Yes, after a rugged weekend of shoveling snow and playing Monopoly, I'm still here. The storm was amazing--the blizzard dumped 21.6 inches of snow on Chicago, 18 inches of that in one day, more than any other one-day snowfall since the city started keeping records over a century ago. It was like watching whipped cream pile up on a sundae. I'd look away for what seemed like a minute, and when I'd next look out the window I'd see yet another thick, white layer glistening on top of cars, picnic tables, and what used to be sidewalks.
When I wasn't busy playing Monopoly, I thought of your point last week that Americans are more interested in weather than politicians' sex scandals. Sunday, as a relative newcomer to Chicago, I learned from the Tribune that weather is politics here, and it's been known to swing an election in a way that sex can't. (What this says about Chicagoans' priorities I don't want to think too deeply about, just to add that in terms of my own personal priorities, sex is a lot higher on the list than weather, and I don't plan on changing that no matter how rooted I get here.)
Anyway, it turns out that in 1979 incumbent mayor Michael Bilandic was considered an easy win in the mayoral race. Then along came the blizzard of 1979 dropping a mere 20.7 inches of snow and the city couldn't keep side streets clear or public transportation going. As you mentioned in your e-mail, that blizzard lost Bilandic the election. Riding in on a wave of snow, his opponent Jane Byrne became the next mayor of Chicago.
Needless to say, Mayor Daley has a lot of snowplows on the street today. And the papers are full of delicious pictures of whipped cream everywhere.
Yours digging out,
P.S.--I couldn't agree more that the impeachment process lacks a certain dignity, not to mention common sense and public service. What a huge waste of time and money!