Thursday, June 29, 2006

"Hurricane Edam will make landfall..."

It's Hurricane Season, and so I think it's topical to consider about how hurricanes are named.

I'm old enough to remember when hurricanes were only given female names. Eventually this came to be viewed as inappropriate, and in 1979 male names were introduced into the rotation. You may not know this, but it is in fact a rotation: The same names repeat every six years. Unless there's an especially bad storm, and then that name is retired and a new one is chosen. So there will never again be a Hurricane Camille, or Andrew, or Hugo. Or Katrina. And the seemingly innocuous name Fifi has also been retired (1974). Actually, a total of sixty-seven names have been retired, including the Hurricane Twins, Frances and Jeanne, that passed over my home two years ago.

Anyway, the point of this post (yes, this post has a point) is that I'm tired of this system. I'm tired of the same names repeating every six years. I think some variety needs to be injected into the process. I think it's time for some fresh thinking. I think it's time we introduce other series of related names for hurricanes. For example, how about a series of animal species names? We can start off with Hurricanes Aardvark, Bat, and Cheetah. Or Greek Gods. How about Hurricanes Artemis, Boreus, and Calliope? Hurricane Season, after all, could be educational.

If you have any ideas for good series, post a comment or send me a message at gss at att dot net. Or post on your own blog and let me know. In the meantime, I'll contribute my first full list of the names I think we should use for next Season. Dear Readers, welcome to the Season of Cheeses, and say hello to Hurricanes...

Asiago, Bierkase, Caboc, Dunlop, Edam, Fougerus, Gorgonzola, Havarti, Iberico, Jarlsberg, Kugelkase, Limburger, Munster, Neufchatel, Oaxaca, Parmigiano, Quark, Ricotta, Stilton, Taleggio, Ubriaco, Vendomois, Wensleydale, Xynotyro, and Zamorano.

Wensleydale is included as a special homage to Wallace and Grommit. (I would have preferred to use Stinking Bishop for either "S" or "B", but it's two words.) You'll notice there is no "Y" -- no single-word cheese names begin with "Y", as far as I have been able to discover. And for those of you who think I made up Xynotyro, I didn't:

Xynotyro means "sour cheese", but this one does not represent its name. It is made from the mixture of sheep's and goat's milk in various shapes and sizes. Xynotyro is a hard, flaky cheese that melts in the mouth and the flavor is a combination of sweet, burnt caramel, lanolin and the sour taste of the whey. -

I know I always look forward to trying a cheese that tastes like lanolin.

Okay, so is anyone at the National Hurricane Center listening?

P.S. Thanks to for the assist.


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Happy Tuesday!

For the past few days, on my drive home from work, I've been passing a sheet of plywood leaning against a telephone pole with the words "I (heart) Pokey" painted on it in lime green. Now, I don't know Pokey, or the person who loves him or her, and I don't want to rain on their parade, so I have had to try hard to resist the urge to stop and write "the Hokey-" in front of "Pokey."

In celebration of Pokey, the lime-green-sign-painter, and their love, and because it's Tuesday, I give you this haiku:

My love for Pokey
is on display, to show to
all it's not hokey

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

One Month and Counting

Little Evelyn celebrated her one month birthday last Saturday. Or rather, we celebrated her birthday as due to a cruel twist of evolution she is not capable of eating cake at this point. She celebrated by sleeping.

Evelyn has put on a little more than a pound already and the change is amazing. Linda and I are already nostalgic, regretting how fast she is growing. She struggles daily with large tasks such as being able to hold her head up, but can only succeed for a few seconds. So far the concept of rolling over hasn't even occured to her, which we still consider to be a blessing.

The journey continues!


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Law of Contrary

To begin, changing your pants while sitting behind the wheel of your car may seem like an okay idea, until you have to tuck in your shirt.

So today I had a CAT scan of my bad ankle. My foot was casually taped to a table while the table moved about a foot back and forth through the donut hole of the scanner. It would have been a forgettable experience except that a recording of a female voice constantly repeated, "Please do not move. Remain still. Do not move. Relax." Loudly. Over and over.

This, of course, created in me an irresistible desire to twitch.


Monday, June 19, 2006

Seen (and not seen)

Two obviously conservative Muslim women, wearing robes that extended to the floor, scarves over their heads and foreheads, and scarfs across their faces, leaving only slits so tiny that their eyes weren't even visible behind them, shopping in...

...Victoria's Secret.

I guess it shouldn't seem so incongruous. I guess even cloaked Muslim women need underwear, and I guess there's no reason why they shouldn't shop for it at Victoria's Secret, instead of being compelled to shop at, say, Walmart. But it seemed odd all the same. And it reminded me of a story I heard years ago. I don't know if it's true or not, but here it is:

In the 1960's, the King of Saudi Arabia, along with some of his ministers and advisors, was crossing the lobby of the U.N. Building in Manhattan. A class from a local high school was there on a civics visit. One girl turned to another and said, she thought quietly, "I wonder what they wear under those robes?" At which the King stopped, looked at her, and said,

"Young lady, BVD's."


Friday, June 16, 2006

Haiku Tuesday, the crap-always-rolls-downhill sequel

Grass that swells skyward,
joyfully, must be mowed. Grass
feels pain. So do I.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Haiku Tuesday

Clouds turn streetlamps on.
Rain pounds, drowns talk, sidewalks.
But grass swells skyward.


Sunday, June 11, 2006

Here we go again!

At 11:00 am Eastern Time today, Alberto became the first named storm of the hurricane season. A season that started just eleven days ago.

I don't think anyone from Florida reads this blog, and so you probably haven't been following the news, so I'll fill you in:

Alberto is currently projected to pass over the Florida Pennisula during the day on Tuesday. The most likely path is well to the north of where I live, though I am still well inside the cone of probability. However, Alberto is poorly organized, with sustained winds of only 45 mph, and is not expected to strengthen, so it's really nothing to worry about...

...except that we have our first named storm only eleven days into the season.

Oh joy.


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

If knowledge is power, then ignorance is opportunity

A supermarket chain ran an ad for buy-one-get-one-free on a particular line of "nail treatments, lip treatments, and depilatories." I was asked by... um... well, by someone (that's all you need to know) to check if they had a specific hair removal product. Arriving at the store -- which was a very large chain store, by the way, not a mom-and-pop -- I found a sign marking the sale on the nail treatments, and also a sign for the lip treatments, but no sign for the depilatories. I found my product and took it to a cash register.

The cashier was a fine young man obviously in his teens. He scanned the product and told me it was not on sale. I told him that their ad said it was, buy-one-get-one-free, and got the ad out and pointed for him to read.

Fine Young Cashier: "That sale is for nail treatments and lip treatments."

Me: "And depilatories," pointing to the words in the ad, "that's what this is, a depilatory."

The cashier signalled a young lady standing by the courtesy counter. She came over, and her name tag identified her as an assistant manager, though I suspect she had only recently graduated from high school. I suspect this because her picture on the "Meet Your Management Staff" signboard, as you came into the store, was her high school graduation picture, and she hadn't changed an iota since that picture had been taken. She was only missing the mortarboard and gown, having replaced them with an oversized, shapeless, elasticised-waistband, supermarket-chain-issue uniform that made her look as though she had been a circus clown in her previous job, and was trying hard to fit in at a supermarket chain, but was having trouble shaking off her past. Have you noticed that this is the way all female employees look in big chain supermarket uniforms, like clowns who can't quite shake off their past? The male employees, on the other hand, don't look like clowns. Instead, they look like the guys the circus hires to clean up after the elephants.

But I digress. Back to my story:

Cashier, to assistant manager: "He [meaning me] says this is on sale."

I extended the ad to her and pointed.

Her: "That sale is for nail treatments and lip treatments."

Me: "And depilatories," pointing hard and wondering if by some Harry-Potter-like magic I was the only person who could see the words. "And depilatories," I said again. "That's what this is, a depilatory."

The two of them, young circus refugees, peered, cheek-to-cheek, at the ad for a moment; then they looked at each other.

Him, whispering to her: "I have no idea what 'depilatory' means."

Her, whispering to him: "Me either."

Him: "So should I?"

Her: "Yes!"

So I got my buy-one-get-one-free on the hair remover. But I also left the store wondering what other, better, maybe way better deal I might have gotten, if only I had known to take some expensive product to the cashier and simply claim it was a "depilatory...."

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Not to Harp

Not to harp on a single topic, but... A few years ago I mentioned to a friend who was about to buy her first home that buying a home was like going through puberty in that once you pass through the stage things that never interested you before suddenly become very interesting. For example, prior to signing a mortgage I had no special attachment to hardware stores. Now I can spend an hour in the lighting section. A few weeks later this same friend confided that after she bought her house her bedtime reading went from novels to do-it-yourself plumbing repairs. No more need be said.

Being a parent is much the same. Last weekend I realized that I had no idea what movies have come out recently and the really odd thing is that it didn't bother me that I didn't know. I fully expected that with Evelyn's birth my priorities would change, but was focussed the new items that would be added to my list of priorities. I was unprepared for the items that fell off of the list.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

And now for something completely different

Here I just said a few weeks ago that I won't post about politics, and my last three posts have been political. So I'll make this one different. I'll make this one meteorological:

Today is June 1st.

Welcome to Hurricane Season.


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