Status update

This stupid dilatory storm finally arrived in Morris last night, and dumped 4 or 5 inches of wet heavy stuff on us. It’s still coming down heavily, but this morning I braved the blizzard and cleared my driveway and sidewalk…I’ll have to do it again later, since it shows no sign of letting up, and the snowplows also haven’t cleared my street yet.

This is just to let the world know that I’m still alive.

It’s not a certain thing, you know, and it’s a rather disappointing fact of life that I’m not likely to die by getting eaten by a tiger or splattered by a falling meteor, but the prosaic, mundane heart attack while shoveling snow…yeah, that’s the most likely fate for someone like me. Boring, isn’t it?

There’s no way I’m ever going to be allowed into Valhalla, damn it.


  1. Reverend PJ says

    If you yell and wave the shovel periodically while shoveling you’d probably get into Valhalla.

  2. Ben Wright says

    If you do it naked, with an axe, roaring your defiance at the elements, you could still get in.

  3. says

    Cheer up. There must be some kind of dangerous wild life around there–cougars, bears, undergraduates. Stay safe!

  4. jstackpo says

    But I though all Minnesota residents owned at least two snow blowers – one for light and fluffy, one for wet and soggy (or for the spouse to use).

  5. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    I’m reminded of Order of the Stick where peroidically they cut to Thor trying to rules lawyer on behalf of a dead worshiper; arguing that disease caught from a fight counts because its a wound from battle, or dying building an orphanage counts because the fight against evil takes many forms etc

  6. says

    I could be doing battle with a creationist, and they say something so egregiously stupid that I stroke out and die on the spot, maybe. So there could still be hope!

  7. Rob Grigjanis says

    There’s no way I’m ever going to be allowed into Valhalla

    Nonsense. A shovel is a suburban sword. You just have to give it a name. Snowbane, Driftclearer, Backbreaker, etc.

  8. says

    Valhalla? Wikip. does note that your mum is of norwegian descent. So there is some chance. But for a man who swears by ‘the descent of man’, I am not so sure.

  9. evilDoug says

    It is possible to improve your chances of being eaten by a tiger. You simply (?) have to travel abroad to the appropriate place and hang about looking delicious. You even have your choice of places where you can emulate Hermes Conrad and lounge around in a Speedo while munching manwiches, or places where you can shovel snow to your heart’s content while playing the pouncee.
    You could just head north and become lunch for a big white mama with a couple of cute cuddly cubs.

  10. voidhawk says

    I’d have thought fighting the frost giants would be a perfect way of getting a ticket to Valhalla. What if we immortalise your fight against the elements in a drinking song? That has to tip the balance, surely?

    O’ folk of Pharyngula come and hear my tale,
    Of daring, and of valor as we swig upon our ale!

    In the far-off land of Morrisis where I set the story,
    ‘Bout a noble brave and honest warrior the legends call PZ!

    When the blizzrds raged there was much wailing in the town,
    But from the whites came a man with hat upon his crown!

    His armour was mere fibres, and a scarf to hide his beard,
    But PZ roared and raised his weapon and the storm was much afear’d!

    With pant and scrape and shove and grunt he boldly fought the snow,
    ‘Til the flakes did pile and PZ smile as the concrete showed below!

    Soon the warrior’s work was done and he looked upon his path,
    And realised he’d need to to it again in an hour (or two, you do the math!)

  11. michaelvieths says

    All brave Minnesotans long to die in battle against the great foe known as Winter. Repelling an assault on Spring by its countless tiny ice elementals is sure to grant you entry to Valhalla. I bet you were flinging millions of them aside like they were nothing. That’s a tale that will be told by the skalds for centuries.

  12. chigau (ouch) says

    …say something so egregiously stupid …

    Really, PZ?
    How long has it been since you’ve heard something new?

  13. blf says

    Well, modulo the advice to stir the stuff about with an axe whilst naked and roaring defiance, there’s no chance. All yer doing by moving it about is making room for more of it. So some more falls down, happy in the knowledge someone likes it and wants more, More, MOAR!!1!

    Valhalla is not for silly poopyheads.

  14. ohioobserver says

    Just routinely shovel-whack the brats who won’t get off your lawn. That’ll do it.

  15. truthspeaker says

    As long as you die with a snow shovel in your hand you should be OK.

    On a related note, what part of wipers on, lights on is so hard for some Minnesota drivers to understand?

  16. thumper1990 says


    I’m technically eligible for all of the first six, but assuming the poem is correct I’ll probably see you in the second :)

  17. blf says

    Surely it’s April in Minnesota?

    Actually, we shipped it out to Pluto the other week. (They are going to have a real surprise next time they count how many moons Pluto has.) This removes a few loons from Earth (e.g., Michele Bachmann). Side-effects include a longer commute for poopyhead, and continuous winter for the next 100 Earth years or so, complete with an atmosphere frozen solid.

  18. says

    irisvanderplum: I’m pretty sure I’m headed straight to the fifth circle of Dante’s Inferno myself. I gots ALL the wrath. If not, I’ll see you and thumper1990 in the second circle.

  19. says

    Meanwhile, about 800 miles southeast, SUDDEN HEAT WAVE
    Seriously, I’m looking at a map here. Right now almost all the US is blue except the east below New England, which has turned to lava.
    Don’t think I’m being smug about it; I hate the heat.

  20. peer says

    Valhalla? Eh, I’d rather go to Sessrúmnir in Fólkvangr. I’d prefer to hang out with Freyja rather than some one-eyed old dude. Unfortunately, the cost of entry is the same.

  21. robro says

    To enter Valhalla, you must think in grander terms. You’re not just shoveling snow. You are battling Ullr, son of Egil-Örvandill, ruler of the Vanir, and bringer of snow. By Ullr’s side stands Skathi, goddess of winter and hunting. Bring forth your mighty weapon, Dyrnwyn, the White Hilt, sword of Rhydderch Hael, which blazes with fire when drawn by a worthy man. Then, slay your opponents with your great thrust, your terrible swing, and the blazing fire of Dyrnwyn. Let us hear the anguished cries of your terrible foes when they are vanquished. Then, as you lay in the blood stained snow and ice, breathing your last breathe, the gates of Valhalla will open to you, the Valkyries will lead you into the great hall, and Odin himself will greet you and welcome you to your new home.

  22. No One says

    Look for me in the broom closet of the inferno. I’ll be filling out forms for eternity.

  23. rickwayne says

    You realize of course that the moment you croak, churches all over this benighted planet will pounce to baptize, induct, sanctify, and otherwise profane your memory by appropriating your nonexistent soul.

    That’s the lesson of Björn, after all.

    I’m betting that you wind up in Mormon heaven, say what you like about the Magic Underwear people, you have to admit that they’re certainly industrious — and prompt.

  24. Pyesetz the Dog says

    prosaic, mundane heart attack while shoveling snow

    Been there, done that. I don’t recommend it. Your classes are *not* that important! You don’t *have to* keep shoveling until it’s done because you don’t really *have to* make that appointment!

  25. DLC says

    Snow.. . wait a minute! do you realize that you’re dealing with the crystallized form of dihydrogen monoxide? That stuff’s dangerous! it’s used as an industrial solvent! high pressure jets of dihydrogen monoxide are used to cut through solid steel! You’re taking your life in your hands just walking on it, let alone actually shifting the stuff into piles with a shovel !
    (wait… PZ is walking on water. . . it’s a Miracle! A Miracle! Follow the way of the snow shovel! )

  26. michaelvieths says

    Having just finished shoveling the front walk and nearly destroying my puny electric snowblower doing the driveway, this wet, dense snow is clearly a test from Thor. It is Thundersnow after all.

  27. marcoli says

    Best outdoor tools I have are my snow blower and riding lawnmower. Please think about it.

  28. truthspeaker says

    Marcoli, I don’t PZ’s reason for not having a snowblower, but mine is that to get to the sidewalk I would have to somehow get the snowblower down a flight of steps (that would also have to be shoveled).

    Come to think of it, that’s the same reason I don’t have a riding lawnmower.

    Living on top of a hill is great for the views, not so great for yard maintenance.

  29. eveningchaos says

    If it’s any consolation, we are experiencing a terrible spring up here in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The forecast for the weekend is 10-15 cm of the white stuff. Aside from the obvious problems of maintaining the streets and sidewalks, this unusually long and snowy winter season has fueled the anti-climate change rhetoric. Just yesterday I had a gentleman say, “Global warming!? Look outside! Climate change is a myth.” I tried to explain that it is an average increase across the whole planet, and one can’t just take the temperature of a single day as a data point to support their claim. It didn’t seem to phase him as he just stared blankly straight ahead. Needless to say, I was dismayed.

  30. vaiyt says

    You could bottle all that snow and send it over here, because autumn has come and nobody told the weather. We’re in the range of 86-95F every day (and some nights), with a relentlessly shiny sun. I love me some sun, but this is getting fucking oppressive.

  31. Nerdette says

    Meanwhile, about 800 miles southeast, SUDDEN HEAT WAVE
    Seriously, I’m looking at a map here. Right now almost all the US is blue except the east below New England, which has turned to lava.

    90s for the last three days in Virginia. Last year spring began in February; this year spring has decided to be non-existent and so we go straight to summer. Bleh. I welcome the thunderstorms the cold front will bring.

  32. flevitan says

    Valhalla is for wusses – you need to strive for


    Admission requirements are roughly the same as for Valhalla, with honorable death in battle a requirement for most, although:

    “Alternatively, in the event of a warrior dying as the result of a surprise attack or some other demise that lacks true honor, the relatives of the deceased can also perform such a deed in the name of the fallen to ensure their arrival in the halls, showing that the deceased has lived a life capable of inspiring others to great feats of courage. ”

    So there’s always that… tell the fam to start girding their loins.

  33. says

    splattered by a falling meteor

    This could be arranged. But it would require 20 years of notice, a few hundred million dollars, and a special dispensation to violate the Outer Space Treaty.
    @irisvanderpluym and others:
    I’m afraid most of the readership would end up in the 6th circle, with the Epicureans (“the soul dies with the body”) and the rest of the heretics, or in the 7th circle with the blasphemers. The 1st circle is for virtuous pagans who didn’t reject the soul, 2nd for the lustful, but Dante’s revenge fantasy fulls a fairly reliable sorting mechanism for sins.
    On the other hand, the indicated response when being stuck in Dante’s Inferno is to stage a cosmic jailbreak – it would take a few centuries to empty the place, but that’s not too important given that you can’t die once you’re there. So it doesn’t really matter where you start.

  34. larrylyons says

    Hee Hee. 90 degrees here in Virginia.

    Besides what do you expect for April? I grew up just north of Minnesota and remember blizzards all the way into May on occasion.

  35. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The Redhead painted a winter scene that hangs in my computer room. It snowed on the Fourth of July when we lived in Dah YooPee, which was the muse/inspiration.

  36. chigau (please don't let me be misunderstood) says

    flevitan #37
    That sounds like RC indulgences.
    Are Klingons Closet Catholics?
    *scary organ music*