As Hurricane Sandy roars ashore in the Northeast, we need to acknowledge the work of the scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who have correctly predicted for a week the unusual path and extent of this storm. The storm’s size this far north and its westerly turn are unprecedented.
One storm does not make a trend, but those same scientists and others are telling us that this could be the norm as global warming continues. Warm air holds more moisture, with the potential for more intense disturbances.
If we add Sandy to this year’s record shrinkage of the Arctic ice cap and the northward march of plant hardiness zones, we are getting a glimpse of the future.
It is time to get serious about the billions of tons of greenhouse gases that we annually emit to the atmosphere.
So I decided to pester
you, Professor. I am so sick of the politics, I could chew up railroad
spikes and spit out BB shot. So, since the Missus, bless her,
is off on a group directorate thingy I'm without adult supervision. Thus
freed of direction, I decided to clean out my snake pit. In the past it was my
late son's room, but now it's my "Office," Armory and sporting
goods repository. As I was cleaning out the cardboard boxes I previously
could barely live without I found three Hudson Bay blankets I thought I'd lost. Interesting things Hudson Bay Blankets, they're still hand made. Woven mostly
in Scotland as a cottage industry, the way they were in the 1600s. I have
a bit of blanket before it would have been teased. It feels for all the world like
a piece of heavy cotton or linen canvas, about as soft and comforting as
plywood. The blankets start this way, but in pairs, end to end. Then they
are teased to make them soft and fluffy. The method is hard to describe but
uses a plant called a "teasel," a sort of thistle that is grown
specifically for teasing up the fibres on woolen blankets. The heads of
the teasel are placed in holders in a machine then the blanket is pulled
through until the operator decides it's fluffy enough. My blankets all
measure right on 5/16" thick. Several years ago I read that in
the long ago, hunters and soldiers would shelter under a lean to made of a
blanket while rolling up in another. Two men could thus keep warm and dry in
rainy conditions. One rainy Spring night about fifteen years ago I
tested the concept. It worked, I pitched a lean to of a Hudson Bay
blanket and slept rolled up in another. I was comfy and dry. The rain ran off the fluffy surface without soaking through. I think it's
because the wool was not washed entirely free of the natural "wool
fat" in it, we refer to wool fat as lanolin. Sheepherder's hands are
as soft as a baby's bottom from handling sheep.
An interesting thing
about Hudson Bay type blankets is that although they are heavy and thick, they
do not make the user overheat. I've slept under one during Summer when
the temperature in the house was over 80 F and felt as comfy as if I only
had a sheet on top of me. It kept the mosquitoes at bay, their proboscises
are shorter than the blanket is thick. During Winter, I'll use two and
feel very comfortably warm while having the heat in the house turned down and
the bedroom window open. The Missus took a few years to get used
to it, but she finally gave up. She did draw the line with some
"firmness" when I suggested we might get a buffalo robe to sleep
under. That idea nearly started a fight. I still think it's a good idea,
but I know when to quit.
I'm pretty sure my dog,
Bella has a dark and twisted sense of humor. She sneaks up on me,
lays down and feigns sleep. When she's sure I've fallen for her
nefarious ploy, she silently passes gas, then walks off looking back at me
with her ears held back and a beatific smile on her face. She has the vilest
gastric system of any animal on the planet and seems to know it. The stench is
startling, brings tears, makes me choke, and I think it is very
likely lethal in large enough doses. I wonder how long Pitbull
Terriers take to get past this "Teen age joke" stage. I swear I
can hear her snicker when she does it.
Tell me she doesn't look
guilty as sin.
See what happens when I
can't sleep. I bother people who haven't harmed me in the
least. I'm going to boil some water and brew a cup of licorice tea. That usually relaxes me enough to get to sleep.
Note from KBJ: Gerry is a talented writer and doesn't even realize it. He reminds me of another Northwesterner: Barry Holstun Lopez.
I would like to commend The Times for its beautifully written, detailed and often pointed article endorsing President Obama. It is the finest one I have seen so far.
I was happy to see that you addressed the economic meltdown that could have occurred had Mr. Obama not have taken the proper measures. It amazes me that so many people cling to the absurd notion that Democrats are “bad for the economy” when history does not bear it out.
I was even happier to see that my civil rights as a gay citizen, as well as the astounding misconceptions regarding the Affordable Care Act, were addressed—not to mention the potential horror of a Supreme Court under a Romney-Ryan administration.
NELSON HARPER Columbus, Ohio, Oct. 28, 2012
Note from KBJ: Is there any evidence that Baroque Obama forestalled, rather than created, an "economic meltdown"? Progressives such as the letter writer live in Cloud Cuckoo Land.
Parliamentary government is simply a mild and disguised form of compulsion. We agree to try strength by counting heads instead of breaking heads, but the principle is exactly the same. It is not the wisest side which wins, but the one which for the time being shows its superior strength (of which no doubt wisdom is one element) by enlisting the largest amount of active sympathy in its support. The minority gives way not because it is convinced that it is wrong, but because it is convinced that it is a minority.
As senior author of the research described in “The G.O.P.’s Feminine Mystique” (Sunday Review, Oct. 21), I’d like to describe the theoretical rationale and broader implications of analyzing the extent to which female lawmakers exhibit gender-typical facial features.
Prior research established that voters often make snap judgments when evaluating politicians. We predicted (and found) that some of these judgments rely on gendered cues. Why? Conservatives tend to value policies that bolster traditional gender roles, and they promote politicians who embody those characteristics. (Representative Todd Akin’s recent criticism of Senator Claire McCaskill’s “unladylike” debate performance illustrates this point.)
Liberals, in contrast, value policies that aim to end gender disparities (salary equity, for example) and appear not to demand that their lawmakers exhibit a particular “look.”
For the health of our democracy, it’s important to understand how voters’ judgments are formed and how they might be manipulated for political gain. Currently, we’re investigating whether party leadership plays a role in the process.
Prior research reveals that women are viewed as either feminine or competent—but rarely both. If the leadership of the G.O.P. is consciously or unconsciously putting forward and promoting only the most feminine of lawmakers, it is unwittingly undermining its political agenda. That’s no trivial matter.
KERRI L. JOHNSON Los Angeles, Oct. 21, 2012
The writer is an assistant professor of communication studies and psychology at U.C.L.A.
Note from KBJ: I'm confused. Is there something wrong with "traditional gender roles"? Is there something wrong with being a full-time wife and mother? By the way, Margaret Thatcher was both feminine and competent. (French president Francois Mitterand famously said that she had the eyes of Caligula and the mouth of Marilyn Monroe.) Sarah Palin is both feminine and competent. Michele Bachmann is both feminine and competent. Kerri L. Johnson is both feminine and competent. My mother is both feminine and competent. My wife is both feminine and competent. The letter writer appears to be the one who believes that women are either feminine or competent (but not both).
I made two sets of predictions this year, one before the season started and one before the postseason started.
On 4 April, I predicted that Detroit would beat Philadelphia in the World Series. In fact, San Francisco beat Detroit. Not bad, if I do say so myself. Philadelphia didn't make the playoffs, but Detroit made it to the World Series. I predicted that San Francisco would lose in the NLCS to Philadelphia, so even that prediction wasn't bad.
On 6 October, before the postseason started, I predicted that Detroit would beat Cincinnati in the World Series. I got one of the teams right.
It's been a disappointing and frustrating year for me. My Texas Rangers blew a big lead to lose the West Division to the Oakland Athletics. They then lost a one-game Wild Card playoff. My Tigers won the Central Division, the Division Series, and the ALCS, but lost the World Series.
I love the way the Giants play baseball. They have superb pitching, good defense, and a small-ball mentality. Texas and Detroit try to bludgeon their opponents into submission. This has gotten them close to the promised land, but it'll never get them there. The older I get, the more I realize that pitching is the name of the game. Home runs draw oohs and aahs, but pitching wins games and titles. Even a mediocre lineup can get the job done if the pitchers hold the opposing team to three or fewer runs per game.
I don't know about you, but I need a long break from baseball. This season has worn me out.
Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants—their owner, their executives, their coaching staff, their scouts, their players, their manager, and their fans. I don't know that I've ever seen such a dominating performance in a World Series. The Detroit Tigers, who swept the New York Yankees in the ALCS, were outhit, outpitched, outplayed, and outmanaged. This is the fourth time in seven years that one of my two teams (the other being the Texas Rangers) has lost the World Series. Detroit lost to the St Louis Cardinals in 2006 and to the Giants in 2012. My Texas Rangers lost to the Giants in 2010 and to the Cardinals in 2011. I believe I'm being paid back (retribution is a bitch!) for the disparaging things I said about the Atlanta Braves in the 1990s. I used to taunt my friend David by saying that the objective is not merely to reach the World Series (which the Braves did five times), but to win it (which they did only once, in 1995). When I said this, the Rangers had never reached the World Series and the Tigers had reached it twice (1968 and 1984) and won it both times. Keith gets his baseball comeuppance.