Well…I got basically nuttin’ today…so I figgered that after goin’ on 3 weeks since the last blatherings posted herein I owed ya sum’tin to read…so here it is. Alex and then some thoughts on the most pressing political and media crises we as a society are currently in the middle of.
Alex first…and I don’t mean grandson Alex who remains at his home up in the northland (well, actually central-land…but compared to Florida it’s all northland, but I digress) with his parents the human kids. Nope…I’m referring to Alex the tropical storm in this case.
I know that Florida is supposed to be hurricane central…hence the post title…but in reality it isn’t The northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico along from TX through LA and MS and AL as well as the panhandle of Florida have storm landfalls way more often than Florida in general and the southwestern area where we hang our flip flops is even less likely than the state as a hole. Anyways…we got tropical storm Alex…it’s the first named storm of the year and this is one of the earliest named storm years although it may not be the record. Alex though…he’s a weird one. About 99% (maybe inaccurate number but I didn’t bother trying to calculate a better one…but in any event the percentage is pretty darned overwhelming) of storms that hit the 48 contiguous states are either and invest, tropical depression, tropical storm, or hurricane (increasing order of wind strength and storm organization) but they are what the weather guessers call Atlantic storms. That means that they start in the Atlantic Ocean, usually over near Africa, drift generally West to Northwest since that’s the way the earth turns and that’s the general direction of the prevailing winds in the tropics which is where they start off…that tropical storm naming thing shoulda given you a clue. Then they either hit Mexico or northern South America someplace, enter the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico and recurve northwards into the Gulf Coast, rarely back into the back side of the Florida peninsula, or else they recurve north and east because of the Gulf Stream (warm current flowing up the east coast of the country) combined with weather patterns over the country which generally have a west to east prevailing direction.
Alex…well, he decided to be contrary. He started out as tropical storm Agatha in the eastern Pacific Ocean and then because Hurricane Agatha before making landfall on the western coast of Mexico as a “historical hurricane”. Much like baseball…weather guessers keep statistics for *everything* and Hurricane Alex when it made landfall in way southern Mexico as a category 2 hurricane became “the strongest hurricane ever to make a May landfall in the eastern Pacific basin”. That’s only happened 3 times in total now…Barbara in 2013 and a different Agatha in 1971…so it doesn’t seem like much of a record to me. In addition…according to accuweather.com…both the 2013 sand 1971 storms were category 1 hurricanes so how a category 2 hurricane could be the strongest ever seems impossible to me…but who am I to dispute the weather guessers.
Then…the drama began. Somewhere as Agatha crossed Mexico…she had a change of heart, decided she was really a man and not a woman at all…so when she entered the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Yucatan, became invest whatever she was and then became a tropical storm again…she declared Agatha to be her deadname and that she was a transgender hurricane named Alex thank you very much and refer to itself as he, male, and Alex forevermore.
The newly male Alex then trended generally northeast across the gulf and as we speak is sort of disorganized…but what else could one expect of a confused transgender hurricane I guess…and is currently heading east/northeast and is spread out from about Fort Myers down to well south of Cuba…and apparently the fine folks at the Hurricane Center have now given it a non gender name of Potential Tropical Cyclone One.
This is actually only the 5th time since these records were started back in 1842 that a storm which started in the Pacific crossed over into the Atlantic basin and became a hurricane although 4 of the five were unnamed for some reason. Apparently storms didn’t receive names in the US until 1952 and they started with female names only, male names came along in 1978 with Bob…and only Hurricane Hermine in 2010 actually got a name, all the others were between 1842 and 1949.
Neil also happened across the origin of the name Hurricane for tropical storms that exceed a certain defined wind velocity. Turns out that for several hundred years in the West Indies storms were named for the particular saint whose name was celebrated on the day they happened. The actual word Hurricane itself derives from an Indian word Hurakon according to almanac.com…said word meaning “a great spirit who commanded the east wind”.
I got up up a few minutes ago and took ya a photo of the storm progress out our back door…well actually Neil did it because my doggone bear paws are just too darned big to properly operate and iPhone an Apple simply refuses to make a version of the device that is designed for big-ass bear paws…and here it is in all it’s glory.
As you can see from the clearly howling winds and the torrential downpour…we’re in a whole heap o’ trouble here in the Sunshine State as the cops in Georgia used to say after they pulled you over…but then they probably still say that. We’ve had about a tenth of an inch of rain here and the wind is currently 3 with a high of 4 miles an hour. Frankly…we’ve had more water collect in the rain gauge from the sprinklers and Neil had higher winds on his bike ride yesterday morning…so Alex is…as folk in Florida who are used to these sorts of things happening…meh is probably the best word for it. As you can see…our pond is way up from what it was a few weeks back but it’s been raining more days than not since about early May or so and we’ve seen no increase in level since yesterday.
We be standing by and hunkerin’ down for the malevolent brunt of the storm though and Neil will make sure he takes a lifeline with him when he goes out to get the mail and put it (as is typically true on most days) straight into the recycle bin…might even have to cancel Date Night tonight according to Connie. We already moved it from tonight to last night anyway…but Neil sez we can have two…count ‘em two…Date Nights this week because reasons.
Bonk, bonk, bonk. (Alarm going off). We interrupt your regularly scheduled blogging for this special weather statement. Connie…and the Hurricane Center folk…claim that the storm ain’t getting here until tomorrow. Neil looked at the *actual* radar and while he admits that they might be correct for the rear end of the storm…in his opinion looking at the radar the thing goes from just off the Yucatan peninsula all the way to the east coast of Florida and from Tampa down to well south of Cuba…and that the leading edges are already here. He’s further looked at the forecast for tomorrow…and it’s going to rain from now until about noon tomorrow and then no more rain and the winds are going to get up to a whole 16 miles an hour with gusts to the upper 20s. So…their mileage may vary from his…but unless he totally misses his guess and he’s been in a lot more hurricanes than she has with where he grew up…meh.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.
Lessee…what else I got before the political thoughts.
Last week we went to Orland for the Florida Elks Convention…or well Connie went because she’s the Ladies of Elks president and has to go to the sub-convention of the Florida Ladies of Elks (or FLOE)…Neil went along to drive the bus (actually Sporty Red), take some photos at Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive (didn’t happen as there was some confusion on when the dadgum place opened, he got evicted by the Water Management District workers, and cancelled it because in the couple of miles he was in before getting evicted and in the couple miles back out the wrong way on the one way road as directed to by said workers he saw…nuttin…so he said the hecks with it and went back to the hotel), and because of the nightly Hospitality Rooms sponsored by the various districts, FLOE, LoE, and other sub categories of Elk related groups (free booze and free food so dinner was taken care of pretty easily).
We’re working on plans for our next outing as well as a couple late in the year and perhaps next year.
We observed Memorial Day…which contrary to the statement by the LA DA out in the People’s Republic of California that Memorial Day is to honor all veterans…for which he was roundly criticized by people all over the political spectrum but he’s an idiot they’re trying to recall anyway…Memorial Day commemorates those military members who gave their lives for our freedom and did not come home to their families. It has always…always…been a distinctly different day than Veterans Day and they aren’t even in the same month…I have no idea why Mr. Gascon made this error since he is the same age as Neil and Connie and therefore presumably was in high school before the teaching of civics/government was dropped…but he’s a progressive and maybe he just used the progressive inclination to redefine whatever words they like to mean whatever they want them to mean…or maybe he just failed his Civics class…dunno. In any event…flags were up all around our street as is custom on federal holidays and we raised a toast to those brave men and women who never came home…and thanked them from the bottom of our hearts for their sacrifices.
Here’s a Memorial Day related link from one of my blog buddies Greg White at Our RV Adventures.
Check it out…he admittedly borrowed it from someplace else’s blog or one of his old ones…lots of truth there and the US has sacrificed much treasurer and many thousands of lives in support of or defense of freedom and democracy. We haven’t always done the best job afterwards and personally Patton was most definitely at least partially right when he said after WWII that we were already there and we should have gone ahead and kicked the Soviet Union’s ass…which would probably have prevented both the Cold War and the current completely illegal and wrongheaded invasion of Ukraine…and going by the performance of the Russian (nee Soviet) military against a massively inferior in weapons and manpower army in Ukraine we would have wiped the floor with them back then…as NATO would likely do today unless the Russian leadership decided to end human life and civilization as we know it because there would be no winners, only losers in a major nuclear exchange. The US and EU would take severe losses…but Russia or China would simply cease to exist as a going country/government. Not sure we would be unaffected…or if losing less is really a good thing (on second thought, it isn’t) but losing to nonexistence seems worse. We have nuclear weapons as a deterrence only…with mutual assured destruction and the strategic triad of launch platforms and all that…but anybody that thinks you can win a nuclear war is simply wrong. Even a minor one like India/Pakistan could become would effectively end both of those countries existence…and while the singular use of a tactical nuclear weapon wouldn’t necessarily eradicate a country…the likelihood that things would escalate from there once Pandora’s Box was opened is extremely likely to almost assured. I’m not sure that that potential and highly likely outcome would keep crazy people like Best Korea or Iran from using one…but building a nuclear weapon isn’t really a physics problem any longer…it’s a getting the fissionable material problem…and you really don’t need to test one to design and build one…simulation models are pretty sophisticated these days and most of the world assumes that Israel has nuclear weapons even though they’ve never tested one or said one way or the other…and frankly it would not surprise me at all if South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan have secret development programs or have already secretly developed and built their own for defensive purposes if necessary. Making the first nuclear weapon required a lot of physics and research but after that and over the years from published scientific papers the knowledge of how to build one while not trivial the research was done long ago. Getting the fissionable material…uranium 235 or plutonium 239…is hard, expensive, and potentially fatal since they are both toxic metals which will kill you regardless of any radioactive properties as well as severe cancer causing elements due to close range radiation effects if you get small particles into your body. It’s an engineering problem…the fissionable material has to be machined precisely to tolerances like those in large telescopes and polished to better than mirror finishes, the conventional explosives that initiate the explosion have to be precisely machined as well and the wires that detonate those conventional explosives have to be precisely the correct length so that the charges all go off precisely at the same time (same time being on the nanosecond level of precision), the remaining electronic and mechanical components have to be similarly precisely machined…and in the case of a fusion warhead the tritium and deuterium have to be carefully calibrated in purity and amount and injected into the pit at exactly the same time or the thing doesn’t go off. The conventional sets off the fission reaction which in atomic bombs is all the bang you get. In fusion or hydrogen bombs (which is what all existing warheads likely use and which likely any small scale development programs would use as well) the fission process produces the temperatures and pressures required to initiate the fusion process from which the vast majority of the total output is produced. And despite the large amounts of energy produced…something less than 40% or so of the fusion fuel actually fuses and the fission fuel percentage used is actually probably smaller due to the limited time for fission chain reaction before rising temperatures expand the pit beyond the physical boundary where fission stops due to insufficient neutron production.
Things at our Elks lodge are sort of up in the air at this point. Socially…it’s pretty normal there albeit we’re suffering the normal seasonal lack of business at the bar and events due to the fact that all of our winter complaints (AKA snowbirds) are up north for now and only the permanent residents are around to support things. Organizationally…a bit different outlook.…don’t want to talk too much out of turn but IMO it’s a bit iffy at this point.
I’m already up to 1481 words so I’m only going to touch on a single contentious issue today…will save the remainder including Roe v. Wade, Voting Rights, and hypocrisy next time…but the recent tragedies in Buffalo, Uvalde, and Tulsa along with the typical demands by the far left and far right as opposed to actual common sense bear a few words.
Straight up…attacks on innocents are evil and are always a tragedy. School shootings, grocery store shootings, and hospital shootings are a Bad Thing© and should not be happening. That said however…the typical and simplistic explanations that both extremes shout from the rooftops are just that…typical, simplistic, wrong…and all of them are designed to push forward the extremest political point of view on both sides. Nobody wants to look at the issue rationally and recognize that it’s a significant problem with multiple causes, that a solution needs to be figured out that both helps solve the problem, doesn’t interfere with constitutionally guaranteed rights, and that both sides politically can recognize as a win…but in the current political climate where solving the problems you were elected to solve isn’t on the To Do list of politicians because getting reelected, demonizing your opponents on the other side of the political spectrum, getting your preferred sound bites on the evening news, and automatically opposing both compromise with the my way or the highway approach and everything the other side wants are the only things that the vast majority of our politicians are interested in from the local city/town/community up through the state level and the national level.
After each and every one of these shooting incidents…the same tired, political, extreme, and simplistic demands come out.
Democrats say (I’ve read each and every one of these statements in the news the last couple of weeks)
- Guns are the problem, we must ban them, especially assault weapons (these are also listed as weapons of war)
- Police are the problem because they took 40 minutes (or whatever it was) to enter the building and kill the bad guy in Uvalde
- What are the Feds doing invading our schools and killing the gunman, we have local and/or state police for that so why did the Border Patrol enter the building in Uvalde
- Republicans are the problem because they simply refuse to enact common sense gun laws (I’m going to comment in more detail on common sense whatever laws but I need to wait until the next post when the other issues are discussed.
- Good guys with a gun are never the solution…because there were good guys with guns outside the school and they didn’t do anything to prevent the slaughter of innocent children.
- Our friends to the north in Canada have all of these really great gun restriction laws…and they even introduced more just last week…why can’t we just do like they do
- The second amendment is not and never was absolute…you could not own cannon back when it was passed (this was specifically stated by the President…despite the fact that historically at the time private citizens could not only own cannon but could own actual warships and could get specific licenses from the government to go out and capture shipping belonging to enemies of the US)
- Second amendment says “well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State” means that regulating guns is both constitutional and required.
Republicans counter with (and again, I’ve read each and every one of these in the news)
- Guns aren’t the problem, people are the problem
- Gun laws only deter honest people, criminals will just ignore them
- Most gun crimes are committed with illegally obtained weapons, see previous bullet point
- Good guys with guns will always save us from bad guys with a gun
- Arm the teachers and have a single entrance to the school with an armed guard.
- Second amendment says “shall not be infringed”
- Assault weapons are by definition fully automatic capable and used by the military…and defining a semi-automatic rifle that is used for home defense, target practice, varmint hunting and other fully legal purposes is an assault weapon merely because it is black or looks scary or has a large capacity magazine is nonsense
- Assault weapons bans don’t work…see the previous ineffectiveness of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban in preventing crime and they are unconstitutional anyway…see previous decisions by both the federal circuit courts that held the ban in the PRC unconstitutional and the SCOTUS which held the ban in Washington DC unconstitutional and will shortly hold the one in NY unconstitutional
So as not to appear biased…I listed the same number of bullet points on each side above…but in reality I could easily have made the number 20 for each or 20 to 3 in favor of either side…but that’s not the issue here.
The issue here is simple…each of the above bullet points has…arguably…some actual factual validity. However…each of the countering statements on the same point from the other point of view also has some actual factual validity. That doesn’t make either of them fully right…or fully wrong…because the laws as well as the constitution on which they are based have a lot of gray and room for interpretation…and in addition both the constitution almost all laws have words in various places within themselves that are absolutely completely the opposite statement from words in a different place.
In other words…all of the bullet points above are mostly just a pile of BS…designed to push a particular point of view and/or make the other side look bad because of the goals of almost all politicians above list…making the other side look bad and to demonize them is the highest portion of a politician’s calling.
So…think and ruminate on the discussion above…I’ll be back with another post discussing abortion, voting rights, political hypocrisy, and perhaps a couple of other issues…might as well toss in every other contentious topic while I’m at it…along with some common sense mostly middle but to the right of center viewpoints. We actually agree with some of the things that people on the center left do and say…and both Connie and Neill think that our political parties have been hijacked by the whacko extremists on both side with no party remaining for those of us that are mostly in the middle…Neil at least thinks that our congress-critters that are mostly center right or center left are both an actual majority in both houses and that absent the aforementioned demonize the other side attitude we could actually agree on common sense regulations on each and every one of these issues…and that they could be passed into laws that would survive easily a constitutional challenge…and that they would actually help solve the problem.
Sorry…no Fun Stuff© photos today as Neil’s trip out to Lake Apopka was a bust. Long story short…he thought it opened at sunrise, didn’t really expect to see much anyway but figured it was worth the attempt, saw 2 trucks roll up right about sunrise and open the gate to enter, the gates remained open so after a couple minutes he drove in, he saw numerous bikers and walkers as he drove in so he continued a couple miles up the road. During this time…he saw a few Moorhens and a single Great Blue Heron. About 2 miles in he saw another vehicle screaming up the road behind him so he pulled over to let the person obviously in a hurry go by. Instead, they stopped and asked him why he was in the refuge. He replied that he was doing the wildlife drive. They asked how he got in, he said it opened at sunrise, the gate opened at sunrise, so he drove in. They said it had opened at 0700 for over two years. He said that he was here twice over the winter and the gate opened at sunrise, they replied that it opened at 0700 and while sunrise in the winter was past 0700 it he said the two previous trips it opened at whatever random time past 0700 sunrise was…and that if it was not open until 0700 why were the bikers and hikers inside…they said that was different because reasons. He said it was 0645 now and I’m 2 miles from the gate…how about I just pull over and sit until 0700. They said no, ya gotta go back…he said it’s a one way road…they said don’t worry about it, go back anyway…so he did. On the way back to the gate…saw nothing except a family of otters very briefly before they dove into the water. He got back to and went outside the gate and turned around to get in line for 0700. Thought about it for a minute and decided that wildlife wise it was a bust anyway so turned around and went back to the hotel.
Interesting things found on the net.
Requires some thought for this one.
Does not require any thought.
The Holy Spirit…apologies to very conservative religious people but as practicing Catholics we liked it.
Most of these should be self explanatory though.