Monthly Archives: November 2012

Warmal Globing

Global Warming

Global Warming (Photo credit: mirjoran)

As I begin this post, I do so with as much objectivity as humanely possible. I equate the discussion of this subject right up there with that of politics and religion. I am not a climatologist and have done no scientific research on this topic, nor do I base my opinions on knee-jerk reactions. What you are about to read is what I have gleaned during my years on the planet or actually seen for myself.

What do I speak of, you ask? None other than global warming. If we look at the workings of our Earth we see that most things are cyclical. For instance, night and day, the monthly waxing and waning of the moon, the quarterly seasonal changes.

In some parts of the world, damaging winds and monsoons are a yearly occurrence. We know that El Nino and La Nina seem to favor a decade or so between appearances. Hurricanes increase and decrease in intensity and frequency in decade-long cycles.

If I were a betting man, I would wager that other changes occur in lengths of time outside of our ability to measure.

In the 1970s, we were told to expect an ice age. So far, I haven’t seen it.

In the 1980s, the ozone layer was being depleted by our misuse of hydrocarbons. As complicated as this problem was, we changed the chemical make-up of Freon and what do you know? The ozone boo-boo will heal just fine. Wow! I never knew the stuff that kept me cool in the summer was so deadly!

Ice. Makes drinks cold and makes cars slide. I’ve heard that it’s melting. I’m not sure if it should be or not. I do know that I could look around the world and see many beautiful, lush green valleys that were once full of ice. I guess it melted.

When writing, we seek to sensationalize our stories and characters. By the same token, it seems as though we are not satisfied unless we can glom on to the next great catastrophe that will threaten the planet on which we live. Whether it be the next comet, perilously intersecting our orbit and turning this living sphere into a dead ball or a coming ice age caused by our use of fossil fuels.

In conclusion, I hope I haven’t stepped on any toes. Just one man’s observations. I did manage not to bring the “creator” of the internet into this post because his carbon boot print would wipe out half of Rhode Island.

Post script: I wonder whatever happened to the rain forest?

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Pucker Up

prédation

prédation (Photo credit: tryphon4)

I don’t want this blog to turn into my bully pulpit. I would rather keep it lighthearted and informative, leaving you with a good taste in your mouth as you finish each entry. However, there are some occasions when I feel cases of man’s inhumanity to man need to be exposed.

We all know of human atrocities that happen all around the world. They make us cringe with morbid fascination and quite frankly, our estrangement from these grievous acts allows us to become complacent.

Oh, from time to time we’ll remember and comment how horrible these actions are, but we then continue our

day-to-day existence, once again oblivious to the plight of these unfortunate souls.

Let’s move to the great US of A.  Now certainly, we have our share of violence and other forms of destructive suffering that we inflict on one another.  There is one form of injustice, silent in its predation.   You know how I feel about the blood-sucking, belly-crawlers who seem to think that any act of man or even beast is cause for legal action.

Now enter the slug.  The slug does not actively hunt its sustenance, as the belly-crawler so often does.  Instead, it sits still in its puddle of slime and waits for its prey to come to it.  Its prey is usually composed of the unfortunate, and therefore, the least able to absorb the outlandish usury normally charged by these voracious lending institutions.

I don’t know when the notion of borrowing money to pay off borrowed money came into play, but certainly the old adage in this case rings true: there oughta be a law!  I watch these commercials and the people who supposedly care about our financial situation. How can they in such earnest  smile, knowingly, pulling someone deeper and deeper into their debt-laden ball of slime?  Kinda makes me wonder how some folks can sleep at night.

Just my two cents worth.  I hope I didn’t raise the dander on the back of anyone’s neck, unless you’re one of these predators.  In that case, you oughta be ashamed of yourself.  So there!

My best advice to you (at least I hope it’s good advice) is treat folks like you want to be treated (oops, there’s that golden rule), try to help people instead of hurting them.  If you can’t do these two things, you’re better off not doing anything at all, at least then you won’t be in the way.

As I try to tie this into writing, I soon realize that some grandiose equation pulling the two together would be, to say the least, difficult and at worst, detract from the point I was attempting to make.  So just to stay in line with the written word, my big finish: I like to write!

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Just Tell Me Why!

Marin MTB

Marin MTB (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We have all heard, and in most cases used, catchy phrases and cliques.  We have also chuckled at the strange names we apply to everyday occurrences, such as parking on driveways and driving on parkways.

I would like to talk to you about actual objects that bother me insofar as to how and why they were created.  Let’s consider all of the preceding comments and questions to be rhetorical.

Let’s start with the only one we will discuss today that is not an actual thing that can be held or even seen.  I am speaking of the dream.  When we dream at night we simply call it….a dream.  When we have a bad dream at night we call it….a nightmare.

During the day when we lose ourselves staring off into space thinking of anything other than what we’re doing, we call it….daydreaming.  If we happen to take a nap during the daylight hours and dream we call it….a dream.  If we happen to take a nap and have a bad dream we still call it…. a dream.

I would suggest to you whatever happened (not that it ever existed) to the daymare?  Once again to quote a legend in his own time, “and that’s all I’ve got to say about that.”

Next comes the microwave door.   Why do they always open to the left?  I have two microwaves in my home.  The doors on each one open to the left and they are the most inconvenient things to load and unload due to having to walk around the door after it is opened.   Ditto on my last quote.

Now this one is going to somewhat throw you because there really isn’t another choice, at least when this substance was first conceived.  I’m talking about glass.  We build our homes with walls which are made of wood covered in more wood or masonry.  We put special locks and deadbolts on our doors for extra protection.   After all of these precautions to prevent unwanted entry, we cover our windows with a material that could be totally destroyed with a pebble.  Nowadays they do have laminated glass that you can’t beat through with a baseball bat, but most residences still use the brittle substance, that although lets the sunshine in, is subject to letting in unwanted nasties and things that go bump in the night or even the day.

Now for the crème de la crème.  What could possibly possess someone to design a girl’s bicycle with a downward sweeping top rail and then turn around and design a boy’s bicycle with a nut cracker bar where no bar should be.  If you’re a male and have ever come to a sudden stop on one of these deadly machines you know what I mean.

To conclude this post as I normally try to do (somehow tie it into writing) if you’re a male author and you like to ride bikes, wear a cup!  I find it’s much easier to write when I’m not in pain.

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Twist and Shout

One of several tornadoes observed by the VORTE...

One of several tornadoes observed by the VORTEX-99 team on May 3, 1999, in central Oklahoma.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you ever paid attention to the structural integrity of a new house being built? I’m getting ahead of myself.  First let me ask you,  “Are you a construction type person? You know, someone who has the knowledge of building codes, solid construction practices, and pretty much know what you’re looking at when you look at it?”

I was a carpenter by trade, a superintendent on residential and commercial projects and a draftsman. I know what it takes to erect a structurally sound building. Houses of today are built to withstand high winds, heavy rains, snow loads and many of the other things this world can dish out.

Skyscrapers are erected with large steel columns and “I” beams in such a way that they can withstand earthquakes and winds at such velocity that would tear the average house to shreds.

On the other hand, many commercial buildings are constructed with cinder blocks and metal bar joists for the roof structure.

In hurricane prone areas, special precautions are implemented, such as bolting the walls from the top plate to the foundation, hurricane clips on the roof system and windows that can stand high winds and strikes from debris.

As in the case of storm cellars in the mid-west, it’s best to get out of the path of nature’s most destructive forces; i.e. the tornado. In recent years, a new breed of storm chaser has set themselves apart from the rest.  I now feel the need to start a new paragraph and express my most valued opinion.

Here’s the new paragraph and here’s my version of an op/ed. I’ve always been fascinated by weather, especially that of the tornadic variety. I have even thought I would like to chase tornadoes but in the part of the country in which I live, I would do just as well sitting on my front porch watching for twisters as I would burning fuel to run the roads looking for the cyclonic wind storms. But I cannot for the life of me understand why someone would want to park a vehicle in the middle of one of these widow-makers. I guess it kinda goes along the same lines as jumping out of a perfectly good airplane.

To sum up, as you write (or for those who create an outline before beginning their novel) keep your story structurally sound taking care to keep the winds of whimsy from racking your building or possibly causing a catastrophic failure.

Well, I’ll be. Looks like I got a twister a coming this way after all!  Ya’ll scuse me whilst I hitch a ride. I’m off to see the wizard….

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How Do You Spell “Romper Room”? I Spell it “Washington D.C.”

English: Hon. Grover Cleveland, head-and-shoul...

Grover Cleveland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With the presidential election right around the proverbial corner, I thought it would be fun to delve into the can of worms which we call “politics.”

First, let me tell you what I see when I look at Washington. I see an inordinate amount of interchangeable children, sitting in a sandbox, trying to cover each other up. I don’t mean to be catty, but if the turd fits.

But let’s leave the turds to themselves and separate the wheat from the chaff. There are some colorful presidents down through the years I would like to touch on. Let’s start with the sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln.

Contrary to popular belief, there was more to Mr. Lincoln than the Civil War and its associated problems. For instance, Lincoln was the first and only president to hold a patent (for you history buffs, it was for a device that allowed for safer travel in shallow water.) Throughout his life, Mr. Lincoln also refused to carry a knife due to his severe depression. In fact, many of his friends and acquaintances, from his days of practicing law to his time in the White House, remarked that Lincoln suffered from near constant melancholy. But that is not to say he didn’t enjoy a good witticism.

There’s the well-known anecdote of the man who called Lincoln “two-faced.” “If I had two faces,” the president responded, “do you think I would be wearing this one?”

The eighteenth president of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant, who actually served as a general under Lincoln during the Civil War, is popularly known as a raging alcoholic. When told of this, president Lincoln, inquired as to what he drank, and to have some shipped to the rest of his Generals. In fact, Grant was unable to hold his liquor and was done-in by one or two drinks. This was probably due, in part, to his size. Despite his fierce appearance, he was only 5’8 and 140 lbs. (Although he was not our shortest president. That honor goes to James Madison, clocking in at a whopping 5’4).

During his term in the White House, his wife would not allow him to smoke cigars. He would instead retire to the lobby of the Willard Hotel, where he was hounded by businessmen for favors and people looking for political jobs. Although some believe this to be the origin of the term “lobbyist,” it was actually first used 30 years prior in the British parliament.

Now onto our twenty-sixth president, Theodore Roosevelt. An avid outdoorsman, Roosevelt was actually born to into prominent, well-to-do family in New York City. In fact, Roosevelt was often chided by real westerners for his expensive apparel and his necessity to wear glasses.

Besides the presidency, Teddy is probably best known as the leader of the Rough Riders. Their ride up San Juan Hill is legendary. What most don’t know, however, is that it wasn’t so much a ride as it was a run. Due to limited space, the men were unable to bring the horses on which they were trained.

Riding into gunfire is bad enough. But running into it? ’Nuff said.

Last but not least, the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms (He’s counted as the twenty-second and the twenty-fourth), is Grover Cleveland. During his second term, after experiencing pain on the roof of his mouth, a tumor was discovered by the White House physician. Under the pretext of a vacation, the surgery was performed on a yacht in Long Island Sound. A substantial part of his hard palate and upper-left jaw were removed.

Two weeks later, on the same yacht, a second surgery fitted the president with a vulcanized rubber prosthesis that restored his appearance and ability to speak.

The thing I find most refreshing about Grover Cleveland was his unwavering character and his never-ending fight against political corruption.

How sad in this day and age that many times, these attributes are in such short supply that we are forced to vote for the lesser of two evils.

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