Final Word from Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Every company with a history has an inside joke or two deriving from some memorable moment. At the Fleet Sheet, one of them is "rock the damn thing," which the irascible publisher bellowed once as the staff tried furiously to get a stuck car out of a snow pile. For people from northern climates (Montana, for example), it's second nature to turn the wheels into a spin, to pump the brakes in a skid (before ABS), not to stop a vehicle on an icy incline, or to rock the damn thing instead of wildly spinning the stuck car's wheels and slumping deeper into the snow or mud. Northerners also know that as soon as the first snowflakes fall, it's best to avoid all those people from milder climates who get paralyzed by a few centimeters of white stuff. Every snowfall is like the first snowfall for those who don't see it very often; which is a beautiful thing, unless you like to drive a car, take a train or walk on a sidewalk.[Czech Republic weather]

Glossary of difficult words

to rock something - to cause something to move gently to or fro or from side to side;

irascible - (of a person) easily made angry;

to bellow - to emit a deep load roar;

furiously - intensely or violently;

second nature - a characteristic or habit in someone that appears to be instinctive because the person has behaved in a particular way so often;

skid - an act of sliding on slippery ground;

ABS - anti-lock braking system;

incline - a slope or descent on a road, path or railway;

to slump - to collapse, sink or fall.


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