published Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Stocking Up

about Clay Bennett...

The son of a career army officer, Bennett led a nomadic life, attending ten different schools before graduating in 1980 from the University of North Alabama with degrees in Art and History. After brief stints as a staff artist at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Fayetteville (NC) Times, he went on to serve as the editorial cartoonist for the St. Petersburg Times (1981-1994) and The Christian Science Monitor (1997-2007), before joining the staff of the ...

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SCOTTYM said...

"Most people hate the taste of beer - to begin with. It is, however, a prejudice that many people have been able to overcome."

Sir Winston Churchill

January 7, 2010 at 12:57 a.m.
woody said...

OH NO!! First they came for the milk..then they came for the bread..and now..the beer.

What's next?? The brussel sprouts???????

Hoping it snows on you too, Woody

January 7, 2010 at 5:53 a.m.
OllieH said...

Obviously, a man who has the right priorities.

January 7, 2010 at 7:15 a.m.
moonpie said...

In the great storm of 93, I drove around Chattanooga in my AWD vehicle rescuing people stranded in houses without heat.

With something like 14 inches of snow on the ground and just about 10 cars on the road, nearly every liquor store was open and the parking lots were full.

It seems the business of selling alcohol is weather proof, recession proof, and even prohibition proof - if you get right down to it.

January 7, 2010 at 7:23 a.m.
Walden said...

Funny stuff. I resemble that cartoon Clay!

I hope we get a good snow. I, for one, love snow. I don't get people that hate snow. Maybe they are jaded yanks that have just seen too much of it in their lives.

I want another '93 type blizzard at some point this year. I was living in Atlanta at the time, and we got 12 inches. Talk about crippling!


January 7, 2010 at 8:16 a.m.
aces25 said...

He should have passed on the beer. I hear the best anti-freeze is made in Lynchburg.

Walden, after spending a few years in the Chicagoland area, I've learned that the first big snow is always fun. After that, it's just annoying.

January 7, 2010 at 8:51 a.m.
whoknows said...

I'm with Walden. I would love to see another '93... though this toon reminded me, I am out of a few essentials and would not have anything to eat should that happen right now.
Funny cartoon Clay!

January 7, 2010 at 9:24 a.m.
Walden said...

aces - I understand. As a Southerner, I get really tired of 95 degrees and 100% humidity sometime around June 15. The summer seems to drag on endlessly around here. Too much of a good thing is, well, too much.

I'm thinking this particular storm is shaping up to be a big old nothingburger. Weather forecasters are a sad breed. Still gonna buy that 12 pack this afternoon though!!

January 7, 2010 at 9:36 a.m.

well Clay, looks like this guy is bringing enough beer for each of us to have one :) Thanks for being generous! Have fun in the snow!

January 7, 2010 at 10:01 a.m.
aces25 said...

Walden, I completely agree. I was born and raised in Houston, so I've seen both sides. For me, I'll take that over bitter Chicago winters any day.

January 7, 2010 at 11:35 a.m.
nucanuck said...

I think Clay has a deeper message here. Maybe the deeper message has to do with preparing for adversity. We all pretty much know that we are in for the roughest economic ride in more than 100 years. How well have we thought through and prepared for hard times?

January 7, 2010 at 11:45 a.m.

1 inch, 2 inches, 12 inches. Piece of cake. Reminds me of many winters buried under 12-20 feet of the white stuff. AND we were expected to dig out of the second story, scrape off the car and get to school or work, toute suite! We also walked, took the bus and rode trollies and trains. Tough bunch we were. My last winter in the Great White North? -55 with the wind chill factor. Men walked around with icicles hanging from their beards and mustaches. Now? Indoor sports are cancelled due to the "snow"?? Most schools are cancelled. Funny stuff.

Guess what was the first beverage the Lord taught humans to make in Genesis? The Torah also chronicles the making of wine. It was man who abused wine/beer and got drunk way too many times and did very bad things. The blessings at meals include thanking the Lord of the harvest for the wine (fruit of the vine) and the matzoh (bread of the earth). Jesus and His disciples ate the matzoh and drank the wine at the Last Pesach (Passover).

Both are absolutely medicinal (yes, the very good stuff is good for your stomach, your bloodstream and in Ireland/Scotland, a good stout is given to the sick and nursing mothers to strengthen them and provide extra iron and minerals). The best beer in the world (IMO) is from the ancient recipes still made in Belgium Abbies. They bottle it in ceramic bottles and seal the bottles with red wax. The stuff made in North America for the most part is colored water in comparison.

Everything in moderation and drive safely. Enjoy your snow-time <@

January 7, 2010 at 1:20 p.m.
rolando said...

The only way to see snow is about 3,000 feet up the mountain. This way you can drive to it, play in it until you freeze, then drive to the ocean to warm up.

Child's play. Did it many a time as a teen.

January 7, 2010 at 3:08 p.m.
moonpie said...

Canary, that's a clever emoticon. I've never seen that one before you.

January 7, 2010 at 4:44 p.m.

Thanks moonpie. That's because while there may be plenty of canaries out there, I am one of a kind. Seriously, I figured since I've been called every name in the book on these posts, including bird-brain, I might as well play with it. I happen to think birds, even canaries (esp. Tweety-bird) are pretty cool. As for "moonpie", you could come up with something delicious like a half moon with the Greek pi symbol. Everyone loves moonpies

January 7, 2010 at 6:44 p.m.

Rolando, we need an ocean right now, nice and warm. Global warming warm.

January 7, 2010 at 6:46 p.m.
SeaSmokie59er said...

Roll Tide!!!

January 7, 2010 at 6:54 p.m.
nucanuck said...


Did you know that the ancient Romans would try to cure a hangover by stuffing themselves with deep fried canaries? I read it,so it must be true.

January 7, 2010 at 8:14 p.m.
sunnydelight said...

Canary says ,Indoor sports are cancelled due to the "snow"?? Most schools are cancelled. Funny stuff. OK . Nows your chance to show us how it's done.Theres no bus, trolly or train, Black ice everywhere . No salt truck clear the roads . 15 percnt plus grades and 120 deg. turns on the hills with black ice . Show us tonight . I'm watching the news to see how you did it. I'm rootin' for you. This isn't Chicago.

January 7, 2010 at 10:19 p.m.
aces25 said...

It's worth not driving because of the 80% of the other drivers in and around Chattanooga who have no clue how to drive. I can't tell you how many drivers this morning were going at least 10-15 mph under on already treated roads on main thoroughfares. I heard on the radio this morning that there were around 160 reported accidents yesterday just in Hamilton county alone. Unbelievable.

I didn't do any driving last night due to the BCS National Championship. I agree that there are many roads around the area that simply shouldn't be driven when ice is present, but the tendency to blow things way out of proportion at the threat of winter weather is humorous.

January 8, 2010 at 9:06 a.m.

Okay miss smarty. It's done everywhere else where there's a bit of money for sand and/or salt and a weatherman/woman (you know those kind?) who lets us know in advance. You think you have black ice here? It's an everyday occurrence in many places and people know how to drive it. They suit up every winter with good tires. This may not be Chicago, but you don't have to be stupid.

Two things also: we're in Chattanooga area and our main roads were brined early yesterday as well as all the main roads I drove late yesterday. No black ice. Schools were still closed in many areas. It is funny stuff.

The other thing we've been assured of over and over since we moved here is how wonderful the Trans Dept. is, even on Signal Mountain. That roads are sanded and cleared very quickly, etc, etc. So, after hearing your story, there's really two scenarios here in Chatt. After driving all over, I understand though why folks stay home-the drivers are extremely bad here, maybe on the same level as in LA or Miami.

January 8, 2010 at 9:18 a.m.

Nucanuck, as usual you can't prove your 'facts', so you feel the need to attack-and tell lies on top of it. That's it, go after the innocent little canary. Figures.

Note: the ancient Romans loved feeding the Christians to lions and cheering on their deaths and torture in the arena. Sounds like your crowd today. Lovely bunch.

January 8, 2010 at 9:23 a.m.
moonpie said...

Canary is right that driving can be done in these condidtions with relatively little interruption.

I've spent winters in Chicago, Milwaukee, New York City and Colorado with a car in all of those locations.

In my experience front wheel drive works about as well as AWD and snow chains are rarely needed.

Snow plows, sand and salt seemed to work pretty well in places who see a lot of snow and ice.

I don't know what the cost analysis would be to have enough trucks equipped with all the accoutrements needed to make roads safe for drivers who are unaccustomed to these kinds of conditions.

Key components of driving in these conditions are the experience and ability of the drivers.

I saw an intersting study once regarding drivers on icy roads. Fast drivers thought slow drivers were dangerous (pesumably causing the need for a big slow down by fast drivers, and because of indecision). Slow drivers thought fast drivers were the danger.

I'm not sure which drivers ended up in the ditch more frequently.

As for Chattanooga this morning.... at 7:30, I drove completely without incident on icy roads. Then the main roads were clear.

It was nice to have the roads nearly all to myself.

January 8, 2010 at 11:24 a.m.
sunnydelight said...

You still avoided the issue . The main roads are clear and salted , brined , whatever. Not everyone lives on the main roads . NO ! It's not done evrywhere else. You are very wrong here . Those who can get out do and those who can't do not. Theres just places you haven't been or maybe you just don't want to admit it . You are no expert in driving on black ice. You said yourself you didn't encounter any. Get off the main roads fellow. I would love to take you a few places where people actually live and let you show me your stuff.Or maybe your just God in disguise and can walk on water too. Those of us who have lived here most of our lives laugh at you jokers that think you have seen it all. Who doesn't have friends in other places that almost faint when we take them up the 'W " for the first time.

January 8, 2010 at 12:31 p.m.
dao1980 said...

The unskilled and the fearful allways seem to complain at a little adventure. How about a graduated drivers license, if you dont even know what a skid pad is, then you arent alowed to drive in the rain.. snow.. ice.. or anything else that requires you to be anyting more than a breathing body behind the wheel of a vehicle.

January 8, 2010 at 12:41 p.m.
SavartiTN said...

canary is right on about those drivers in LA and Miami.

January 8, 2010 at 1:21 p.m.
moonpie said...


If you were responding to my post, I will say this... when I said driving can be done in these conditions without much interruption.... that meant a county/city must have the ability to prepare roads to meet the needs of the people.

I did not mean to imply that all roads are passable without road preparation.

A relatively steep hill with a blanket of ice would be a real adventure and potential dissaster for even the most intrepid.

The hills around my house vary from about 5 to 27 degree in grade. I avoided the steepest streets (probably wouldn't have driven them even if they were salted - just in case). Some people can't avoid the steep grades, and if those roads aren't prepared then they probably shouldn't be tested.

I think some people are reacting to the fact that the vast majority of the community is passable.

I drove through town today, into rural areas too, even over ridgetops where no trucks had been. I didn't encounter anything impassable - but some spots were a little nerve racking. Given the terrain of this area and its lack of ability to truly cover all areas, there are going to be areas where no one should drive.

My only points were: 1) Chattanooga as city does not have the trucks etc to treat all streets, 2) Chattanooga drivers, in general, are less accustommed to snow and ice and would not likely fare as well on it. This isn't a knock on anyone. It's fact of life.

It's the same as someone who has never or rarely surfed may find it challenging. Some can master the surf. Some never do master it. For the long-term health of a surfer, that person better not get in over his head. If there is anyone who doesn't feel safe on the road, I don't want them on it, either. Some roads, like some waves, will never be safe.

You should not feel defensive if your roads are impassable. You also shouldn't necessarily blame the city/county. It may not be realistic to provide these services.

January 8, 2010 at 2:25 p.m.
quietreader said...

Isn't it funny how it's always the other people that don't know how to drive? Wait till we have one of those ice storms that coats the whole county in a quarter inch of ice. I remember in the early '80s we had a couple in one season. NO ONE knows how to drive on that stuff. 4WD doesn't help and few people around here carry chains with them. Amnicola Hwy. near Lake Junior was a real mess. However, I agree with Walden. I'd like another big one. We just have to remember to look out for the people who need help at times like that. As much fun as it can be for some of us there are some that truly suffer in those situations. Fortunately it sounds like everyone on this post made it home or back to work just fine.

January 8, 2010 at 2:58 p.m.
nurseforjustice said...

Moonpie, you are making good sense.

Another point to go along with the school closings is the teenage drivers that get themselves to school and back. Their safety (and ours as well) is a big reason for closing the schools around here.

I agree that it is not realistic to think the city/county should be able to get to all roads. I live in a valley area that requires me to go up hill to get out to a main road. I am an experienced and sensible driver in these conditions so it was not a problem for me. However, my wife is less confident and experienced. So for her safety, I would not want her to try the hill and have encouraged her to remain at home.

When I lived in the desert of Texas, (Del Rio, TX), we had a record snowfall on 1/1/86 if my memory serves me correctly. It snowed about a foot that day but was gone by the next. But if you want to see a town shut down, then that was the sight to see. I could have sled down the main highway of the town without the threat of being hit by anything. It was a geat day though.

January 8, 2010 at 2:58 p.m.

Thanks for another, more rational perspective moonpie. Good points on driving and what to avoid. it's just common sense (which many today seem to lack).

I guess sunnydelight's in a knot over my statement that people drive in worse conditions elsewhere. If she wasn't in such a rage she might have realized I was talking about everywhere but Tennessee. I have never seen anything like it here. She would be wrong about me never driving anywhere. We do the mountains and back roads all the time in my pickup, so far, in all kinds of weather. We know folks who live on the mountain that are not freaking out like some here.

BTW, we were here one month and went up W road in the early morning, in low light conditions. I've lived in mountains up north and seen way worse than this. None of us fainted thank you very much. We are also expert on driving on black ice. One has to be up north if you want to live. Doesn't mean we are experts at everything or we're God.

Grow up. We conquer our fears and do what we have to, to survive. So stay in your cave, mocking the rest of us. At least we're not cowards about 1/2 inch of snow (not to mention a whole host of other issues).

Take a defensive driving course if you're so fearful. If aces25 is correct about that 80% figure of bad drivers here, something is vey wrong with the drivers road tests.

Tell the Signal elite to shut off the waterfalls during cold weather :) That or put sand/salt at those points or close some roads and use another route. What a no brainer. It's called preventative medicine. They can certainly afford it there.

I was out today and it was beautiful sailing the whole way, even up towards Soddy Daisy. The scared folks stayed home and that's always good. Like moonpie said, no black ice on the back roads and most roads all clear.

January 8, 2010 at 3:33 p.m.
aces25 said...

Nicely put, moonpie and canary.

January 8, 2010 at 4:32 p.m.
sunnydelight said...

I would try to see things from your perspective but I don't think theres room up your butt for two heads . I wasn't thinking Tennessee only either . I have probably been in more countrys than you have states. If you could leave this tiny nest you live in long enough to watch the news ,Maybe you would learn something . A driverless car . suddenly started sliding down a hill and slammed into several other autos . Who was the expert driver ? Jesus ? You ? This on the news 30 min ago.The wrecker driver they interviewed stated that many cars cannot be towed due to not being able to get to them for the ice. I only come here for the humor. You are one of those who think everyone who drives faster than you is an idot and those who drive slower are morons. You sir are a joke. Get a life . At tis time I would chalenge you to walk on my deck. Let alone drive up my driveway.

January 8, 2010 at 5:23 p.m.
rolando said...

Still whining about how hard it is "on the mountain". Yeah, right. So move to the valley or learn to drive.

My best story was Washington DC one bad winter before they made all those "Snow Evacuation Route" signs. That winter - between 1960-63 -- people were abandoning their cars helter-skelter in the middle of the gridlock for days, towing them away one at a time. The city was effectively closed for three days. Total snowfall on the ground? Between four and five inches.

I made it to work up a steep hill and then broke ground 1/4 mile using my 54 Olds 98 as a snowplow...literally... Going back down that night was something else again. Cramped my wheels against the curb to stop sliding a number of times.

And I grew up in L.A. That same winter I couldn't figure out why my car boiled over going to work. The boss asked how much anti-freeze I had in it. My reply? "Anti-freeze??"

January 8, 2010 at 7:50 p.m.

Funny stories Rolando, our society needs to get back some of that ole resilience. Now, I wasn't born in LA, but I had to laugh my first year there. We had 7 straight months with no rain, not a drop of moisture anywhere. I was getting frantic and wanted my seasons back, wanted to wear a coat, you know. Then it rained, just a drop or two (compared to Vancouver, sheesh-nada). Well, you'd think Noah's flood had just happened. Everywhere in LA county (87 cities or so), drivers were freaking out, hitting other cars. The 101 and 405 were a backed-up mess.

The other travesty there-no drainage culverts in alot of places. When El Nino hit, '97/8 I believe, no one could drive to work. Water was waist high in the ghettos and major parts of LA.

In Canada and Europe, we had all kinds of rain, snow, ice, black ice. I don't remember many accidents at all and people were more prepared. Alaskans are like that, tough and no nonsense. People should take a page from their book on survival. It wouldn't hurt anyone a bit.

Gotta love those ole Olds and Chevys. They were the poor man's snow plows. And more stable on the roads. Can't do much these days with a Cooper and 10" wheels.

January 8, 2010 at 8:44 p.m.
rolando said...

Canary- My 05 Magnum RWD did fine a couple winters back when a BAD snowstorm hit I-81 with a blizzard that dumped about 4 inches and closed the freeway -- except for those of us already on it -- north of the Tenn border, near Roanoke[??], even the trucks had pulled off into the rest stops, effectively closing them, too. "Windy" - my black s/w -- chugged right along on the totally empty freeway, riding in the middle between the road-edge markers, a steady 45mph. At 2 AM. We broke snow so traction was great, steering solid, albeit hands clenched on the wheel in a death grip. I saw no reason to stop. Finally got to the border and home. Scary night, that. The car has just over 4 inches clearance underside. Had no trouble staying awake, I gay-ron-tee.

Your L.A. tale brought it all back. At 15mph, yes 15, I entered a cloverleaf onramp the first rain of the year - as always, a slight drizzle -- so the roads were like ice. The car spun out [!!] a full 180 degrees. Scared this teener badly and puckered the seat cushion. Nothing I did did a thing; the car was on its own. Good lesson, though. I even knew of the rubber flecks floating problem.

Secret to buying a house in SoCal -- never live at the bottom of a long inclining road...or at the mouth of a canyon...or on a hillside...or below a dam. That covers water, mud, landslides and earthquakes. Have a good one.

January 8, 2010 at 9:47 p.m.
BobMKE said...

This is Bob from Milwaukee, WI. I sent the cold and snow down to Clay and his fellow Social Democrats (As he calls himself)to rile him up. My advice to you on the beer is do not drink Miller Beer because it will give you a major headache even if you only drink a few. Up here we like our smaller Micro-brews, and we have a lot of them. Go Packers.

January 8, 2010 at 10:17 p.m.

Spinning out is like surfing or hot flashes. Just ride the wave baby. On back country roads and highways we'd hit black ice and I mean black. One time, I went into a 360 spin and had the road to myself. I just steered into it ever so gently while keeping an eye out for any oncoming traffic. Plan B: go into the ditch and snowdrifts. That way you don't hit anyone or a tree, you're warm for awhile until someone comes along and pulls you out. In Alberta and Ontario, some winters you see folks lined up in the ditches, bundled in their blankets and sipping coffee, waiting for the plows and tow trucks to show up. Talk about prepared. Citizens have to take responsibility too, drive real slow and stock their cars with emergency kits. And those were the days before cell phones and blueberries.

If these states in this area get snow many years and icy conditions, it might pay to have good crews with plows and rescue teams available, other equipment, etc. But it's like no drainage culverts in So Cal, year after year. Duh. States have to stop wasting our money on frills and save for the snowy days.

I keep envisioning spinning out on Hixson Pike in rush hour, a veritable balletic performance, classical music playing in the background. I think not.

January 8, 2010 at 10:34 p.m.
SavartiTN said...

Were you guys here in January of 1978 when we had that huge ice storm? We were forced to drive 25 miles to a hospital and thought that we would end up in a cow pasture before we got there because the road was covered in four inches of ice. And we had chains on the car. That was one long terrifying trip but we made it. I remember calling 911 and asking for help. They said, "Sorry, but we're not coming out in these conditions."

January 9, 2010 at 1:09 a.m.
SCOTTYM said...

Turbocharger=check AWD=check LSD front and rear=check Snow Tires=check ABS w/on-off switch=check Sand, shovel, chains, and towstrap in trunk=check Merino wool socks=check Polypropylene long johns=check Scandanavian "flick"=check . . Ticket time powerslides, and arrest me now doughnuts... . . .=check :)

I was standing on the top of that "hill" at Renaissance Park with my 11yo daughter while partaking in a little of the juvenile sledding fun when she piped up with, "This is the reason health insurance is expensive".

I laughed so hard I nearly fell off the side of the hill. Just a bit earlier I had looked "down" at my feet and caught a glimpse of a streetlight with the sky in the background and thought to myself, "This will probably hurt". I tucked and rolled, then got lucky and it was merely hilarious and not injurious.

I won't even get into the ATV antics.

I enjoyed our little winter interlude.

There are a lot of people who are barely competent to drive in perfect conditions. Add some rain/snow/ice/sand to the equation, and they will likely wreck.

Very few of the drivers in our region have much experience in a vehicle at high slip angles. We don't teach this kind of thing as a basic part of driver training. (We can't be teaching teenagers how to slid a car, they need to figure that out for themselves.)

The general populace in snowy regions is better at driving on snow because they get more practice. I think it's as simple as that.

Even AWD and ABS are useless on ice unless you spend the bucks on dedicated snow/ice tires with sipes and/or studs.

As of this posting, my dead-end road is still solid white. I pay city taxes, where's our sand and brine? Ah, nevermind, it's more fun this way.

January 9, 2010 at 3:49 a.m.
woody said...

Oh well, the worst just came to fruition this morning. We woke up without any water.. To tell you the truth 'that beer' doesn't look all that bad right now.

Thank goodness for "Wally World" and their fine selection of bottled water. I may not be able to shower, but I can rinse in a variety of flavors, flush with distilled and wash my hair in some of the aforementioned beer.

I might even save a little for drinking...after I finish this nice spiced rum and apple cider.

Wishing you all warm thoughts, Woody

January 9, 2010 at 10:04 a.m.
Oz said...

One day we can tell our grandchildren what it was like to stay warm without worrying about our carbon footprint.

January 9, 2010 at 10:06 a.m.
frumpster65 said...

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.....Thank you all for the laughs...I guess my own two cents would be that the cartoon was about "stocking up"....Those who cant get out shouldve stocked up and called their bosses and let them know...Then they could have relaxed and sat back and had a marvelous movie marathon and ate snacks and drank beer and get the pun intended....LOL Hope every one has a great weekend!!!!

January 9, 2010 at 11:08 a.m.
rolando said...

My movie supply is hardly dented at this point, frumpster. The hot spiced rum is holding out nicely, the pot roast is ready, and yet another pesky birthday is past. Life is good.

January 9, 2010 at 6:03 p.m.
SCOTTYM said...

Happy BD roly, cheers to you, and I wish you many more. Enjoy the roast.

January 9, 2010 at 6:43 p.m.

I second that "pesky" birth-day, Rolando. Cheers, hup hup, salut, skoal and keep on rollin' Brother.

January 9, 2010 at 9:11 p.m.
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