Thursday, 31 May 2007
Tomorrow will see another cruiseliner in port: the Black Prince, a regular here, is touring the Western Isles, and is at St Kilda today.
The Gray/Klotzbach team is calling for 17 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 5 intense hurricanes--unchanged from their April forecast. An average season has 10-11 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes. The forecast calls for a much above normal chance of a major hurricane hitting the U.S., both along the East Coast (50% chance, 31% chance is normal) and the Gulf Coast (49% chance, 30% chance is average). The Caribbean is also forecast to have an above normal risk of a major hurricane.
Abortion was legalised in the United Kingdom in 1967, and legislation remains the prerogative of the UK parliament in London, it is not part of the remit of the devolved Scottish Parliament. In the 40 years since the Act was passed, 7 million abortions have taken place. The Cardinal likened this to murdering two classrooms of kids every day.
I have the greatest respect for the Catholic Church, even though I am not part of it myself. I fully respect also the right of Cardinal O'Brien to express his sincerely held views, and agree that the Scriptures state that "thou shalt not kill".
I disagree with his sledgehammer approach of threatening disagreeing politicians with the withholding of the Eucharist. However, I have been informed that the Cardinal is no stranger to controversy, and am prepared to take his comments as a means to initiate debate on a difficult issue.
I am in favour of abortion, and am satisfied that the safeguards in place in the National Health Service in this country are sufficient. An abortion should, in my mind, only take place if the health and wellbeing of the mother is in jeopardy, or if serious deformity in the unborn child would leave it devoid of any quality of life. Using abortion as a convenient method of morning-after-pill is not acceptable.
As I said two paragraphs back, abortion is a difficult issue, and one on which opinions vary widely. Emotions will run high in any debate on this subject, and views tend to be strongly polarised for that very reason. I respect everybody's views, but I would sustain that women who are in a position that they feel they need an abortion be given that choice, supported by proper medical advice and care.
The Caribbean is flexing its muscles: this statement has relevance for readers in Florida, Cuba and adjacent areas.
SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS IN THE NORTHWESTERN CARIBBEAN SEA... SOUTHEASTERN GULF OF MEXICO AND ADJACENT LAND AREAS ARE ASSOCIATED WITH A BROAD AREA OF LOW PRESSURE CENTERED ABOUT 75 MILES SOUTHEAST OF COZUMEL MEXICO. ALTHOUGH THIS SYSTEM HAS SOME POTENTIAL FOR TROPICAL DEVELOPMENT OVER THE NEXT DAY OR SO...THE LOW IS EXPECTED TO MOVE SLOWLY NORTHWARD INTO THE SOUTHERN GULF OF MEXICO WHERE ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS WOULD LIKELY FAVOR FURTHER DEVELOPMENT AS A NON-TROPICAL LOW. REGARDLESS OF DEVELOPMENT...THIS SYSTEM SHOULD BRING HEAVY RAINS ACROSS WESTERN CUBA AND SOUTHERN FLORIDA OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS. PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE FOR MORE DETAILS
The first hurricane of the East Pacific 2007 season will appear on the charts by the weekend, and the forecasters have huge difficulty predicting which way Barbara will go. Mexico and Guatemala could get a nasty surprise, but it's equally possible that she'll stay out at sea.
I'll check out the picture situation by morning. Good night for now.
Wednesday, 30 May 2007
The bad weather caused a serious road accident in Aberdeenshire, when a car left the road, somersaulted down an embankment and landed next to a railway line. A few moments later, a passing train dealt the vehicle a glancing blow. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene.
On a more positive note, the Cairngorm mountains could see the development of the Scottish version of the Eden Project in Cornwall. In the latter version, large domes house plants in carefully controlled conditions. More details here.
Tuesday, 29 May 2007
This is the latest satellite image. Alvin is located due south of Baja California; the second system is on the far right of the picture.
The Atlantic season is starting on Friday, and am posting this bulletin as a reminder for those folk in Hurricane Alley to keep an eye open. I summarise NHC and JTWC bulletins in my Tropical Cyclones blog, and highlight any systems that may strike land on Northern Trip.
If a hurricane is on a collision course with your area, always consult the latest bulletin from the National Hurricane Center on-line.
The Netherlands have spawned many crazy TV programs - Big Brother is a Dutch invention, and now reality TV has really gone bananas over there. A terminally ill woman has decided to donate her kidneys to the winner of a contest. More details here.
Monday, 28 May 2007
Over the past few weeks, I've been collecting portraits, names and addresses of some of the 1,167 men from Lewis who lost their lives in both World Wars. Four hundred portraits now gaze out from that page on the Internet (have not completed the work by a long shot), and it makes it ever more sad. You can remain distant if you read about 1,167 people. Doesn't mean anything, really. But if you read that someone lived at an address, perhaps just a few doors down from where I am typing this. You notice that two or three of his brothers also lost their lives, maybe his father or an uncle. And then you see a face looking up from the page, very recognisable, as his grandchildren or greatgrandchildren still walk the streets of Stornoway. One struck me as an ancestor of someone who often comes for coffee with mrs B.
It may be 90 years ago that the First World War ended, and 60 years ago for the Second. But for many people it seems like yesterday. And for some, war is today.
Celebrate the heroism of the men who laid down their lives for your country, wherever you are. Let their sacrifice not be in vain.
A blackhouse used to be the common form of housing in the Western Isles until the 1950s. It consisted to two thick walls, with a thatched roof on top. The top end housed the humans, the bottom end the animals. Very cosy and very smelly. Not because of the animals, but because of the peat that was being used for fuel.
The Arnol Blackhouse (named after the village where it is located) is a restored version of the original residence at 42 Arnol.
People were only too glad to be out of a blackhouse. Don't think they were all smelly and dirty in those days. Mrs B has shown me the image of her grandfather in the late 19th century, looking very smart in a white shirt.
A councillor in the islands has called for the scrapping of ferry fares, in line with plans by the Executive to abolish tolls on the Forth and Tay road bridges. That would save an awful lot of money - a return on the ferry to Ullapool costs £26 for a footpassenger and up to £200 for a motorhome. Who would pay for the cost of the crossing has not been made clear.
Sunday, 27 May 2007
The first tropical depression of the East Atlantic season was born earlier this morning, but it is a ragged affair that's slowly drifting into the Atlantic. Unless it comes to threaten land (very unlikely) I will not need to mention it again.
I uploaded yesterday's pictures to http://pictures.aol.com, then picked the URL from each individual picture and planted it manually into the entry, using the HTML tag <img src. AOL is really playing sillibuggers at the moment. I still have to go to France to log into journals. Journalseditor has slapped me down, saying that I'm about the only one that logs into journals using Firefox or an external browser. Nice.
Saturday, 26 May 2007
Loch an Dun at Shader, with signpost for Steinacleit
Port of Ness harbour
Eoropie behind the dunes
Borgh Mealabost from the main road
Threatening cloud over the Minch
Stornoway's Inner Harbour at 9.20 tonight
Sunset over Stornoway, as seen from Lower Sandwick at 10pm
This was taken at 11.05pm
Early this morning, a van carrying welding equipment exploded in the town of Wolsingham, County Durham (northern England). The vehicle was obliterated and its driver killed instantly. Several buildings in the town's market square suffered structural damage, but no one can go near them. The explosion threw several gas canisters around, which are being cooled for 24 hours before they can be removed.
Dinner's ready - sweet & sour chicken - so off I go ---
The first tropical depression of the 2007 season is hatching in the Eastern Pacific - it is likely to be formally declared on Sunday. The Atlantic season will kick off next Friday, 1 June. An outlook will be published the day before.
Friday, 25 May 2007
Noted a question about the J-land Convention. It was agreed in March that we would try to organise one for March 2008. Gina [motoxmom72] went through the motions, but found it not possible to make it happen this year. I hope it will come off next year.
John Scalzi's assignment for this weekend is: bad TV you watched as a youngster. My sin? Dallas. Found it on UKTV the other day, with JR, Bobby, Sue Ellen, Pam, Cliff Barnes, Miss Ellie and Jock. Relatively tame in comparison with today's soaps - that I totally do not watch. I only listen to The Archers on BBC Radio 4.
Weather here is showery and cold, and that is heading south into England. I gather that today's temps in London exceed 20C; not 60 miles to the north, at Bedford, readings are only 13C. More on the weather this Bank Holiday weekend here.
One of the people rescued from the burning Town House in Stornoway on Wednesday evening has died of severe burns in hospital in Glasgow last night. The other, his wife, was discharged following assessment in hospital.
Thursday, 24 May 2007
Over the past ten days, I've been working on a project related to local history. At the end of April, I went to the local War Memorial and photographed all 23 memorial plaques - pictured above - citing the names of more than 1,100 men of Lewis who laid down their lives for King and Country between 1914 and 1919. This number is out of a total of 6,000 who joined up, and out of a total island population of 26,000 in 1911.
Last week, I took the Roll of Honour and scanned pages with portraits of those mentioned on the Memorial. These past few days, I've processed the scans and extracted 400 individual portraits. They now need to go on a website, and linked to names and former addresses. The medium of the Internet makes it possible for people to access information that is only available in the library here in Stornoway. And it makes it more real to see the faces of those that never saw the outbreak of peace in 1919. A peace that was to last little more than 20 years.
Personally, I think we could do without Big Brother. It's seriously Jaded.
Last night, a fire raged through the building known in Stornoway as the Town House, pictured above in an image taken in January 2006. Passers-by noticed smoke issuing from a second-floor apartment and made their way in. The two occupants were rescued and taken to hospital, where they are being treated for burns. One has been transferred to Glasgow for specialist treatment. Fire brigade and council officials are currently assessing the safety of this B-listed historical building.
Image below taken yesterday evening, courtesy BBC.
Wednesday, 23 May 2007
After sheltering in Broad Bay for two days, Border Heather finally made it into port this morning. No cruiseliners in port today, although the Ocean Venture has just passed up the Minch, about to round Cape Wrath on its way to Leith, Edinburgh.
Tuesday, 22 May 2007
The 2007 Atlantic hurricane season could an active one, Dr Jeff Masters reports in his blog on Wunderground.com. Apparently, the sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic are 0.6°C above normal. However, the atmospheric currents that brought about the litany of storms in 2005 are not in place, so it's a case of wait and see. A definitive forecast will be issued by NOAA on May 31st, in 9 days' time.
John was asked what he had done over the weekend.
"I went to see Nana" he replied.
"You went to see GRANDMOTHER. Don't use babytalk, I said!" came the teacher.
Billy was then asked what he had done.
"I've been on a choo-choo" he told class.
"You were on a TRAIN. Use big people words", the teacher retorted.
Michael was next and he told the teacher he had read a book.
"That's excellent, Michael!" the teacher said, delighted. "What book did you read?"
wait for it...
"Winnie the SHIT"
Speaking on Isles FM this morning, one Austrian couple expressed their gratitude and said they were deeply impressed by local hospitality. Astor departed for Invergordon just before 10 this morning, with a group of passengers on board who will not readily forget their trip to the Hebrides and the spring gale.
Monday, 21 May 2007
Customer: "I've been ringing 0800 2100 for two days and can't get through to enquiries, can you help?".
Operator: "Where did you get that number from, sir?".
Customer: "It was on the door to the Travel Centre".
Operator: "Sir, they are our opening hours".
Caller: "Can you give me the telephone number for Jack?"
Operator: "I'm sorry, sir, I don't understand who you are talking about".
Caller: "On page 1, section 5, of the user guide it clearly states that I need to unplug the fax machine from the AC wall socket and telephone Jack before cleaning. Now, can you give me the number for Jack?"
Operator: "I think you mean the telephone point on the wall".
RAC Motoring Services
Caller: "Does your European Breakdown Policy cover me when I am travelling in Australia ?"
Operator: " Doesn't the product name give you a clue?"
Caller (enquiring about legal requirements while travelling in France ):
"If I register my car in France , do I have to change the steering wheel to the other side of the car?"
Caller: "I'd like the number of the Argoed Fish Bar in Cardiff please".
Operator: "I'm sorry, there's no listing. Is the spelling correct?"
Caller: "Well, it used to be called the Bargoed Fish Bar but the 'B' fell off".
Then there was the caller who asked for a knitwear company in Woven.
Operator: "Woven? Are you sure?"
Caller: "Yes. That's what it says on the label; Woven in Scotland".
On another occasion, a man making heavy breathing sounds from a phone box told a worried operator:
"I haven't got a pen, so I'm steaming up the window to write the number on".
Tech Support: "I need you to right-click on the Open Desktop".
Tech Support: "Did you get a pop-up menu?".
Tech Support: "OK. Right-Click again. Do you see a pop-up menu?"
Tech Support: "OK, sir. Can you tell me what you have done up until this point?".
Customer: "Sure. You told me to write 'click' and I wrote 'click'".
Tech Support: "OK. In the bottom left hand side of the screen, can you see the 'OK' button displayed?"
Customer: "Wow. How can you see my screen from there?"
Caller: "I deleted a file from my PC last week and I have just realised that I need it. If I turn my system clock back two weeks will I have my file back again?".
There's always one. This has got to be one of the funniest things in a long time. I think this guy should have been promoted, not fired. This is a true story from the Word Perfect Helpline, which was transcribed from a recording monitoring the customer care department. Needless to say the Help Desk employee was fired; however, he/she is currently suing the Word Perfect organization for "Termination without Cause".
Actual dialogue of a former WordPerfect Customer Support employee. (Now I know why they record these conversations!):
Operator: "Ridge Hall, computer assistance; may I help you?"
Caller: "Yes, well, I'm having trouble with WordPerfect."
Operator: "What sort of trouble??"
Caller: "Well, I was just typing along, and all of a sudden the words went away."
Operator: "Went away?"
Caller: "They disappeared."
Operator: "Hmm So what does your screen look like now?"
Caller: "It's blank; it won't accept anything when I type."
Operator: "Are you still in WordPerfect, or did you get out??"
Caller: "How do I tell?"
Operator: "Can you see the C: prompt on the screen??"
Caller: "What's a sea-prompt?"
Operator: "Never mind, can you move your cursor around the screen?"
Caller: "There isn't any cursor: I told you, it won't accept anything I type."
Operator: "Does your monitor have a power indicator??"
Caller: "What's a monitor?"
Operator: "It's the thing with the screen on it that looks like a TV. Does it have a little light that tells you when it's on??"
Caller: "I don't know."
Operator: "Well, then look on the back of the monitor and find where the power cord goes into it. Can you see that??"
Caller: "Yes, I think so."
Operator: "Great. Follow the cord to the plug, and tell me if it's plugged into the wall.
Caller: "Yes, it is."
Operator: "When you were behind the monitor, did you notice that there were two cables plugged into the back of it, not just one??"
Operator: "Well, there are. I need you to look back there again and find the other cable."
Caller: "Okay, here it is."
Operator: "Follow it for me, and tell me if it's plugged securely into the back of your computer."
Caller: "I can't reach."
Operator: "Uh huh. Well, can you see if it is??"
Operator: "Even if you maybe put your knee on something and lean way over??"
Caller: "Oh, it's not because I don't have the right angle - it's because it's dark."
Caller: "Yes - the office light is off, and the only light I have is coming in from the window.
" Operator: "Well, turn on the office light then."
Caller: "I can't."
Operator: "No? Why not??"
Caller: "Because there's a power failure."
Operator: "A power......... A power failure? Aha, Okay, we've got it licked now.
Do you still have the boxes and manuals and packing stuff your computer came in??"
Caller: "Well, yes, I keep them in the closet."
Operator: "Good. Go get them, and unplug your system and pack it up just like it was when you got it. Then take it back to the store you bought it from."
Caller: "Really? Is it that bad?"
Operator: "Yes, I'm afraid it is."
Caller: "Well, all right then, I suppose. What do I tell them??"
Operator: "Tell them you're too f---ing stupid to own a computer!!!!!"
Century is currently 25 miles east of Stornoway, passing down the Minch, heading for Belfast.
The ferry is comfortable enough, but I'm not sure staff will be on hand to provide food and drink. You can't really lie down for a snooze, and spending the night on a cold, hard floor is probably not what those folk had in mind for a cruise round the islands.
How To Shower Like a Woman
Take off clothes and place them sectioned in laundry basket according to lights and darks.
Walk to bathroom wearing long dressing gown.
If you see husband along the way, cover up any exposed areas.
Look at your womanly physique in the mirror - make mental note to do more sit-ups/leg-lifts, etc.
Get in the shower.
Use face cloth, arm cloth, leg cloth, long loofah, wide loofah and pumice stone.
Wash your hair once with cucumber and sage shampoo with 43 added vitamins.
Wash your hair again to make sure it's clean.
Condition your hair with grapefruit mint conditioner enhanced.
Wash your face with crushed apricot facial scrub for 10 minutes until red.
Wash entire rest of body with ginger nut and jaffa cake body wash.
Rinse conditioner off hair.
Shave armpits and legs.
Turn off shower.
Squeegee off all wet surfaces in shower.
Spray mould spots with Tile cleaner.
Get out of shower.
Dry with towel the size of a small country.
Wrap hair in super absorbent towel.
Return to bedroom wearing long dressing gown and towel on head.
If you see husband along the way, cover up any exposed areas.
How To Shower Like a Man
Take off clothes while sitting on the edge of the bed and leave them in a pile.
Walk naked to the bathroom.
If you see wife along the way, shake willy at her making the 'woo-woo' sound.
Look at your manly physique in the mirror.
Admire the size of your willy and scratch your bum.
Get in the shower.
Wash your face.
Wash your armpits.
Blow your nose in your hands and let the water rinse them off.
Fart and laugh at how loud it sounds in the shower.
Spend majority of time washing privates and surrounding area.
Wash your bum, leaving those coarse bum hairs stuck on the soap.
Wash your hair.
Make a Shampoo Mohawk.
Rinse off and get out of shower.
Partially dry off.
Fail tonotice water on floor because curtain was hanging out of bath the whole time.
Admire willy size in mirror again.
Leave shower curtain open, wet mat on floor, light and fan on.
Return to bedroom with towel around waist.
If you pass wife, pull off towel, shake willy at her and make the 'woo-woo' sound again.
Throw wet towel on bed.
I KNOW YOU'RE LAUGHING CAUSE MOST OF IT'S TRUE!!!!!!
Three other cruiseliners in the area: Black Prince is making for Lerwick, Polar Star is heading up the West Side and Century is rounding Cape Wrath in these bonny conditions.
From the Northern Times
Sunday August 5th is when Brora woman Pauline MacLennan, the Doll, plans to string up a "washing line of bras" the six miles or so between Golspie and Brora.
She has chosen that date because it coincides with Golspie Gala Week's popular Banger Derby, held at Strathsteven, so there should be plenty of people around.
But Pauline, who launched an appeal for old bras over a year ago, this week revealed that she is still some 900 short of the number needed to stretch from the Spar shop in one village to the Spar shop in the other.
She has now renewed her appeal for anyone who may have bras to donate to send them on to her as soon as possible.
"We're now on the last push towards the finish line so if anyone has any bras ready to give to me, then now is the time," she said.
Breast cancer survivor Pauline is staging the event in aid of the breast care unit at Raigmore Hospital, Inverness, where she and other Highland women have received first class treatment. She hopes to raise at least £7500 to buy equipment needed for cosmetic reconstruction work and is already £2000 towards that target.
She has received official support from the Rotary Club of East Sutherland who have made the event an official club charity.
However Pauline's effort to attract a celebrity to add a bit of glamour and glitz to the event have failed. "I've e-mailed loads of television programmes but have never heard anything back," she said. "In any case a celebrity would probably want a great deal of money to appear and I'm not prepared to pay anyone for anything."
Meanwhile Pauline is putting together a squad of volunteers to help with hanging out the bras on the day. They will be strung onto the fences and dykes that border the A9 and will be taped onto the surface of the side roads coming off the trunk road.
She said: "The line of bras will just be up for a couple of hours because we don't want any problems with the police."
Pauline is still seeking sponsorship for the event and is also encouraging local folk to enter a competition she is running to guess the exact number of bras involved in the event. A £100 prize is at stake.
For further information please see the original article.
Any ladies in the UK got a bra going spare?
It's a dreadful evening here in Stornoway, pouring with rain and a strong wind, which gusts up to force 9 at times. When I came back from Somerfields (our local supermarket), I couldn't proceed against the wind. Went up the backstreets instead, to have a bit of shelter.
Spare a thought for the passengers on the cruiseliner Astor, which is hovering outside port. They have spent a miserable day touring the island, and are now being ferried back on board in wee boats across a decidedly choppy harbour. Furthermore, the ferry is due back this evening. It should have left Ullapool half an hour ago, but I'm not spotting it on AIS.
When the blaze broke out at 4.16 am this morning, about half the ship had been stripped away, such as the cabins, masts, rigging and sails, for a £25 million restoration programme. The firebrigade took about 2 hours to bring the fire under control. The trust looking after the vessel is optimistic that it can still be restored. More on this story, including pictures of the blaze in progress, on the BBC News website.
A cruiseliner, the Astor, came in earlier this morning and sent some passengers ashore in tenders. She was anchored in Sandwick Bay, behind the Coastguard Station. However, when I went to have a look, she was way out to sea. Another liner, the Black Prince, turned up on AIS about half an hour ago, but transmissions have since ceased.
I am very displeased with Bravenet, where one or two of my sites are hosted. Over the weekend, they managed to lose the two HTML files after I made alterations. An exchange with a tech over there in Canada resolved nothing, and they're having a public holiday out there, so I've got to wait until Tuesday. Which I'm not going to do; I've copied the material to Hometown, prior to putting them on a different server.
I am pleased to note that Donna's continuing to produce graphics, so I'm not giving up hope altogether. I'm just sorry that people get hurt for doing what they like best. Wish the negative spirits would find something positive to do.
Sunday, 20 May 2007
We all have to wonder, what this possibly means.
Looking for something or someone, as we sit in a daze.
Small groups we do form, and gang up on our foes.
In IMs we chat deeply and reveal why we hurt.
How some of these friendships will flourish and grow.
Telling our secrets, that have never been told?
With those we can't see, as though we were blind.
We all have our problems, and need someone to tell.
They are "Friends Without Faces", and odd little names.
Had an email from an organisation called the Scottish Islands Federation (formerly Scottish Islands Network), which does what it says on the box: networking for the benefit of all Scottish islands. They've put out a questionnaire for anyone with an interest in islands across Scotland, whether active or passive, as to the future course of the new organisation. Its predecessor has a website, which will continue to be used by the SIF. It contains the questionnaire too.
I think that the world of football has taken another step down the ladder towards ignominy with the news last week that Chelsea manager José Mourinho took a dog in and out of the UK, allegedly without the requisite paperwork. In order to keep rabies at bay, dogs and cats (amongst others) taken into the UK need to be put into quarantine for 6 months. If they have been tagged and immunised, this requirement is waived. Mr Mourinho decided that his dog didn't need all that palaver, but the police disagreed. They came to impound the dog - which ran off. It has now been deported to Portugal.
This week is hurricane awareness week in the USA, and I strongly recommend anyone who might be affected by hurricanes to click the link and follow the programme of education by the NHC.
Saturday, 19 May 2007
A woman came home, screeching her car into the driveway, and ran into the house. She slammed the door and shouted at the top of her lungs, "Honey, pack your bags. I won the lottery!"
The husband said, "Oh my God! What should I pack, beach stuff or mountain stuff?" "Doesn't matter," she said. "Just get out."
Marriage is a relationship in which one person is always right, and the other is a husband.
A Polish immigrant went to the DMV to apply for a driver's license. First, of course, he had to take an eye sight test The optician showed him a card with the letters
'C Z W I X N O S T A C Z.' "Can you read this?" the optician asked. "Read it?" the Polish guy replied, "I know the guy."
Mother Superior called all the nuns together and said to them, "I must tell you all something. We have a case of gonorrhea in the convent." "Thank God," said an elderly nun at the back. "I'm so tired of chardonnay.
A wife was making a breakfast of fried eggs for her husband. Suddenly, her husband burst into the kitchen. "Careful," he said, "CAREFUL! Put in some more butter! Oh my gosh! You're cooking too many at once. TOO MANY! Turn them! TURN THEM NOW! We need more butter. Oh my gosh! WHERE are we going to get MORE BUTTER? They're going to STICK! Careful. CAREFUL! I said be CAREFUL! You NEVER listen
to me when you're cooking! Never! Turn them! Hurry up! Are you CRAZY? Have you LOST your mind? Don't forget to salt them. You know you always forget to salt them. Use the salt. USE THE SALT! THE SALT!" The wife stared at him. "What in the world is wrong with you? You think I don't know how to fry a couple of eggs?" The husband calmly replied, "I just wanted to show you what it feels like when I'm driving."
Fifty-one years ago, Herman James, a North Carolina mountain man, was drafted by the Army. On his first day in basic training, the Army issued him a comb. That afternoon the Army barber sheared off all his hair. On his second day, the Army issued Herman a toothbrush. That afternoon the Army dentist yanked seven of his teeth. On the third day, the Army issued him a jock strap. The Army has been looking for Herman for 51 years.
It just shows, to my mind, that mounting the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was a big mistake. Removing Saddam Hussein from power merely served to create a power vacuum which the US and UK forces were unable to fill; that void has been filled by Muslim insurgents from across the region. It has created a lawless and powerless state, with nowhere to go.
The only reason why this entire debacle was commenced was OIL, pure and simple. We have other monsters ruling countries with an iron fist - think of Robert Mugabe who has managed to wreck his country Zimbabwe, but everybody standing by wringing their hands. Do the US cavalry come racing in there? Like hell they won't. No oil. No big economic interests.
From the other side of Scotland comes news that the four cooling towers of the Chapelcross nuclear powerstation, near Annan, are to be blown up at 9am tomorrow morning. Travellers on the M6 motorway approaching Carlisle, the A69 coming across from Newcastle and the M74 from Glasgow are familiar with this sight
The powerstation was built in 1955, but is being decommissioned. The demolition will be shown on-line. J-lander Jeanie [kirkbyj05] who is currently on holiday in Scotland will notice a difference when she returns home in a week's time.
Decommissioning a nuclear powerstation takes a long time. I copy from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority website:
2007 - demolition of cooling towers
2009 - defuelling finished (this means all the nuclear fuel has been removed for processing at the Sellafield nuclear processing plant)
2021 - Start of Care and Maintenance phase – all fuel removed and all plant, facilities and buildings other than reactor buildings fully decommissioned
2116 - End of long term care and maintenance phase - commencement of final decommissioning of reactor buildings
2128 - Final site clearance and available for potential re-use
Which is one of the reasons why I am opposed to new nuclear powerstations.
Friday, 18 May 2007
Went out for a walk during a clearance between 8.15 and 8.30. Waves came crashing into the seawall by the Coastguard Station, the blocky building that I use as a reference point in many of my weather pics. The plume of spray of one wave came right over me, so everything now tasts of salt. It is also a high tide, with the predicted level of 4.8 metres / 16 feet, which is fairly high. It's the springtide again.
Which leads me on to a reminder for an astronomical event which takes place tomorrow night after sunset. The further south you are, the lower the moon will be in the sky. You'll see the moon in the west, a narrow sickle. To one side, you'll see a very bright star - which is actually the planet Venus. If the weather allows, you can also see a vague blue-ish reflection on the dark side of the moon - which is light, reflected off Earth.
Typhoon Yutu is out in the open Pacific, west of Guam. It will intensify to winds of 100 mph, before veering north and weakening again.