Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

Service of Mother Nature is in Charge

Monday, April 8th, 2024

These leaves swayed back and forth in my 27th floor apartment during the April, 2024 earthquake

There’s no advance notice of an earthquake. There is a short one for a tornado. I lived in the Midwest briefly and was petrified by one that skirted our town at dinnertime. Hurricanes have the decency to give residents time to evacuate. Though what a conundrum—where to go? How? What to take? Hurricane Sandy shocked lifelong New Yorkers as unforgiving, fierce waters leapt into the city willy nilly.  Blizzards upstate left behind feet tall snow souvenirs and no electricity for days and no phone sometimes for weeks. Thank goodness I’ve not been victim of a forest fire, mudslide or tsunami.

With all our smarts and technology, we still are nowhere near the driver’s seat when nature wants to flash its muscle.

I can hear the sound of people of California, Taiwan, China, Turkey and other earthquake prone regions rolling their collective eyes hearing about the to-do over the earthquake that shook parts of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut on Friday. Compared to other places it was barely a rattle.

It gave New Yorkers a chance to speak to one another in elevators or waiting for the bus. Strangers used to chat easily and often in Manhattan but not nearly as much for the last 20 years or more. Newcomers barely respond to “good morning.”

From my perch on the 27th floor I felt the floor shake where I sat at my laptop and my two-foot-long amaryllis leaves by the window [photo above] swayed back and forth. I’ve lived here five years. This was a first shake and sway.

But it wasn’t my first earthquake. I was in Chile with my mother as a teen for that. My nephews were young and kept asking mom to repeat the story. We were taking a siesta. Mom said, “please stop hitting my bed with your foot.” I replied that I wasn’t near her bed. That’s when she realized we were in an earthquake.

I was in San Francisco on business when a significant earthquake happened. The next day I was at a workshop when in the hallway outside a noisy container on wheels bounced over the rough flooring creating a racket. The woman next to me almost landed in my lap she was so alarmed by what she thought was the sound of an aftershock. I wasn’t thrilled looking at the substantial cracks in the conference center’s immense pilings next to where I staffed a booth for a trade show.

That same decade on the east coast as we woke one morning in Brooklyn the floor trembled. I remember because we were off to New Orleans that day.  We lived on the fifth floor.

Mother Nature sneezes and coughs, sighs, hollers and screams when she wants. There’s little to nothing we can do about it. Have you been in a memorable earthquake, hurricane, tornado, or storm?

The path to our house after a 2017 snowstorm.

Service of Inquiring Minds

Thursday, August 4th, 2022

I suspect the wood planks are heavy and could easily make someone lose balance as they reach for each.

I’ve previously isolated questions in posts even though I end each with at least one.

These people take my breath away.

I started with two in 2016–“Service of Questions” and “Service of Why.” A smattering: Why do mothers give their toddlers in strollers tablets to stare at when there’s so much to see on a walk and why do telemarketers hire people who mumble? 

In 2019 in “Service of Questions—Does Google Have All the Answers?” I asked a few more such as how commuters in cars in the New York metro area fill their time in traffic for as long as 90 minutes? How do pet owners of moderate means afford vet bills when they have more than one?

Here are more that I’ve thought of recently:

  • How come the rise in interest rates seem to impact borrowers immediately but not those with garden variety bank savings accounts? I asked a random customer service person at a bank branch. He said CDs will reflect the interest rate change first and that it will take a few months for anything to kick in for savings accounts. Hmmmm.
  • I marvel at people who work in precarious situations and have snapped shots of some. Is being fearless like this something you can acclimate yourself to?
  • Why is the weather forecast on my iPhone so consistently wrong lately especially when it comes to predicting rain?
  • Why do people glorify a deceased spouse when for years they confided the person had made their life miserable?
  • Why don’t I recall hearing, years ago, about such breathtakingly horrific forest fires as now in the West and in Europe?

What random questions do you have? Any answers to mine?

Climbing on an off this ladder is the definition of precarious

Service of a Name II

Monday, July 6th, 2020

I’ve written a few times about names on this blog but not about names chosen to identify a storm and more recently, to describe a style of person. I wrote the first “Service of  Name” in 2012 about Rupert Murdoch’s proposing a name change for The Wall Street Journal. He didn’t.

We’ve been naming storms for people since the 1950s. Hurricane Jeanne caused floods and mudslides killing more than 3,000 in Haiti in September, 2004. Memorable storms such as Katrina, Sandy, Rita, Wilma and Ivan in the 2000’s alone wreaked havoc.

I have never been called out or teased because I share a name with a deadly natural event and I doubt if the Katrinas, Wilmas, Ivans or Sandys have either.

Yet Karen is a different story.

Of late I keep hearing and reading “Karen” used in derogatory ways. According to Wikipedia “Karen is a pejorative term used in the US and other English-speaking countries for a woman perceived to be entitled or demanding beyond the scope of what is considered appropriate or necessary. A common stereotype is that of a racist white woman who uses her privilege to demand her own way at the expense of others. Depictions also include demanding to ‘speak to the manager’, being an anti-vaxxer, or having a particular bob cut hairstyle. As of 2020, the term was increasingly being used as a general-purpose term of disapproval for middle-aged white women.” [An anti-vaxxer refers to people who won’t take or give vaccines to their children.]

Wikipedia continued: “The term may have originated as a meme on Black Twitter used to describe white women who tattle on Black kids’ lemonade stands”. It has also been described as originating with black women but having been co-opted by white men.”

The coverage attributes the origins to characters from movies Goodfellas and Mean Girls, a sketch by Dane Cook–“The Friend Nobody Likes”–and “a 2016 Internet meme regarding a woman in an advert for the Nintendo Switch console who exhibits antisocial behavior and is given the nickname ‘antisocial Karen.'”

I dislike people who act in insufferable ways. I question trashing a name because a person with that name or powerful destructive storm acted inappropriately or killed, respectively.

Do you think storms should be named after inanimate objects or birds or animals rather than people? If your name matched that of a deadly storm did you hear about it? What about taking a name from a demanding, irritating, nasty person and turning it into a generic one: Is it appropriate? Will the Karen storm blow over after we identify other malicious behavior perpetrated by Frieda or Gerry or Philomena or Frank?

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