Friday, May 30, 2008

"Fried Fridays: Goin' hog wild..."

...or wild hog...

I think we can all agree and understand that the adolescent male is a querulous creature that is both predictable and never predictable (except to predict that they will be unpredictable). A certain 18-year old helped to uphold that right of Life's passage recently...

DATELINE: SCHWERIN, GERMANY


Oh, to be free from constraints and rules and regulations and proper behavior. When you're approximate to that legal fulcrum of 18, you are invincible. Like that scene from "Titanic" out on the ship's bow when with the arms spread wide and the wind whipping your flowing locks, you are the freest of birds.

It's a limited time offer, of course. See store and history books for details.

So this guy and a friend go steal a car...an Opel (I sure hope it was more than the Opel my sister had waaaaay back in the 70s). Being in a stolen vehicle and (I'm sure) the speed limit representing but a mere suggestion to the duo, they sped off to seek more troubles, worsened by the police taking up the cross-country pursuit.


It should come to no surprise that once a road-block was set-up the end was near. Thankfully, no one was killed when they collided into one of the squad cars; the police were able to nab the passenger quickly enough, but the adroit driver absconded into the nearby forest.

'Twas dark. T'were many, many trees. T'weren't any street lights to help the police see...and they soon lost track of the emboldened miscreant, regrouping to formulate additional search plans.


Initially, a 'rescue' plan was not on thei
r top 10 list of possibilities...but with a faint "HEEEEELP! SOMEBODY HEEEEELP MEEEEEEE!!!" emanating from the foreboding nighttime woods, they soon realized they needed to add that option to the list.

Following the fearful pleas, the police soon found the lad literally shaking in his boots...as he had been confront
ed, cornered, and challenged by an angered wild boar protecting his herd, which the young escapee had run upon accidentally.

A word of caution: do not attend a wild boar party without an invitation.


With limited fanfare, the boars were shooed away, the runaway arrested, thus ending this rather unusu
al scenario.

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As you may have already gathered, my brain is always randomly firing ideas, word associations, jokes, creative solutions, whatever the flavor-of-the-moment is. And so I mused over
this story and came up with a quick pun worthy of a groan:

Where in Italy do wild boar prefer to live?

Tuskany.

I guess you could stretch and say 'Boartofino' or 'Roam' (since they love to do that)...but I digress...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

And now for some humor...

Much-needed humor, I might add...between the $4 gallon of gas to an economy and government with serious 'issues' to my consternating computer and related conundrums...humor just might relieve a little of the tension for us all...

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1. Two antennas met on a roof, fell in love and got married. The ceremony was just so-so, but the reception was excellent.

2. A jumper cable walks into a bar. The bartender says,
'I'll serve you, But don't start anything.'

3. Two peanuts walk into a bar…one was a salted.

4. A dyslexic man walks into a bra…

5. A man walks into a bar with a slab of asphalt under his arm, and says,
'A beer please, and one for the road.'

6. Two cannibals are eating a clown. One says to the other,
'Does this taste funny to you?'

7. 'Doc, I can't stop singing 'The Green, Green Grass of Home.'
‘That sounds like Tom Jones Syndrome.'
'Is it common?’
‘Well, it’s Not Unusual…’

8. Two cows are standing next to each other in a field.
Daisy says to Dolly, 'I was artificially inseminated this morning.'
‘I don't believe you,' says Dolly.
'It's true…no bull!' exclaims Daisy.

9. An invisible man marries an invisible woman. The kids were nothing to look at, either.

10. Deja-Moo: The feeling that you've heard that bull before.

11. I went to buy some camouflage trousers the other day, but I couldn't find any.

12. I went to a seafood disco last week...and pulled a mussel.

13. What do you call a fish with no eyes? A fsh.

14. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. One turns to the other and says,'Dam!'

15. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can't have your kayak and heat it too.

16. A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel, and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of the office, And asked them to disperse.
'But why,' they asked, as they moved off.
'Because,' he said, 'I can't stand chess-nuts boasting in an open foyer.'

17. A woman has twins, and gives them up for adoption. One of them goes to a family in Egypt , and is named 'Ahmal.' The other goes to a family In Spain ; they name him 'Juan.'
Years later, Juan sends a picture of himself to his birth mother. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wishes she also had a picture of Ahmal.
Her husband responds, 'They're twins! If you've seen Juan, you've seen Ahmal.'

(take your time…this next one is a real tongue-twister…)

18. Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him a…
“super-calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis”...

19. And finally, there was the Triad morning meteorologist who blogged nineteen different puns to his friends and family, with the hope that at least ten of the puns would make them laugh.
No pun in ten did.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

"Pardon my adjustments..."

Just to be upfront, my blog posts may be rather spotty for yet another day or two as I've kind of run into a pickle...and I ain't talking no baby gherkin, either...more like one of those giant ones you can buy (or used to could) singly in a bag of vinegar based juice that you can snack on for an eternity (flashback to being a kid in Columbus, GA where I'd go to the local 7-11 and get one of those pickle bags for $0.25, I think...).


My desktop computer tower is, well, now 'dead'. I had noticed a couple of months ago the CD and DVD drive bays weren't working properly, and later weren't working or even recognized on the computer utilities tree. Operated around that; but last week an older problem returned where one of the hard drives would loudly and shortly SCRAAAAATCH and freeze up solid, with a hardboot the only fix possible. It got more frequent the end of last week, and then Sunday it would do it within 5 minutes of start-up.

Turned off the power...let it sit a bit, then thought I'd try and reseat the suspected drive for good measure, and that kind of grew the big pickle real fast: the start-up screen wants boot-up device to be inserted (I had been prepared to reformat anyway as I'd backed up the bulk of my information and programs)...the kicker is, of course, the computer can't 'see' either of the drives, hence I can't even boot up from them. For now, I'm stuck dead in the water, like a masted sailing ship far out to sea, whose trade winds have moved and left me in a big, big doldrum.

So, in hours of Sunday's frustration, I've shifted duties over to my laptop, which I was not going to use as a main computer, but too bad now - I've tapped it into knightdom. I did install my audio recording program on it, Adobe Audition 1.5, and I can process music professionally as I did on my tower; however, my sound card for microphone input seems far too inadequate to record directly through the computer's mic input, forcing me to now go record into an independent device (and far superior, anyway) and simply import that file into the laptop program. That will be today's experiment. Got the goods, just got to take the time and focus to figure it all out.

I say all that as I have a stack of things I have to tend to computer-wise, especially with my flutes and sound files of them....and these delays while I shift strategies has me uncomfortably backed up. In the midst of my frustrations must be an 'answer' that will ultimately improve and streamline my recording efforts...and where I'll be thankful for the Universal 'push' to move me over to the other side of the stream.

Quiet apologies go out to any of you who may be patiently waiting on various types of info from me...I have to believe I'll make bigger strides today, now that I'm passed yesterday's 'realization' that I'm, in a word, screwed...at least for the moment. And until I can get comfortably readjusted with all these recent 'issues', this blog may be a little quirky for a few more days. (As if it weren't quirky already!)

Off to the land of forecast data for now....wheeeeeeeee!!!

Friday, May 23, 2008

"Fried Fridays: How to bare your feelings..."

Even as a male, I'll be the first to admit the average guy can be a real jerk.

It would be nice if everyone were thoughtful and respectful of anyone of another sex, race, religion, persuasion...alas, we continue to be beset with cads and disrespectful blokes who can't seem to see anything beyond their nose...and that would be pushing it...

While it may seem cliche and stereotypical, it's nonetheless a truth that at a lot of construction sites men at the very least leer at attractive women, if not outright shout things, whistle, or make cat-calls to them. At this moment the road is being ripped up in front of my subdivision and I watch the sign-holders scope out the women in obvious fashion as they drive by at 5 mph. Not all do, of course, but all too many do...


DATELINE: KERIKERI, NEW ZEALAND


Take one attractive, easy-on-the-eyes Israeli lady in New Zealand, have her walk by a road construction site as she heads toward an ATM, only to have the guys being typical schmucks and saying insulting, degrading things of a sexual nature...


That's right...turn your head the other way...pretend you don't hear a word...don't give them the satisfaction of knowing they're rattling your cage...you GO, girl!...


Go to the ATM...insert your card...start undressing and...wait a minute here!...strip to your birthday suit while you withdraw money...(no, really, I can't make this up...)...then seductively get dressed again, and be on your way...
She was quoted as saying, "Bugger them, I'll show them what I've got!" Apparently she did it with aplomb.

Needless to say this was seen by more than the construction workers. The police were called, she was taken to the station, and after hearing her story and how she was so fed up with the comments that she decided to 'show her goods' and...geesh...the police politely told her that she can't do that in New Zealand.


Oh, to be a fly on that wall...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

6 guys named Mo'?


(click on pics to enlarge)

Yep. Mo' Flowers. Justs cleaning up and realized I hadn't posted a few shots from earlier - and it's always nice to look at nature stuff. In a prior post I showed you pics of Erect Trillium (Trillium erectum). This one is the Large-Flowering Trillium (Trillium grandiflora), whose large white petals turn pink with age...

Compare its center with the T. erectum below, which has not only the dark purple center and different looking stamens, but a beetle, to boot...

And now to the "I have no earthly idea what it is" department...hoping you readers can tell me what the next couple of flowers are. Looks like somebody planted them (as opposed to growing wild), but I'm clueless (no comments from the peanut gallery!)...

I do think this is one cool flower, especially the purple center section...

This plant had a geranium looking leaf, but, again, I've not run across it before. The flower hangs down, hence my shooting up to see it from below...


I'm always good for an abstract shot from a post-flowering Dandelion...how many a kid (and kid at heart) has picked these and blown these highly adaptive and mobile seeds!


One more day, Saddle Pals, and it's TGIF again...with a good lookin' holiday weekend overall (except maybe early Saturday). Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

"Just over 300..."

Just over 300 LSRs in the Southeast yesterday...more than a boatload.

LSRs are "local storm reports" which are official observations of severe weather and damage sent to the National Weather Service. They're tallied for the US at the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK, resulting in such products as the "storm reports" for yesterday's atmospheric conflagrations. No one, but no one could have predicted the wide-spread explosion of not only storms but pretty nasty ones, and lots of 'em all at the same time (see radars below). If you click on the map below, it will take you to that webpage and you can scroll down and read more details contained in all the reports. (NOTE: this map is preliminary as more late reports will likely be added today).

You can do the same with the map below put out by the Greenville-Spartanburg NWS office - click on it to go to their interactive map of reports:

I took the following random radar grabs below from home (click to enlarge)...I had on the Blacksburg, VA radar (for the Triad) and backed it out to show the region and red thunderstorm warning boxes picked up by neighboring radars...and even pink boxes for tornado warnings (of which there were others - with a storm overhead, I disconnected the computer for safety's sake).

4:21 PM

Above, while a few storms were getting nasty in the Triad, north and northeast of Raleigh the heavens had opened up with extreme vertical development and myriad fast-forming warnings, stacked up like silver dollar pancakes at IHOP...

4:39 PM

Within less than 20 minutes you could pretty well play connect-the-dots with the warnings and see the storm cells coalescing around the western Piedmont and Foothills...

5:20 PM

Whle there was most definitely some storm damage in parts of the Triad, it was far worse in the Raleigh market over to the coast...and the Charlotte market got hammered as well, having their own tornado warning pass through Mecklenburg County late in the afternoon. As I write this, there is no official tornado report for the pink tornado warning box you see above passing by Raleigh, though viewers sent in pictures of cloud rotations and wall clouds around that area.

-----------------------------------

But all is quiet now, and will be. Great weather to clean up and assess damage, and even to make repairs in the next week ahead. The next few days may not be the sunniest...and there is the possibility for isolated showers and storms late Friday...but overall we have 'quiet' weather, with a sunny Memorial Day in the 80s to look forward to.

Time to exhale deeply and breathe a sigh of relief, eh...


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

"We apologize for the delay..."

In short, one of my 2 internal hard drives (more than likely the 5 year old original one) is acting the fool and stopped abruptly 12 times yesterday afternoon...I'm unable at this time to post today lest I get cut off again, so check by later...I'll at least be able to post by tomorrow with my laptop, but AM storm potential in the Piedmont calleth for my efforts the first half of today.

Thanks for your patience!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Monday mop-up...

(click on pics to enlarge - sizes vary)

So much for Friday's outlook-glance of a 20% chance for storms on Sunday afternoon...I captured the above radar snag just before 4pm yesterday, when we had a right nice coverage of storms whipping through the Triad.

As has been the case lately, no moss grows between my toes on the weekends (actually, that would be kind of gross if that ever truly happened!). This past one was no exception. It was a weekend of dusting off the cobwebs and going, "Wheretheheck did I put THAT last time I used it???"

On Saturday I vended my Ugly Boy flutes at a small-ish one-day art festival in the quaint town of Saluda, NC, which I've done the past 3 years...it's right by my mom and sister in Tryon, so it's always good to see and spend some time with family. But setting up and operating a booth (read 10x10 tent, tables, racks, table cloths, office-type items, to start the long list of 'necessities') requires not only a lot of work, but a lot or organization. I let this show be a 'trial run' in advance of my much larger and more serious show booth at Bele Chere in Asheville over the last 3-day weekend in July.

Yep, forgot a little of this, a few of that, need to make some of this, buy a tad of that...and luckily the show, overall, sucked. (I figure it's okay to use that word since I heard Garrison Keillor say it in on a re-run of
Prarie Home Companion yesterday!). It was a gorgeous day, but the crowds weren't huge and I had been placed far on the edge of a venue with the back of the display booth mere feet from the active street, and part of a line of 4 booths between said street and an active parking lot that they didn't block off. Gas money and fees were covered with what meager sales I had, hence accepting the 'dry run' perspective for what it was. I did get a 3rd place 'vendor award' for my booth and wares, but when I was called to the awards ceremony, the lady handed it to me and said "Sorry, you only get a ribbon!". It was sadly humorous as the others got money. As always, the best part of any show is meeting some really neat people, connecting through a magical, spiritual musical instrument, watching them get excited...no substitute for those experiences.


As is usually the case when I visit mom, she has a laundry list of questions on how to do this and that on the computer. As you may know from recent blogs, she just got back from a trip to my brother's in Boston, and had taken some of her own pictures...only she had questions on how to use them for various functions. Within her pics were these of whom I call Willie Boo (I figured uncles have 'poetic license' to nickname relatives as they see fit!)...

If the above pics don't define 'cherubic' and 'innocence', I don't know what does...

Remember the post last week where I spoke of my grandfather, Papa? Mom now lives in his house, and when he built it he spent a lot of time strategically planting and placing various flowers and varieties of flowering shrubs. Couldn't help but take the little Canon S2 and do a little plinking, especially up close...


The above 2 rhododendron shots were from a plant that was radically cut back a few years ago, and this was the first year it bloomed since then...


Papa knew his plants...he set many varieties of azaleas out, each disposed to bloom at different times of the spring. As a result, there is a constant showcase colors as one blooms while another shrivels up and yet another's bud's continue to fatten to take over the palette charge. I find the splotches of color inside the blooms fascinating...

Tulip poplars are well-known trees here in the south...they tend to grow very tall and very straight, and they are appropriately named because their bloom is quite a gorgeous looking flower. Normally, you see just various petals and pieces that get blown down from the high canopy, but there were several whole flowers I found in mom's driveway. This one had a leaf attached...poplar leaves can be either 4- or 6-pointed (like the one above)...the 4-pointed really looks like a simple drawing of a tulip, as does the flower.

Anyhow, that's the big and the small of this past weekend. Have a good day, now, y'hear?!...

Friday, May 16, 2008

"Fried Fridays: Our Government $$$ at work"

If there is one thing that causes the heart to race and stress pot to simmer, it's an official letter from the IRS...or, in this case, a city tax assessor. A Michigander doctor recently received one of those letters.

In short, he underpaid the tax bill, and the City Assessor billed him again for the unpaid portion plus a penalty...

DATELINE: BRIGHTON, MICHIGAN

Is this a case of a simple oversight? Is it a case of rich doctor flaunting the bill and paying only what he wanted? Or is this a case of the government taking a stand to collect what is rightfully theirs?

Dr. Phil Kasanji sure got a good laugh out of the whole situation. Dave Gadja, Brighton finance director, says Kasanji doesn't have the right to waive a portion of his taxes.

Clearly the battle line was drawn and ground stood...all for $0.51. Well, technically, it was $0.48, but Gadja slapped on a $0.03 late assessment fee.

The doctor's original tax statement was for $158.48, and he wrote the check for just $158.00. To make sure Kasanji received his notice of delinquency, the Brighton office spent $5.21 on certified mailing fees to deliver the $0.51 bill.

That's pretty much the extent of this rather asinine situation. Doc wrote a check for the balance and immediately dropped it off (which will cost the office another 20-30 cents to process, I'm sure).

This Fried Friday's winner is ripe for commentary, but in this case I think it screams rather loudly all on it's own.


----------------

Enjoy the weekend, y'all!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

What Papa said...

That's what I called my dad's dad, Papa. While he's long since been playing that "back nine" in the sky (with perfect drives every hit, I'm sure!), he was relating to me one day the demise of the composition tennis courts at his local country club. Management was cutting funds for upkeep, letting go of seasoned workers and replacing them with cheaper inexperienced ones...and my grandfather kept saying over and over, "You get what you pay for...you get what you pay for."

From personal levels to corporate levels to big government echelons, similar principles run deep...only the scale differs. It's good to be a wise shopper and spender, and most times there are good deals to be found. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Nothing wrong with being thrifty, of course, as long as you don't start compromising the very fabric and integrity of your operation or personal being. And that is apparently easier said than done for a lot of people and businesses.

Whether it's a developed myopia, or a willful choice of ostrich-head-in-the-sand approach, I see many decisions made that are best described as 'shooting one's self in the foot.' Sometimes it may be from a lack of general awareness to potential pitfalls...sometimes it's all about the power of ego and pride, even greed that directs movement, come Hades or high water.

Balance. Gotta have that 'balance' in life, be it something as simple as nutrition, to stress levels and hyperactivity...be it a person or an organization, there has to be attention paid to balance, and you deal with that balance by tending to the basics and not losing sight of them. There's big stuff, and there's little stuff...and we constantly are sifting those out so we don't waste energy and time on the little stuff, unless it's a potential cancer. We pick and choose our battles, don't we...if we don't, we'll never, ever find that 'balance'.

When I hiked the whole Appalachian Trail over 20 years ago, I paid close attention to the weight I carried. Water weighs 8.34 pounds per gallon...you need it, but not too little and not too much. I knew hikers who would cut off the edges of their maps to trim ounces here and there, they got so fixated on the minutiae of extra weight. Didn't take me long to realize you can easily lose focus on the Big Picture when you over-focus on the itty bitty stuff. I prefer the Big Picture, myself. Then again, in that instance, I'm a bit of a pack mule with my 6'4" frame, so trimming map edges seemed rather silly.

Not sure how I got going on this rambling post...as they say about life, the joy is in the Journey, not the Destination. I'm sure I'll pick up on some of these points later and define them and their relevance a bit more...somewhere down the pike...

Balance...the little stuff...you get what you pay for...it's all about choices we get to make.

Stay tuned for my "Fried Fridays" winner tomorrow!. I'll be picking it later this afternoon...and I'm sure the pool will be overflowing with candidates, per usual...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tornado info updated...

The Raleigh NWS office has expanded upon it's report of last week's tornadoes in Clemmons and SE of PTI airport, having now added tracks and more detailed information.

CLICK HERE


Straight from corporate...

I've simply cut and paste this from our corporate E-zine (from yesterday):


NEWS 14 CAROLINA TO EXPAND TO THE COAST

News 14 Carolina will expand its 24-hour operation to the North Carolina coast. The service will begin Monday, September 22nd. The all local television news network is owned by Time Warner Cable and is an exclusive service for TWC customers. It originally launched in the Raleigh and Charlotte areas in 2002, expanding to Greensboro in 2006.

News 14 Carolina is hiring reporters, producers and managers to staff new offices in Wilmington and Newport. Time Warner Cable's advanced fiber network will connect these newsrooms to a network of others currently operating in Charlotte, Raleigh, Salisbury, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Chapel Hill and Goldsboro. News 14 Carolina will also add a coastal component to its award-winning website, www.news14.com . The website has more localized coverage across the state than any other website in North Carolina.

Along with customized news and sports, News 14 Carolina has the largest team of meteorologists at any television news organization in North Carolina. The Weather on the Ones feature offers viewers a customized local forecast every ten minutes.

Currently, News 14 Carolina is available exclusively to Time Warner Cable customers in 1.3 million homes. The additions of Wilmington and Newport will bring that number to more than 1.5 million subscribers. “It's important for us to have the capability to cover as much of the state as possible,” says News 14 Carolina general manager, Alan Mason. “The addition of Wilmington and surrounding areas will bring residents access to around the clock local and statewide news they have never had access to before.”

Since it's beginning, News 14 Carolina has been recognized for its quality journalism. This year, News 14 Carolina won a national Gracie Award for an outstanding local sports program for its series 18 Holes of Pine Needles. The Associated Press awarded Sports Night best sports program in North Carolina. Among its many accomplishments, News 14 has also been honored with an Emmy Award and Regional Edward R. Murrow award.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

"Oh, THAT'S where that came from..."

Are you a linguiphile, by chance?

Meet
General Ambrose Everett Burnside, Union Army officer whose Civil War campaigns were mainly focused in NC and east TN. A man of many distinctions, many hats, and many accolades outside of the military, he was...but none more famous, it seems, than his display of facial hair growth:

"Sideburns".

Well, they were initially called 'burnsides' but over time the word order got swapped since most of the hair in this style is on the 'side' of the face. In the spirit of Paul Harvey, "...and now you know...the rest of the story."

Many moons ago a good friend sent a link to a daily email for Wordsmith.org that has some weekly 'focus' for the 'word of the day' e-sends. "Sideburns" was a recent mailing...therein, you get "interesting tidbits" on words, their meanings, and their origins or backgrounds. Too, each week you get a follow-up compendium on any commentary readers add that further advances knowledge about a particular word.

Knowledge is a good thing...if you aren't interested in the word or topic that day, chunk it...otherwise, you just might learn something new! Nothin' wrong with that.


If you think you might be interested in receiving the free email, click HERE to subscribe. "Free" is a good thing, especially these days!

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We interrupt this blog for a gratuitous photo update of niece Ellen and nephew William from my mom's recent trip to see them in Boston...

Ellie Sue

Willie Boo

Grandma, too!

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Following is a great link provided by the National Weather Service that takes a thorough, albeit preliminary, look at the May 8-9 tornado 'outbreak' in the Triad, specifically the one that went by Piedmont Triad International airport. Worth a gander even if but for the graphics alone...

TRIAD TORNADO




Monday, May 12, 2008

Potpourri Monday...

Heavens, but we've had plenty of severe weather around here lately. Before I turned in last evening there was yet another tornado warning that came NW from Lincolnton all the way across Cabarrus County and into Stanly County before being downgraded to a severe thunderstorm after crossing the Pee Dee River.

I was on the road a lot this past weekend, and in coming back east via I-85 Sunday, around Gastonia, there were an incredible number of wrecks within a stretch of 1-2 miles, with traffic badly snarled. Some good rain had recently fallen, and there are always obnoxious speeders and tailgaters along that interstate stretch on the best of days...don't know what happened, but it looked like two seperate chain reaction wrecks with cars and trucks sprawled all over the roadways and down into the woods, and myriad emergency vehicles in attendance.

Luckily I know the area well, and got off on a side road through Ranlo and Lowell and got around both scenes with relative ease. And just before Exit 26, nearing Belmont area, there it was on the right (which caught me by surprise as I wasn't expecting it): numerous large hardwood trees, snapped off in the middle and laying towards the interstate. That was ground zero for the tornado that hit around 230AM last Friday, prompting a last-minute warning. That 'night' I was sitting in the Triad weather center with Matthew East and Jeff Crum as we were getting ready to change shifts - Matthew had already had an exhaustive night with the Triad tornadoes earlier...and while Jeff's night was much quieter, we saw the Charlotte warning pop up, almost after calls about damage were starting to come in from the Mount Holly area...and Jeff went to work live on-air, with no other TV station covering it. Kudos to those Kings of wall-to-wall weather!

Hope all had a good Mother's Day, regardless of the weather. Found this cute list of things a Mom would NOT say...and I'm sure we could add 10 times as many to it! Enjoy ~

1. "How on earth can you see the TV sitting so far back?"

2. "Yeah, I used to skip school a lot, too"

3. "Just leave all the lights on ... it makes the house look more cheery"

4. "Let me smell that shirt -- Yeah, it's good for another week"

5. "Go ahead and keep that stray dog, honey. I'll be glad to feed and walk him every day"

6. "Well, if Timmy's mom says it's OK, that's good enough for me."

7. "The curfew is just a general time to shoot for. It's not like I'm running a prison around here."

8. "I don't have a tissue with me ... just use your sleeve"

9. "Don't bother wearing a jacket - the wind-chill is bound to improve"

10. "Here are some freshly baked cookies; It's close to dinner, though, so if you fill up on them, I'll just cook you another fresh meal tomorrow."

Friday, May 09, 2008

"Fried Fridays: Picture-Perfect Purse-Snatch"

It's what a lot of young women do at a bachelorette party...go to a bar (don't worry, this isn't x-rated!)...


Naturally, they're having fun and sharing in that special time before the Big Day, and, just as naturally, male jerks hit on 'em and try to act cool...

DATELINE: BENSALEM, PENNSYLVANIA

A good time was being had by all at the Bensalem Township taproom last Saturday night. Andre Smith began practicing his suave maneuvering amongst the bachelorette party, striking up conversations with the ladies and, I'm sure, saying really stupid stuff.

As women, especially, are more prone to do than men, they were taking photos of each other to remember the night (or embarrass someone at an appropriate time down the road...).
That's when Mr. Ham himself, Andre, jumped into one of the pictures in hopes of manifesting his studliness.

Apparently, he was a legend in his own mind and oblivious to his obnoxious behavior...the bouncers shortly thereafter had to kick him out after myriad customer complaints.


I'm sure there was a sigh of relief in the party as they more comfortably enjoyed their evening. In time, the attendees began to leave, and two of the women headed to a nearby convenience store...when out of the shadows jumped a man who stole their purses and quickly ran away.


While I'm sure they were scared and fearful from the sudden attack, they had enough wits about them to realize that the man...was none other than Andre. He apparently didn't recognize them, but they sure remembered him.

Idiots have a way of standing out in a crowd.


The police had a much easier time finding Andre, too, thanks to the picture Andre had the ladies take of his identifiable mug. By Sunday, they found his apartment complex and made the arrest, slapping on a $50,000 bail.


"Hey Andre...
here's yer sign!"

(thanks, Bill Engvall and Travis Tritt!)


Thursday, May 08, 2008

Heads up for Thursday night...

A slow-moving monster of a storm system will slowly approach the Tarheel State late today, Thursday, with the low itself tracking just to our northwest. I call this one a 'monster' as over the past 3 days it's generated over 300 LSRs or 'local storm reports'. The majority have been for hail, followed by wind damage, with few overall tornadoes...

...with that said, you'll notice yesterday's activity was a little more centralized around the Arklatex, just in front of the driving low...and that's basically our concern especially in the overnight hours. The closer the low passes to us, the better the coverage of storms, which some are expected to be severe. Hail and winds appear to be the main threat, though more storms have been showing some rotation - can't rule out an isolated tornado.


The problem with this system is its timing...if indeed the worst of the cells build and pass through just before and after midnight, most people are asleep...and most people don't have weather radios...which makes it rather difficult to get warnings and information out, especially for any cell turning tornadic.

On the plus side of the equation, the QPF model above is painting some nice amounts of rainfall...nothing excessive, just good for the land and waterways. Just lowered my mower's wheels yesterday and cut my grass again as it got too high too quickly. Nice to have the rain; just wished it would fall on the weekdays and stay sunny bright for the weekend. Not happening this weekend, as for the 6th consecutive weekend we have more rain and storms forecast...this time it's Sunday.

In fact, Sunday's make-up looks a lot like Thursday in several ways. The possibility for more strong to severe storms appears likely, with a similar timing and surface features. A lot of the U.S. is temporarily caught in a deep troughing pattern, allowing these lows to fire up in the Southwest and gather plenty of Gulf moisture as they slide east-northeast.

I originally was assigned a simultaneous shift tomorrow morning doing live Charlotte weathers and having to tape for the Triad; smartly, Tara is being pulled in on her day off to handle Charlotte while I take my home Triad market live. Not that we want severe weather, but we'll certainly be more adequately prepared for it should the skies continue popping after midnight.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Sweaty palms...

Back when I had knees, in the second half of my junior year at UNC Chapel Hill, I took a semester off to hike the whole Appalachian Trail. 6 months, 2,200 miles, and scads of pics later, I still look back on that time as a magical life-altering experience. Alas, all my photos are on slides, and I've never invested in converting them to digital files, which is easier said than done...not to mention pricey, as well.

The northern terminus is at Mount Katahdin, Baxter State Park up in north-central Maine...and although the A.T. approach is from the south side (basically), there is a trail to the north-northeast I've wanted to hike: The Knife Edge.

It's appropriately named...and for the adventurer in me looks oh-so inviting for a time yet to come. But through some recent emails, I've come to realize this trail can't hold a candle to some others...

By happenstance yesterday, a friend sent a link to this video of a bizarre "trail" that in a million years I would not negotiate. How they built it in the first place back in 1901 I'll never fully grasp. "El Camino del Ray",El Chorro, Spain...click on the photo for a video that is NOT for the faint of heart:

Wouldn't you know it, but a former compatriot then sent me a follow-up link to what he says is THE most dangerous trail in the world...I will say it ranks right up there with "That Which Creates Jaws Agape" for sure. Click on the photo to link to "The Deadly Huashan Hiking Trail", Huashan, China:

From the above link's written passage comes this tongue-in-cheek thought:

"A dark thought crossed my mind - maybe they could use this mountain for a season of "Survivor". They wouldn't have to vote anyone off. Contestants would "fall off".

As well, a Taoist quote sums it all up:

"He who knows when to stop does not find himself in trouble."

With pained knees on the best of days, I have no desire to 'make good' and dream of actually hiking such trails...I can only marvel at those billy goats that do and wish them well! I won't write more since the links take some time to peruse. Marvel as I did over how someone first blazed these, uh...trails....

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Stylin' protection, I say...

I played around with a couple of shots of my little niece and nephew, adding dry brush strokes in Photoshop. Ellen and William looked adorable in their big plaid hats with upward curled brims, covering their eyes wide with wonder. Gotta have that sun protection now that the sun angles are higher, especially on such tender skin...and you might as well do it in style!


It has been many moons since I've laid out in the sun. Setting aside the health concerns, it's just something that has never appealed to me. A nap in a grassy shady glade by a creek is more my speed. We all should know (if we don't already) that skin cancers are on a rapid increase, that getting tans from the sun or a tanning bed prematurely ages and dries out the skin, and that it pays to protect your skin (and eyes!) with appropriate sunscreen and sunglasses. It should be common knowledge and sense.

People pay good money for SPF 45-50+ lotions, when in fact the 'added' protection compared to SPF 30 is negligible. SPF 15 blocks 93% of UV rays, and SPF 30 blocks 96%. You start splitting hairs above that level, which simply isn't worth paying for. And when you're out for a long period, you should reapply blocking lotion every couple of hours, especially if you're sweating or in and out of the water.

Lots of us don't think about our eyes needing protection, but they are just as vulnerable to types of UV light. Next time you go buy a pair, take the time to read the tag to see what and how much is blocked. You don't have to pay crazy designer prices, either, as many drug store ones offer perfectly good protection.

Ah, hats. I've never been a hat person, though I don one on weekends when I haven't yet had a shower and head out on errands...or when I'm working outside with tools. They provide worthy protection from the sun, of course, but they make me even hotter than I am naturally. Wearing a hat in the winter will conserve a lot of body heat that naturally exits your head, and in the summer I want it to! For as much heat as my body produces, you'd think I have a high metabolism and be a bean pole. In my dreams.

And so you're reading this and wondering 'where is he going with this?', and the simple answer is 'nowhere'. El and Willie looked too cute in their hats not to post 'em, and I have energy only to ramble this morning. Most times I don't much focus on the end of the road...I just enjoy the Journey along the way, wherever it leads me.

I just wish it could lead me back to bed right now...!

Monday, May 05, 2008

"Two for the price of....eight?"

I saw this in my recent Consumer Reports magazine and thought you'd like to see something both interesting and...uh...well...just not on Santa's List, exactly. A bicycle built for two is one thing, but a toilet is quite another...

May I present to you, the TwoDaLoo (WiseRep.com):

Not that I don't appreciate ingenious designs, mind you...it's just that for the distinct majority of us the 'loo' is a rather private environment by choice, for myriad reasons, mostly delicate ones.

Aw, what the heck, expand your horizons! Gain new levels of intimacy! Get to know your spouse on a whole new level! It's written right there on the website's product description:


"TwoDaLoo -
A Supertoilet That Saves
Rocky Marriages and The Planet"


All this can be yours for a mere $1,400...why wait? While your fidgeting and not sure which side of the fence to get off on, may I entice you with an 'upgraded' version that has a 7" LCD television and docking station for an iPod.

Oh, one little note if you DID want to order one: you can't. Minimum order is 12. You'll have to round up interested friends and family to meet the minimum.

Good luck.

Friday, May 02, 2008

"Fried Fridays: How to propose..."

For most high schoolers, the Prom is something monumental. Finding that special 'one' to be on your arm is a big to-do, and it's gotten to be a pretty big thing. Friends group together and rent a limo to go to dinner and then to the prom itself and then back to a friend's house, some ladies spend crazy amounts of money on dresses that don't cover a whole lot, and guys get off easy renting tuxes...at least there is a lot more of that than I've ever seen before.

Of course, the biggest hurdle of all is who to ask...and how....

DATELINE: ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN

A varsity lacrosse star, Kristoff Wennersten had the hots for Carolyn Campbell there at Huron High School and wanted her to be his prom date. Simple enough. But he wanted to make the 'proposal' special, memorable, the kind of story that gets retold through time.

But what to do? I can only imagine the locker room banter tossed about, or conversations mulling over options as Kristoff and his buds played Guitar Hero at the friend's house that had the biggest TV gaming room...

The proverbial light bulb went off sometime somewhere, and so the plan was drawn up. It wasn't going to be a one-man operation, either, as he enlisted a dozen other teammates to help him. Kristoff knew Carolyn would be at a J.V. lacrosse match, and planned on displaying his 'banner' there, publicly asking her to be his date.

The words were straight forward:

"Will You Go To The Prom With Me? Yes or No"

Emblazoned across the guys butts, no less, which they bared on queue to seldom seen sunshine...

Understandably, administration officials were not amused and suspended the 13 players for a day and for an undisclosed number of games. Too, they tagged on 20 hours of community service for each.

Dottie Davis, school athletic director, was quoted in the Ann Arbor News saying, "Inappropriate is inappropriate. It disrespects women, and that's the clear message we need to have the students understand — what may be fun to them isn't necessarily fun to everyone else."

Touche'. Even the players understood and accepted the punishment. Kristoff was quoted as saying, "I enjoyed every bit of it!"

And Carolyn's response? She went up to the guy with the word "Yes" on his tush and patted him on his back. That classic sighing "aawwwwwww..." was heard around the world.

It all goes to prove that everything works out on, er...uh... in the end.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

"Zzzzzzzzzzzzz...."

For the first time in at least 2 weeks I actually had a good solid sleep last night, excepting one coughing spell. Seems as though I picked up something viral well down in my throat and into my upper chest that would not go away, no matter the treatment. When I finally went to the doctor, he walked in, smiled, and said, "You have exactly what I have!"

I'll be doggoned if he didn't sound just like me and have all the same symptoms, to a T. The bummer was he said it's a virus, and as such there is no treatment except to calm the night-time coughing for good sleep. Last night I finally got it.

Point being, I got up late after hitting the snooze button a couple of times and, well, just out of time to put up a blog today. If you haven't checked here in a few days, there are some neat pics of wildflowers I posted earlier. And, of course, tomorrow I'll unveil this week's "Fried Fridays" winner for some incredulous if not downright stupid news story from the past week!