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Uncommonly Sensible

Keeping the "anal" in analytical... (While trying to remain civilized)

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Location: United States

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

When the wind blows?!

Contrary to expectations, fueled by "global warming" alarmists and seemingly endless reminders of Hurricane Katrina one year ago, rainstorm Ernesto did not strengthen after leaving the Cuban coast and was weakening further as it swirled over southern Florida.

Ernesto lost even more of its punch this morning, when its maximum sustained winds were recorded at all of 40 miles per hour.

Further weakening is expected during the day, when the rainstorm is expected to move back out into the Atlantic Ocean.

It's expected to make landfall again in South Carolina on Thursday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

On Sunday, Ernesto had strengthened into the first Atlantic hurricane of the year, causing one death in Haiti before losing its punch Monday as it moved over Cuba.

Other than for that one poor soul in Haiti, it was pretty much a non-event.

Break out the umbrellas, SC...

Monday, August 28, 2006


(Broken power pole in foreground)

The Philadelphia region was pounded with thunderstorms early Saturday. In some regions, the storms caused heavy damage.

Clean up efforts were still underway after the Saturday storms devastated Upper Merion Township. Some neighborhoods were hit really hard.

"The situation that these customers are seeing is like nothing that I've ever seen before," said an electric company spokesman.

Several homes were deemed uninhabitable after the storm caused massive trees to land on them. Work went on cutting tree limbs off of power lines.

Winds overnight snapped utility poles like toothpicks. Transformers were sent crashing down leaving families without power.

Nearly 26,000 PECO customers were without power during the height of the storm. PECO worked continuously to restore power for those customers.

Thunderstorms left a trail of debris in their wake, but miraculously did not cause injuries, although some roads were closed and there was a lot to clean up.

Violent thunderstorms packing 60 mile-per-hour wind gusts rolled through the region, uprooting trees, knocking down limbs and pulling down electrical lines.

By 9 p.m. Saturday, 1,500 electric company customers in Montgomery County still did not have power. At the height of the storm, there were 15,000 outages in Montgomery County. Most of the outages were due to circuits tripped by lightning and trees or tree limbs being blown into or falling onto power lines. A total of 46,000 PECO customers lost power, some only momentarily, and 26,000 was the greatest number of outages at any one time.

There was no evidence of a tornado.

Some trees fell onto homes in Upper Merion Township and there was a report of a house catching fire after being struck by lightning.

It was quite the thunder-boomer that blew through, accompanied by a fairly substantial amount of hail.

After the power went out at "La Casa de Camo" (my rambling estate) I went on a little reconnaissance mission; I wanted to ascertain where the problem was.

When I went out to the road that runs along one side of my property, there were a number of trees down, but on the other side of the road. On my side there was only one fairly hefty tree limb that had fallen, right next to my mailbox.

However, the trees that had fallen pulled down some wires, which blew out a transformer. I was without power for about 8 hours, but other than a bit of deadfall on the grounds, my acreage was relatively unscathed.

That was not the case for a lot of people, as the destruction was pretty bad in some places. There were smashed vehicles, in addition to battered homes.

Early on Saturday morning, the power company crews were hard at work, and the municipal workers were cutting up trees...of which many were still down, but at least the roadways were (relatively) clear.

I took a little stroll around the neighborhood on Sunday, and the trees surrounding an apartment complex about ¼ mile from my place were particularly affected. Several trees were down, some of them having smashed vehicles in the parking lot.

I'm glad my Harley stays in the garage...

Friday, August 25, 2006

Are you Hungry?


Your click on the "Give Free Food" button funds food for the hungry, paid for by site sponsors whose ads appear after you click and provided to people in need around the world through the efforts of Mercy Corps and America's Second Harvest.


It is estimated that one billion people in the world suffer from hunger and malnutrition. That's roughly 100 times as many as those who actually die from these causes each year.

About 24,000 people die every day from hunger or hunger-related causes. This is down from 35,000 ten years ago, and 41,000 twenty years ago. Three-fourths of the deaths are children under the age of five.

Famine and wars cause about 10% of hunger deaths, although these tend to be the ones you hear about most often. The majority of hunger deaths are caused by chronic malnutrition. Families facing extreme poverty are simply unable to get enough food to eat.

In 1999, a year marked by good economic news, 31 million Americans were food insecure, meaning they were either hungry or unsure of where their next meal would come from. Of these Americans, 12 million were children. The Hunger Site began on June 1, 1999.

Please remember to click every day to give help and hope to those with nowhere to turn. Every click counts in the life of a hungry person.

The button above doesn't work...it only takes you to a picture of same.

The LINK above, however, (and HERE) will take you to The Hunger Site; I try to click on the button there (and the other five related web pages) at least once per day.

They only count once per IP address daily, but I do it at home and the workplace.

It costs nothing but a few seconds of your time, and the miniscule effort required to click your mouse button.
(Which you're gonna do anyway)

Links to all 6 pages are on my sidebar.
(And have been for awhile now...)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Once upon a time...

"...the not-too-distant future. Society has deteriorated to brutal levels. Only the strong have their liberty. Everyone else is oppressed...or dead. Some of the smart ones have left what remains of civilization. This is the story of one of them, Mongo Lloyd."

Twenty years ago, my brother Rich, brother-in-law John and I put together a short post-apocalyptic video.

It was a harmless little diversion for a Summer weekend; a meaningless attempt at humor that took a few hours to put together "on the fly" and runs about 10 minutes long.

Pay no attention to the little date display that can be seen in the beginning; we reset that feature 5 years ahead at the time, because it was supposedly "the not-too-distant future".

Sound would help; in addition to the dialogue there's a bit of Pink Floyd, some Wagner and a little "Conan the Barbarian" soundtrack.

Anyway, for your viewing pleasure: Mongo Lloyd.

Hopefully you like it...

Monday, August 21, 2006

Bad motor scooter!!!

Here we have a radi[c]al custom motorcycle, built by Jesse James, over at West Coast Choppers.

This little beauty came to my attention in the September issue of American Motorcyclist Magazine, which is published by the American Motorcyclist Association.

It's an elegant design, built for show, basically impractical for actual use on the highways and byways.

As a co-worker of mine pointed out, the axial torque this baby developed would tend to lay it over on its side the moment you opened the throttle.

Also, the ground clearance is virtually nonexistent.

To adapt the engine for use in a motorcycle required some fairly complex modifications.

Of course, if a radial engine was mounted 90º out from the West Coast Choppers design, it would solve the torque problem:

(Although that drive belt looks dangerous)

Of course, none of those are any more insane than putting a Chevy 350 cubic inch V8 engine in a motorcycle, like the "Boss Hoss"...

Thursday, August 17, 2006

If I have to explain...

...you wouldn't understand.

President Bush hopped on a Harley-Davidson at the York, PA assembly plant on Wednesday, as he made an election year pitch for Republican stewardship of the economy...and to raise money for former Pittsburgh Steelers star Lynn Swann, who is running for Governor here.

Cheers and applause erupted inside the Harley plant when Bush straddled a high-end model painted blue and white and revved its engine again and again. Climbing down, he ripped off blue-tinted safety glasses that he insisted made him look like rock star Bono and jokingly struck a pose intended to show a hip side.

"I'm just looking so far," Bush said during a tour of the plant where 3,200 employees work around the clock on shiny motorcycles that move slowly around the assembly floor on tracks. "I'll let Josh Bolten ride these things," Bush said of his chief of staff, known as a motorcycle enthusiast.

Of course the Harley-Davidson Motor Company is well known as an American icon...as well as an American success story.

Consequently, it makes for a good example of what's right with the U.S. economy.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the country which buys the second most Harleys, after the U.S. of course, is Japan. They have also recently broken into the Chinese market. Naturally, that's just the proverbial "drop in the bucket" compared to the trade deficit, but it's a fascinating little factoid nevertheless.

I certainly enjoy riding mine...

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Pedal Power!!!

(C & O at Whites Ferry)

I have been slowly bicycling 20-30 mile sections of the C & O Canal Towpath for a few years now, starting at the Western terminus in Cumberland, MD and working my way along the Potomac River towards t'other end in Washington D.C.

This coming weekend (August 19-20) the plan is to do another section. I left off at Whites Ferry the last time, so that's where I'll be starting this time 'round. The ferry can be used to cross over to the Leesburg, VA area...and it's particularly inexpensive for bicycles. Whites Ferry is the only working ferry on the Potomac, and an overall nifty place. It is also a convenient access point, about ½ mile from C & O milepost 35.

I'll be camping for the night at the Swain's Lock hiker/biker campsite, which is at about mile 16.6. The following day I turn around and go back to my starting point.

About the C & O Canal; it was quite a feat of engineering in its day, but was rendered obsolete by railroads. It makes a nice, scenic place to get some recreation nowadays, however.

This trip will require me to drive approximately 160 miles from my rambling estate in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Anyone within range who's interested, feel free to join me, either for the ride or at the campsite.

I always look forward to these trips...
(Some caves in spots along there, too)


Well, I'm back; a good time was had by all.

Upon our return, we took a ferryboat ride:

A perfect ending to the trip...

Monday, August 14, 2006

One way to get your kicks...

(Visiting school children in China)

Jackie Chan is in the news; he says he wants to be a role model.

Jackie was born in Hong Kong on April 7, 1954 as Chan Kong-sang...his father's name is actually Charles Chan, not to be confused with Charlie Chan.
(But I digress. Yet again)

Mr. Chan has said that he does not want to promote violence and sex in his movies. "I have a lot of action but no violence. I have a lot of comedy but it's not dirty comedy," he told reporters during a visit to Manila, where he signed a franchise agreement for his coffee shop chain Jackie Chan's Java Coffee.

He also doesn't want profanity in his movies. "I never say the 'F' word," said Chan. "I have to be very careful because I'm a role mode for many young children."

Chan said a portion of the profits from his businesses (a clothing label, fitness clubs, restaurants and a line of cookies) go to charity.

Long before he became famous, Mr. Chan was a poor boy who remembers receiving food, clothes and other gifts from the Red Cross and a priest, who asked him to help less fortunate children when he grew up...which he does, apparently.

I first became aware of Jackie Chan in 1980, when I saw him in The Big Brawl. He had been performing in cut-rate films produced in Hong Kong for awhile by then, but that was his first major motion picture that was given a wide distribution in the U.S. I recall being impressed, not only by his obvious martial arts prowess, but also by his personality.

I'm still impressed by the fact that he does his own stunts.
(Although he's gotten hurt at it a few times)

He seems to be a genuinely nice, yet humble person. I don't think it's an act, I believe he's the "real deal"...

Friday, August 11, 2006

Who's out there?

While perusing my traffic via Sitemeter, I saw that the last 100 visits to my blog included the following countries: Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Israel, Latvia, New Zealand and Sweden.

The rest, of course, were my fellow Americans.

Anyway, hello to all! I presume everyone understands English, unless they're just looking at the pictures.

If not, I've found Babelfish to be quite helpful.

Update! It would appear that in addition to the "usual suspects" in Australia, Canada and Ireland, I have had visitors from Morocco, Argentina, Bahrain, Japan and France...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Don't forget to lock the door!

Airplane door detaches in air over Brazil

SAO PAULO, Brazil - The door of a TAM airlines plane fell off minutes after takeoff Tuesday and plunged into a supermarket's concrete awning, the airline said.

The Fokker-100 plane, carrying 79 Rio de Janeiro-bound passengers, returned to Sao Paulo's Congonhas Airport less than 20 minutes after departing when the door "unexpectedly" flew open and "detached" itself from the plane, TAM Linhas Aereas SA said in a statement.

The passengers continued their flight to Rio on another TAM aircraft, the airline said. No one was injured on the plane or ground.

The cause of the accident was being investigated, TAM said.

I find it rather amazing that nobody got hurt...but although surprising, that's a good thing.

I guess everyone had their seatbelts on...

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Down and dirty...

So, I went and saw another recently released movie this past weekend; being a caver, it was sort of a "must see".

With half a dozen tough chicks crawling around underground, how could it miss?

Anyway, other than the typical Hollywood technical flaws (plainly evident to a caver and/or climber) it...wasn't awful.

Here's the official website:
The Descent

Warning! It's rather bloody...

Monday, August 07, 2006

The 2996 project...

It is nearly five years since the events of 9-11-01 took place.

In the left margin of this blog, underneath the NEVER FORGET!!! tribute regarding same, is the following link:
2996! Bloggers
Please Sign Up Now

I first learned of this project at Benning's Writing Pad.

With the further impetus of a recent post at View From Above, I'm now signed up to write something about one of the 9-11-01 victims; I would strongly urge everyone with a blog (who hasn't already done so) to sign up too.

The last time I checked, we still had quite a way to go; it's a little over a month until Sept. 11.

Think of it as therapy...

Friday, August 04, 2006

Looking to beat the heat?

Well, here's a way I'd bet you haven't considered; the climate in the 50th State is consistent all year 'round, and the Trade Winds keep it from getting oppressively humid...which is the worst part of a heat wave. Of course the trade-off is rain, but that mostly falls on the windward side and in the mountains.

Since it's the "off season" now, the airfare is (relatively) inexpensive.

Personally, I prefer to go there when it's Winter on the "Mainland", as the 48 contiguous States are referred to over there.

FYI, Local Forecast for Hawaii...
Today: Partly cloudy. High 86º.
Tonight: Generally clear skies. Low 76º.
Tomorrow: Generally sunny. High around 85º.
Tomorrow night: A mostly clear sky. Low 76º.
Sunday: Abundant sunshine. Highs in the mid 80s and lows in the mid 70s.
Monday: Abundant sunshine. Highs in the mid 80s and lows in the mid 70s.
Tuesday: Abundant sunshine. Highs in the mid 80s and lows in the mid 70s.

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