Category Archives: weather

A Couple Links In Lieu of Actual Content

Maybe it’s because I’ve tried cutting back on caffeine. Surely it has to do with Black History Month at church and a presentation I did at the Underground Railroad conference this past weekend. But I am FRIED.

Fried means going to bed when the child goes to bed, between 8 and 9 pm. Going to bed BEFORE my wife, and if you know her sleep patterns, you’d find that astonishing.
So I’m not going to force it. I’ll give you a couple links. The good news, I suppose, is that I wrote them:

Over at Trouble with Comics, the esteemed comics blogger Alan David Doane is having Guest Reviewer Month. And guess who his first contributor is? (And yes, ADD, I DO laugh your claim to my “fame”.)

On my Times Union blog, I note how lucky Albany has been with the weather this winter. Those of you from across the country or the world might read that NYC schools and Syracuse University were closed on Friday; Albany got about an inch of slush. Oh, and I dedicate the post to Jason at 2political, who’s in the Washington, DC area and gotten far more snow in 2010 than I have.

Finally, I want to point you to the NYS Data Center blog where I highlight the Modern Mechanix blog.

More content tomorrow, I hope.


Sports and Weather

I understand why people don’t care about sports, I really do. There are lots of particular sports I don’t care much about myself. What I don’t get is this antipathy towards the things that others happen to enjoy. The Super Bowl, which had the highest ratings ever of any US TV show, apparently dethroning the M*A*S*H finale of 1983, is such an example. Don’t want to watch it? Fine. But there’s no reason to suck the joy out of other people’s pleasure.

I was rooting for the New Orleans Saints, and even predicted that they’d win. Some are puzzled about how important the Saints’ victory would be for the city of New Orleans. One pundit sniffed that if the victory would help New Orleans get over Hurricane Katrina, wouldn’t a Jets victory have done the same for New York City after 9/11? Well, no.

Anyone watching the aftermath of the August 2005 devastation will recall that the Superdome, home of the Saints, was at the epicenter of the disaster. Thousands of people lived there for days. The roof collapsed. The team ended up playing its home games elsewhere for a time, including San Antonio, Texas. The refurbishing of the Superdome and the win by the Saints, who had never even GOTTEN to a Super Bowl, let alone won one, was a fitting climax for both the team and the city that embraced each other in a most profound manner.

Of course, the real reason for watching the Super Bowl: the commercials, which you can see here or here. My favorite was the Betty White/Abe Vigoda Snickers commercial. While Betty White has been a regular working actress (the movie The Proposal and the TV show Boston Legal, e.g.), now at the age of 88, there’s been a running gag whether Abe Vigoda, a star on Barney Miller, was even still alive. I also liked the Dave Letterman ad; yes, late night TV rivals Letterman and Jay Leno were actually in the same room at the same time; see this. I liked the Simpsons ad for Coca-Cola; reminds me of an ad with MC Hammer losing all his bling AND the ad with Mean Joe Greene being offered a Coke. I enjoyed the Google ad. I’ve long admitted my thing about chickens, so a couple of Denny’s ads – for a promotion that’s now over – stick in my head.

Whereas I’ve long tired of the E*Trade babies. Even the sweet Clydesdale commercial for Budweiser has become predictable. I can’t imagine wanting to see ANY of the movies advertised. The commercials Casual Friday and I Wear No Pants were so close to each other, I thought they were for the same product; they weren’t. The Tim Tebow ad, with his mother, the reportedly anti-abortion message from Focus on the Family, was mostly, “Is that all there is?” And, most unfortunately, I thought the Census ad was an ineffective use of taxpayer money.

As for the music, Queen Latifah’s America the Beautiful was a bit wobbly and flat in the beginning, but Carrie Underwood’s a capella rendition of The Star Spangled Banner was OK, but the last note was painful. I love the band, The Who’s halftime show seemed off. The harmonies didn’t work, and the medley segues were clunky. But the drummer Zak Starkey (Ringo Starr’s son) was energetic, and they finished strong with Won’t Get Fooled Again.

Meanwhile, it’s been cold in Albany, but all the snow that has been hitting the Delmarva peninsula, Philadelphia (32.3 inches in 2010) and up the coast, repeatedly this winter, has so far missed Albany. Likewise, whatever snow off the Great Lakes may have affected Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse, but Albany has been so far immune. Baltimore has been hammered; 41 inches this calendar year through February 8, more than Buffalo (36.1). All my NYC friends have made snarky remarks about Albany winters, but Albany has had only 8.3 inches of snow since January 1, the most 2.4 inches on January 3.

ANOTHER storm’s coming up the coast yesterday and today. Again the mid-Atlantic will get pummeled. What Albany gets will depend on the track of the storm, from an inch or two to six or eight. And it’ll still pale in comparison with what NYC’s going to suffer today; expect massive airline delays and cancellations.

W is for Weather

Anyone who spent time in Albany, NY in June or July 2009 would have thought it was Seattle, Washington, because it rained. A lot. And the rain was often accompanied by severe weather – lightning, thunder and/or high winds. (Incidentally, the weather in Seattle at that time was uncharacteristically HOT, cracking 100F or 38C several times.)

One day in June, I was going to ride home, but I bailed. Severe weather – torrential winds, and some of the scariest lightning and thunder I’d ever experienced – meant that I put the bike on the bus and got home. But in that 10 minute-trip, the weather subsided. I took the bike off the bus and rode the last two blocks home. Generally, I cut through a bank parking lot, and past the elementary school, when I came across – well the pictures you’re now seeing tell the story. The red brick building is the school, the more orange building, the Pine Hills branch of the Albany Public Library.)

I called the library – the tree was on its property initially, though where it ell was all school property. But I think it was the school who had cleaned up the mess – at least on their side of the fence, by morning.

I can’t help but think: the weather is SO peculiar these days. Greenland and the Maldives Are Far Apart on the Map But Connected by Rapidly Melting Glaciers and Rising Sea Levels. If you go to and type in Bolivia, you’ll find a story about the disappearing slopes in the Andes, where glaciers are melting at such a rate they can longer be skied in Bolivia. A recent study says a two-degree temperature rise could flood wide areas of the planet.

Yet a kerfuffle over some e-mails – did these people even READ the content? – have led certain people to the irrational conclusion that there is no global warming. Meanwhile, I was hoping for substantive breakthrough, but the climate conference in Copenhagen has generated voluntary, unenforceable goals. I think I’ll keep worrying.

My favorite weather site.


The power is off, on, off

The fact is that I often write a little bit here and there on my blog. Without any computer, though, that becomes tricky. If I don’t get to your site as usual, I will, I will, if/when the problem’s solved.

Yes, the lousy weather came. I decided to write the events of the last couple days in Twitter-sized bits; don’t know why.

I have stuff for tomorrow, but future postings may be disrupted by lack o’ access.

Th 6pm – Bible study xed by forecast, Indian food @ Shalimar. To corner; next walk so slick, need to grab lamppost to not slide into rd.

Th 8:30pm – short choir rehearsal. Friend Deb gives ride to store-rock salt- & home, inc. sleet. Take out trash. Read, sing to daughter.

F 3am – power out, then on. Wife up to reset clock. 2 min. later – power out, then on. Up c 5:30-computer won’t turn on, tho’ monitor is.

F 5:45am – can’t get school closings: computer, cable-attached TV whacked out. Use 7″ set. Most closed, not ALB, day care, wife’s school.

F 6am- ALB, day care closed, wife’s school not. I’ll stay w/Lydia. 6:20-wife’s school finally closed. She’ll stay with Lydia. To Y, work.

F 7:30am- no rball players @Y. Lock missing frm locker, buy new. Paged – wife calls. No power @ work, no one authorized to close office.

F 8:15am-call lib dir from Y @ his cell -no power means no phones. Call 9:15 on MY cell, it died, then pay phone. ALB lib open @ 11. Home.

F 1:15 pm- Go to ALB lib in midst of windstorm. W/ melting, brought down chunks of ice onto cars & people. Write this.
Well, that was going to have to be the post, but I went home, tried to figure out the computer again, and realized I could get it to work if I didn’t run it through the surge protector, but rather plugged it into the power strip directly. Good news – computer operates. Bad news – no less protection, which might fry the computer sometime.

The wife and daughter had taken a nap, but the wife got up. This would have been just the perfect time for us to watch together those programs we planned to watch together (Earl, Office, 30 Rock), except for one little thing: the cable was in this minimalist mode. We had no DVR service and had but five channels to watch : community access, some advertising channel, NASA, TV Guide Channel and, fortunately, the PBS affiliate. so I read and Carol did Christmas stuff.

This also meant I watched the news and JEOPARDY! in a way I’m unaccustomed – in real time, on the 7″ set. Did I mention it was in black & white? I prefer the time shifting.

All in all, a good day.

Could have been worse. Over 200,000 homes in the area were without power in my area, but we weren’t one of them – well, except for an hour around 6 p.m. last night, which seems to have fried (temporarily? permanently?) the DVR.

Everybody's Talkin' 'Bout the Weather

I’ve been having a difficult time getting my daughter dressed in the morning, and it’s not really her fault.
On Sunday, it was 28-30 (all temperatures Fahrenheit) for most of the morning. But then the temperature went into a free fall. My wife came back from grocery shopping at 4 pm; not only was it down to 23 degrees, but the wind was blowing at 29 mph, gusting to 37 mph. By midnight, the temperature was a balmy 12.
Monday at 6am, the temperature was 6. It only got up to 19 degrees (3 pm), and went back to 13 by midnight.
Yet Tuesday at 6 am, it was 25 degrees and kept going up even after sunset, so it was 49 at midnight.
Wednesday at 6 am it was 53 degrees. It was 55 at 11am but 48 at noon and got colder during the afternoon.
Thursday started out slick and 27 degrees, but ended up with sleet and freezing rain and eventually snow.

Graphic captured at 5:30 p.m., 11 Dec 2008

So when I suggest apparel for the daughter, based on ever changing conditions, it’s tricky. I must convince her of the efficacy of snow pants and boots one day, and a jacket and sneakers a couple days later.

All the data, BTW, came from, a really useful site for historical weather data. Most references on the site are to 51 minutes after the hour, but I rounded to the next hour. Most temperatures are in tenths of a degree, and I rounded up (.5-.9) or down (.1-.4), the way they taught me in grade school.


Eveningwear, swimwear

I had gotten this e-mail from SiteMeter last week and gave me the impression that I was supposed to do something, so I did and lost about 15 hours of data (2 pm Sunday-5 am Monday). Ah well.
Albany airport weather
Time EDT(UTC);Temp.F(C);Dew Pt F(C);Pressure Inches (hPa); Wind MPH

10 AM (14) Sep 15 71.1 (21.7) 57.0 (13.9) 29.72 (1006) WNW 17
9 AM (13) Sep 15 73.0 (22.8) 57.9 (14.4) 29.68 (1005) WNW 13
8 AM (12) Sep 15 73.0 (22.8) 57.0 (13.9) 29.65 (1004) WNW 9
7 AM (11) Sep 15 73.9 (23.3) 57.0 (13.9) 29.59 (1002) W 13
6 AM (10) Sep 15 77.0 (25.0) 57.0 (13.9) 29.54 (1000) W 23
5 AM (9) Sep 15 81.0 (27.2) 61.0 (16.1) 29.48 (998) W 20
4 AM (8) Sep 15 79.0 (26.1) 68.0 (20.0) 29.42 (996) SW 15
3 AM (7) Sep 15 79.0 (26.1) 70.0 (21.1) 29.41 (995) S 16
2 AM (6) Sep 15 80.1 (26.7) 71.1 (21.7) 29.44 (996) S 17
1 AM (5) Sep 15 80.1 (26.7) 71.1 (21.7) 29.45 (997) S 18
It never got above 85 all the day before, but it was so muggy that I turned the air conditioner on for the first time in nearly a month and still couldn’t sleep past 3 a.m.

The wind knocked out power for about 15,000 customers locally. It was out in Saratoga County, primarily in the town of Wilton; Warren County; and in Rensselaer County, mostly in Troy. But in Albany, avoiding the branches on the bike was all I had to deal with.
I was pleased to see that Bike Accidents Decline As Ridership Rises. But I had one of those bike moments last week. I’m riding over a land bridge across Henry Johnson Blvd. in Albany, going with traffic as I should. Another bicyclist is crossing the bridge toward me and he waves me to go left. Not a chance. The universal rule, at least in the United States (as opposed to, say the United Kingdom) is for everyone to stay right. Besides 1) he’s in the wrong AND 2) HE can see oncoming traffic without turning around. So I kept coming, yelling “no” and shaking my head. He went around.
The widely distributed SNL opening, Tina Fey as Sarah Palin; Fey does a GREAT Palin.
Yesterday morning, I’m remembering this commercial from some years back. Certain elements I recall quite well: the voice of the woman saying “daywear, eveningwear, swimwear” actually it was more like “swinvear”. I know that the point of the commercial was about making choices or the lack thereof. But for the life of me, I couldn’t remember what the commercial was FOR.
My wife remembered it too, but she thought from just a few seasons ago, and doesn’t recall the product either.
You probably remember, though: it was one of the creative ads from Wendy’s, “Soviet Fashion Show”, from 1985. The mind goes strange places at 4 a.m.


November Miscellany

Politics, Race, Comics, Music, Sports, Weather – we do it all

U.S. Thanksgiving Day, we drove from Albany to Oneonta, and saw the temperature rise from 44 and fog to 52 to 68F in a little more than an hour. Then that afternoon, the temperature plummeted, where it’s been ever since.
I received this question, as did a number of other bloggers: “I’d be interested in your reaction to this: An effort underway to remove Pelosi as Speaker, and make way for impeachment. Details. What flaws do you see with this plan; and is there a way to block this?”

As I’ve made abundantly clear, I favor the impeachment of Bush and Cheney. But the idea of impeaching Pelosi for her “high crimes and misdemeanors” of NOT impeaching them in order to impeaching them seems a bit surreal. Actually, it reminds me of a maneuver of my former church whereby the associate pastor was removed in order to make way for removing the senior pastor, except that it took 10 years to actually remove the senior pastor.

Regardless, the impeachment of Nancy Pelosi is highly unlikely to happen. And even if it did, impeachment of Bush/Cheney won’t happen. The Democrats are too risk averse. And oddly, from everything I’ve read, impeachment might very well STRENGTHEN the Democrats as it did in 1974, and as it did for the Republicans in 1868.
The current TV Guide lists the current Presidential candidates’ favorite television programs. Will Fred Hembeck support Barack Obama, now that Obama’s come out in favor of SponngeBob Squarepants? And speaking of Fred, read Hembeck: Court Jester of Comics, an interview by Peter Sanderson in Publishers’ Weekly.
A couple things I learned from ADD, one directly, one indirectly:
Tom Spurgeon’s Holiday Shopping Guide and
an interview with David Michaelis, biographer of Charles Schulz. Oh, and Gordon says nice things about the book about the creator of the Peanuts comic strip.
I don’t really follow college football, and don’t like how the polls determine rankings; I’m more of an NFL fan. Still, I prefer the way cthe college game settles ties, with each team getting a chance or two (or three, in the case of Arkansas’ upset of LSU last week) to the randomness of the coin toss to determine who’ll get the ball first, and quite possibly, score and win.
*** shows video clips of 8 of The 9 Most Racist Disney Characters:
#9. The Merchant from Aladdin
#8. Sebastian from The Little Mermaid
#7. The Crows from Dumbo
#6. King Louie from The Jungle Book
#5. The Siamese Twin Gang from Chip n’ Dale Rescue Rangers
#4. Sunflower the Centaur from Fantasia
#3. The Indians from Peter Pan
#2. Uncle Remus from Song of the South
#1. Thursday from Mickey Mouse and the Boy Thursday (Book)
The Little Mermaid clip surprised me, but I see its validity on the list.
Even though I feel uncomfortable with Song of the South – I do remember it in re-release c. 1960, I think, the movement to get Song of the South released on video doesn’t bother me. Not to say that I’ll buy it.
Also from Ridiculous Overseas Rip-Offs of American Films, including a hysterical “Thriller” from India, a cheesy “Star Wars” from Turkey, and this Beatles Indian riff featuring, of all people, Mark Cuban:


Angry, Nerdy, Toys & Games

Yes, Lefty, I did see Dylan and Costello last night; more soon.

Yesterday afternoon about 4:30 pm, I heard what I thought was thunder in the distance; this surprised me, as there was nothing in the forecast. Fifteen minutes later, the driving rains came, and massive lightning visible in the low sky, with one thunderclap at 4:55 so loud that I literally jumped out of my chair. During this period, went to the various weather channels; the ones operated by WTEN (Channel 10)and WNYT (Channel 13) had people telling me what a beautiful day it was. It was quite surreal. Channel 9, with a real LIVE person, did tell me that there was a rain cell right over Albany at the moment.

And now, inspired, in part, by the return of Greg’s links, though, in the words sung by Carly Simon, “nobody does it better” than Mr. Burgas, a couple things that struck my fancy:


MONOPOLY GAME SpongeBob SquarePants EDITION. Suitable for Hembecks everywhere.

Go check out Jason in Paris. Jason is some guy in some French city, and in his September 21 post, he talks about the French naming of Monopoly properties. And why you’re at it, go to his September 26 post and find out what this was all about:

EDISON TALKING DOLL – 1890, an expensive failure. I did not know this.

This goes back a ways: Hey kids, get your “Daddy Dearest” Talking Dolls before they sell out!

I’ve seen these on TV and find them creepy, rather than soothing: Talking dolls for Japanese senior citizens.

Web Video Cheat Sheet, a menu of online video sharing Websites.

Commuting by ICEBIKE.


The world’s weirdest and/or stupidest conspiracy
Well, ONE I believe.

George Carlin: “It’s Called the American Dream Because You Have To Be Asleep to Believe It” [VIDEO]. Carlin: “There’s a reason education sucks and it’ll never get any better, because the owners of this country don’t want it better.” Should you worry about language? I did say it was George Carlin, didn’t I?


Blog to commemorate National Chemistry Week (October 21-27).

Climate change: A guide to the information and disinformation.

…and especially…
Quantum Physics Made Relatively Simple – Three Lectures by Hans Bethe.


I'm Cold

It was 71 degrees less than two weeks ago; yesterday morning it was 3. By mid-January, I’ve usually gotten used to the cold, but I think my blood’s too thin with all of this mild weather.

Sunday past, we had black ice. I started out for church, almost wiped out four times before I got to the third house, and I returned home. I fared better than my good friend Janna, who stepped onto a curb and somehow broke her foot. Monday at 8 a.m., it was fine, but by 9:30, when I’m coming back from the Y, and Carol’s taking Lydia to day care, freezing rain made sidewalks feel as though they’d been Zambonied.

This weather always reminds me of a song I wrote when I was in college. Yeah, I know the rhyme’s a little imprecise. There’s a third verse, but it’s filthy; it ends with the same couplet as verse two. Let your imaginations go wild.

Inspired by Billy the Kid by Aaron Copland. Or was it Billy Joel?


I’m cold, I’m cold, I’m cold (X2).

I was ridin’ down the Owen Trail.
My horse had an accident; lost its tail.
A dangerous criminal I’m s’posed to find.
It was 30 below; I changed my mind.


Next day, sheriff caught the fella.
He said, “What’s wrong? You turnin’ yella?”
I said, “It’s not that I lack gumption,
But when it’s cold, I just can’t function.”

I’m cold, I’m cold, I’m cold (X2).
If there is a hell below,
It won’t be too hot, it’ll be too cold.
I’m cold, I’m cold, I’m cold (X2).