Showing posts from August, 2011

Survived Irene

We're fine. Irene dumped a lot of water across Connecticut and caused power outages throughout much of the state, but she didn't effect our household much. We lost cable TV briefly a couple of times. And there was a power flicker or two. Getting in and out of town became difficult due to the flooding, road washouts and downed trees, and at one point New Milford was effectively an island. But many other communities were hurt much worse.

Here she comes

Hurricane Irene is slowly closing in on North Carolina. She is still a few hundred miles out, but the Carolina coast is already feeling her waves and winds. Things are going to get much, much worse out there over the next day or so. Immediately after that, things are going to much, much worse around here in the greater New York area. New York City has been right in the middle of the hurricane's "cone of unpredictability" since early on. Current projections call for the hurricane to pass right over New York and into western Connecticut. At this point, we expect significant flooding throughout the region. On approach, Irene's winds will likely force a great deal of extra seawater into the funnel of Long Island Sound. That plus a foot of rain could be bad news for coastal areas. Many are also likely to lose electricity as a result of the storm. CNN anticipates that as many as a half million will be without power for up to a week. It could possibly be worse than that. Al

Brackman still impresses

Just acquired a copy of The Other Nuremberg by Arnold C. Brackman. I don't know why it took me so long to get the book, which was released back in the mid-1980s. I suppose I was a little spooked by the fact that the manuscript was completed during the time I was Arnold Brackman's journalism student at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury. He died just after finishing it. Mr. Brackman was a dynamic and passionate teacher. He was physically small but had a presence that commanded attention and respect. I recall his gray, carelessly combed hair, his bright blue eyes, and his crooked fingers, flattened at the ends, likely from years of "hammering" news stories out of manual typewriters. I recall his preference for Foster's lager (I scrupulously avoid the beverage, waiting for an appropriate moment) and for watching baseball but nothing else on television. And I remember a scarf-like thing, with small pockets in the ends, that he wore on cold winter days. Mr

Irene's coming for a visit

Looks like Hurricane Irene will be Tropical Storm Irene when she collides with Connecticut sometime on Sunday. (Perhaps the kids will have a "tropical storm day" instead of their first day of school on Monday.) The storm is currently sweeping up from the Bahamas. The "cone of uncertainty" - the collection of possible paths the storm will take - sweeps up the east coast of the United States. At this moment, Connecticut sits right in the center of the cone, meaning we're likely to experience heavy rains and strong winds no matter what course Irene finally decides. This image from NOAA is a look at how winds are expected to pick up over the next few days. It calls for tropical storm-level winds here in Connecticut.

What quake?

We had an earthquake, and I missed it. Near as I can figure it, the three kids and I were sitting in our car in the New Milford Stop & Shop parking lot (finishing our late McD's lunch before shopping), when the earthquake hit. I first heard about it when we entered the store. People were huddled here and there, commenting about how strong the vibrations were. I did not join in the conversations because I felt nothing. The kids felt nothing. Could be that my three teens were bouncing the car around so much while they shook in time with the music of their private iPods that it was impossible to note the earth's rumbling crust. I've embedded a neat little widget that tells the reported intensity of the earthquake at any given ZIP code. Despite the fact that I reported feeling nothing at all, the widget says New Milford experienced something on the order of a 2.9 quake.

What I thought I heard from GOP debate

I wasn't taking notes, so I may be just a bit off on some of my quotes. But this is what I believe I heard at the last debate of GOP Presidential hopefuls. Bachmann: I'm more conservative than you are. Pawlenty: Nuh uh. Bachmann: Uh huh. Pawlenty: No way. Bachmann: Yes way. Pawlenty: I'm so conservative that I don't care if poor people have health care. Romney: Well, I've never cared about the disadvantaged either. Pawlenty: Oh yeah? Romney-care, Romney-care. Romney: Real mature! Cain, Pawlenty, Bachmann, Huntsman, Gingrich and most of audience: Romneycare, Romneycare. Romney: [sniffle] Questioner: Mr. Gingrich, how come your campaign sucks so bad? Gingrich: No fair asking "Gotcha" questions! Santorum: I'm so conservative that, when I'm president, I will see to it that we return to colonial status in the British Empire. Huntsman: I'm so conservative that I believe taking money away from pub

Occupational hazard

You probably couldn't tell just by looking at me [roll eyes], but I have put on a few pounds since writing has become my occupation. This appears to be a natural development - an occupational hazard. I've noticed that the act of writing has peculiar effects on the human body. It makes one hungry without burning a great many calories and makes one tired without the benefit of exercise. This wasn't always the case. I recall that the use of manual typewriters years ago was superb aerobic exercise (particularly for the left arm that was forever slapping the carriage return lever). And, if you ever had to move your writing device, it could qualify as weight-training as well. Pushing the buttons on feather-light keyboards just doesn't have the same effect. I've heard of one "green" option that might help writers keep slim. It involves hooking an electrical generator up to a treadmill or stationary bike and then plugging a notebook PC into the generator.

It's safe; just ask the kid with the cast

Had a conversation with my kids about the safety of trampolines. One of them referred to a friend who had a trampoline and insisted that they were safe. "Which friend is that?" I asked. "You know, the one with the big cast on his arm," was the answer. It was a humorous moment. But to parents the situation is far from funny. According to a CBS News story this year, in 2009 there were 98,000 trampoline injuries so severe that they required Emergency Room treatment. Eighty-two percent of those injuries were to children under the age of 15. Manufacturers have made some efforts to keep children from falling off the devices and from coming in violent contact with the hard metal frames. We've all seen the padding and the nets that have been added to trampolines. Strangely, manufacturers often sell the things without these safety features. Even when trampolines are equipped with these safety measures, the pads and nets can easily be removed. It is also importa