New York City???

By: Bogon , 6:37 PM GMT on March 29, 2011

I notice it has been a month since I last updated the Dry Slot. We're talking about a full 31-day month like March, not a wimpy short month like February. A month is too long.

Granted, that's a self-imposed deadline. I have excuses and rationalizations. But I also have (admittedly modest) ambitions and expectations, which are now straining at their limits. It's time to ante up.

Among my excuses and rationalizations there's a family situation which tops the list. I plan to blog about that soon, but I'm not quite ready now, because the situation is still in flux. I expect a resolution within a few days. Then, when I can find a few quiet hours to center my thoughts and pick a way forward, I'll write the story. Meanwhile, there's this.

Sunday my wife and I returned from a trip to New York. The reason for the trip was to visit a mutual friend, who lives in Brooklyn. My wife travels frequently as a consequence of her job. For her the trip was no big deal. For me, in my official capacity as malingering blogger dude, it was outside my comfort zone.

That's a good thing, I think. One does not learn and grow and keep fit and alert by waiting safe in bed in one's favorite flannel pajamas. Once in a while one must venture out into the greater world to peer about myopically and squint into the sunshine. So I did.

    *     *     *

The first new thing I saw was the Transportation Security Administration. The T. S. A. has been around for a while now, but it was new to me, because I have not flown on an airplane since 9/11. Blame it on the T. S. A. I have a problem with the whole idea of the T. S. A. Until now that attitude has sufficed to deter me from flying. To make this trip possible my wife wheedled and cajoled until I relented.

When we got to Raleigh-Durham airport we checked a bag and headed toward our gate. Soon we became lost in a maze of twisty passages, similar to the ones I first encountered at Disneyland. It was a waiting place, a place where people shuffle along and look at each other. The difference was that in Disneyland I was waiting to take a fun ride. At RDU I was waiting to be inspected. Not fun at all. In fact, it was a major inconvenience. First I had to leave many of the usual contents of my bag at home. Then we had to shuffle and tarry. I had to empty my pockets, take off my shoes and belt. I had to juggle my carry-on bag, boarding pass and driver's license. I had to submit, when I would much rather have ranted about the silliness of the ritual, the futility of the mission, the indignity and frustration that we and all our fellow travelers were forced to endure.

And for what? For the illusion of security? So that these blue-suited functionaries might have a job at public expense? I would not take that job for any amount of money, but maybe that's just me. Obviously the T. S. A. had no problem filling a nationwide ensemble of blue suits. Maybe those job applicants were really hungry, or maybe they just like hassling people. There might even be a few idealists in the group, who imagine that they might one day apprehend a terrorist. More likely they'll apprehend me, when I get tired of being hassled and start mouthing off some of the concerns I've enumerated here.

For what it's worth, let me point out that I do not view it as my patriotic duty to submit to a search before boarding an airplane. It is my patriotic duty to rock the boat, to complain, to assert my liberty. We do not preserve freedom by supporting infringements of that freedom. You get free by acting free, by empowering people. I used to be free to walk to my gate unimpeded. I want that freedom back! Screw the T. S. A., and screw the mentality that conceived it.

    *     *     *

Okay, where were we? Oh, yeah, detained on the way to New York. To make a long story short, like everybody else standing in line on that very early morning, I submitted. My wife made sure I fumbled through the rigamarole, and in due course we landed at La Guardia.

That was the second new thing I saw: massive conurbation. I have been to New York before, but that was many years ago. I am a different person now, and I saw the city through different eyes. My younger self was beguiled by the power and majesty of the place. My elder self is... repelled. Too many zillions of bodies in too small a volume. Too much noise and smoke. A universe of architecture, billboards and signs. Graffiti: spray painted across the façade of a building by the freeway in black letters a story high, "WHAT'S THE POINT?" We passed two enormous graveyards full of former New Yorkers. Like the skyscrapers of Manhattan, each corpse's marble monument strives to reach higher than the next.

We stayed in a fine old brownstone in Brooklyn. Our host informed us that there are roughly one hundred square blocks of brownstones in Brooklyn. There are subtle architectural variations among them; to me they all looked about the same. A hundred square blocks of sameness — the only way you can tell where you are is by the street signs. I suppose that to a denizen of Brooklyn a forest might appear to be acres and acres of sameness. The difference is that the forest is alive and growing. It's a part of the natural world.

There is a wrongness about great cities like New York. Their power and majesty is at least partly illusory. They cannot stand on their own. They depend on a constant flow of inputs from outside: water, food, energy, fuel, money and talent. Without those the cities would begin to wither and die in a matter of days. That they do not is a testimony to the marvels of economics, infrastructure and organization that enable them to persist.

    *     *     *

It wasn't so bad, really. As I often tend to do in these pages, I rant. Perhaps I overstate my case. We had a good time. We're glad we went.

I'm glad we're back. :o)

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The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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51. BriarCraft
9:36 PM GMT on June 02, 2011
It was great to see the new photos you posted. My zucchini is still in the greenhouse, but blossoming. Little guys are optimistic about the current forecast. Saturday, we're looking at our first 80+ degree day since I can't remember when. My little zuke is going to get her feet firmly planted in the soil for sure.
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50. Bogon
3:32 AM GMT on April 30, 2011
Thanks, BriarCraft, for explaining the granular point of view. :o) Why don't we all do drugs and live happily ever after?

That's a rhetorical question. I guess there's a fair number of us to whom the difference between objectivity and subjectivity still matters.

As you were leaving your comment I was working on a new blog header. It's a good thing I was working in the classic WU view. Otherwise I might never have noticed that the latest comment was back here in New York.
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49. BriarCraft
12:24 AM GMT on April 30, 2011
But Bogon, if one's head is in the sand, he/she doesn't have to face up to reality. With such a granular view, one can be smug and self-confident about so much. And no need to accept responsibility for anything, either. It's a wonder more people don't prefer the view from the sand.
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48. Bogon
3:06 PM GMT on April 28, 2011
This week Accuweather reports on a recent Gallup poll. The question being asked is, what do you think causes global warming? Is it human activity, or is it nature?

Worldwide a majority of people ascribe climate change to human influence. There are parts of the world where a significant fraction of the population never heard of global warming, but even there a majority of people who have formed an opinion cast their votes for anthropogenic warming.

Only in the United States did a plurality of those polled pick natural causes. Only in the United States are so many people in denial.

To me the case for human causes seems clear cut. Our civilization produces a variety of greenhouse gases, which are released into the atmosphere. Measuring the increase of these gases as a fractional part of the air we breathe is a simple matter. Climate scientists confirm that during epochs of geologic history when levels of carbon dioxide (to pick an example) ran as high as they do now, the climate was much warmer than the one to which we have become accustomed. If we stopped all greenhouse gas emissions now, the climate would continue to warm until it reached a new equilibrium a century or a millennium from now. Since we are not stopping, we can be sure that there will be no new equilibrium, just accelerated warming, at least until we run out of fossil fuels to burn.

One thing that helped convince me of the cumulative power of human presence is Google Earth. Since I first downloaded the software, I have spent a lot of hours exploring the surface of our planet. Virtually everywhere you look there is evidence of human occupation. Only in the most remote and hostile parts of the planet, such as Antarctica, is the land in anything like original condition. In all the places that we would consider desirable to live, somebody lives there. The land is a patchwork of fields, roads and cities. Forests are reduced to isolated strips and plots. Even deserts are marked by circular signs of irrigation. Land use change is also part of the climate equation.

What of the oceans, which cover something like 70% of the earth? We only see the surface, and to most of us the blue waves look the same as ever. They are not the same. There are growing dead zones caused by pollution. Fisheries are in decline. The water is becoming acidified. Large areas of ocean are covered in floating plastic.

To me the problem is trying to understand how you would not believe that humans are capable of causing global change. Obviously they do. Global warming is just one of several distressing trends. Here's a clue: sticking your head in the sand is not going to help.
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47. Bogon
1:27 PM GMT on April 28, 2011
Hey, Shore!

I'm pleased to report that I'm still in North Carolina, not Oz. It's raining.

Rain aside, the Dry Slot phenomenon seems to be working. The squall line broke where it crossed the mountains. One part of it stretches from just east of us southward to the Gulf Coast. The other part runs from just west of us northward to New England and Canada. We're shooting the gap.

The rain we're seeing is the northernmost extension of the east branch. Light to moderate rain, no thunder. We may yet catch brief showers from the southernmost fringes of the western branch. Ah, the rain is stopping already.
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46. shoreacres
4:06 AM GMT on April 28, 2011
I've been watching, and actually pulled up your forecast. Here's to a quiet night.

Here's a tidbit for you, fresh off twitter:

MikeDavis88 Mike Davis
My bro found utility bill in front yard. It has a Birmingham, AL address on it. He lives in Ringgold, GA near Chattanooga, TN. 170 mi away.

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45. Bogon
4:03 AM GMT on April 28, 2011
There's a tornado watch in effect for central North Carolina tonight.

I hope to wake up in the usual fashion in the morning, in my bed with the bedroom still attached to the foundation of my house. We have a few things working in our favor. The squall line with embedded thunderstorms appears to be thinning, weakening and stretching northward as it interacts with the Appalachians. Indications are that the wave will be moving relatively quickly down slope once it clears the mountains. It will pass over this part of the state in the morning, when the daily convective cycle is at its minimum.

For folks living farther east the outlook is less favorable. The line will arrive later in the day, when solar heating can again contribute to atmospheric energy and instability. Storms will be reforming and strengthening as the front moves offshore. Still, the worst impacts of this weather should be felt farther north in the mid-Atlantic states.

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44. Bogon
8:55 PM GMT on April 26, 2011
It's hot in Burlington this afternoon. Popcorn cumulus clouds float above the landscape, occasionally dimming the sun. Weather radar shows showers blowing northward off the Atlantic, but no rain has fallen on my head so far. As the afternoon wears on toward evening, it is beginning to look as if I may not have long to wait.

BriarCraft - The center of the continent is where polar and tropical air masses collide this time of year. It's the extreme contrast that produces fireworks. The west coast doesn't often see those conditions, because the mighty Pacific moderates both influences.

The first telephone I can remember (in my home circa 1954) had a crank. Not only could you use a phone to contact a human being (as opposed to answering machine, voice mail etc.), that was the default behavior. Turn the crank, a human answered. The operator, a living sentient being, connected my family to the world. You didn't need dials or buttons. You didn't even need a phone book.

The first doctor I can remember made house calls. When you were sick, he would come to your door carrying his little black bag. There were no lawsuits, no forms to sign. He would don his stethoscope and perform a diagnosis on site. You did not have to drag your miserable self down to the HMO to hang out in the waiting room with other sick people.

I've used all the tape media you named. The first recording medium I recall was the 78 rpm vinyl disc. I used to pore over catalogues and magazines, learning how to interpret specifications for audio equipment. I have about a hundred 33⅓ LP records stored in boxes. They're not doing me any good, because my stereo was stolen. In this era of iPods and DVDs I can no longer buy a record player like the one that got swiped.

That mimeograph smell was the best part of taking a pop quiz. Do teachers still give unannounced tests? I wonder how they do it now. A laser printer? Does every kid get his own networked computer?

We're fond of saying that the pace of change is accelerating. Perhaps the next generation will accrete obsolete knowledge, customs and expectations even faster than we have. I certainly don't envy them that.
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43. BriarCraft
6:03 PM GMT on April 26, 2011
I've been noting time after time how the blustery showers and wind gusts that pass through here just seem to magnify and intensify by they time they reach the eastern third of the country. You folks have really been getting hammered time and time again. Makes me (almost) feel guilty for being such a weather wimp and complaining about the weather here.

#38 got me thinking of technology that has come and gone in my lifetime: party lines for telephone, Pong, reel-to-reel tapes, 8-track tapes, cassette tapes, pagers, picture tubes, Kodachrome film, Polaroid pictures, electric typewriters, micro-fiche, mimeographs and ditto machines (Maybe started before my time, but gone now. Remember the purple ink smelly school hand-outs anyone?). I heard on the news last night that the last typewriter factory, which is in India, just closed. Typewriters are now history. Not that long ago, they used to be the mainstay and backbone of any office.
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42. Bogon
1:40 AM GMT on April 26, 2011
I heard a rumble of thunder around lunchtime. It was warm and humid today. Haze obscured ranks of ridges that stood clear and bright a few days ago. Not much rain fell at my location, but the distant rumbling presaged summer.

Tonight I'm back in Burlington after ten days in the mountains. I know a lot of you might look forward to a ten day mountain retreat, but, trust me, this was no vacation. I'm weary.

Here in the Piedmont it's fair and warm. There's a chance of rain in tomorrow's forecast. Sounds perfect for sleeping in.
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41. Bogon
1:05 AM GMT on April 25, 2011
Hey Ylee, hi jus. Thanks for livening up the decor with spiffy Easter regalia! Things have been mighty slow around here lately.

If events go according to plan, I should be home again tomorrow night. Then, as soon as possible, I hope to update this poor neglected blog. I have a couple of ideas in the works. Looks like I'm going to have to pick one.

Meanwhile, over the next few days, it seems we may have some rough weather in store. Hopefully I'll have an opportunity to follow that as it develops. Even more hopefully I'll be able to sit comfortably at home while it blows by. I'm sure you'll join me when I say that I'd rather not end the week in Oz as a FEMA statistic. If there must be tornados, let them blow harmlessly across fallow fields and vacant parking lots.
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40. juslivn
6:21 PM GMT on April 24, 2011
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39. Ylee
2:25 PM GMT on April 24, 2011
Happy Easter, Bogon, to you and your wife!

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38. Bogon
1:10 PM GMT on April 22, 2011
Sorry 'bout that, Ylee. This tune can do that for ya.

For the price of a dime I can always get to you!

I'm pretty sure that will cost you a quarter these days... if you can find a pay phone.

Hey, it occurs to me that the whole set of assumptions on which this song is based won't work any more. You're unlikely to find any phone numbers scrawled next to your cell phone. Thanks to the pace of change in telecommunications technology my brain is silting up with layers of outmoded customs and practices.

Cool and mostly cloudy again today. That's a common kind of weather in these parts, so I haven't had much to talk about lately.

Things are warming up back home in Burlington. By the first of the week temperatures will be rising into the upper eighties, which is summertime territory. It's time. By the cross-corner method of reckoning seasons summer begins on May Day. Spring, the transitional season, started on wintry Groundhog Day, and it will end on Walpurgis Night.

Happy Easter, everybody!
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37. Ylee
6:28 AM GMT on April 19, 2011
Of course now the song is stuck in my head! :)
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36. Ylee
4:38 AM GMT on April 19, 2011
This song was big when I was a senior in high school! Ah, good times...:)
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35. Bogon
1:16 PM GMT on April 18, 2011
Once, when a thunderstorm had triggered all the UPS alarms in our office, a coworker of mine started waving his arms, grabbed his head and proclaimed, "All this beeeping and boooping is DRIVING ME INSANE!"

He was joking, but he spoke for all of us.

I woke up this morning with strains of Tommy Tutone echoing in my brain. Jenny, the number, the hook, the guitar solo were all there. I had to go find this video.

This tune was released in 1982. People still call 867-5309 and ask for Jenny.

A plumbing company in New England has trademarked this number (area codes 401 and 617). In 2007 they won a lawsuit against a national company, who were using a toll-free version of the number.

Some people to whom this number was assigned have tried to sell it on eBay. Alas, phone numbers remain the property of the phone company.
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34. Barefootontherocks
3:51 AM GMT on April 18, 2011
Seriously glad to see you and yours made it through the bad weather okay, Bogon.
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33. DontAnnoyMe
5:36 AM GMT on April 17, 2011
Quoting Bogon:

Maybe Wife just poked and yanked long enough for the battery to expire.

Likely. Had an office right next to the server room once; those things are aggravating when they take over.
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32. Bogon
2:55 AM GMT on April 17, 2011
Quoting DontAnnoyMe:

Why? She knows how to deal with it now. ;-)

I'm not so sure. Unplugging things shouldn't work. The UPS should beep until power is restored or until the battery runs down, whichever comes first.

You silence the alarm by turning off the UPS, which also saves the battery. Maybe Wife just poked and yanked long enough for the battery to expire.

You're right about the folks down east. I was watching the statewide PBS affiliate tonight. They kept broadcasting storm warnings for counties near Currituck and Albemarle sounds.
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31. DontAnnoyMe
2:00 AM GMT on April 17, 2011
Quoting Bogon:
I promised her I would explain the hookup when I get home again.

Why? She knows how to deal with it now. ;-)

Thoughts to the folks in Raleigh and ENC affected by the storms.
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30. Bogon
1:29 AM GMT on April 17, 2011
Thanks for your concern, people. I appreciate it.

Yesterday I arrived at my mom's house in western North Carolina. The leading edge of the storm came through during the night. As far as I can tell (I mostly slept through it.), it was all rain.

This afternoon as Mom and I were preparing to eat lunch, I got a call from my wife. Wife reported that the power was off at our house in Burlington, and the reason she called is that the UPS started beeping, and it was driving her crazy. She went into my office and started unplugging things until it shut up.

In the comparatively remote area where I used to live the electric grid would go down at the drop of a hat. That's why I bought an uninterruptible power supply, or battery backup, for my computer. In our neighborhood in Burlington the power has been very reliable. This sort of thing has happened so seldom that I never had occasion to tell Wife how to shut off the alarms. I promised her I would explain the hookup when I get home again.
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29. shoreacres
9:02 PM GMT on April 16, 2011
Bogon ~ I'd completely missed the fact there was some action your way.

SPC shows multiple reports of golf-ball-sized hail in Burlington. Sure do hope you got through it all ok.
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28. Ylee
5:14 PM GMT on April 16, 2011
Hi, Bogon, hope you made through the storms OK.
Take care!
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27. Bogon
6:22 PM GMT on April 14, 2011
BriarCraft - If my rusty memory serves, the music industry also opposed the cassette tape. In fact, I believe you could follow a trail (marked by dragging feet) all the way back to the player piano. The funny thing is, each time technical developments increased customer choice and forced the industry to accommodate, the industry's profits increased. That's one reason I have so little sympathy for their attitude.

Another reason is the one you point out, which is that where there's a will, there's a way. For any technological or legal impediment Big Content erects, people will find a workaround. It's human nature. So much easier for all concerned if the industry would serve its customers with something other than a writ.
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26. BriarCraft
5:08 PM GMT on April 14, 2011
If memory serves (and pardon me for not taking the time to research it properly, instead trusting my rusty memory), I believe MPAA fought video tapes and video rental stores just as hard. They must be Luddites. But wait, they've sure jumped on some new technologies, such as computer-enhanced-images and 3D. Hmmmm. Even if they succeed with COICA, or something similar, I have enough faith in human ingenuity to believe the resultant work-around will be even better.
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25. Bogon
3:35 PM GMT on April 13, 2011
Local weather was unsettled yesterday as an upper level low crossed overhead. It was cool, and the conditions made for very interesting skies.

It remains windy and cool today, though the sun shines brightly. Good lawn mowing weather, I'm thinking.

Please bear with me a moment as I indulge in one of my favorite rants. For decades outfits like the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) and MPAA (same deal, only for movies instead of music) have resisted technological progess. You would think that they would be quick to take advantage of breakthroughs such as the internet to make money. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Apparently they prefer litigation to innovation. They sue people. The wield enough influence in Congress to get laws passed. Remember the DMCA? Their latest effort is called COICA.

Techdirt offers a few relevant observations. Some folks at Harvard University recently expressed an opinion as well.
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24. Bogon
5:59 PM GMT on April 11, 2011
An inch of rain fell Saturday night. Yesterday remained cloudy and cool until late in the day. Wife and I were content to laze by the television.

Today the weather service reports 71° at 12:54 PM. That's cooler than the weekend forecast led me to expect. That's okay; it's more than warm enough for me.

There's more rain in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow. Not that we need additional precipitation right now — the lawn remains squishy with puddles lingering around the edges.
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23. Bogon
2:58 PM GMT on April 09, 2011
Ol' Jack is moving south for the (southern hemisphere) winter, but he has favored us with a parting glance. One last backdoor cold front nudged out of Virginia overnight bringing intermittent rain, fog and morning temperatures near fifty. With apologies to all the people farther north, who are ready for springtime warmth, I have to say I'm liking the cool shot. I know it will be short-lived. By tomorrow the front will return north with warm air in tow.

Monday the mercury will rise toward 90°. That's too hot. I have yard work to do, and I'm hoping it will be dry enough to work today. Fortunately it's still too early in the year for nineties to stick around. More seasonable weather will return midweek.

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22. DontAnnoyMe
10:29 PM GMT on April 07, 2011
Quoting Bogon:
I believe we've seen the last of Jack Frost for a while.

And good riddance!

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21. Bogon
2:23 PM GMT on April 07, 2011
Thanks, Ylee.

Yep, looks like some warm front action going on. Predicted high for today is 76°F. It's beautiful now, but it will be cloudy tonight with rain chances tomorrow. Rain continues off and on for the next few days. By the start of next week temperatures will be rising into the eighties. I believe we've seen the last of Jack Frost for a while.
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20. Ylee
1:20 PM GMT on April 07, 2011
Looks like you're finally warming up after a cold snap- It'll be in the 70's here too, but with a chance of showers and thunderstorms starting tonight.
Enjoy the warmth!
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19. Bogon
12:18 AM GMT on April 05, 2011
Another windy day! A south wind this time, which presages the arrival of rain and cooler weather later tonight.

We can categorize the rain under April showers. That's all right and proper. The wind, however, can only be a holdover from March. Since March went out with a Leonine roar, maybe we can cut some slack there, too. I'm keeping score, though. It's past time for March to pack up and move along.
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18. Bogon
4:03 PM GMT on April 03, 2011
Home again!

On the weather front, it looks as if we have a nice day in store. There, that's one of the easiest reports I've ever delivered.

Now to go test it out. My wife's family is throwing a party today. Several family members (including herself) have birthdays this time of year. Today they assemble for a combined celebration. I reckon I'll put in an appearance, but that's not where I hope to spend the day. I have been neglecting my physical side for too long. I feel as if I'm turning into a big dough ball. I've got to get outside and unlimber.

Skye - I visited your blog to reply. Your comment was so piquant that, after I read it, I decided to let it stand on its own.

gamma - There is so much of New York to see. Watching a Yankees game surely qualifies as a key part of the NYC experience, and one that is not a regular part of the tour.

Foxx - I'm glad they didn't call your bluff and require an x-ray! At the same time, since they let you through, your tale makes a mockery of the concept of provable security.

When is a kid just a kid, and when is he a menace to public welfare? I'm glad I don't have to make that call.
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17. Beachfoxx
1:53 PM GMT on April 02, 2011
Skye ---

LOL - I understand that 100%. Was going to Dallas w/ Jeremiah for his 16th birthday & the wanding, searching got a bit ridiculous... he keep setting the sensors off. I finally told them he had a plate in his head! LOL They let us pass through....
Quoting Skyepony:
Wow~ Snow. Lucky.

Try going through the airport with a toddler. To watch your 1 year old be searched & wand waved. I can't believe I didn't go to jail.
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16. seflagamma
1:42 PM GMT on April 02, 2011
Hello Bogon,

I got a chance to read your blog yesterday but was not able to comment so coming back today.

Enjoyed the read, hubby & i were only in NYC one day back in 2007 (I think) with my daughter & son in law (actually hubby was born there but moved very young so he did not remember it)

We rode the subway and saw a NY Yankee game and ate at a nice famous deli... so that was not much of a trip to really see NYC.. maybe one day will go back.

Happy Weekend to you.

graphic art
Weekend graphics comment
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15. Skyepony (Mod)
2:13 PM GMT on April 01, 2011
Wow~ Snow. Lucky.

Try going through the airport with a toddler. To watch your 1 year old be searched & wand waved. I can't believe I didn't go to jail.
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14. Bogon
1:01 PM GMT on April 01, 2011
Greetings from your local April Fool.

It's cool and rainy across the South this morning. The forecast here at Mom's house alludes to snow and includes a freeze warning. I wish NWS were April Fooling, but they're serious. I guess we can't expect a government agency to exhibit a sense of humor. Perhaps in an alternate universe somewhere bureaucrats wear polka-dot hats, feds pass out smiley faces and judges sit on whoopee cushions.

The forecast for Burlington, my usual ambit, tops out at 77° on Monday. My plan, at least to the extent that any plans of mine influence the actual course of events, is to Be There.
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13. Bogon
1:23 AM GMT on April 01, 2011
Peace - If there were any flying monkeys, they were probably on the plane with us.

Like you I always take the bypass if I can. Better yet, plan a route to miss major cities altogether. Neither strategy works if the city is your destination.

Following my recent experience as a passenger in New York traffic, my resolve not to drive there was reinforced. Even if I managed to find my way to my destination without accident, there would be nowhere to park.

Foxx - Thanks for the virtual tour. Creating that exhibit was surely a lot of work. Hope the result was worth the effort.
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12. Beachfoxx
4:23 PM GMT on March 31, 2011

Here are some pics from Christo's The Gates:

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11. PeaceRiverBP
2:24 PM GMT on March 31, 2011
Bogon; I'm glad to hear that there were no Wicked Witches to spoil the trip; those folks in the blue suits and all those long lines can be bad enough! With no witches around, I hope that means the Flying Monkeys were elsewhere, too.

(Photo taken in the neighborhood last Halloween)

You're right in that it is very difficult to drive in NYC traffic if you're not used to it. Or any big city, for that matter. We take pains to drive around cities.... unless we get lost.
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10. Bogon
5:18 AM GMT on March 31, 2011
Oy! Dont' everybody pile on at once!

After I posted this entry yesterday I monitored the blog list for incoming comments, but came up all zeros. Same thing this morning. After lunch it was time to go see Mom again. As I drove west I was listening to music on the CD player. I decided that, if I still had a chance at first post tonight, I was going with this number here:

I should have had more faith in the WU community.

Ylee - Until last weekend I've been able to get everywhere I needed to go by driving. There's no way I'm going to take my car into New York City. The choice came down to fly or stay home.

Since he was elected with a clear mandate, I had high hopes that Obama would undertake to undo or dismantle the damage wrought by his predecessors, Bush & Co. It now seems increasingly apparent that Mr. O. is content to play the role of accessory after the fact. I don't understand what game the Democrats are playing. Doing the right thing does not seem to be driving their agenda. The Republicans are responsible for the mess in the first place. So where does that leave us voters? Who or what do we vote for that will make a meaningful difference?

Beachfoxx - Big cities are undoubtedly centers of culture, which is what attracted our hostess to Brooklyn from North Carolina. She had a sense that the Big Apple is the real deal, while her home town is a benighted backwater. I'm not sure I would argue with that. It's just that I prefer the amenities of the benighted backwater.

I am glad that my wife and I took advantage of a chance to wander for a while in Central Park. It's a surreal kind of place, what with giant skyscrapers looming over a landscape that, in any other place, would be considered fairly ordinary. I uploaded four pictures that I took during our trip. One was taken in Central Park. The other three garnered comments, but the one from the park is easily my favorite of the four.

BriarCraft - I believe that's a quote (or one version of a quote) from Benjamin Franklin. We should all take it to heart.

I would much prefer to inhabit a nation of wolves. Wolves are empowered. Wolves know what to do with terrorists.

Thanks very much for your vote of support.

Barefoot - I have a confession to make. I don't actually, um, wear pajamas. :o)

Patrap - That's a great story. I bet nine out of ten people that the TSA calls aside are the wrong people. Nine solid citizens go home angry, and one guy forgot to pay his alimony. Probably less than one in a hundred thousand actually has, you know, C4 in his speedo.

It occurs to me that if you, Ylee, Beachfoxx's husband and I all elect to forego air travel on account of TSA, then we've lost much more than the freedom to traverse an airport unmolested. We've lost major mobility. What is that worth? Would it be worth rattling somebody's cage?

shoreacres - The forest gets by on what nature provides. It is in balance with its environment. A city the size of New York is massively out of balance. Cut off essential services, and it becomes a powder keg. Sun and rain will not sustain it.

I used the word 'wrongness' to describe great cities. I was talking about my personal perceptions and did not intend moral judgement. Too much time surrounded by concrete, subways, elevators, and interiors makes Bogon a dull boy.

One could make a case for a moral component. See, for example, the history of California's Owens Valley vis à vis the City of Los Angeles.

Peace - It does feel a bit like I've just returned from Oz. I'm pleased to report no encounters with wicked witches. Just the annoying guys in blue suits.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
9. PeaceRiverBP
6:26 PM GMT on March 30, 2011
Bogon; Wonderful blog! I haven't flown commercially all that often during my life, but hubby & I decided years ago that we'd forgo that 'pleasure' and have traveled in our motor home ever since. We can bring our pets with us, we have a full kitchen and bathroom, and even a little washer/dryer so we will always have clean clothes and we get to sleep in a familiar bed that we know is free of bed-bugs or other critters.

Now that airport security has become so much more rigid, we're doubly glad to hit the highway instead. And let me tell you, when you're stuck in a traffic jam, there's nothing like having your own bathroom in your vehicle! One day we got lost and ended up crossing the George Washington Bridge instead of the Tappanzee Bridge and found ourselves driving (actually, creeping would be a better word) through Manhattan with our 60 foot long rig, easily the biggest thing on the road. We looked like a whale in a school of minnows. It took 3 hours to wade through traffic, but it was no big deal. I made dinner, which hubby ate with his plate balanced on the steering wheel. We weren't going anywhere most of the time, so we just relaxed and waited to crawl out the other side of the city.

Other than that, the only time I've been to NYC was in the early 70's, just after the World Trade Center was completed. As a kid from Cape Cod, where everything is low to the ground lest it blow away, it was a jaw-dropping experience to see those tall buildings! I'm very glad I did get to see them now that they are gone forever. But, it was only a day trip; we saw a show at Radio City Music Hall ("Mame") and saw the Rockett's Easter performance, and a few other of NY's attractions.... ate pizza by the slice from a little corner-pizzeria. I also saw my first bums and was incredibly astounded by the crowds and filth of the place! No disrespect to city-dwellers, but for the life of me, I can't imagine EVER living in any city! I will take my little, quiet, clean town, any day!

It sounds as though you're glad to be home again, too! Like Dorothy said: "There's no place like home; there's no place like home...."
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
8. shoreacres
5:59 PM GMT on March 30, 2011
Great cities like New York... cannot stand on their own. They depend on a constant flow of inputs from outside: water, food, energy, fuel, money and talent. Without those the cities would begin to wither and die...

But the same is true of the forests. They need their own input of water, food and energy to live. And while you say the forest is alive and growing, the very fact that you say a city can die implies it also lives - which all great cities do.

I wouldn't choose to live in San Francisco, Houston or New York at this point in my life, but over the years they've all been important to me, and wonderful experiences. While I never lived in New York, as I have in Houston and San Francisco, I've spent perhaps six months there, and don't regret a day.

I've flown out of the City to a new life, and returned to rediscover the old. I've interviewed there for jobs, and vacationed there. I've experienced automats and subways, Chock-Full-O-Nuts and The Plaza. I've been to gallery openings, Ethiopian restaurants, Washington Square and St. John the Divine. I've shopped at bodegas and had a slice on the street. I've whiled away an afternoon or six in the great Reading Room,and read cheap paperbacks on a fire escape.

I could go on forever, because even though the bumper sticker's long gone, I do love New York. One day I'll go back, although I know it will have changed. I don't care about that. Change is a sign of life.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
7. Beachfoxx
5:45 PM GMT on March 30, 2011
Quoting Barefootontherocks:
Hi Bogon,
A quick note of thanks for trying to identify the source of "The Wheel."

One does not learn and grow and keep fit and alert by waiting safe in bed in one's favorite flannel pajamas. Once in a while one must venture out into the greater world to peer about myopically and squint into the sunshine.

Well put, and so true!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
6. Beachfoxx
5:44 PM GMT on March 30, 2011

I agree with you & Bogon on so many of your points! I love live music, and prefer it in smaller cafes & bars (which are abundant in NYC)... I love the theatre, museums, Central Park -- guess you could say I embrace it all! LOL Strangely enough, I do not like crowds!
I suppose you could say I am a bit of a paradox in that there are so many things I enjoy...

My husband, who has traveled for a living all is life has retired, officially, retired! He got tired of dealing with TSA on an almost daily basis. Too bad society has gotten so dangerous that we as individuals have to be put through the possess of being body scanned, patted down, wanded, etc... to enjoy the process of travel. Also, the joys of flying have long ago been destroyed by the "fill em up, herd them on" process the airlines now employee. There was a time when it was a pleasure to fly, those days are long gone; unless, of course, you can afford your own private jet or charter.
In spite of the hassles of flying, it will not prevent me from exploring the world... too many places I want to see, too many things I want to do, experience and enjoy!
BTW - love to visit San Diego! Love to walk the Marina on Harbor Island and look at all the yachts!

Have a great day!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
5. Patrap
5:38 PM GMT on March 30, 2011
Id rather endure USMC Boot Camp again @ 51 years than spend a Hour with the TSA Shuffle.

When I was evacuated 19 days post Katrina in 05' to Memphis to reunite with my family,,I flew out of NOLA on one of only 3 Northwest Flights on the Tarmac that Day,,the only 3 that day.

When we were screened via TSA,for the flight,they selected one individual for a pat down,,unfortunately that was me, a very weary Guy with the distinct smell of Jack Daniels on Him.

Yeah,,I imbibed for a few while awaiting in a Deserted Terminal,with one Kiosk open,,and well,when they directed me to stand aside with my Briefcase,I said to the Lady,best open that briefcase first before you "Pat me down".

Well that prompted a call to Her Supervisor who came to me demanding what I meant. I repeated the same to Him,and he warily opened it and on top of a lifetime of papers was one USMC Pay Record Folder,stapled to it was a directive from Army Gen Russel Honore Task Force Cdr. for NOLA Task Force, with my Travel voucher from the Salvation Army.

He acquiesced quickly and apologetically and said ,,"Enjoy your Flight Mr. P."

Off I went ,,to Memphis,to Home,,cuz thats where my Family was.

I havent flown since.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
4. Barefootontherocks
5:18 PM GMT on March 30, 2011
Hi Bogon,
A quick note of thanks for trying to identify the source of "The Wheel."

One does not learn and grow and keep fit and alert by waiting safe in bed in one's favorite flannel pajamas. Once in a while one must venture out into the greater world to peer about myopically and squint into the sunshine.

Well put, and so true!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
3. BriarCraft
5:03 PM GMT on March 30, 2011
I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes:

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." --Benjamin Franklin

The whole concept of TSA and the fact that the sheep in this country (who evidently far out-number independent individuals) went quietly along with it... Well, suffice it to say we deserve neither.

Even before TSA, I didn't like being herded onto a crowded plane. Too many people in too little space, bad air, often bad vibes. Like Ylee, if I can't drive, I won't go. Period.

I managed to live in San Diego for 17 years and much of the time, it was endurable, even pleasant. One reason is the canyons. Many 4 and 6 lane service roads that taper down and then dead-end at a canyon. When I was new to the city, I frequently came to the conclusion "can't get there from here". And there were many nice parks and things were spread out a bit.

San Francisco and L.A. are bearable for about half a day. Beyond that, they make me feel almost claustrophobic. I can only imagine NYC, because I'll never go there. I don't like nightlife, theater, or art exhibits. Live music is best heard in an intimate setting like a coffee house or maybe a summer-music-in-the-park. So, not much to attract me to NYC. Heck, I even feel tired after trekking to Portland or Seattle, and I definitely need to recharge my batteries the next day.

I definitely do agree that learning and growing only happen outside one's comfort zone, but there are many other places/ways to get outside my comfort zone, thankyouverymuch. I refused to travel more than one or two days a year (although I did fly in those days) with my last job and I refused to be relocated to Fredericksburg, VA, so I lost my job. That got me out of my comfort zone... And I learned a new way of making a living and became self-employed. We all have our boundaries.

The point being, I think I might understand where you're coming from with your rant. And empathize. And agree. You go, Bogon. Rant on. I like your rants. Glad you're back home to do so.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
2. Beachfoxx
4:15 PM GMT on March 30, 2011
I love to travel so I've learned to "deal" with the hassles associated with it.
New York! Gosh it's been awhile since I visited NYC, 4, maybe 5 years -- but the city always delights me, yet I understand the dismay you felt. Cities can be intimidating, with NYC probably the most intimidating in the world. I understand your words, yet, I always leave NYC with new ideas & experiences that enable to me to grow as a person and intellectually.
I love the theater, the nightlife, the restaurants, the music, museums... I find a magic in the throngs of people going to & fro. There is an energy & I feed off that energy-----> but then, I find my way back to the beach, the sandy shores & music of another kind, the waves kissing the shoreline and I know I am home!

Glad you had a nice trip... Travel & exploring new places & places I've visited before are magical memories I treasure and learning experiences I love.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1. Ylee
4:05 PM GMT on March 30, 2011
Unless somehow I find myself getting a LOT of money and can afford to hire a private jet, I'll drive, thank you very much! While searching for a picture to post on another blog, I came across some photos of Holocaust victims. How far apart are we from the fascism of Nazi Germany? I don't mean to sound alarmist, but Hitler would have loved to have the access to our personal lives the U.S. gov't does now.
You speak of the sameness of the brownstones, but today's suburbs with wall-to wall franchises are the same, too. Can one tell the difference between a mall outside of Augusta, Maine, or San Diego? I'll take rural living!
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Retired software engineer. "What is that?", you may ask. It's someone who has time to blog about the weather...

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