Friday, July 27, 2007

Something Lighter for a Summer Friday

Our town has been reviving its entrepreneurial spirit lately with some new activities to bring more people into the center of town and to enhance the feeling of "community" and boost the local economy at the same time.

The past few years have seen an "Artisans' and Antiques Fair" one Saturday each June. This year we had the biggest turnout with more booths than ever before showcasing a wide variety of antiques and handcrafted items, from pottery to woven goods,from iron scultures to paintings. This coincided with two other events held in close proximity, a cruise-in, and the grand opening of the Tippecanoe Farmer's Market.

Streets were closed to traffic and two and a half blocks were dedicated to the Farmers' Market, a few to the cruise-in, and several more to the Fair. Luckily, Mother Nature smiled on the endeavor and gave us a magnificent day, with bright sunshine and mild temperatures. People flocked to town for all the events and, along with the items at the Fair, found at the market a delightful display of fruits and vegetables freshly picked by our local growers.

Each week as the summer progresses, the produce, artfully displayed in each booth, entices one to purchase more of this nutritious goodness than one expects to buy. People return home with arms full of delicious food items. There are booths with baked goods, ice cream, sandwiches, smoked turkey products (from a locan free-range turkey farm), fresh-cut flower arrangements from Spring Hill Nursery, pots of flowers for gardeners from another local grower, Springrun Farms, and even a young girl with a face painting booth to keep the little ones happy.

All in all, it is a great addition to our already great town, albeit a smaller one of approximately 9,000 people. The hard working volunteers who conceived and carried out this idea are to be congratulated. Their hard work, sacrificing every Saturday, has brought more smiling faces into town each week than I have seen in a long time.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Is it Hotter or Colder? The Boy is Crying Wolf Again

I noticed two diametrically opposed things today. One is a report from PIRG (Public Interest Research Group, a noble sounding name for a leftist organization founded in the 1960's by Ralph Nader) that claims that "Nevada is among the states with the most dramatic increase in average temperatures the last 30 years, according to a new study that examines the impact of global warming across the country."

The other is a graph from NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospoheric Administration, part of the US Department of Commerce, the "weather people", that shows the average temperature in Las Vegas for the past six decades. Specificallly, the average in the 1940"s was 81.3 degrees, and in the 1990's, 79.9 degrees. Yes, in 1960's it was 79.2, the 1970's 79.7, but for the past two decades, it has remained static, at 79.9.

At about the same time, I noticed a news report by hurricane forecasters revising downward their prediction for the current hurricane season.

Forecaster reduces 2007 hurricane prediction
Published on Thursday, July 26, 2007
By Kelly Riddell

WASHINGTON, USA (Bloomberg): WSI Corp., a weather-forecasting company, has reduced the number of hurricanes it's predicting this year because of cooler-than-expected water temperatures in the North Atlantic.

The 2007 season is expected to deliver a total of six hurricanes, instead of the eight previously forecast, Andover, Massachusetts-based WSI said. An average season yields six. The 2005 season, which brought Katrina, Rita and billions of dollars in damage, generated a record 15 hurricanes.

"Sea-surface temperatures really haven't warmed like they normally do this time of year," WSI senior meteorologist Jim Klein said in an interview. "We can't pinpoint any specific reason, but we're not seeing the tropical development like we've anticipated."

This is in start contrast to the advisory given in April predicting a "very active" 2007 Hurricane Season.

By Andrea Thompson, LiveScience Staff Writer
posted: 03 April 2007 10:07 am ET

The Atlantic basin will likely see a very active hurricane season this year, though not as active as in 2004 and 2005, according to a well-known Colorado State University forecasting team.

"The activity of these two years was unusual, but within the natural bounds of hurricane variation," said hurricane forecasting guru William Gray, who issued his first seasonal forecast 24 years ago.

The latest forecast upgrades the team's earlier predictions for the 2007 hurricane season. The team now expects 17 named storms to form in the Atlantic, with nine of those storms becoming hurricanes. Five of the hurricanes are expected to develop into major storms (Categories 3, 4, and 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale) with wind speeds of 111 mph or greater.

The earlier 2007 forecast estimated 14 named storms and 3 hurricanes.

Now, what is the average person supposed to think after continually reading such contradictory information in the MSM? Are there no experts? Are the "experts" just guessing? Does politics play a part in predictions and press releases? No Sh&* Sherlock.

The unfortunate result of this "crying wolf" is that the public is turning a deaf ear to the science community. The entire global warming "debate" is a case in point. Scientist with axes to grind and jobs to keep will suck up to whatever political entity seems to be gaining the upper hand. No ordinary citizen with a smattering of science education and no access to the lastest technological analysis will be able to make heads or tales of any scientific situation that faces him.

One of the worst developments of the last few decades has been the politicization of science. Theories have replaced fact. Computer models have been taken as gospel. Few people in the MSM acknowledge the fact that the nature of climate is a composite of so many variables, both within and without our humble atmosphere, and far beyond our "poor power to add or detract" that an accurate computer model is a figment of some scientist's and his political agenda's imagination.

It is so very disheartening.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

No New Persimmons!

I am giving up persimmons. Since they are not a fruit locally grown, and have to be flown, and trucked to Ohio, I am going to do my part to ease global warming and the energy crisis by giving them up. Read my lips - no new persimmons.

Actually, I am taking my cue from Elizabeth Edwards (Mrs. John), first lady-wannabe. She has announced that she is giving up tangerines since they are not grown in the local orchards of North Carolina and the environs. I guess she means to include oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit as well. And bananas. And lettuce in the winter. Anyway, she has discovered the virtues of fighting global warming by buying locally grown produce. Why, local tomatoes taste better that the cardboard ones from the grocery store anyway. (That makes it less than a sacrifice, but I won't tell her.)

Of course, her palatial estate is large enough for a greenhouse where she could grow her own citrus fruits.

Maybe she should check where her clothes are made. She may find that her silk blouse is made in Sri Lanks, the buttons from Guam, the zipper from Japan, etc. She'll have trouble finding clothes made locally. With the exception of wool, (I assume there are some local sheep) most, if not all, of the fabrics in North Carolina are imported.

I think she opened a can of worms. Those you can get in her neighborhood.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Back from Vacation

Two weeks is a long time to try to avoid the news and keep away from all the blogs and news sources. I needed a break from the daily immersion in the nonsense into which our political system has evolved, thanks in large part to the main stream media (MSM) and their self-important spinning and censoring the news. By censoring, I mean the choices the MSM makes every day about what to report and what not to report. Their spins are obvious. I can listen to a speech or comment made by a politician or government official and then hear something quite different from the media's description of what I myself had just heard. Oh well. By the time they figure out what's going on, no one will be reading the newspapers or watching the news. I guess the MSM will have to be re-invented.

Some thoughts since I last posted:

(1) On Hillary - This week I heard on the radios that some people think Hillary is not acting enough like a woman, John Edwards is not acting enough like a man, and Barak Obama isn't black enough. Bizarre. However, it must have bothered the Hillary camp somewhat because they sent out their big gun Bill Clinton who defended Hill by saying that he didn't think she was acting like a man, just like a leader. Then two days later she shows up on CSPAN or someplace wearing a low-cut shirt and showing some cleavage (GASP!). I guess she set out to prove that she IS a woman after all. I question the timing. You rarely see her in anything the slightlest bit revealing. Her handlers choose her wardrobe very carefully and she has Hollywood's best and brightest to assist her presentations. I know, it is a bit catty of me to even mention this.

(2) On the immigration bill - Now is the time for Republicans and other concerned Americans to jump on the good ideas that abound concerning immigration, legal and illegal. First, secure the borders. Then enforce the laws that are on the books and that are being ignored. Deal with each part of the problem individually without an omnibus bill that is too comprehensive to pass. Don't let nothing get done at all. Make the presidential candidates deal with it, debate it and present their ideas.

(3) On Huffington Post, Penelope Trunk has an article titled "It Doesn't Matter that Journalists Misquote Everyone." In it she complains that she's tired of people saying that so-and-so has been misquoted. In her mind, one can misquote with wild abandon because no two people see the same thing the same way. Ok, if you're a fiction writer, I can go along with that. Reporters, however, have a different purpose. Whatever they may feel about it, reporters are supposed to stick to the "who, what, when, where, and how" of a story. Editorialists, or OP-ED writers as they are called now, have the leeway to present their own bird's eye view. She can forget the rationalization, in my opinion. No one should pay any attention to anything she writes from now on. 'Nuff said.

(4) "The Fancy Food Show hit New York last week, and we spotted a welcome trend amid the countless aisles of confections and high-end preserves: Cane sugar is making a comeback. Since the 1970s, high-fructose corn syrup has dominated the sweetener market—its low cost has made it difficult for manufacturers to resist. But ethanol has changed the equation, and customer demand has sparked a return to a classic." This is from a weekly online email from Ruth Reichl at Gourmet Magazine. What is it they say about the road to Hell? Paved with good intentions, I believe. All those ethanol instead of oil pushers who complain about $3/gallon gasoline are going to be complaining about $3/can of corn soon. And anything else that will be used for ethanol. Carrots, $3 each. Looking for green peppers? Sorry, that field is growing corn now. Hamburger? $3 each at McDonalds. Cow's have to be fed and pastures are growing corn for ethanol. Sorry.

Let's just drill for oil, off-shore, on-shore, Arctic, Texas, wherever. Stop feeding the sheiks and start feeding the United States cheaper corn. If we don't, food prices will soar. Maybe that will solve the obesity problem, at least.