I Told You So

For those who voted for Barack Obama in 2008, thinking that he'd be a centrist and try to govern from the center in a bi-partisan fashion: Fooled you, didn't he?

He didn't fool me. I told you the day after the election that America had just given the keys to the liquor cabinet and the Ferrari to their teenager. Well, I forgot to mention that you gave him the family credit card as well. So now the liquor cabinet is empty, the car is wrecked in a ditch somewhere with a bunch of empty booze bottles in the back floorboard, and your credit card bill just came in. Could you imagine the kid spending THAT MUCH in 14 months? And now he and his no-good friends have just stuck their tongues out at you and said that they're passing their health care insurance reform scheme whether you like it or not. And for the majority of Americans, it was "not."

I watched much of yesterday's circus in Congress and found myself nauseated. Indeed, I found myself yelling at the television whenever that lying crone Pelosi came on. (You don't even want to know what I called her.) And now, this unconstitutional travesty has been forced on the American people by the barest majority of Democrats in the House, with not a single Republican voting for it. This is unprecedented in American history. Never before has such significant social legislation been passed without a single vote from the minority party. There are a lot of congresscritters who should be festooning lampposts. Unfortunately, the best that we can do is to try to make sure that they are voted out of office in November.

"Hope and Change," huh? Here's your "Change":

2004: "America, Fuck Yeah!"

2010: "America, Oh Fuck!"

And that's all I have to say about that.


A Safety Tip

Don't urinate on downed power lines.

You might think that one's pretty obvious, but some poor schlub up in Washington state managed to electrocute himself by doing exactly that. It seems that Roy Messenger wasn't seriously hurt when his car collided with a power pole and knocked it down, but his car was stuck in the ditch. He called a relative to come and pull his car out, but when the family members arrived, he was dead. It seems that he felt the call of nature and answered it in the ditch -- and didn't see the downed live power line. Oops. The medical examiner said that the burn marks showed how the electricity traveled up the stream and zapped him. Can you say "Darwin Award"?

So, rule of thumb: If you should accidentally knock down a power pole, be very, very careful about what you do with your bodily fluids. Don't even spit!

A Harbinger of Spring

I watched the first spring training baseball game on the Major League Baseball Network yesterday, between the Atlanta Braves and the New York Mets. It was a raw, windy day in Port St. Lucie, on the east coast of Florida. A cold front had just come through, dumping rain across the entire Sunshine State, and the Mets decided not to send their regulars out to play on the slick grass. They still won the game, 4-2. It didn't mean anything, of course, since it was just an exhibition game, but it was an opportunity to see a couple of the Braves' top young players in pitcher Tommy Hanson and rookie outfielder Jason Heyward. If you're a baseball fan, you'll be hearing those names a lot in coming years.

More importantly, especially for those who live Up North, the beginning of spring training baseball means that winter is probably on its last legs. And given the historic severity of this winter, its demise will no doubt be welcome from sea to shining sea. Baseball means that there's a warm, sunny light at the end of the tunnel.


Stormy Weather

Yesterday, I was reading in the news about the winter storm in Europe that had killed over 50 people in France and had brought flooding and hurricane-force winds to parts of the continent. The storm was named "Xynthia," which I thought was kind of strange. "They're already on their X storm?" I wondered.

Well, I was curious, so I did a little research to find out how they name their storms in Europe. It turns out that in Europe, every high and low pressure system gets a name. It's not like the names given to tropical storms, where they have to reach a sustained wind speed of at least 39 miles per hour before they get a name. This year, the low pressure systems are being given women's names and the high pressure systems are being given men's names. This alternates from year to year.

Not just that, but the Free University in Berlin, which monitors and names the systems, sells the naming rights to them at the beginning of the year through its "adopt-a-vortex" program. They go through the alphabet about three or four times per year. I'm not sure how much it costs to buy your own storm. Here is the list for the 2010 low pressure systems. Note that names can be reused multiple times in the same year, unless they are attached to a storm that is so destructive that the name is retired, as they do with hurricane names on occasion.

If you look at it, you'll notice that the name list has a definite Teutonic flavor. (The men's list is heavy on Gerhards and Karlheinzes as well.) Several women purchased the naming rights and named the storms after themselves. I'm guessing the men who bought the names on this list were doing it for their wives or girlfriends. That begs the question: Is it a compliment to name something windy and potentially lethal after your wife/girlfriend, or is it an insult? It could be taken either way. One wonders what Xynthia's feelings are about having her name attached to such a destructive event. It's not her fault, of course. Blame it on Wolfgang.


In Like A Lion

It was 36 degrees outside when I got home from work this morning. 'Nuff said. I'm really looking forward to the lamb-weather due to arrive sometime later this month.

I was looking at my friend Mary's blog this morning. She lives in northern New Jersey, and had several pictures of the increasing accumulation of snow in her yard over the past few days. By the end, there was three feet of snow in her yard. One of the earlier pictures in the series showed snow falling on the skeletal trees outside her window. My comment was that snow is very pretty when it's outside someone else's window.