Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Hurricane Season Is Here.

I watched a somewhat puerile local weather man on TV earlier. He said some of us had received 'localized' rain and thunderstorms. I’ve never understood what ‘localized’ means. The word hospitalized means that someone has been put in a hospital. I would have thought that localized would mean that someone had been put in their local (pub). But then again, I’ve never understood Dew Point.

Mr. Boy Weather Man said that there's something brewing in the Atlantic - enough for the weather forecaster to send us mere mortals to Home Depot to buy lashings of batteries, plywood for our windows and Winn Dixie (Floridian supermarket) for bottled water and canned foods. And after the weather forecasts then come the commercials from Home Depot and Winn Dixie. This Atlantic activity ‘might’ be a tropical storm, which ‘could’ become a ‘hurricane’. “Stay tuned for the next three days, and we might be able to tell you more.” I still have some canned foods from 2004.

This local news station is really quite pathetic. I swear that their weather forecasts are based upon looking out of the window. Their studio is not too far away, and recently there was a tremendous downpour which covered the whole Tampa Bay area. They continued to say there was a 20% chance of rain that day. Duh! Their traffic reports always tell you that there is a short delay on the Howard Franklin (Bridge) of about a quarter of a mile. Sitting six miles behind stationary cars on the HF does make you want to break the radio.

Hurricane Season (officially June 1st to November 30th) is a godsend for weather forecasters. They can stand there in front of the camera with loads of colorful charts showing that any disturbance in the Atlantic ‘could’ become a hurricane. Obviously, we must all be vigilant and prepared. We ‘could’ even have to be evacuated. This is where millions of South Eastern US people take to their cars, load them with bottled water and canned foods and drive ‘somewhere safe’. Most end up riding out the storm in their cars as the roads are clogged. Eating cold baked beans from a can and drinking bottled water is not to be encouraged as it might exacerbate the wind situation. All commercials before and after the weather forecasts are for Home Depot/Lowes, or hurricane service vendors or supermarkets.

This smacks of crying ‘wolf’, and people tend to ignore the warnings. TV Stations were castigated for this a few years back, but then Florida got hit by four hurricanes within a five week period. (That was a scary time. I shall never forget the sight of a fully grown uprooted tree traveling down the street at about 30 – 35 mph.) But the weather forecasters were happy again. Their credibility was restored (in their eyes). I suspect that after three years, most people will tend not to listen to them again, which is a shame, but they really shouldn’t try to scare the crap out of people for the benefit of advertising revenue.

A worrying aspect of all this is that one of the major satellites that gives information and monitors any hurricane activity has developed a fault, and ‘could’ be sending out wrong data. There’s that word ‘could’ again.

Where is Michael Fish when you need him?

Here endeth today’s lesson.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

The Unfortunate Ms P. Hilton – A View From The US

The cry to her mother from this despicable cretin of “Mom, it’s not right” maybe says it all. This 26 year old (going on three) was convicted of driving under the influence of drink or drugs. Her license was suspended. She could have easily killed someone. And she was fined $1,500. My friend Dave Matthews was fined $2,000 and he has had to re-mortgage his house to pay the fine and the subsequent rehab etc. I doubt if P Hilton had to do that. Fines should be apportioned to their wealth. Fines are meant to ‘hurt’. Her fine could have built several hospitals/homes for the poor.

She then decided to drive her car not once but twice without a valid license. Go To Jail, Do Not Pass Go. America is agog that this woman could be treated as if she was a goddess. Even the racist ‘Reverend’ Al Shrapton says she should be locked up. But his contention was that as she was white, she got preferential treatment. Pot, kettle, black, Al. Remind me of OJ, Michael Jackson, and Mike Tyson…. Where is that other racist Rev. J Jackson when he is needed – when he’s not begatting another child that is, while his wife scrubs the kitchen floor.

The latest news is that Hilton’s lawyer ($$$ per nano-second which doesn’t even hit her purse) is appealing – nothing about her is appealing in my view, especially her videos. If I was the judge, I would double her sentence to 90 days and then 180 days every time she appeals, and she has the gall to turn up in court 20 minutes late. I wonder what Judge Judy would make of her.

This ‘lady’ has zero respect for the law. Just a trumped up little tart. Rich, but still a tart.

Here endeth today’s lesson.

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Mystique of Flying

Flying to the US

For those of you who are naive enough to think that flying an airplane to some exotic location is romantic, let me say just one word - sphericals. In recent years, it seems that the airlines have perfected the art of making seats smaller, and the aisle width narrower, which insures that your elbow will get attacked by a cart several times during the flight. Be that may, this tale of woe is only part of my intrepid journey from Birmingham, England, to Tampa, Florida via Newark, New Jersey.

The flight attendants on the first leg informed us that the flight was ‘extremely full’ (I wonder what ‘full’ would mean), and would people who have reached their seats please get out of the way so that others can pass by before they get their myriad things out of their bags. This advice always falls on deaf ears. One guy insisted that he would only be a few seconds getting his crap out of his bag, but the flight attendant finally took action and demanded that the doofus move out of the way. It actually took him over ten minutes later, and he duly decanted three UK newspapers all over the floor. Why do people do this? Are they retarded or what? Do they really want the plane to leave late? Then there was the loony who brought his way-oversized bag on board and demanded that it be placed into an overhead locker. He’d never had this problem with the airline before, and his father knows someone in authority. He actually demanded to speak to the pilot before the errant bag was taken off and checked in. He also had a very large nose - it explained a lot. I actually suggested to him that he read the rules, but apparently they do not apply to him, and I would be wise to shut up. The attendant advised him to shut up or he’d be taken off. His wife glared at me. I was scared, really scared….

Then, worse was to come, there is always the statutory mother and screaming baby on any flight. This flight from Birmingham to Newark had the screaming baby. The baby screamed the whole way - I would if I was 8 months old. All of 7 hours and 25 minutes. Why do people want to take their babies on a flight is beyond me. And to add to my woe, the parents think the baby is cute. If they take a dog or a cat, the animal gets a shot, and is placed in the hold with luggage, and everyone gets to enjoy their small can of beer at $5.

After the meal and 15 stabs at my elbow, we duly landed at Newark. I’m going to suggest a name change to New Awkward. The Immigration and Customs folks couldn’t be friendlier. Unfortunately, the fact that half the population of Europe has just arrived means that we all have to go through ‘Security’. Here one finds hundreds of people with TSA on their shirts, pants, jackets and anything else they can think of. The one missing part is their ability to speak English. I think that TSA stands for Totally Stupid A**holes. I cannot believe that they would subject us ‘aliens’ to this after the folks in Birmingham had gone through the same rigmarole and confiscated my Heinz Salad Cream as it is ‘liquid’. I’ve never heard of a bomb being made out of Salad Cream, but what the heck….

It seems that my shoes indicated that they had metal in the heels. They were x-rayed twice. This confirmed that there was metal in them. Ditto my upper jaw, courtesy of a mishap in Ghent, Belgium (aka Fractured Jaw according to my children) some years back. The outcome was being marched to a ‘private’ room, and strip-searched. I seem to get strip-searched on many trans-Atlantic flights. I cannot believe that it is because they want to admire my body. Perhaps the name Aled is Rukmaniksthan for ‘terrorist’.

I then visited the ‘men’s room’. We call it the lavvy in the Old Country. I somehow managed to lose my cell phone. I discovered this after I’d boarded my connecting flight to Tampa. My day couldn’t get worse.

Oh, yes it could. When I got home, I discovered that my Broadband modem was busted, and the Mumbai techies advised me it would take $149 to replace it. And 10 business days for the new one to arrive. Why they can’t say two weeks is beyond me. A call to their Billing Department showed them the error of their ways as I have been a loyal customer for 10 years. The cost will be borne by AOL, but not the 10 days. In my jet-lagged state, I realized that I had my old trusty dial-up modem, and so, I wired that up. At least I can now get my emails etc., and feel like I’m human again. The only website I cannot access is the UK’s communist newspaper the Telegraph, but I suspect they only cater to Broadband customers anyway.

Getting home was bliss. I can cope with my snail-mail (just about) with 25 offers of credit cards, and the perfect cure for cellulite. Even e-harmony has written to me.

I realized though, that I can really survive without a cell phone and Internet access! But only just!

Here endeth today’s lesson.