Monday, January 27, 2014


No, I didn't care much for the whole Vanilla Ice thing, and it's unfortunate that he's become a caricature but I did like that one song.  I was still single and young and visiting bars on occasion so at the time that song was popular, it was unavoidable.  There is some early rap I get into, but it's mostly the Beastie Boys and the group that did the song with Aerosmith, Run DMC. I also liked that first Tone Loc album. The whole thing grooved. But Tone Loc marks about the end of my knowledge of Rap.

For the first time in years, we had an ice storm here where I live in Central Texas. Wild Ed wrote about it over on his site last week. I'm sure he had it worse than we did, as he's in the Hill Country and in an area that regularly gets ice and maybe some snow every now and then. 

Down here in Texas, or at least further south in Texas where icy roads are not a way of life every winter, folks don't know how to drive on ice, and thus numerous avoidable accidents occur. Now, if the news and the weather say stay home because the roads are icy, then you should be staying your rear end home unless you're a public servant like a fireman, EMT, postman or policeman or a doctor heading to deliver a baby or save a life.

But no, countless folks fail to heed that warning, often for some stupid reason, and end up hurt or dead.

So ice driving is at our home like New Years Eve. It's a good time to hunker down and leave the driving to the others.

We've allegedly got more ice coming this evening, with temps in the 20's and some possible sleet action early this evening and into tomorrow morning. Mrs. El Fisho laughs at my foreboding warnings, she having spent years once on the North Slope of Alaska during real winters, and having gone to college in Montana with real winters, and hailing from a state north of the Mason-Dixon line that features snow on the ground for months every year and the "Lake Effect Winds" being located near the Great Lakes.

Mrs. El Fisho has driven a 4WD Ford F-350 on a regular basis when working on the Slope to get from her residence to her office in -60 degree weather in blizzards. She rocks.

So while my wife has much snow and ice driving experience and numerous courses on such driving, the rest of the folks like me in Texas have none. 

My ice story goes back a quarter of a century when I was in law school in Houston. It was in December of 1988, and we were having bad ice storms. In fact, as do many towns like Houston and Austin when ice storms hit, the whole town basically did shut down. Really.

A huge ice storm hit during finals. All my other profs called us and said no school tomorrow, However, one asinine law professor (from the Virgin Islands, no less) called each of the 15 students that next morning as we were awaking and having our coffee and watching tv waiting for our school to be announced as closing for the day since we had not yet heard from said asinine professor. 

The asinine professor called and lived up to his nickname. Our teacher told us we would be having our exam that day, with no make-ups due to the weather, and to be there at 9 am sharp. Since it was the only exam in that class, a miss would equal a fail.

I set out for school in my rear wheel drive Toyota Supra. It did not like the ice. At all. I lived about 20 miles away at that time. Still, until I got to a Houston freeway interchange, things were going well, although the roads were very icy. 

As I made my way from one freeway onto another, my car decided to go into the spin mode and I spun my way down the entrance ramp to the new freeway, turning maybe 3 or 4 times completely around as I descended. I just took my hands off the wheel and feet off the gas and brakes and let the car go where it was going to go. And yes, I was "scar'dt". Very Scar'dt.

God was with me that day as I came to a stop at the bottom of the ramp uninjured and without having collided into anything. I slowly proceeded to school on the shoulder of the road, which for some reason was ice-free.

My 15 classmates and I, all being very success oriented, made it to school from different parts of town. No one wrecked out, but most had harrowing tales of daring-do like mine. As we climbed the steps to the building where the classes exam was to be held, I took a slip and fall off an ice patch and threw my dang back out. It stayed out until well past Christmas.

As we sat there in class, each furious at nearly killing ourselves in the name of our education, a janitor came into the classroom. He told us we could all go because our teacher had called and said that he decided it was too dangerous for him to travel to school that day.

We students all went and found a coffee shop nearby that was open, because most of the school was closed including the cafeteria. We hung out for several hours waiting for the ice to ease up enough to get back to our homes, and making calls about road conditions in those pre-internet and pre-cell phone days trying to find safer routes home.  We also plotted revenge against that professor. All sorts of revenge.

So I was glad a few weeks later when we returned to school and I found that I had made an A in that class. All of us had made an A, with no exams ever, other than questions given in class. 

Over the Christmas break, one of my classmates, no doubt using those tools she'd learned in summer internships, told the professor that he expected an A for risking her life that day and that if she and the class didn't get an "A" and a walk on the exam, that my friend would be talking to not only "the media" (I think back then we called it the "news" media) but also the school administration about the law suit she was planning for endangering his life.

Sometimes, just sometimes, justice even happens in law school. 

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