The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Thar she

By the time you read this, hurricane Irene will have moved away from endangering my little bit of paradise and is scaring the Bejeezus out of those in the Carolinas and points north. Did you know that "Irene" was derived from the Greek word for peace? And was the name of a Greek Goddess? Hurricane Irene seems the antithesis of peace, doesn't she?

At one time, hurricanes were not named at all. Then they began using feminine names. I would guess that wasn't intended as a slight to women. Perhaps it was because of sailing traditions. Ships were always referred to as "she", as well as the sea itself. It's probably due to the male dominated aspect of history and culture. Anything unpredictable was tagged as female. It isn't Father Nature, is it? No, the masculine names were reserved for deities that ruled and were darker in nature... like Hades. Which makes me wonder about Neptune and Poseidon who ruled the seas. But I digress...

Hurricanes have been a part of my life. Even before my family moved to south Florida, I was affected by a hurricane. Hazel was her name. And she blew through in 1954. In October. A late season storm. One of 8 that year that threatened the east coast of the U.S. A deadly storm that wreaked havoc wherever she touched land. We did not get the brunt of her in our little town of Farmingdale.

I went through a number of them in south Florida during the late 50's and early 60's. We never suffered much damage from them, though. They were just exciting things to me since I had nothing of consequence to worry about. Our house in North Miami Beach (nowhere near the beach at all) had sturdy (and heavy) wooden hurricane awnings which provided shade for the windows most of the year and good protection from the debris that flies about in these big storms.

Hurricane parties were common back then. People would gather at a well-protected house, break out the booze, and keep each other company while the storm passed through. Sleeping through a storm was nearly impossible, the howling wind and the wind-borne debris banging into things kept you on edge. Most storms seemed to hit at night or in the evening. At least, that's how I recall them. I am probably wrong, though. There are no timetables these monsters follow.

I am happy Irene didn't follow the track the weather folks (bless their erroneous little hearts) provided initially. It would have come right through here. I am not in a hurry to test the weather-proof ability of this house. Nor did I look forward to putting up the panels I had had made to protect the windows. And, of course, there is always that worry about how the house (especially the roof) will handle its first big storm.

When I was young, houses down here mostly used cement barrel tiles. Now, they use asphalt shingles almost exclusively. I don't recall ever losing one of those barrel tiles but I sure lost some shingles from my home in West Palm Beach when we caught three storms in two years (Frances and Jean in 2004 and Wilma in 2005). The third one, Wilma, also wrecked my water system (pump and filtration system for my well) as well as tearing up the Mansard cage that surrounded my pool. Wilma took enough shingles from the roof that I had to have it re-roofed even though I had no leaks.

When I first went to California in 1965, I began to learn how differently people outside the hurricane zones viewed them. They feared them much more than anyone I ever met who had been through a couple.

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