He’s Mister Snow Miser

Your seasonal reminder that I have operated a Snow Miser fan site since the twentieth century.

Snow Miser

The Snow Miser is a character from the 1974 Rankin-Bass holiday special The Year Without a Santa Claus – one of dozens of holiday specials I watched over and over as a kid. I created The Snow Miser’s Cooler in response to a Geocities Heat Miser fansite that is long gone (sort of still around, I guess?). I am a Snow Miser partisan, and it bugged me only the Heat Miser had a fansite, so I decided to use my fledgling HTML skills to correct that.

When I first created the site in 1999 while in in college, it was just hosted on my college account. Eventually I was able to purchase snowmiser.net, but snowmiser.com was taken. But when you keep a website up for decades, you can wait them out and eventually you’re able to nab snowmiser.com.

You can view a very early version of the site at the Internet Archive here. By this time, I had moved it to my parent’s Adelphia internet cable account.

I did not, at this time, understand what “the Big Chill” actually meant (i.e., death), as I had not then and still have not to this day watched the movie, and so I assumed it meant something like “chilling out,” and so I viewed “The Snow Miser’s Big Chill” as being something like “The Snow Miser’s Hangout.” More importantly, I hadn’t struck on the obvious “Snow Miser’s Cooler” pun yet.

My favorite thing I ever did on the site was host “Rumble Vote 2000,” a contest between the Snow Miser and the Heat Miser. This was a “sequel” to a previous “rumble” between the Winter Warlock* (of Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town) and the Bumble (from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer). As I recall, Heat Miser won by a few votes. The “results” page, which sadly was evidently never archived, was an odd little thing where I had edited an at-the-time CNN homepage to reflect the results of the vote. This was January 2001, so there were more than a few jokes about the recent controversy surrounding the Bush/Gore fiasco.

The other thing I love about the site, which has been on it since day one through every iteration, can be found at the bottom: This website is dedicated to my Dad, who used to dance around his college dorm room to the Snow Miser song.

*And if I’m being honest, my true favorite Rankin-Bass character.

What, me Curry?

Karen and I went to a dinner party Friday night, where we played a game–it was some sort of variant of Twenty Questions. It was introduced to us by our friends Andy and Ruth, who are a mathematician and an astronomer, respectively, so you know it had to be a little more complicated than that. Explaining the game would take a while, so suffice to say part of it was that you had to choose a person and then say what their last name started with.

When it came to my turn, I racked my brain for a good celebrity. We’d had Indian food for dinner, so while looking at the table I came up with Tim Curry. I figured the game would be over fairly quickly–Karen and other people who knew me well were in attendance–but my round took the longest by far.* It got to the point where they knew my person was male, an actor, British, appeared in comedies, and had something to do with a Stephen King movie.

What amazed me was how many British actors with a last name starting with “C” they got through before Karen finally got Tim Curry: Sean Connery, Michael Caine, and Daniel Craig. But ultimately I just felt a little sad for Tim Curry, who’s apparently more obscure than I realized, despite his memorable performances in Rocky Horror Picture Show, Clue, IT, Legend, and of course his tour-de-force in The Worst Witch.

*If Kate had been there, though, she would have totally gotten it as soon as she heard “British actor.”

Passionate intensity on climate change

Here’s something that’s been bugging me lately.

One issue that concerns me is man-made climate change. I have my own thoughts on its existence, but I’m not here to debate that right now.

Rather, what I’m curious about is why, exactly, those who aren’t convinced man-made climate change is happening are so goddamned ginned up about it? I can read any article about global warming on any news website and be assured, without even looking, that there will be swarms of the MMCC-unconvinced going on and on in the comments, to the point where it soon crosses the “protests to much, methinks” line.

The only equivalent hot button issue I can think of is abortion (the current astroturfed health care stuff aside). Now, I get where the vehemence comes from on abortion. The passion on both sides makes sense to me. But in my experience on the climate change issue, I’ve seen a lot more vehemence from those who refute man-made climate change than those who are convinced it’s happening.

Anyway, my question is this: what exactly is at stake here? What happens if we take steps to reduce emissions and so forth, even if–for the sake of argument–they’re not responsible for global warming? (more…)

5 reasons I can’t wait to live in a house

1.) More space. Karen and I have been in this two-bedroom apartment for almost four years, and our stuff is stacked to the ceiling now.

2.) Having a yard. On a nice day, my options are staying inside or going for a walk into downtown Brighton. Or driving somewhere nice. I’d love to be able just to go out and sit on a porch or a deck and read.

3.) Getting a dog. No dogs allowed in our apartment.

4.) Packages will actually be delivered, rather than slips being left in our tiny mailbox forcing me to try and fit in a trip to the post office in that single hour before or after work when the PO is open. I don’t know how many times I’ve gotten home around 4:30 (I work 8am-4pm), grabbed the package slip and ran down to the post office only to learn that the carrier hadn’t even brought the package back yet (and of course the post office closes at 5). And don’t even get me started on UPS or Fedex. I had to drive 45 minutes last month to pick up a Fedex package in Wilmington.

5.) Having a washer and dryer that don’t cost $4 per load. After four years, we’ve paid about $2,000 in weekly laundry.

Welcome to my hell

Month may become dimmest on record (Boston Globe)

Contrary to popular belief, hell is not a landscape of red rock with flames flickering here and there, nor is it other people. If, as some theologians conjecture, hell is the worst thing any particular individual can imagine, I’m fairly sure that June 2009 in New England is my own personal hell.

If you receive no more missives from me, it’s likely because I went insane from lack of vitamin D.

Ed Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

On Saturday, Karen and I went to see my good cousin Ed (of the Ed Zone) in his first dramatic appearance since the renowned Rockland High production of Annie nigh on twenty years ago. This time he played asylum orderly “Aide Warren” in the Gateway Players’ production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Ed seemed natural in the role of the sadistic, brutal Warren, which makes me wonder what life is like for the employees he manages at his job, but whatever. Dressed smartly in a white shirt with a black bow tie and sporting his clean-shaven head, Ed’s Warren looked like a 1950s gas station attendant–from hell.

As for the play itself–I’ve managed to get through twenty-nine years of life and a first-class education without ever having read the book or seen the film, but I thoroughly enjoyed One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. While ostensibly an indictment of 1950s mental disorder treatment, its significance has become less pragmatic and more symbolic as time goes on. I found myself making comparisons to Sartre’s No Exit. (You can read an official review here.)

There’s still another weekend of performances to go, but tickets are sold out, so if you don’t already have one, you’re out of luck. But if you’re going, prepare to enjoy an enlightening evening watching one of the classics of American drama–or a bald guy gleefully beating on mental patients, if that’s your thing.

No comment

I’ve participated in online communities ever since the days of Prodigy’s bulletin boards back in the early 1990s. I still remember my first–and only–flame war: it was with a guy named Den Elms over how realistic the effects in Jurassic Park looked. I also remember another poster chiding me for the anti-Elms posts I was writing, saying I didn’t need to “build a temple of hate” to the guy. I took that criticism to heart,* and ever since I have stayed away from flame wars and arguing on the Internet–which is, of course, the best modern analogue for the myth of Sisyphus.

But by the early 2000s, the Internet had become all about the user. And so the sort of close-minded, competition-based arguing that had once been done primarily about the supremacy of one sports team over another or whether or not Balrogs have wings is now found beneath news articles, editorials, and anything else on the Web. (more…)

Right Said Ed

I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out my cousin and good friend Ed’s touching tribute to my recent nuptials. I can’t thank him enough for handling the MC duties for our “love story.”

The so-called Shindig–the East Coast reception for those who couldn’t make the West Coast wedding–went off last weekend without a hitch, since my wife and I had already gotten hitched in early August.

The wedding itself deserves its own post, as does, well, pretty much every non-toy-related thing I’ve been doing since I last posted here regularly, but PGPoA is still taking up most of my blogging time and energy. We’ll see if I can up the post count here in the near future.

Speaking of PGPoA, some of you may recall the craziness that was October ’06 here at BBn. Well, something similar will be happening over on PGPoA next month…


Man…drear, drear and more drear. Rain or snow, a sky covered in clouds–whatever, it’s awful.

I’ve been sleeping an average of one to two hours every evening, between 5pm and 9pm (I work 8am-4pm). I then sleep a full seven hours. It’s a particularly odd situation for me since I spent the last fifteen years being unable to sleep well at all.

I’m pretty sure it’s a mild case of season affective disorder. I’m not really depressed–no more than anyone is during weather like this–but I am exhausted all the time.

OK…just had to vent for a second.

Men Against the Arctic

Rotor Magazine has posted an article on their website about the 1955 Disney short film “Men Against the Arctic.” My grandfather, Captain Hank Cassani (ret.), helped fly the helicopters used in the filming of the short. It went on to win an Oscar for Best Short Subject Story in 1956.

But the story behind the scenes is just as interesting, featuring a helicopter being forced to land in Arctic waters and a run-in with a polar bear. You can read the article here (PDF). In the photo, my grandfather is standing third from right.

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