Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"What's up with that?"

This was how he posed the question to me this evening. It struck me as odd. I suppose some context is in order.

Today has been a bad weather day for my corner of the Deep South. After midnight on Tuesday, high winds and a few tornados had left hundreds of thousands without power. Little One's school had no power, so no school. My office, some 20 miles away, was also in the dark. Thankfully we had power at home, so I was able to telecommute and get some work done.  By noon, it was a pretty day, but the forecast was ominous.

Late in the afternoon the local TV stations abandoned their "regularly scheduled programming" to start tracking the severe weather. And the weather today lived up to - hell, exceeded - the warnings of the weather folks.

The live news footage of a tornado that was estimated to be almost a mile wide was horrific. And it was tracking towards the metropolitan area where I live, and to the specific neighborhood where I live. Even though the storm was moving quickly, waiting for its arrival seemed to take a very long time.

Little One was playing in the apartment with one of her school chums. The Neighbor Kid's phone rang, and her mother wanted her to come back home. So Little One and I walked Neighbor Kid home. On the way back, Little One ran at a sprint to get back to her 'safe area'.

I took a more leisurely pace, and encountered a man in the parking lot. He was watching the skies, as were a number of my neighbors. He asked if I had been following the weather and I responded in the affirmative. He spoke of the video of the large tornado that was reported to be heading our way, as well as the 4 or 5 other tornados that were also being concurrently tracked in neighboring counties. He remarked that he couldn't recall  a time when we had so many large, destructive tornados at one time. Then he asked 'what's up with that?"

I don't know if that was a real a question, or merely a rhetorical one, and admittedly I was little confused. Could something about my mode of dress led him to believe that I possessed some sort of expertise in looking at clouds and explaining the weather? My shorts were old, and stained with the paint of our prior residence. My flip-flops weren't special either, and my t-shirt, too, was rather mundane.

And yet he waited for a response. My mind fumbled for an appropriate answer. Being in the Bible Belt should I toss out some theological reference about God smiting us for our wayward behavior, like beer drinking, dancing, Coke zero, and the designated hitter rule? Should I offer up some pseudo-scientific explanation, or go with some banal global warming sound bite?

After what seemed like forever, I shrugged my shoulders and said "I don't know."

Thankfully the storm passed a mile or so to the north of where we live. That said, per the 10 o'clock news there were 53 confirmed deaths in the state with more expected. What's up with that?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A day Made for a Picnic

Easter Sunday. For Christians, this is the holiday. The day the marks that marks victory over death, and the promise of eternity, redeemed from all sins.

Setting aside the religious nature of the holiday, and even its historical significance and fascinating tale, today was a beautiful Spring day. Pupps 2.0 and I headed to a friend's home for a picnic. I had the top down on the Swede, and we were enjoying big band music as we rolled up.

M. was ready for us, a quilt spread out in the soft grass in the sunshine. We unloaded our edibles and sat down to eat. The menu was simple, ham, cornbread, hoppin' john, green beans, mashed potatoes and champagne - yes, an odd mix indeed.

We laughed and dined, listening to tunes on playing softly on her cell phone. Pupps 2.0 frolicked in the yard. It was hot, though, and after eating and cleaning up our messes she brought her dog out and we sat in the swing. Some of the neighborhood kids came up and played with the dogs and told us about their latest adventures.

Soon, though, it was time for Pupps and me to hop back into the car and drive off into the sunshine. Full on our lunch, friendship and good times.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

And the award for worst haircut goes to....Jud!

I needed to get a haircut this week. Like many men-folk in their 40s and beyond, my hair is receding and thinning, and what is left is turning grey. I have come to grips with that, I think, but even so I am a little vain about my appearance, and do prefer to have a haircut that I believe flatters my mediocre features.

The haircut started going badly. In a fit of frustration, I instructed the tonsorial technician to just "cut the rest of it off - the damage has been done." So, now my ears look even larger than they did before. As one co-worker and Little One have both noticed, I look a lot like the fellow in this photo.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Easter and Easter Island

Not too long ago Little One and I had a date to see the film "Hop." I can't say I recommend it, but that is neither here nor there. In one of the early scenes of the film, a camera flies towards land from the seaward. As the rocky shoreline comes into view, so too do the large stone monoliths of Easter Island. The location appears on the screen, and an animated rabbit ("EB") is sunning himself on one of the silent statues.

Little One leaned over and asked me, "Is Easter Island a real place?" I answered in the affirmative, and was proceeding to explain that the island is not command central for the holiday nor is the island overrun with rabbits, but before I could get my verbose explanation onto my tongue she had lost interest and was engrossed in the movie.

What little I know of the island comes from Leonard Nimoy shows from the 70's, the occasional kids book, and perhaps some library volume on vanished peoples of the earth. Jared Diamond had been the most recent to offer me an explanation of the island and its inhabitants, via sketches in "Guns, Germs and Steel" and more thoroughly in "Collapse."

As the Christian holiday approaches, I am thinking of candy, and bunnies, and warm Polynesian islands....

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Poem and a Picture for Monday

by: W. B. Yeats (1865-1939)
      HY should I blame her that she filled my days
      With misery, or that she would of late
      Have taught to ignorant men most violent ways,
      Or hurled the little streets upon the great,
      Had they but courage equal to desire?
      What could have made her peaceful with a mind
      That nobleness made simple as a fire,
      With beauty like a tightened bow, a kind
      That is not natural in an age like this,
      Being high and solitary and most stern?
      Why, what could she have done, being what she is?
      Was there another Troy for her to burn?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Jud's Rules to Live By, part 51

In no particular order;
 - when fighting with an important woman in your life, you need to determine if you would rather be right or be happy.
- when in doubt, lightly grease the cooking surface.
- don't even take a clock at face value. You might be disappointed with the movement.

Monday, April 11, 2011


In the L4-L5 area. Feels like a steak knife has been inserted between my vertebrae. Not loving life so much tonight.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cookies, Little One and Mother o' Jud

I am very fortunate to say that I have a kind, helpful, caring and loving mother. She is getting older, and is bit forgetful at times, but nothing dangerous (yet). I had to work late last night on a project and she volunteered to drive the 1.5 hours or so down to my home. pick up my daughter from school, take her to the dentist, bring her home, make dinner, do homework, etc. When I came home late I also discovered that she had straightened up the place and made a huge batch of some of my favorite cookies. (Known as 'Ranger Cookies' because she learned the recipe from other National Park Service wives in the late 60's, they are a varietal of oatmeal cookie with pecans and coconut.)

Little One is all about MOJ. But then I was, too, as a little feller and so was Teenager when he was little, as was my nephew (The Scientist). Jud falls by the wayside in the presence of MOJ, known in the vernacular as 'Nana'.

Pupps 2.0 seems to have taken a shine to her, too. I think it has something to do with crumbs and leftovers that occasionally hit the floor when MOJ is around.

Thanks Mom o' Jud. I love you.