Saturday, December 13, 2008


Ice storm in New England

Every summer, we have about a week of uncomfortably warm weather, warm enough for my house to stay hot all night. I bitch and moan about the heat, which does make it hard to sleep. I'm saving this photo -- taken by Boston Globe reader Brian Watts -- to remind myself that as far as climate is concerned there are way worse places to live than New Mexico.

From the Globe story:

As much as 4 inches of rain fell over the region from late Tuesday night through yesterday morning, as a low-pressure system from the south and a cold front from the north stalled over New England. But the Boston area, which had only torrential rain, did not experience the icing that areas outside Interstate 495 and along the New Hampshire border did, where the rain froze on contact with the ground and everything else it touched.

"Nobody expected that the impact of this storm to be quite so devastating," said Mayor Konstantina Lukes of Worcester. "Trees are falling on cars, they are falling on houses, and they are trapping people in their homes."

Ice is beautiful, but I'm realizing (after trekking through Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and Colorado in a car with no heat) that I prefer it at a distance.

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Friday, December 12, 2008


Still no thoughts of my own...

A correspondent from the Commonweal discussion group had this to say about the use of a certain euphemism in the description of Rod Blagojevich's conversations:

We have the at-the-moment Illinois Governor to thank for this development, and, believe me, I DO thank him for the 'bleeping' substitute. It avoids what is a mere anglo-saxonism for coitus, another evasive term stolen from our bleeping Romans who somehow made ITS expletive for - uhm - coitus somehow half-respectable. This substitute will play havoc with the nine-year olds (and in my neighborhood, the eight year olds) who will now have to find something, anything, to try and get arise out of the grown ups and jealous respect from the seven year olds). I wonder what all this will do to the bleeping Democratic Party, indeed ALL politics, the military services, team sports, ghetto teens, ghetto adults, ghetto celebraties, ghetto grandmas, and university faculty organizations.

Now what is needed is a substitute for 'as the Church has always said'. Right?

Robert C. Rhodes

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Monday, December 08, 2008


An interesting suggestion from a non-expert

During my recent sojourn in Iowa and Nebraska, I had a chance to observe the kind people who make, use and fix Caterpillar, Toro and John Deere products. They seemed to be extraordinarily trustworthy. A Washington Post reader who posts as "Wood3" makes the following suggestion in reference to the proposed loan program for GM, Ford and Chrysler:

"The Obama administration has an opportunity to solve two problems at once.

First of all, the ill advised Iraq war has exposed weaknesses in the types of heavy vehicles our armed forces use. The Humvee proved totally unsatisfactory to the 21 century missions and the M-1A Bradley is just too heavy to be rapidly deployed.

Fortunately, by taking the pre-WWII lessons, the Obama administration can craft a reorganization of the the Big 3 to put their gas guzzler and surplus heavy truck plants to work reequiping the active military, reserves and National Guard with new, lighter, vehicles that will be needed for our next military intervention.

With this giant government contract, require increased CAFE standards and other efficiencies as part of the bidding process to determine who gets the biggest piece of the pie.

The Illinois based Caterpillar Company and John Deere have already faced foreign competition and learned how to stand up to it. I would suspect that their management can provide critical knowledge in any turn around."

I'm driving a Chrysler rental (a PT Cruiser) while my car is being fixed. It's a nice vehicle, with good visibility -- a big issue with me since I live in the land of the supercab pickup -- and a wheelbase small enough to be easy to park. I like it, and it'd be a shame to lose the option.

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