Linus's Blanket
By R. D. Flavin


Linus van Pelt and his blanket.

     Last week it was Juno, and now we're digging out from the 17.6” blanket of snow that Winter Storm Linus dumped on us. And, at least here in Beantown, meteorologists are predicting it'll snow at least four out of the next six days. The Charles Schulz's Peanuts character, Linus van Pelt, was often shown with his security blanket, though I'm not feeling that secure walking and driving on the sidewalks and roads of Boston, as it's quite messy (and dangerous) out there. I never had a special 'blankie' growing up and the security derived from a good shovel and 10lb. bags of Ice Melt Salt are only as good as one's back (or, with me and three torn ligaments in my left shoulder) and how long I can last... Well, that, and WHERE to put all the icy fluff is becoming increasingly problematic... Maybe I just need a blankie – a BIG blankie!

     I know, the rest of the country has their own problems to contend with and the jealousy I feel over my brother and sister-in-law vacationing in Hawaii this past week and a good friend flying to Florida for a couple of days, and now Texas, because his job demands it ...makes any complaints from me seem immature and childish. I better put more thought into picking up a blankie...

A Beantown Song of Fire and Ice and Commonwealth and Harvard Avenues at around 9AM, 2-2-2015.

     Linus landed on Monday, Boston was crippled for Tuesday, and the Sun sort off peeked out on Wednesday. There was very limited public transportation on Tuesday, a travel-ban was lifted late in the day, but few stores were open. Walking, either for fun or to fetch essentials, was wicked difficult as most sidewalks were unshoveled and only the main streets were plowed. Side streets? Trudge through several inches of snow right down the middle of the street or try and find some tire-tracks to skate on... I saw several firetrucks in Allston and thought of Games of Thrones and how the new season should be starting soon. It was a shame Linus wasn't around to give a pep-talk or good speech like at the end of 1965's A Charlie Brown Christmas, when Linus intoned, “Fear not! For, behold, I bring you tidings o great joy, which shall be to all my people.” He had a few good lines in 1966's It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, as well. Maybe we all need blankies...

Wednesday's Parade for the New England Patriots (yes, that's Tom holding the trophy), noon on 2-4-2015.

     Now, the day before Linus, on Sunday the first of February, most were watching to see how many costume changes Katy Perry was going to make during the half-time show of Super Bowl XLIX. Okay, so it was the New England Patriots against the Seattle Seahawks at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona under pleasant conditions, with Linus a world away... Yes, the last interception was either Divine Intervention or aliens... Boston wisely canceled the victory parade set for Tuesday and postponed it until Wednesday. It was still visciously cold and most downtown sidewalks weren't clear all the way. It's sadly reported that more people watched the game than voted in our last election. Newspaper accounts report Brady will have to pay $42,000 in taxes for being in the championship and $18,500 on the pick-up truck he won for being selected the Most Valuable Player (despite giving the truck to Malcolm Butler, who caught the miraculous final interception).

     It's a sub-zero wind chill today, Friday, and we expect a few more flakes on Saturday. From Sunday night to Tuesday afternoon, we're supposed to receive a significant foot of snow, and there's further talk about what follows that. We're running out of room to put the white stuff and I can only wonder in awe how Buffalo, NY deals with this every year. I know the Midwest is getting slammed on a regular basis and that it was likely in the mid-seventies in Death Valley, California. I'd hazard a guess that things are rather hot for ISIS in Syria right now with a forecast of it getting even hotter.

Jordan's King Abdulah II in pilot-gear during a military training session in July of 2014..

     With troops still in Iraq and Afghanistan, while talks with Iran is akin to having a chili cook-off with someone suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, our attentions have concerned the terrorist group, IS, ISIS or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Syria (aka ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). We briefly got excited when the Kurds fought back, but then followed the beheading executions of two Japanese journalists. Earlier in the week IS thought to blackmail Jordan and return a captured Jordanian pilot if they released a convicted Islamic terrorist suicide-bomber whose vest didn't explode in 2005 and who was sentenced to death. And then, as pure evil propaganda, IS released a 23 minute video of Royal Jordanian Air Force F-16 pilot, 1st Lt. Moaz al-Kasasbeh being locked in a cage and burnt to death. At the end of the video the IS narrator offered rewards for the killing of other Jordanian pilots. Jordan's King Abdullah II ibn al-Hussein, an accomplished Cobra attack helicopter pilot and commander of their Special Operations Command, has vowed to annihilate ISIS and something tells me he can do it. [Note: I haven't and won't willing watch the immolation video put out by ISIS - it's too close to being a snuff-film, and even this morning I downloaded a still photograph of  Lt. Kasasbeth alive and in a cage, but NO WAY would I post it and further the murderous propaganda of ISIS.] 

     Today, Jordan released a video of its citizens (men AND women) writing notes on the missiles before they were dropped on and killed members of ISIS. And, in typical desperate propaganda fashion, IS released a statement claiming the Jordanian bombing killed an American hostage they were keeping around for some unknown pseudo-Islamic reason. Yeah, even the top Muslim clerics have cleared their collective throats and commented that the burning of the Jordanian pilot was against Sunni and Sharia law. But, apparently, beheadings, rape, and plunder are still okay for these punk gangsters...

     Yes, I do most definitely admire Jordan's King Abdullah II for being a 'true' Commander-in-Chief, and it only somewhat eases the embarrassment of America's 43rd POTUS dressed in flight-gear before a large banner which read “Mission Accomplished.” His Holiness Pope Francis may have said that parents may strike or spank a child, as long as they don't ruin the child's “dignity,” but having Jordan take a leading role in wiping out ISIS makes even a winter storm seem like nothing... Oh, that's right, “pride” is one of those several 'sins' some concern themselves with.

     Winter happens every year, wars come and go, and I can only ask all who read these clumsily strung-together words to stay warm, dry, and out of harm's way. Linus? I'm thinking about a blankie made of Irish wool...

Waiting for my March-ing orders,

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