Here, presented as an annual public service, are 50 ways to stay warm during these wintry days -- and nights:
2. Popcorn. Or parched peanuts. Pretend you're at a ballgame on a sultry summer night in the spring, under the lights, complete with hot dogs. The home team is behind 3 to 2 in the bottom of the ninth, two out and two men on. The beer is sudsy, the peanuts hot, the old-fashioned organist who's been doing this for 40 years is adding suspense. ... Think Fenway and the fellowship of singing "Sweet Caroline" during the eighth inning.
3. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Courtesy of Nat King Cole.
4. Fireplaces in general. (Get that back log just right.) Enjoy the inevitable, heated argument over how to arrange the logs, kindling and accouterments. Get yourself some fatwood. My late mother-in-law once told me that there are three things every man believes he can do better than any other man; the other two are how to drive a car and how to build a fire.
5. Bathroom gas heaters. Never take them out when you remodel, no matter how unfashionable they've become. You'll be glad you didn't these freezing mornings.
6. Warm thoughts of those you love. Heated thoughts about those you don't.
7. Enjoy the snow. Build a snowman. Maybe a whole snow family.
8. Pillow fights. (Recommended for all ages. Relieves aggression.)
9. A mother's hug. (Good in any season.)
10. Feed a cold, starve a fever. Or is it the other way 'round? Never mind. Food is comfort. So is folklore.
12. Soup. Piping hot. Chicken soup with rice, or maybe vegetable-with-beef. The thicker the better. Also recommended: lentil, tomato basil and tortilla.
13. A game of checkers. Chess only when played with a time limit; slow moves freeze the joints.
14. A no-holds-barred, fines-go-to-those-who-land-on-No-Parking, double-rent-on-Boardwalk-and-Park-Place, house-moving, property-stealing, joint-monopolies-allowed, lots-of-shouting-and-muttering, loans-from-the-bank-and-other-players-encouraged, some-small-thefts-permitted and general-skulduggery-encouraged, rent-dodging, all-around cut-throat game of Monopoly. All weapons checked at the door.
15. Old movies set in tropical climes, in which the men wear pith helmets and the women sarongs, with Bette Davis and George Brent always mopping their brows. Start with "The Letter." Avoid "Dr. Zhivago" and "Nanook of the North." Save those for August.
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