Sometimes February in Boston provides a classic New England winter with deep fluffy snow, narrow paths carved through the drifts, and a brilliant blue skies. Other Februaries are like this one. A thin crust of iron-hard frozen gunk covers the ground, sand covers the roads, and lawns are scarred from exuberant cowboy plow operators. It’s hard to imagine how much can change when you travel 120 miles due north.


There has been so much snow that the oil truck has not been able to drive down the access road to get to the house. We’re nursing about a half-tank of oil, keeping the thermostats low and relying on the wood stove and fireplace to maintain a livable temperature. The oil man is due again Monday and part of today’s job was to shovel a path from the driveway to the oil fill pipe–which is located about as far away from the driveway as can be.


In winter, it gets no better than this.



The most striking difference between Maine and home is the quiet. In mid-summer the lake is quiet, save for the occasional ski boat or song drifting from one of the camps at twilight. In the winter, with snow falling, “quiet” is inadequate. It’s a sound desert. One hears the ice moaning and settling, the hushed “thwumpff” off snow falling from a pine bough, the crack of a log burning in the fireplace. Everyone else left on the morning after Christmas. Working all afternoon at the computer, the only sound the rapid-fire tat-tat-tat of the keyboard, the silence was deafening. I put on a jazz station to fill the void. Now, two days later, the silence is refreshing as the crisp air and comforting as the smell of wood smoke.

Cops Drop Cartoon Caper Charges

Prosecutors dropped all criminal charges against Peter Berdovsky and Sean Stevens, the two Boston men arrested in connection with last winter’s guerrilla marketing stunt gone awry. (See Cartoon Consequences, Bomb Scare Settlement, and Collateral Damage for prior AFC posts.) As part of a plea agreement the two have performed community service and yesterday apologized in open court. Since I ripped Berdovsky and Stevens for their idiotic behavior at the press conference after their arraignment (Dumb Clients) I’ll note that their apologies, which are printed in today’s Boston Globe on page B4 but do not appear with the story on the Globe’s website (why is the Boston Globe’s website so crappy?), are excellent. If anyone wants a model public apology these, especially Berdovsky’s, are well-done. The Globe story ends with a satisfying grace note about the terrible critical and commercial reception for the movie the stunt promoted: “[a] critic for the Orlando Sentinel wrote this about the film: ‘To think we laughed at Boston. Then. They knew a bomb when they saw one.'”