Vespa crabo and friends

Those who know would call our title subject a hornet, which along with its associate the verspula germanica or wasp; is one of the little known objects of Hurricane Irene”s wrath. And even though I am one of those who had incurred their wrath at various times ( since I suffer from  a pronounced allergic reaction to their stings) I feel a duty to come to their defense.

We in North Carolina suffered significant damage from Irene although ours was not as widespread as that in some northeastern states. Hard to tell that to the residents of Hatteras though. One species that was significantly affected was those of the stinging variety. The combination of wind and water wreaked havoc on their nests and in the words of  the N C Division of Public Health may have caused them to be very aggressive as  a result. That’s a real no brainer, huh?

Come on, if your nest  was waterlogged and then blown several hundred  feet from its preferred location, you might be in a bad mood also. So, for a while give these guys  a wide berth and please, if at all possible, avoid using the Raid.


September 4, 2011 Posted by | Weather | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Waiting for Irene

As most of the country knows, we on the east coast are waiting for the arrival of Hurricane Irene. She has already stirred up things prior to her arrival here and so we wait with bated breath, I guess. The weather people, both on air and online have been talking for what seems like an eternity. Where will it go, how fast is it moving, has it changed directions and so on. There is a need for information and I  am thankful we have access to more of that commodity than in years past. But, at times I have  been like one of the people living on my mail route who told me she just had to get outside and get away from the near constant coverage. And, a memo to the  weather people , screaming and gesticulating about what may happen provided no better info than a calm, reasoned approach. The aim is to not create panic, is it?

We have just about completed our storm prep. The water and the batteries and appropriate food  have  been acquired. The cars have fuel and we have a bit of $ on hand, just in case. I am waiting to fill up the tub with water, trying to squeeze in one more shower.

It was interesting to note the ongoing preparations today as I went about  my duties. There are only a few businesses with boarded up windows, 10 that I saw, and almost no residences that took this approach. I guess the most interesting and almost amusing thing I learned was about coffee. When a power outage is anticipated, one should make a  pot of coffee the night before and then heat it one cup at a time by using a match. Great idea for coffee fans such as myself.

So, now we wait and as I do, a verse comes to mind that became meaningful to me in 2003, during Hurricane Isabel.

Thou dost rule the swelling of  the sea; When its waves rise, Thou dost still them.  Psalm 89:9

To all those in the projected path,


August 26, 2011 Posted by | Weather | , , , , | 3 Comments

Japan’s Cruel Ironies

Pacific Ring of Fire

Image via Wikipedia

Things seem to be going from bad to worse and even beyond in Japan. I skimmed an article today written by Cynthia Tucker that emphasized a point that I have  made in talking to others. That would be the dependence upon and even faith that we have in technology. Her article drew an analogy between the tragedy in Haiti and the three-pronged tragedy that has occurred in Japan. In an underdeveloped country such as Haiti, one would somewhat expect a natural disaster to cause the  enormous devastation that took place. But, one of, if not the most technologically advanced  countries in the world, with all of its preparation has still incurred enormous devastation of its own from the tsunami and earthquake. This holds a   lesson  for other advanced countries, particularly one that has a significant population  in the Pacific Ring of Fire( Hint, hint, San Francisco,etc).

But there are still other ironies that are hard to ignore.Japan , of course, is the only county ever to suffer the effects of a nuclear attack. Now, it is incurring  an as yet undetermined effect from damaged nuclear power plants. I think that there are some points to be made vis-a-vis Japan and its reliance on nuclear power to generate its electricity. One would almost think that Japan is the mpst nuclear dependent country in the world.  Japan’s 54  reactors produce about 30% of its electricity. That figure puts  the country as the 15th most nuclear dependent country, far behind both Lithuania and France,both of which get over 75% of their electricity via the  nuclear route.

But, having said that, what still nags at me the most  is that of  which I spoke at the onset. Technology is not the cure-all and science  does not nor will it ever have all the answers. Yet, we( meaning the United States primarily, but others to be sure) think that if we throw enough money or scientific knowhow out there, that anything is possible. Sometimes, it makes me to just want to unplug, sorta the human equivalent of acoustic music, huh?

March 18, 2011 Posted by | Technology, Weather | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Two very different headlines

The nation of Japan has been struck by a  massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake, the largest on record in that country. The tsunami spawned by that quake has compounded the death and destruction that the Japanese will have to face. Estimates of those who lost their lives have already topped 1,000. Sadly, I expect that figure to rise considerably. Reports  from people in Japan speak of  tremendous destruction to roads, buildings, homes etc. A major nuclear power has also suffered damage adding yet another element to what must an almost surreal scene.

For a country already reeling economically, this natural disaster has presented the country with quite a difficult challenge to overcome. Our country is already providing help and people can take part through the American Red Cross and probably other agencies as well.

But what seems to be the biggest news story in our country today? Why, of course it is the ongoing struggle between the NFL owners and the NFLPA  which is basically the players labor union. Extended negotiations broke off  today as the union voted to decertify, thus tossing the ball into the legal system. Who will prevail and when is anyone’s guess. There will ultimately be a settlement and both the players and owners will  do well. Unfortunately, if there is a work stoppage, those most likely affected will be those who depend on the league for their livelihoods. I actualy have almost no sympathy for either side and the angst that many of  the pepople involved ( especially the players)  seem to be feeling and trying to gert us to feel.

On one side, there are themega rich owners and on the other are the  players;many of whom are make quite  a hefty income. Admittedly, the average career is relatively short but the average incomes are large. But they will never be large enough, I guess, since a 2009 study by Sports Illustrated estimated that 78% of NFL players will go bankrupt in their lifetimes. Guessing that is higher than in most other occupations. Chew on this additional piece of info. The NFLPA has distributed a booklet to each of its players  with advice on to cut costs if the lookout materializes. One of  those pieces of advice, cut the size of your entourage.

It is sort of hard for me to balance these labor issues with the stark reality facing the Japanee people. For them, we must pray.

March 11, 2011 Posted by | Sports, Weather | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Just For Fun

Climate change news has been much in the news of late. All the ferocious winter weather has been claimed by those who are devoted to the gospel of man-made climate change and by those who are not. Our favorite environmentalist, algore, has even written a poem. You can read it  here, if you like.

In that spirit, I have composed  a little missive of my own, in honor of the goracle.

The Ballad of algore

The climate is changing

The temps  they are rising

Polar bears are losing their ice

Is there anyone who knows what to do?

An unassuming man, all dressed in tan

Said, “I can show you the way”

The Nobel Committee said huzzah

We shall give you a large prize

So people will notice you more

Yes, he has  quite  a large house in Tennessee

So he needs  more energy than you and me

Some call him a prophet

Far ahead of his time

I think maybe he wants to relieve you of your last dime

Ladies and gentlemen, climate guru extraordinaire- algore

February 18, 2010 Posted by | Culture, Weather | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Snowing in Copenhagen

This is just great, even better than having a white Christmas here at home. As most of us probably know, the great and wonderful climate change/global warming confab is ongoing in Denmark. Gives new meaning to the term “rotten in Denmark ” does it not. Algore is there, Hilary is there and Obama is on the way. Also present is that notable environmentalist Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, a big oil producing country, by the way.

There have been a couple of things that have drawn my attention. One is, of course, the weather. Yesterday, there were 4 inches of snow and counting with  a chance Copenhagen could have its first white Christmas in 14 years. Bloomberg News had a great headline, “Blizzard Dumps Snow on Copenhagen as leaders  Battle Warming.” Gotta love that. Hope algore brought his mittens.

The second item is  more disturbing but really not surprising. Hugo Chavez made  an unscheduled speech yesterday, chock full of ranting and raving and attacks on capitalism as the world’s great evil.( Sounds like Michael – Boycott Connecticut-Moore)  The assembled gathering erupted into applause as Chavez spoke, firmly identifying themselves with Chavez’ praise of socialism and communism. Does this make environmentalists to all be left-leaning? Sounds like it to me. Oh, one more comment from Chavez. I find this to be hilarious although it was not meant to be. He called the world a “dictatorship” and said it should be broken up. Again, loud applause. Funny comment, coming from a dictator, don’t you think?

December 18, 2009 Posted by | Politics, Weather | , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Feeling Global Warming?

Have you ever wished for a do over or a say over? Maybe you said something  and as soon as the words went forth, you reached out to try and  grab them? Well, I wonder if Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D, MI feels just a little like that? The Michigan senator was recently appointed to the Senate Energy Committee and perhaps to celebrate that event she made some  interesting observations to the Detroit News. as reported by Henry Payne of the Detroit News she said, ” Climate change is very real ( well, duh, it changes every day and sometimes multiple times) , Global warming creates volatility. I feel it when I am flying.The storms are more volatile.We are paying the price in more hurricanes and tornadoes.” There is a lot of interesting stuff in there. But let us hone in on just one sentence- “I feel it when I am flying.” Now, admittedly, I don’t fly a lot so I cannot speak as any kind of expert. But Mrs THT just returned from a round trip flight to Atlanta and did not report feeling any global warming. A bit of turbulence perhaps, but no global warming reported.

It would be easy and  kinda fun to laugh at a statement like this and if I made it at work tomorrow, I would get some laughs or perhaps some strange looks. But, come on now, this lady is a  United States senator and is in  a  position to influence legislation that could have a dramatic effect on energy costs, legislation, etc. And she feels global warming. Somebody, say it  ain’t so.

Do you think if someone gave her the quote about if you don’t like the weather now, wait a minute  and it will change, she would even tie that in to global warming, uh, climate change?  I saw some climate change over the weekend when it rained buckets. Does that count?  Our Senators from North Carolina don’t seem to say really cool stuff like this. Should I be happy or unhappy? Just wondering. And, just one more. Is the weather a Democrat or a Republican?

August 17, 2009 Posted by | Weather | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

What’s in a Name

Lately we have had two hurricanes to make an appearance, Dolly and Cristobal ;a male and a female name . This made me think a bit about the naming process . For many years , all hurricanes were named with female names . Then after some protesting , the process was altered to include male names . And more recently , names of different ethnicities have been included . So, it would seem that all groups who desire to be included in the selection process are now represented . Au contrarie . There are two major unrepresented groups who cannot speak for themselves, so I shall speak for them . I refer to dogs and cats . Where , pray tell, are hurricanes named Fido, Spot, Fluffy , Rover , Lassie , Rin- Tin-Tin , Bullet , Satchel, Bucky, Maramduke, Astro – you get the picture . After all, when there is a hurricane, it usually rains cats and dogs . So, let the lobbying began . Hurricane Spot anyone ? (Other dog and cat names will be considered . )

July 23, 2008 Posted by | Weather | , , | Leave a comment