The newspaper and the TV weather lady both say that it is supposed to get to thirty degrees tonight here in Miami Beach. It’s raining. Yes, if the news is correct, it may snow in Miami Beach.

Our house was built in 1950. They didn’t feel a need to put in heat in houses back then. For the past few days the temperature in our house has been hovering around fifty-five degrees, INSIDE our house. If it gets to below freezing, I have no idea how cold it will be in here.

We are wearing long underwear, long pants, socks, shearling slippers, a short-sleeved shirt, a long-sleeved shirt, another long-sleeved shirt, a fleece sweatshirt, gloves and a hat, in bed.

The water has not turned to blood yet, however, my pee is day-glow orange, which I had earlier attributed to a urinary tract infection.

We did get a frog in our house a few days ago, but we were able to scoot it outside again with a 5 x 6 card. So far there have been no frogs in our bedchamber, our bed or, God forbid, in our oven. We don’t have a kneading trough.

We have not yet discovered lice, although our heads do feel decidedly itchy. We do have quite a few cockroaches coming inside trying to get warmer.

There are no regular houseflies in the house, although there are fruit flies in the kitchen, due to the cantaloupes that are sitting on the windowsill.

There has been grievous murrain visited upon our fish, as some of you may know if you were recipients of my missive.

Thankfully no boils breaking forth with blains have visited us, or our animals, although the lady who cleans our house has a husband who had a colonoscopy yesterday during which the doctors found numerous polyps.

It is raining like the dickens outside, but so far it is still water and not snow nor hail as yet.

Although we have seen no locusts, the cold itself has already killed all of our flowering ginger, our lipstick palms and our countless orchids. We won’t know until morning what tropical plants, fruits and trees have survived. Therefore, the result is indistinguishable from a visit by a swarm of locusts.

As I write this, it is very dark.

Do any of you blame me for being agitated about the health of Sara, my firstborn? (Or Lonny, if God was only speaking of boys, which he tended to do back in the day?)

I do not think I will be able to sleep tonight. No. I do not think I will.

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IRENE ZION has been married to the same curmudgeon for 40 years. She has 5 children, none of whom sufficiently appreciates her. The one you probably know is Lenore, who frequently gives her mother hives. Irene paints oil portraits and makes her own frames. She has been described as an outsider artist. Most of her paintings creep people out, especially her family. She finds this to be greatly satisfying. She writes non-fiction for TNB and loves every minute of it. She is writing fiction now too, but is too chicken to show it to anyone. She has two golden retrievers who will inherit anything of worth she leaves behind. Her kids will delight in dividing up her famous cork collection and her notorious stockpile of bubble wrap.

115 responses to “Is There an Angry God?”

  1. Ben says:

    You just wait. The final plague will be a flock of Goyim, followed closely by Chile’s franchises and pillow covers. (It may seem like many waves, but that is just because nothing this awful can happen quickly.)

    • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

      I don’t know, Ben. If it will be a FLOCK of Goyim, then it follows that they are winged. If they are winged, then perhaps they are angels. If they are angels, the percentage of good versus bad angels is pretty high, so how can they be a plague? (I suppose I need to check my gut instincts that there are more good versus bad angels with the facts, though, before doubting you.)

      Chile’s franchises would indeed give off a stench of plague, no doubt there.

      Pillow covers? Unless they are unscrupulous pillow covers that mean to smother us…yes, I can see that.

      There are many waves, Ben, more than I was aware of. I sort of wish you hadn’t told me. Now I’m even more frightened!

      • Sara Zion says:

        Technically, Mom, our whole family minus Dad are probably part of that flock of goyim…
        Maybe we’re just participating in someone else’s plagues!
        (No one ever told of, say, the locust plague, from the point of view of the lone locust. Here’s your chance! Go now and open a Chili’s franchise! Be an active participant!)

        • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

          Telling about the plague of locust from the point of view of a lone locust….

          Yeah, I think I could do that. Let me work on it. It’s a good idea, Sara.

          The Chili’s franchise? Nope. I don’t think I can sink that low.

          Dad isn’t exactly on the top rung of Judaism, you know. They thought he was retarded in Hebrew school, remember?

        • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

          Technically, schmechnically, Sara!

  2. The plague of Goyim was what broke Pharaoh in the first place, right?

    God doesn’t appear to be too angry on this side of the fence, Irene. It’s pleasantly sunny and I had a wonderful breakfast.

    Although there WAS this real asshole of a bee…

    • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

      Simon, I think it was the nasty attitude of the Pharaoh against Moses and his people. God got seriously angry at him and took it out on his people, which, back in the day, was how things were.

      Perhaps it is just beginning here, Simon. The ruthless bee may just be the first tiny wave, as Ben would say. Keep an eye out, Simon!

  3. Frank (& Sally) says:

    The Zions bring a (re)new(ed) sensibility to the term “bundling” -it’s back to basics on Miami Beach! No longer a mix of television, telephone, and internet services, but the old ‘did you remember your mittens?” “do you have a sweater on underneath that coat” echos we ex-northerners recall from our increasingly distant childhoods…

    Plague smague, Irene, it’s just the exception that proves the rule -y’know, the one that said this is where you guys wanted to move to get away from the cold of both Sham Pain -and Brooklyn (and Iowa, how could I have forgotten y’alls stint in i-O-way?) -and spend marvelously mild winters. It does a body good to be reminded of how well one has it, and how worse off others can be -every once in a while.

    Look, get yourselves a space heater or two -you guys are smart enough to not burn the place down around your frigid ears, and they work to help make a room habitable. After a while. With a layer of clothes on -but not as many as you guys bundle in…

    BTW -back in ’77 it did snow here. My son Frank remembers it vividly -of course, it couldn’t come within a nonometer of what he’d experienced in Iowa as a baby, but for an 8-year-old, in sunny, palmy, Miami, it was, as the Marines are fond of saying: “OUTSTANDING.” The stuff sort of came down like dandruff, and stayed around long enough to be visible on dark-colored car hoods, but that was about it.

    And Victor didn’t show up at Fairchild because it was too cold THERE? As Sally blurted out when I read your description of Mr. & Mrs. Nanook cooly ricocheting around the old hacienda: “So why didn’t Victor go to Fairchild? He’d’ve been better off there!”

    And cold was just the beginning? There were frogs, maybe insects?

    But y’know? With all that art you guys have collected, surely there’s something you could put over your lintel, non? Justin Kase?


    • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

      I am astonished that it actually snowed here in 1977! I thought that it had never snowed since Miami became Miami and Miami Beach became Miami Beach.
      How much damage was done to the flora and fauna, Frank&Sally?
      I’d go outside and assess things, but it’s even colder out there!

      Victor could not have left his warm bed to work outside at Fairchild. We didn’t move here 10 years ago to be cold, you know.

      Forget the lintels, Frank&Sally. The cold is emanating through the walls!!!

  4. It’s snowing all across the world, apparently. Daegu famously NEVER gets snow… Well, it snowed last week and it’s been lying since. And Koreans don’t know how to deal with it! Cars just slam into each other and people fall down on the street and don’t get up.

    Back in Scotland the snow won’t stop, and it rarely snows where I grew up.

    I think you’re onto something, here. This might well be the end of times. I was watching ‘The Road’ last night and I think I figured out how to survive – make sure never to travel with a whiny child. That kid made me want to shoot myself…

    • Honestly, I don’t mean to be cruel… but I love the idea of a city where no one has any clue how to deal with snow, so the entire populace turns into confusion and people falling down on the street and just not getting up.

      • That would be funny, except that I’m included in the carnage. Luckily I never actually fell, but the number of times I looked like an idiot trying to regain my composure after a near fall… Embarrassing.

        • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

          Luckily, David, you have nice sturdy young bones.

          You can go ahead and slip and fall and you will probably only come up with a few bruises.

          All those old, bent-over Koreans that poop in the street and on park benches and inside grocery stores and inside restaurants will surely break their hips!

          All you people who think I’m making all this repulsive behavior up should read this.

        • Nice sturdy bones? If I fell over I’d probably shatter into a million pieces among the frozen turds.

          Having said that, I was in a delightful car crash on Saturday night and survived with only my neck damaged. I guess I’m not as fragile as I thought.

        • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

          Uh, David, necks are a pretty important part of the body. “Only” your neck, may not be a healthy attitude. You mess up your neck and you are pretty much toast.
          Stay out of cars until the ice is gone from the street!
          (My fingers are too cold to type and I can’t type with gloves, so I am correcting two out of three words here!)

        • That’s a good idea… I’ll keep away from icy roads and drunk drivers for as long as possible.

          In a few weeks I’m going to an active volcano on Java and I’m renting a jeep. The volcano erupts around once every 20 mins and I’m going to see how close I can get. I figure it’ll be a nice TNB piece if I can get some decent pictures to pad it out.

          After that I’m going to Komodo to see the dragons, which are the biggest poisonous animals in the world. They’re big enough to take down a buffalo, apparently.

          Anyway, that’s good enough for a few TNB pieces: “The Moment I Lost My Leg to a Dragon” and “The Time I Fell in a Volcano”

          Of course, I’ll trust you to write my biography if the worst should happen… Not that biographies are necessary anymore in this Facebook Age…

        • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

          I forgot to tell you that you had me laughing so hard when I pictured you shattering into a million pieces among the frozen turds! I really hope anyone who didn’t read that story clicks on my link to it! It is NOT to be missed!

          Please do not go alone to either the hyperactive volcano or the Komodo Dragon place! One person has to bring the camera and a cell phone to get help. If you learn how to put pictures up on the new TNB, please educate me. I hate it when you follow directions carefully but it still doesn’t work.

          Biographies are absolutely necessary! A list of facts does not a person make.

        • Amy will be with me to document the moment when I fall into a volcano whilst saying something stupid like, “I thought this would be more dangerous…”

          I’ll try and send your present before I go.

        • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

          Na uh!
          I don’t want any packages coming from a dead guy.
          You do all your scary dangerous stuff, survive, and then we’ll talk!

      • Jude says:

        What happened to moral fibre and intestinal fortitude? I say ‘get the damn shovels out!’

        • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:


          You are sitting there in your nice warm room in your nice warm country saying we should just get the shovels out.

          Uh huh. Great idea, if we HAD shovels, or warm outdoor clothing!

          You, my friend Jude, need a dose of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, or, say, North Dakota.

          (Grumble, grumble, grumble, these people with ideas from comfortable climates. Humph!)

      • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:


        I realize this is amusing to you, but isn’t it always really warm and dry in Australia?

        What do you think would be the reaction of your people if suddenly the cold winds blew in and the ice began to form on the streets and on the sidewalks?

        You should be careful what you say.

        God could be listening, and it looks as though he very well might be already angry….

        • Today is a friendly 107.6F, and there’s barely a breeze. It’s a bit warm.

        • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

          Simon? Is it REALLY that hot there? You might as well be in Los Vegas in the summer. I don’t like weather that is too hot either. I’m not an easy person to please.
          Is this heat normal for this time of year there?
          You have air conditioning, right?

    • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:


      It’s happening in Korea AND Scotland? This is a really dreadful omen. I suppose Simon and Zara are too far away so far, but it will probably be on its way, what with the callous bee and all….

      You are purposely missing the point of The Road. The man would never have even remained alive, except for the existence of the boy. He would gratefully have walked off into the snow after the woman, but he carried the responsibility of the boy’s life in his hands.

      The movie was awful, even with the good actors. You can’t make a movie that could hold a candle to Cormac McCarthy’s writing. Ever. You should read the book. If there is time before armageddon, that is.

      • I read the book and really liked it. I didn’t mind the movie too much, but obviously the book was far better. In both cases, however, I found the boy annoying. It’s nothing to do with the writing or acting (well, maybe the acting)… I just hated the boy. He was so whiny… Being a teacher has turned me against kids.

        • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

          Cormac McCarthy wrote that book after he had his only child late in life.
          Most people just have anxiety over their children and the future that is coming for them.
          Cormac McCarthy writes a masterpiece.
          I love Cormac McCarthy.

        • I really enjoyed “All the Pretty Horses”. I read it in Japan, and pretty much sat around engrossed by it.

          I read that he wrote “The Road” after driving across Texas with his little boy – just imagining it was only the two of them in the world.

        • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

          Somehow I missed reading The Border Trilogy. I have to get reading that. I’ve GOT the books, I just haven’t gotten to them yet. “No Country for Old Men” was staggering. I think both that and “The Road” both got my heartbeat up to dangerous levels.

        • I’ve never been more affected by a book than the last pages of “The Road”… maybe. I remember being really upset by that. Although “All the Pretty Horses” is quite upsetting, too. It’s just a little more emotionally distant.

          I never read “No Country…” but the movie was alright. I have the book somewhere, but I also have about 400 unread books sitting in a pile.

  5. lonny says:

    you should get a heater

    china makes cheap ones

    • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

      That is a good idea, Lonny.

      There are a good many Miami Beach residents who thought of this before we did.

      (How long would it take to have one sent from China, do you think?)

  6. D.R. Haney says:

    God is bound to be less angry than man, who’s pissed for a failure to be God. A case could be made that the odd weather you’re experiencing can be traced back to man’s constant tinkering with nature. But more than enough has been said in that vein by others, far smarter than I am.

    Stay warm, as you’re already warm in spirit in abundance.

    • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:


      I’m pretty sure that this is God’s work here. Man is a pitiful thing in his shadow.

      (But I think that I’m going to cross-stitch what you said at the end on a pillow and sign your name to it. If there’s time, of course.)

      • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

        My fingers are too cold to do any cross-stitching. Gloves are too clumsy.
        I’ll have to just remember this and do it when the blood returns to my fingers.
        I don’t ever want to forget how sweet you are.

  7. Christine W. says:

    I have the distinct feeling that Victor will sleep just fine.

    • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:


      You are totally right. He slept like the angels were singing him a personal lullaby.

      Why do you suppose it is that I carry all the guilt and the worry in the family?

        • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

          But the convent school in Italy was only three years!

        • Christine W. says:

          Oh mama, those brides of Christ only need one semester…a mere nine weeks to cultivate the tiny seedling that grew into the guilt and worry that you shoulder today. Imagine the guilt I feel after a long five years of those creepy statues with their steely soul-sucking gaze…it consumes me!

        • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

          Once, when Tim was about 6, he slept over a little friend’s house in the neighborhood.
          When he returned the next morning, he asked me and Victor who the man was who was nailed to their wall above his bed.
          It was a pretty long and evasive answer, as I recall.

        • Christine W. says:

          That sounds like a nice idea for a story! I can almost picture a little Tim and a little Lenore sitting on the big couch giggling about the guy nailed to the wall…and afterward they plot to steal the car.

        • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

          Tim and Lenore were still tiny little kids then. Their shenanigans only reached far enough to sneak open the Christmas presents and reseal them without me knowing. Plus stealing food and throwing the wrappers under the bed as though I never looked there.

  8. George says:

    In southern California, the temperature today was in the mid-70’s. Nothing of Biblical proportions, except that the temperature is similar to Jerusalem.

    • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

      Uh oh.

      George, what made you say “Jerusalem” in particular?

      We are unquestionably in dire trouble here.

  9. Marni Grossman says:

    G-d’s vengeance has something to do with Tiger Woods. I feel certain of it.

    • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:


      I think G-d’s vengeance on Tiger Woods will be uniquely personal. I’m thinking he will get a green fungus growing on his testicles, perhaps, or blood and pus replacing his semen.

      I’m pretty sure that G-d wouldn’t take Tiger’s sins out on the rest of us.

      It must be something else.

  10. Tim says:

    Bedchamber? You figured it was time to bring that back?

    • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:


      You have a bedchamber yourself, Tim, albeit a very, very small one, since you live in an expensive part of the country.

      When do you think bedchamber left?

  11. ksw says:

    luckily the temperature in our house has not gone below 56. apparently the toaster strips that pass for heat in slightly more northern florida than you work about as well as nothing. don’t forget, you have a perfectly good car in the driveway with a great heater and really comfortable seats.

    • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:


      That is actually a pretty good idea. With the two big dogs in there, the four of us would work up some body heat on top of it all.

      But what happens when we run out of gas? I’m terrified to be out of gas and far from help and out in the ELEMENTS!

    • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:


      We have those toaster strips too. It’s actually colder with them on and the house smells of cooking insects.

  12. Zara Potts says:

    It’s raining here, Irene and it’s supposed to be summer. But I am going to send you lots and lots of my warmest, down-filled wishes to keep you and Victor snug.
    And I have to say, like Simon, I am laughing so hard at people falling down in the snow and not getting up!!!

  13. jmblaine says:

    55 in the house?

    It’s 9 degrees in Nashville.
    55 in the house and I’d be wearing cutoffs
    and a tank top.

    Nonetheless, that’s not the point.

    Rewriting Deuteronomy is the point.
    Beware the golden emrods!

    L-L-L-Let my people go!

    • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

      I forgot the emrods!

      (I feel a swelling on my back….)

      11, Do you understand that these temperatures are IN the house?

      I don’t believe you would wear a tank top and cut offs in 55 degrees.

      (But, then again, you never lie….)

      • jmblaine says:

        Actually it’s more Exodus and Leviticus here.
        After reading those a few times it’s why I lean towards the Hasidic.
        God would be angry all the time so I’m all for the idea that his Son said
        “Hey hey – let me go down and smooth things over.”
        Grace beats Emrods any day of the week.
        and all that bull blood.

        I’m very hot natured. 55 would be grand this week.
        I do too lie.

        • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

          I agree that there is some pretty angry stuff there. Not a lot of leeway, if you no what I mean.
          And tricking Job like that was just plain mean. Seriously.
          I prefer grace also.

          (Do not!)

  14. Phat B says:

    At the sound of the tone, the temperature in Orange, CA will be 76 degrees Fahrenheit.


  15. I’m glad to see that Sara and Lonny both wrote–so whatever you were worried about in regards to them can’t be so horrible, right?

    Odd,odd, odd. I have fantasies of moving to Miami Beach. I love warm weather. It’s about 24 degrees here in Baltimore. I can’t stand it. I haven’t left the house today. I’m about to go shower and it’s 5:30 in the evening. I can’t stand showering because it’s so cold in the bathroom.

    I say, yes, buy a space heater for this strange blast of evil-doing, flock of goyem, plague-like cold. Being cold is miserable!

    OH, when I first lived in Canada we rented an apartment where we didn’t have control of the heat. The owner seemed to turn the heat OFF at night so I went to bed with long underwear, sweat pants, sweat shirt, wool socks, mitten, wool hat, sweatshirt hoodie pulled over the wool hat and several pounds of blankets heaped on me. I could barely roll over under the weight of the blankets.

    • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

      Jessica Anya!

      You lived in CANADA? I had relatives, (the secret ones,) in CANADA.
      Do you know that it is colder in CANADA than in NORTH DACOTA?
      True, that.

      Sara and Lonny seem okay now, but it’s not over yet, so when can I stop obsessing?

      Victor told me that he would take me to a wonderful art show in a very warm place. When we got there, guess what? It was OUTSIDE! At least there is no WIND in our house!!!!

      • Jessica Blau says:

        Yes, at least there’s no wind in your house and at least your house isn’t in Canada! (I gave birth to a little Canadian while I was there. It is a good place to have a child.)

        Please, please, please tell me about the secret relatives! I love the idea of secret relatives. Is this like Jimmy Carter and Obama’s brothers? Or like Steve Jobs and Mona Simpson secret relatives?

        • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

          I wrote about the invisible side of the family on the old TNB.
          I can’t seem to make a hyperlink to the old TNB stories. So I’ll try to just put the actual link:

          Since the photos don’t transfer, though, I’ll have to e mail you them. They are indispensable to the understanding of the story. Also, you need to read all the comments, on account of the fact that I had no idea just HOW weird the invisible side was until people pointed out things in the photos. It was a learning experience for me.

        • Jessica Blau says:

          GREAT story (this one, yes, you know that already, but I’m talking about the one about the hidden family in the link above)!

          Is your mother still alive? What year was that drive to Canada? Why do you look so young in your photo??? I can’t reconcile the pretty, youngish you of the photo in a car pre-airconditioning days taking a five day drive to Manitoba.

          I hope they have running water/toilets/and heating in there by now.

        • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

          Jessica Anya,

          How did you get photos? When I look, there is nothing but an empty square except for a tiny x in the center.

          It was 1955. (I know, you weren’t even a gleam in your Daddy’s eye yet.) I was eight, although when I wrote it, I thought I was ten.

          I have a couple of cousins, but that’s it. My mom died years ago, and if you don’t know HER story, I have not been doing a good job here at all!

          I’m sure by now everything is modernized, although in that particular area they all speak Ukrainian as though they never left the Ukraine. I didn’t realize people sort of migrated together before this. I guess that’s why there’s a Chinatown in NYC as well as a Little Italy. It makes sense, I don’t know why I never thought about it.

  16. Amy says:

    I am one of the lucky ones living in a new building in Miami with a working heater which we turned on last Tuesday. I can vouch for the cold in Irene’s house. Being her trainer, I visit her 3 times a week and I’m sure tomorrow will be even more fun in the cold!

    I never thought I would wear my warm red coat and scarf in Miami. I bought it last year to wear while visiting relatives in Maryland for the holidays. Even my little black kittie is enjoying my red coat. He keeps climbing inside of it to take his naps. Am I still in Miami or was I moved without my knowing?

    • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:


      We have all been moved. We are in CANADA!

      You’d better come tomorrow to work me out in the 50 degrees! At least the exercise helps.
      But then, I have to shower and the bathroom tiles are like ice and the water takes forever to heat up and then you have to get out of the shower in 50 degrees while you are soaking wet.

      Maybe I won’t shower until and if the warmth comes back.

  17. Stefan Kiesbye says:

    I tried to post a comment last night, but it must have been the cold in miami that prevented it. It was mostly about space heaters and their friendly whir and the one inch of snow Geaorgia is disaster-preparing for.

    I hope you stayed warm!!!

    • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

      I can understand Georgia being all in a twit over an inch of snow. We lived in Memphis, TN once and it snowed like crazy. The city had no snowplows, no salt-spreading trucks, nothing to help. And the people had absolutely no idea how to drive in those conditions. There were a staggering number of accidents.

      So far only your wishes are attempting to warm me, but I appreciate them.

      (I really am a wus.)

  18. Ursula says:

    I feel cold and damp after reading your story. What great narrative. Take the doggies to bed with you to keep you warm. Hopefully you won’t have lost too many of your wonderful orchids and those amazing fruit trees. Maybe jogging inside the house would keep you warm and prevent you from shivering. It’s too bad I cannot e-mail you our feather bed which is way to warm for Houston in a heated apartment.

    • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

      When we moved down here we gave everything to the Salvation Army. It never even occurred to us that we might need to go north in the winter for a wedding or funeral or birth. It all went.
      Try to buy a down comforter in Miami Beach. Just try.

  19. King Saul says:

    Hear me out!
    I Saul, the King, say to you in thundering voice:
    This cold weather is the result of the coming of the antichrist, he who duels in a house of white paint and dares claim that the world is warming. Suffer yea plebeians with cold until the last utterance of global warming abandons your wretched hearts. There will not be red seas, nor locus, instead there will be heavy taxation and long waits at the public clinics.
    So I have spoken (in very loud voice).

    • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

      Oh King Saul!

      You’re making it sound like it’s going to be even worse!
      Can we remedy things with bloody Xs on our front doors?

      • jmblaine says:

        Like King Saul
        was a prophet.
        He wasn’t even much of a king.
        Surely a lower-case “k” king.
        And you know how he ended up.

        • Irene Zion says:

          This particular King Saul
          has had many lives.
          He was an opera singer,
          a psychologist,
          a neurologist,
          a neurosurgeon
          a famous painter.

          I guess there is more than one King Saul!

  20. Matt says:

    It continues to be in the mid-70s where I live. I went surfing today. Truly, California is God’s own country.

    (OK, granted, I’m an atheist, but still….)

  21. Greg Olear says:

    Until Florida’s own Rush Limbaugh turns up with 666 carved into his fat forehead, I think the apocalypse can be avoided. Although the Jets won and the Patriots lost this weekend…so Rush and 666 and the Whore of Babylon (one assumes Babylon, Long Island) may well be at hand…

    • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

      Ouch! Who would carve anything into his forehead? We need to advertise for a masochist.
      I don’t get the sports references. I was born without the gene for sports. (I was also born with no ability in sports, but I think that’s also part of the gene’s purview.)

  22. Don Mitchell says:

    It’s been warm and sunny in Hilo. Beautiful days, cool nights.

    However, the goddess Pele is pissed about something, and has been unleashing her “vog” (=sulphur dioxide, miscellaneous particulate matter, and who know what else) on my side of the island the last few days. Usually, the poor bastards on the other side get vogged.

    EPA air quality has been in the bad to dangerous range, depending on where you are.

    But it’s warm.

    • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

      Oh Don,
      My son lived in Hawaii for nine years and when things become REALLY bad for me, that’s where I take myself in my head. In the evening, bare feet in the sand with the waves lapping over my feet and ankles. There is a quiet there that cannot be compared to any other. It is my calming place.

      How fortunate you are to actually live there, to have grown up there!

      Oh. I would like to know why you are wearing a warm jacket when you are doing your reading in New York. I am also VERY disappointed that you didn’t SING the Bing Crosby song. I’ll bet you would have knocked their socks off!

      (Everyone should listen to the podcast, by the bye, it’s just right there on the front page and it’s short and really funny.)

      • Don Mitchell says:

        It’s just a twill shirt. Even after 35 years in Buffalo, I hate being cold.

        I did think about wearing my Sig Zane aloha shirt, but figured that would be over the top. And cold, too.

        Are you warming up? I hope so. All kidding aside, it’s rough when cold strikes in places where the anti-cold infrastructure isn’t there. As in working, effective, heating systems. My sister lives in Merritt Island and wrote me that she hadn’t had her heating system on since 1998.

        • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:


          You could have worn long underwear under the SigZane Aloha shirt. That would have been both warm and snappy. If I have you figured out a bit, you are supposed to be over the top, eh?

          It’s getting a bit better every day. They say in a little less than a week it should be normal again.

          We had the most wonderful electric mattress covers in Illinois that warmed the bed just like popped up toast. I sure wish I hadn’t given them away. (Although bringing them to Miami Beach would have been seen as nuts and in the ten years we’ve been here probably someone put them to better use in Illinois.)

        • Don Mitchell says:

          Ahem. I admit I wore long underwear under the twill shirt. I told you I was a sissy about cold.

          And I was afraid of a frigid reception, you see. Of course I got a warm one, which was good.

        • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

          HA! I don’t feel like as much of a wus whining about having no heat now!
          You would’ve been SO handsome in the Hawaiian shirt!!! Next time, okay?

          There’s no such thing as a frigid reception in the TNB crowd. We are all really, really nice people.
          Nice club, I’d say.

  23. Ed says:

    It’s not really that bad. People are here from all over the world sailing on Biscayne Bay. There’s no ice on the Bay, and it barely gets warmer than this during the summer in Scandanavia. So, no complaints. And we can remember the summer time temperatures we had during the heat wave in October.

    I wonder if this is cold enough to cool the arguments about carbon taxes, cap and trade, and other such stupidity. I doubt it. What if it got a lot colder still?

    • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

      No, Ed. It’s already been written in stone and accepted as gospel. There will be no changing of minds. That ship has sailed.

      Scandinavians are obviously genetically different from us. I mean, LOOK at them! They are all tall and thin and blonder than blond, obviously part of their genetic makeup dulls the ability to feel the cold and keeps them from being harmed by it. Otherwise, how could they live there and go outside?

      I wonder if your complacency has anything to do with your having heat? I’ll be the first to apologize if you don’t, but you sound like a person who is warm and cosy in his house.

  24. Ducky says:

    Pundits need to rename global warming. It’s misleading and inaccurate.

    We got snow in Texas, so I feel ya.

    • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

      Oh Ducky!

      In what city do you live? We have friends in Houston. We spoke to them last night and they said it was 20 degrees! Luckily it wasn’t snowing. The city is not equipped for snow and neither are the Houstonians. We’re going to visit them in a few weeks, so I’m hoping for a change in the weather before we get there.
      They DO have heat in their apartment, though. (Thank God for that, anyway.)

  25. In the late sixties, when we moved from New York to South Florida I remember a cold snap where there was a skim coat of ice on a puddle by the bus stop. My brother and I stood in short sleeves and shorts(with a hint of derision having long ago abandoned outerwear for our new life) while the other kids had on layers of summer clothing to keep warm and their parents snapped pictures of them touching the ice or standing on the ice or breaking the ice. By that afternoon we stepped into a puddle when we got off the bus.

    As I sit in my house right now in single digit New York with numb fingers and a blanket wrapped around my shoulders.. I feel for you, Miami, I feel for you!

  26. Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:


    We spent time in Iowa City for my husband’s Fellowship. Then we moved to Champaign, IL for work. These two successive years were unusually cold. We had over a month in both places where the temperature went below 20 degrees below zero F. I remember thinking that my eyes, being all liquid and all, would really freeze and burst from the cold. I was terrified to let my kids go out for any length of time and I certainly didn’t stay out long. Thankfully, it was unusual and although the weather continued to sometimes get that cold, it never stayed that cold for that long again while we were there.

    One strangely good thing was the otherworldly beauty of an ice storm. Every branch of every tree surrounded by glittering ice. Of course, driving in it was like bumper cars at the fair. One Valentine’s Day we had an ice storm, but Victor CANNOT go without his mail, so he walked to the mailbox and slipped and tore his rotator cuff. Still, he managed to get back inside with the mail….

  27. Marcia (former next-door neighbor in Illinois and frequent visitor to Florida) says:

    Now I feel very bad about the cartoon I sent you last week, which showed two Florida snowbirds basking on the beach next to a vending machine that charges 50 cents to listen to “sounds of the snowplow”.

    You should also be on the lookout for snakes wanting to come in to get warm– unless it’s colder inside your house than outside. It’s warming up to a balmy 30 degrees here today.

    • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

      Oh Marcia, I’m totally okay with snakes and rats. It’s the cockroaches and swarms of flying ants that get my skin crawling.
      That actually was a funny cartoon, just poorly timed.

  28. Melissa (Irene's friend) says:

    I just changed my mind. I am freezing. I was nice and warm in the car, with my jacket and boots on. the sun steaming through the windows. Now , in the house, I believe my feet have turned to ice, along with my fingers and nose.
    I am turning on my heating pad again.


  29. Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:


    The warmest place in my house is the seat of the Japanese toilet. It is so comfy that you just don’t want to get off. Victor and I fight over it.

    • Melissa (Irene's friend) says:

      I will loan you my comfy cozy heating pad. Warms the tush,,,,,feet and hands. It is magical.


    • Christine W. says:


      Ugh, I should just BUY one…they are heaven on earth. I’ve never known a joy as pure as my times with the washlette. Oh how I covet your toilet seat of wonderous joy!

      • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

        When we visited Japan we came right home and ordered three of them. My daughter has them all over her house. Absolutely everyone who stays in our guest room goes home and orders a Japanese toilet. Once you’ve used them, you just can’t go back to the dark ages of normal toilet seats.

  30. So is what you’re saying that God hates Chicago, Irene?! =)

  31. Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

    Absolutely not.
    Chicago is SUPPOSED to be cold and windy and icy and snowy.
    Miami Beach is NOT!
    Therefore, God is angry with Miami Beach, or maybe me personally.

  32. Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

    The fish that were not murdered by whoever left on the city water have now almost all died from the cold. Even the placostomus. All the outside ones, seven, almost two feet long, each of them.

    In the Atrium four placostomus and the ciclids are dead. Two placlostomus are still living, but are so stressed, we just have to wait to see if they survive until the slow warm-up of the water. Even the Albino Placostomus and a frog we didn’t even know about and the ciclids are dead too.

    Although the outside koi are all dead, the atrium koi are are still hanging in. The outside goldfish are still swimming around.

    Oh well.

  33. mary shideler says:

    the way we keep warm in northern mn all winter is to drink some rum, and then throw our arms around one another and snuggle up! try it. if nothing else, it helps pass the time until spring…………

  34. Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

    mary, those are really good ideas!
    I’ve got the rum out and the diet lemonade, will that do?
    Also got just the guy to hug.
    I’ve got it made.

  35. Gloria says:

    I hope your plants were okay! Especially the lipstick palm – what a great name.

  36. Irene Zion says:

    Oh, Gloria,
    I wish I knew how to post pictures in the comments section. The lipstick palm has the main, (and only,) stem that is a bright glorious red. They are magnificent. I saw some in Australia that were enormous. Ours was merely 10 feet high, but it was ours. They grow slowly, but they cannot take the cold. Miami Beach had never gotten this cold in the ten years we’ve lived here. I’m afraid it succumbed, along with many other plants and all the outside fish and most of the atrium fish. There are worse things. But sad is sad, even if other things are worse, eh?

    • Gloria Harrison says:

      RIP the beautiful, red-stemmed lipstick palm. Thank you for all the joy you brought to Irene and husband during your long, glorious life.

      I don’t know who to post pictures either. 🙁 One of the professors at my work has given me a wonderful picture of a Nazca Boobie and her baby, which he took in the Galapagos, and I was trying to put it on my Satisfaction post, but I’m technologically challenged. 🙁 However, I was able to Google a lipstick palm and it is very lovely.

      Have you guys warmed up yet?

  37. Irene Zion says:

    Thanks, Gloria!

    It was a beautiful tree and it did give us pleasure in its lifetime.

    I took pictures of the blue-footed boobie in the Galapagos too. The blue is so shocking! And their eyes!

    I used to know how to post pictures on the text part, so I’d go back and add things, but with the upgrade to TNB 3.0, it’s a bit trickier than I. I need to go back to school!

    Thanks for hyperlinking the lipstick palm for us! (You’re not really technically challenged, if you can hyperlink!)

    Yup, It’s finally warmed back up. I put away my shearling slippers until next time.

  38. jmblaine says:

    Once I heard a preacher
    say that angels
    flew forever around
    & never once saw
    the same thing
    because the facets
    of God
    are without end
    There is an
    angry God
    loving God
    laughing God
    sad God
    friendly God
    holy God
    epic God
    human God
    infinite God

  39. Irene Zion says:


    I’d like to hear
    that preacher

    changes how I think

  40. Carl D'Agostino says:

    Yes, it did snow in Miami in 1977. I was at Carol City Middle School and the entire student body could not be kept in their classrooms. 2,200 kids out to build their first snow man. However, if all the flakes could have been collected, when they melted a gallon of milk would have had more fluid. The snow storm lasted about 36 seconds!

  41. Irene Zion says:

    Even with the paucity of the snow, Carl,
    the novelty of snow in Miami must have been a marvelous thrill for the kids!
    That must have been one of the days that it was totally wonderful to be a teacher, eh?

  42. […] lives in Miami Beach, a pleasant locale except when the temperature is low and female flashers display their wares on […]

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