveway.  As I was working up at the street end, I suddenly became aware of a tooting sound.  Looking up, I saw a snowplow coming up the street.  He was still a long way off, but he was nonetheless giving me the heads-up.  And not leaning on his horn in an obnoxious way either, but, as I say, just sending a series of toots.  I waved my hat as he passed by.  Somebody once wrote a line about “these little acts of unremembered kindness”.  It struck me again as I stood there just how far even a little civility will go toward brightening someone’s day.

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