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I am back from outer space … no wait, that’s a song lyric … I am back from the crazy storm that is Christmas and the other storm that is illness. (And why is it that I never have the dramatic illnesses that garner sympathy from witnesses? I’m just gawd-awful tired and icky — for which I should be thankful, I know, but I’m not. Whatever.)

And I should be inundating you with all the clever and witty things that have happened in the past week. But there wasn’t anything. Seriously, there was a sore throat and a fever and some warm air and and some driving and some frivolity and some cold air and some snow and some colder air. That’s it. Oh, and some presents, for which I am grateful, so there’s that.

But, I had to pull a weekly column out of my ass. It wasn’t pretty.

I can offer you only this CNN-originated article from a site called http://www.news-around-the-world.com which, I think is fair to assume, translates its American news back into English from a Japanese news site for Spanish-speaking nationals by utilizing the ESL skills of outsourced Swahilis subcontracted to the United Nations on a speech-wreaking mission.

In fact, I’m so compelled to share this article with you that I’m pasting it here verbatim in case the link gets broken in the future. It’s a rather long article, but if you’re thinking of skipping the read altogether I encourage you not to. You wouldn’t want to miss such compelling gems as: “Those delays could impact a burble gist elsewhere as a laboring pass movement hebdomad approaches.”

Western states facing huge snowstorm

(CNN) — A Brobdingnagian season assail was moving the West Coast on Sunday, poised to shitting up to 10 feet of deceive in whatever higher elevations, and feat broad and possibleness mudslides in modify symptom patch impacting dynamical conditions and expose travel, forecasters said.

A season assail warning remained in gist finished weekday salutation for California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, from falls to Kings Canyon, according to the National Weather Service. “Storm totals of 5 to 10 feet above 7,000 feet are likely,” the defy assist said, and periods of onerous deceive module move finished Monday. High winds are also prognosticate for the region.

“Travel into the broad land of the gray Sierra Nevada haw be difficult, if not impossible,” according to forecasters.

“It’s feat to be an all-day onslaught,” CNN meteorologist painter Wolf said. Areas from Denver westward module wager rain, he said.

At modify elevations, onerous fall was feat winkle broad in a sort of locations. Flood advisories and watches were posted nearly the whole size of California, from town to San Diego. Los Angeles had conventional 2 to 3 inches of fall as of most 2:30 a.m. Sunday, and “more momentous rain” was on the way, forecasters said.

Flooding in the San Joaquin valley, which includes metropolis and Sacramento, is a “firm possibility,” Wolf said. Footage from Sacramento showed drivers creeping finished liquid on roadways.

And with the onerous fall comes the danger of mudslides, especially in areas nearby Los Angeles strained by this year’s wildfires, where there is no aggregation to kibosh the grime in place, Wolf said. The grime becomes saturated, and somberness pulls it downward.

“Some secondary detritus and sway slides impact already been reportable primeval this morning,” said a Southern Calif. batch consultatory issued by the National Weather Service, “and this danger module probable move finished this morning.” The danger could also be delayed, message it module not diminish when the rains kibosh and could become later, Wolf said.

The assail — actually a program of storms — were triggered by “deep continual moisture” originating from the semitropic Pacific and surging northeastward, CNN meteorologist Sean moneyman said. The phenomenon is ofttimes titled the “Pineapple Express,” he said, because the wetness originates nearby the American islands.

The program module change the location finished Wednesday, with the strongest portions still to come, moneyman said Saturday. Rainfall amounts could accomplish 10 to 12 inches in whatever symptom and 18 inches in unaccompanied areas, he said.

The storms could be the strongest to impact gray Calif. since Jan 2005, he said, when up to 32 inches of fall came in a five-day period.

On Saturday, there were more than 260 superhighway crashes in Los Angeles County and unincorporated areas because of the rain, said Calif. Highway Patrol Officer Ed Jacobs. That is compared with 48 terminal Saturday, when it was not raining, he said.

Most of the crashes were “minor fender-benders,” he said, but digit grouping died in a break in Santa Clarita. “We conceive the utility was meet feat likewise alacritous in that case,” he said.

About 5,000 customers forfeited noesis in gray California, said Steve Conroy of Southern Calif. Edison, but he noted that is a diminutive proportionality of the company’s 5.4 meg customers.

The large difficulty the consort visaged Sat was drivers motion likewise alacritous and sliding into poles, feat whatever assist interruptions, Conroy said. The consort serves whatever of the elevation areas and has crews in locate there, he said. “Overall, we’re in beatific shape.”

About 2,100 customers forfeited noesis primeval Sun in the Highland Park Atlantic of Los Angeles, but noesis had been remodeled as of most 6:30 Sun morning, said Maychelle Yee, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. The outages were belike weather-related, she said.

Further north, broad winds strained Seattle, downing trees and noesis lines, and sound discover noesis to most 100,000 people. Most of those had been remodeled as of Sunday. Footage from Spokane, Washington, showed drivers crashing as they slid downbound a achromatic hill.

Besides the possibleness for agency closures, expose movement could be strained in cities including San Francisco; Los Angeles; Seattle; Portland, Oregon; and Salt Lake City, Wolf said. Those delays could impact a burble gist elsewhere as a laboring pass movement hebdomad approaches.

As of 8:20 a.m., the exclusive retard posted on the agent Aviation Administration’s website was in San Francisco, where incoming flights were experiencing a retard of more than an hour.

CNN’s Nick metropolis contributed to this report

And really, I think there isn’t much left to say after reading that article, unless you’d like to read what is basically the original article (with updates and additions).

“Overall, we’re in beatific shape” at: pam@viewfromthenorth40.com

 

I got up early to finish my column today, and started my computer session as I always do opening my browser in case I need to do a quick info search … and to dink a round a moment perusing the news.

This news item about a guy who is taking a year to give to charity every day is so sublime I have to share. And in case msnbc breaks the link to the story sometime in the future, here’s the link directly to his blog, Living Philanthropic.

Just when you think hoomans are beyond hope, one of them does something awesome to the nth.

Carlo Garcia is the man at: pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com

If your office party includes a “Chinese” auction gift exchange (no Chinese people are actually auctioned or otherwise harmed in this process), I have the perfect recommendation.

I know how these things go, having participated in a “Chinese” auction or two (where I learned about the Chinese-people-not-up-for-bid thing). Some people bring the gag gifts. Some people bring things they would like, but you wouldn’t be caught dead using/wearing/owning. And some people get in on some awesome sale, like 90 percent off at the local Herberger’s store, and give a gift that makes everyone who doesn’t get the chance to steal it envious and everyone who brought a traditional tacky gift feel like a heel. Ah, Christmas.

I am not a smart shopper, and I’m morally against paying money for cheesy crap.

So that left me, about four hours before the party (my version of planning ahead), sitting in the car with John waiting for a burger in the drive-through line wondering what to bring to the party that would be fun and not contribute to the piles of useless, lame regiftables in anyone’s home.

Since our next stop was the local custom smoked-meats shop, it occurred to us that we should get some of their premium bacon for a gift. Yes, bacon.

And some of you might be wondering why I didn’t at least get some thuringer or summer sausage that people could serve at a holiday party with cheese and crackers. And you’re right, that’s a grand idea. Practical, with a touch of elegance (in a hick-relevant kind of way, y’know).

My only argument is this: If you picture yourself in a room full of your colleagues (in their various states of polite discomfort and deteriorating sobriety), unwrapping a package and then holding in your hand a lovely tube of thuringer for the holidays — then you picture the same scene (complete with several layers of ice cream bag “wrapping paper”) and wind up with a slab of bacon in your hands, which one is going to make you laugh?

I rest my case.

And the post-party consensus: Well played, funny girl, well played. Of course, it certainly helped that the boss, transplanted here in Hicksville from an alternate socio-economic universe in the SoCal vector, wound up choosing said bacon. Some moments make the pain of social interaction worthwhile, priceless even.

Bacon, it’s what’s for Christmas at: pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com

How could I forget the other highlight from the week of being overrun by a herd of wild mice?

Deer mice to be exact. I was sitting in the living room talking to John and saw one meander jauntily across the kitchen floor to the dog food bowl, grab a bite of kibbles for a take out meal and saunter back toward the cupboard for an evening of fun and frivolity with his bros. He came back a moment later for seconds, or so I thought. After killing six of them over the course of three days, it’s quite possible that I saw a second mouse, not a second trip of the one mouse.

It was one hell of a wild party before it ended. We had dog food stashed everywhere in the cupboards and, oddly, my winter boots — twice one day, then the next morning. Then I started hanging them upside down. Then the killing started taking its toll on the offenders. We’re good now, the food is staying in the proper bowl.

The profile mugshot provided by the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks makes him look cute, “deceptively cute” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says on its hantavirus page. My deer mice looked like that initially, then they got a sort of flattened build with a glazed and vacant look in their eyes. I think if I waited long enough to pull them from the trap they would develop the classic Xs over the eyes to illustrate death, like in the cartoons where everything is cute, even mice, even death.

By the way, I really like how the FWP site says that deer mice don’t migrate. I would argue that they migrate into my house with every weather change. And then I migrate their carcasses back out in a body bag.

I wanted to clean my cupboards today anyway. It’s -8 degrees outside, what else would I do?

Though sleep sounds good. I’m exhausted from the office Christmas party. Wasn’t wild, wasn’t raucous, wasn’t drunken, wasn’t even late.

PTSD from social anxiety limited me to about four hours of sleep last night. It’s hell to be socially retarded. On the other hand, the package of bacon from Saddle Butte Custom Smoking I brought for the Chinese Gift Auction was a hit in the laughs department. Hey, I figured the place would be teeming with regifted do-dads and cheesy stuff. I like practical. And paradoxical. And pork.

It was quality pork, but maybe I should’ve wrapped it in something other than wrinkled ice cream bags and an Eddie Bauer box.

Maybe added a bow at: pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com

I’m connected to the world wide web again. So there’s that to brighten your day.

You’d think that during a whole week almost to the minute without access to my No. 1 time-sucking and yet pointless hobbies: dinking around on the Internet, I’d get a lot of stuff written. No, not so much, just watched more DVDs. Yay me, for being consistent. My excuse for not writing more is that I didn’t have my “research tool” Internet service … or just go with the title of this post.

Nothing terribly interesting happened during the week unless you want to count Cooper spitting out onto the moonlit snow at my feet a slimy, half-masticated chunk of rabbit hide that included one long, delicate ear and an eyeball, still intact. He had to donate that treat to the magpies because I was pretty sure it would’ve ended up in a pool of bile-ridden upchuck on my floor during the night if I let him finish it.

Or maybe you want to count the Artist-Poet Pairing show we attended that included a replay of one entertainer’s rousing homemade musical tribute to Glacier National Park’s 100th anniversary: “O Glacier-land” (sung to the tune of “O Tannenbaum”). It in no way registered on Cooper’s gross-factor scale, but it was equally difficult to keep a straight face while dealing with the moment.

Random View: It's ironical.

Let us not forget my visual tribute to the United States of Ironica. I’m not one, normally, to fritter away money, so I will wear this shirt, but I really bought it just because the brand is American Blue, but it was made in Pakistan: Outsourcing is almost always a grand source of irony. Remember that kids.

Tonight is the office Christmas party. The opportunities for social failure seem boundless.

Wish me luck at: pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com

 

We’re hunting computer time at the library. Word is that there was a blah blah blah problem with the blah blah antenna-receiver-transmitter thingy at the the top of the wi-fi tower — which looks remarkably like the tallest grain elevator in town — and when our internet provider fixed that problem, with a blah blah blah, it bumped us country folk off the internet.

Further word is that we will get our connection after the weather “gets better.” I nodded my head in understanding at this news, but I’m crying on the inside. “Better” is not a normal winter condition in Havre, Montana. I need a plan.

This could be a long winter at: pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com

 

We are sans internet access. Doom despair and agony on me.

What’s next? Electricity? Indoor plumbing? Printing press? The wheel? Will I be grunting around a fire pit in a cave next week? I had to haul my column to work on a jump drive this week. My gawd. It was an 800-word whopper that practically weighed a ton, almost tore my shirtfront when I dumped that jump drive into my shirt pocket.

The National Finals Rodeo is going on in Vegas this week. I am startled by the weather every day without my daily access to National Weather Service radar updates. I’m totally missing important things on The Daily What. How will I ever get cool without that daily fix?

I am reduced to blogging this at a restaurant in town. My soup is getting cold.

As far as things go at the White Trash Estate:

What happens on the Internet, stays on the Internet at: pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com

I guess it’s not just the government who ruins everything.

We’ve had our dog Cooper for about five years. On most days that I have left for work and at other random moments of leaving, I’ve said to Cooper some version of: “OK, Cooper, keep our honey company.”

“See you later, puppy. Keep our honey company.”

“You be a good dog, Coop. Keep our honey company.”

“I hate to go, so you keep our honey company.”

And you get it, right. It’s a habit now. A common part of my day. I do it reflexively, no thought whatsoever. I walk away from the dog … and I say the thing.

Then one day a few weeks ago, in the throes of a fit of verbal dyslexia, I swapped a few letters from two words and created a whole different meaning. It has ruined everything.

I have ruined everything.

To explain how this has happened, while using this visual media, I’ll use the homophones of my new words to better illustrate the degree of my error:

Instead of: “Good boy, Cooper, you keep our honey company.”

I swapped the H and the C and said: “Good boy, Cooper, you keep our cunny hump-iny.”

What!? Eeeeew. Ew. Ew. Ew. No, no, ew. He’s just an innocent doggy. And I can’t take it back. The phrase is now stuck there in my head, (ironically) along with, though second to, the impulse to say the original “keep our honey company” line.

I start out: “Cooper, you keep ou—” and I become conscious of what could go drastically wrong, and I finish with: “Ulghk! Grrrahg! Just be a good boy.”

The halcyon days of my innocence are gone, polluted forever by, well, me. I am seriously in need of a new shtick.

I think it’s possible to have hyperbolic homophonia at: pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com

Here’s a glimpse into the scintillating world of a newspaper editorial department: We had a 10-minute debate today — while still trying to meet deadline — over whether or not to hyphenate the term pat down (pat-down?) — as in airport security pat down/pat-down.

No consensus, but the opinions were:

Three people felt that the phrase should be hyphenated because the two words were acting as a unit.

One felt that the hyphen was probably correct, but it looked wrong. That said, no matter the decision, I was supposed to remember that the two words definitely ARE hyphenated when used as an adjective (as in, “pat-down procedure”) and NOT hyphenated when used as a verb (as in, “He will pat down 5,000 people today”).

One person felt (adamantly) that the hyphen was stupid and that we were assuming that readers are too stupid to understand that the words are used as a unit, and we shouldn’t feed into that by dumbing down the paper.

I finally decided it’s peanut butter. You know, peanut butter is a word unit, not hyphenated in noun or adjectival usage. As in: “Here’s a fresh jar of peanut butter; now you can make your peanut butter toast.” Or maybe I’m just saying that to justify not changing it to hyphenated simply because I think it looks odd that way (and honestly, we wouldn’t follow half the AP Style rules if we were trying to avoid looking odd). Or maybe I only wanted an excuse to talk about peanut butter. Or maybe the decision was for my column and I did the final proofing and corrections on the page so I could do whatever I wanted … and ask for forgiveness later if it was needed.

Mostly I’m amazed that I used the term pat down more times than I used words like groped, felt up and nudie X-ray.

I’m obviously slipping at pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com

 

The government ruins everything.

I was thinking about booking a flight to anywhere just so I could get felt up by a TSA agent. Y’know, I have reached a certain age and degree of heftiness that means I don’t merit even a second glance from guys other than my husband, who was run over several times as a child. And I certainly don’t rate an “accidental” brush up while passing a guy in a crowded room. That ship done sailed off into the broad side of an iceberg.

It was a great plan to stroke my ego until I found out that I have to be “patted down” by woman. A woman? Shut up. Don’t get me wrong. If that’s what does it for you, be my guest, but I’m looking for the TSA guy who moonlights as a cabana boy. Just saying.

Cabana boy would be worth the price of admission.

Then I read this headline on msnbc.com: “12 million Mylanta bottles recalled.” That has to be government inspired. Who else would just recall the bottles and not the stuff inside them? Now 12 million households are going to have jelly jars and resealable plastic baggies filled with Mylanta gook so their owners can send the bottles back from whence they came.

No I didn’t read the article.

Where’s the fun in that? at: pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com