Walking is the only pleasant form of traveling by land. You need no special equipment, training, money, e-tickets, antidepressants, or Twitter followers. Whatever clothes you're wearing will do fine; a hat and shoes are optional. When I've got a few days to spend somewhere, I spend them walking around. So I spent a few days walking around Silicon Valley.
Dennis "Slick" Lilly put on a prison guard's uniform and walked out of jail in December 1986, and that's the last the cops ever saw him alive. Despite being on the FBI's list of Most Wanted Criminals, Lilly was so slick that he disappeared into the life of a law-abiding small businessman in a woodsy town near Seattle.
Here's some terrible news to mark the beginning of permanent fire season in California: It's going to stay like this, hot and dry, until May. The Climate Prediction Center says winter will come and go without the usual winter storms that provide the snowpack that provides all the water people use. Fire conditions will be awful until summer, when they will continue being awful until next winter, if winter ever shows up again.
Of course you should use silverware when you're eating dinner at a restaurant that has provided silverware, right there next to your non-paper plate. Nobody believes otherwise. But here's our important new populist debate about whether New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is too fancy because he used a fork and knife to eat a pizza dinner in a sit-down restaurant.
In normal times, the arctic bird of prey known as the Snowy Owl stays up north, feasting upon the flesh of lemmings. But these are not normal times, so the owls have come south with the terrible arctic weather. "They are just absolutely everywhere and there's a lot more coming," says an expert who knows about the owls.
The past does not become the past until we look at the old pictures in the present. Only then do we realize how weird everything was, especially in the shoddy 1980s, right when we thought The Future had arrived, what with the music videos and personal computers and scrambled soft-porn movies delivered directly to our parents' house via cable. America's only perfect website, Internet K-Hole (which has occasional/ridiculous nudity) is a functioning time machine. Use it.
It seems there's a bit of inclement weather on the East Coast, and also around the Great Lakes and the Midwest and (who knows?) maybe even Texas and the South. Please enjoy your blizzards and Winter Wonderland, because snow and cold are beautiful things, and one day you can tell your starving children living underground what it was like to go outside on a crisp winter's day.
Alcohol plays a large role in everyone's life. We use it to clean our many wounds, and we add certain percentages of the stuff to our gasoline, within certain states where that's required by regulations. Some of us even drink alcohol, for pleasure or otherwise. But you can count me out of that last group. For all of this year, so far, I have been "on the wagon."
To reach the Federation of Black Cowboys headquarters at Cedar Lane Stables, you take the A train for about an hour out of Manhattan to the Grant Avenue station in Howard Beach, walk a mile past park-and-ride lots and construction sites and a truck selling Polish sausage, then look for the wooden rail fencing around a long and narrow stretch of trees and trailers alongside Linden Boulevard. For two decades, until the city closed the stables this year, these 26 acres of pasture, trees, and western-themed corrals provided a place for city kids to learn to ride a horse or see a rodeo.
It's so cold outside, on the freezing streets of Manhattan. Yet the dogs must have their walks. They are city dogs, after all, and it takes an army of dog-walkers to get these beasts out of the apartments at regular intervals. We headed up to Central Park West to meet America's most pampered canines, all dressed up in their winter coats. Here's our first NYC dog of winter, in his red knitted sweater. It's Oliver, the French Bulldog!
Thousands of canceled flights and endless dreary delays awaited Americans who attempted to travel by passenger jet during this never-ending arctic monster storm, proving once again that none of us have any common sense at all. Why do we bother? Because we have been brainwashed to accept daylong episodes of prison-style abuse, as long as we eventually land somewhere else.
From the Rocky Mountains to the East Coast, America is struggling with ice storms and blizzards and general misery. The winter weather has been especially tough on Californians. Many of us don't own gloves, or forgot where we put them several years ago after we got home from Mammoth or Tahoe. Few of us have those scrapey things to get frost off the windshield—frost!—but I have witnessed our brave people making do with their credit cards or even the edges of their phones, which is probably not recommended by the manufacturer. But what do we know of frozen water outside? Frozen water goes in margaritas! Yet we are surviving this unusually chilly weather, together and mostly apart, like usual.
Wives and husbands come and go, children leave, friends fade into abstractions on Facebook. The dog is generally there for life, all of his or all of yours, whichever comes first. Hunter, who died Sunday night at home and surrounded by his people, was there for life. It was really his second life, which began when I pulled his numb body from a freezing, half-empty swimming pool 10 years ago this month.