30 June 2012

Meteorologists Have Gotten Lazy Lately

Meteorologists have gotten lazy lately.  It used to be, not too long ago, that the rule for determining when the monsoon started here in the Valley of the Sun was when the relative humidity had reached 55 for 5 days in a row.  Now, it has changed to the 15th of June.  So what happened to cause the change, you ask.  Well, here’s what I think.

Tom, Dick and Mary, all esteemed meteorologists, were gathered around the office water cooler one scorching hot June day, discussing various and sundry meteorological matters when their boss came along and reminded them that it would soon be time for the annual monsoon decision.  Their conversation went along these lines:

Tom:  Oh rats, now we’ve got to get out our charts and start keeping track of the relative humidity.
Dick:  Yeah, it sure does louse up the day to have to go outside with those dumb equipment things.
Mary: You mean the humidity measurer doohickeys?
Dick:  Yeah.  I can never remember from one year to the next how to work the dumb things, let alone where we stored them.
Tom:  And we never can get anyone else to go out and do the measuring for us.  There’s got to be an easier way. 
Mary:  Maybe we can somehow come up with a better formula, like after it rains two days in a row.  That would make it easier.  We wouldn’t have to use those dumb charts for such a long time.
Tom:  We wouldn’t even have to go out, we could just watch out the window for the rain.
Dick:  I’ve got it!  Remember how those guys over at Stonehenge figured out the solstices were all tied to calendar dates, like December 21st and June 21st and, um, those others.  Why can’t we tie the monsoon to the calendar?
Tom and Mary, in unison:  Great, Dick, you’ve hit on the solution.
Dick:  Okay, now what date should we use?
Mary:  Well, today is the 15th of June, it’s right in the middle of the month, easy to remember, why not use it?  And besides, it usually rains sometime around now, according the local paper.
Tom and Dick, in unison:  Right!  Let’s go tell the boss how we’ve managed to make the work around here simpler for everyone.

And that’s the way it was one day at the meteorological office water cooler.

26 June 2012

It's Summer, Tra La

Summer began on Sunday here in Westminster Village.  That's when it was too hot to sit out for breakfast.  It was 80, and the mornings will stay in the 80's until a monsoon raises the humidity and lowers the temperature.  Or raises the temperature.  In any event, we're in for the duration.

19 June 2012

One or Two?

Clay Thompson writes a feature for the Arizona Republic newspaper called “Valley 101” in which he attempts to answer questions submitted by his readers on any subject.  Recently, someone innocently (we assume) asked whether there should be one or two spaces at the end of a sentence.  I don’t remember the answer he gave, but apparently it caused a flurry of responses.  A large number of readers questioned his intelligence, which happens quite often, by insisting that one space is the correct number, citing various epistles such as Wikipedia, the Encyclopedia Britannica, Roget’s Thesaurus, and various English teachers from the far distant past, to justify their position.  An equal number of irate readers said that two was the only true answer, citing the very same epistles, and emphasizing the level of his incompetence as shown by his response.  He has since asked that we are free to use one or two, whichever suits us, and to please consider the matter closed, as he is tired of his mail being cluttered with angry threats and comments about his manhood.  So please don’t write him (clay.thompson@arizonarepublic.com) to join in the fray.

I myself have used two ever since I was weaned away from cursive writing and was sat down behind a keyboard, be it typewriter (remember those?), word processor or computer.  There’s something about automatic spacing using two empty spaces at the end of a sentence that appeals to my esthetic nature.  So whatever your preference, one, two or whatever, count me as a “two spaces” guy, and don’t bother trying to convert me.

12 June 2012

Patio Time

This is that time of year when we open the patio doors when we roll out of bed.  We have time for a cup of coffee and to read the paper before the temperature drives us indoors.  It won't be long, though, before it'll be too warm.  A short period in the spring and then again in the fall.  So we soak it up while we can.