Thursday, June 3, 2021

Hurricane names have gotten ridiculous

I don't know about all of you, but to me a hurricane should sound fierce not friendly. It should have a name that strikes fear into people, like Loki or Odin or Thor -- or Hera or Poseidon or Zeus. Not sound like someone you'd hang out with at a sports bar or your grandmother played mahjongg with.

But for some reason, the World Meteorological Organization, the body that names Atlantic and Pacific hurricanes, keeps giving hurricanes chummy names. And this year is no exception, as you can see by the list of 2021 Atlantic hurricane names: 

  1. Ana
  2. Bill
  3. Claudette
  4. Danny
  5. Elsa
  6. Fred
  7. Grace
  8. Henri
  9. Ida
  10. Julian
  11. Kate
  12. Larry
  13. Mindy
  14. Nicholas
  15. Odette
  16. Peter
  17. Rose
  18. Sam
  19. Teresa
  20. Victor
  21. Wanda

    Seriously, Bill, Fred, and Larry? Do those sound like intimidating names to you? Why not Curly, Larry, and Moe if you want to go there? And Elsa, Ida, and Rose? Were you playing canasta when you came up with those? 

    And Henri? Who effing names a hurricane Henri? Is it a French hurricane? Will it have a beret? Come on, meteorologists!

    Now granted, you can't name hurricanes the same names year after year. And maybe all of the good names -- names of Greek, Norse, Roman, and other gods or fierce mythical warriors -- have already been used. Though I'm pretty sure they recycle names that haven't been retired. But I think we can do better than Danny, Elsa, and Mindy. 

    mean, what would you name a hurricane? I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be Teresa. (Got a name suggestion? Leave it in the Comments.) 

    In all serious though, I hate hurricanes. And I hope this year we have a mild hurricane season, with no Category 4 or 5 storms coming ashore and wreaking havoc. 

    Wishing you fair weather, this has been J. with a special meteorological blog post. 

    Tuesday, August 7, 2018

    Old age is a bitch

    Does your spouse forget things? I'm not talking about birthdays or the day of your anniversary. I'm talking about physical things, like keys and glasses, or underwear and belts.

    My spouse is famous, or infamous, for forgetting and losing sh*t. I can't tell you how many pairs of sunglasses he has lost or misplaced (because I forget the number). And guessing what he'll forget or lose on a trip has become a kind of running joke, to the point where I literally sit on our bed while he is packing his bag and ask him if he has packed [reels off list of items]. And he will smile at me and say in a slightly patronizing way, "Yes, J_____, I have [reels off list of item." And then, of course, we'll get to wherever and he will have forgotten something.

    [Though, to be fair, when we got back from our trip to Canada last week, I realized I had left my brand-new cream-colored capri travel pants at one of our hotels, even though I always triple check our room before we leave. Fortunately, I was pretty sure where I had left them, and the hotel is mailing them back to me, albeit for $25. Still, cheaper than buying a new pair, which I did anyway.]

    But yesterday the spouse topped himself. He didn't just forget to pack enough underwear or a belt. He forgot his entire suitcase. Which I discovered at six this morning, outside his office, in our driveway, when I opened the shades. He only discovered his error at 10 o'clock last night, twelve hours after he left our house, when he got to his Airbnb outside DC, where he had a big important meeting this morning -- and claims it was not his fault. He thought his colleague, who was driving, had put the suitcase in his trunk. Though I don't know how either of them could have missed the suitcase sitting in our driveway. (Old age is a bitch, man -- one that requires bifocals and hearing aids and cell phone reminders.)


    Fortunately for the spouse, there was a 24-hour Walmart near his rental. So off he went, I'm not sure what time, and purchased a new wardrobe, along with a six-pack of beer, for the princely sum of $114.

    Not bad, eh?

    And now he will have a good story to tell at the meeting. Just hope he doesn't have to stay an extra night.

    Thursday, July 19, 2018

    Ya got treason

    [With apologies to Meredith Wilson, Robert Preston, and The Music Man]
    Well, either you're closing your eyes

    To a situation you do not wish to acknowledge
    Or you are not aware of the caliber of disaster indicated
    By the presence of a traitor in the White House.
    Ya got treason, my friend, right here,
    I say, treason,
    Right here in the Capital City.
    With a capital "T,"
    And that rhymes with "P," and that stands for Putin!

    And all week long in your Capital City
    Journalists be fritterin' away,
    Fritterin' away their days,
    Tryin' to get a straight answer from Sarah Sanders.

    Oh, yes we got lots and lots a' problems.
    Right here in the Capital City.
    Problems with a capital "P"
    And that rhymes with "T," and that stands for Trump!

    Now, I know all you folks are the right kinda voters.
    So I'm gonna be perfectly frank.
    Would ya like to know what kinda conversation goes down,
    How the White House is gonna cover up the same old lies to the American people?
    Sure you do!

    Oh we got treason,
    Right here in the Capital City!
    With a capital "T"
    That rhymes with "P"
    And that stands for Putin,
    That stands for Putin.
    We've surely got treason!
    Right here in the Capital City,
    Right here!
    Gotta figger out a way
    To keep the country from going down the tubes
    Treason, treason, treason, treason... 

    Thursday, July 12, 2018

    But what about Benghazi? Favorite political cartoons.

    Donald J. Trump has been the gift that keeps on giving to editorial cartoonists (and late night talk show hosts). Though I'm pretty sure all of them would agree they would prefer to have a president whose every utterance didn't send them careening to the drawing board.

    In fact, there have been so many terrific editorial cartoons skewering Trump and the GOP the last two years that if I embedded all of them, you'd be reading this post for days. Actually, you would probably stop reading it after a few seconds.

    For that reason, I've narrowed my list down to five. There are probably funnier or cleverer ones (feel free to link to them in the comments), but these five, some of which came out before Trump took office, resonated with me so much that I decided to save them for future use.

    [Click on each cartoon to enlarge it. Then click your back button.]

    Enjoy--or try not to weep.

    Wednesday, June 20, 2018

    Let's make America great again

    Let's make America great again.

    Let's teach our children that lying and cheating are bad and reward hard work and telling the truth.

    Let's make America great again.

    Let's preach love and kindness and understanding and show hate and bullying will not be tolerated in our country.

    Let's make America great again.

    Let's make our education system the best in the world by giving teachers the tools and support (and salaries) they need to do their jobs -- and celebrating learning and intellectual curiosity, not ignorance.

    Let's make America great again.

    Let's make sure all Americans have the healthcare they need, both physical and mental, without them having to worry if going to the doctor or hospital will financially harm or bankrupt them -- or forcing Americans to choose between their health or the health of a family member and eating or paying the rent. And while we're at it, let's make getting and paying for healthcare easier, so Americans don't have to spend hours trying to figure and fill out complicated insurance forms.

    Let's make America great again.

    Let's re-institute the FCC Fairness Doctrine, so television and radio stations cannot spout lies and falsehoods and mislead the American people.

    Let's make America great again.

    Let's make sure fewer children and adults die needlessly by signing into law sensible gun safety legislation.

    Let's make America great again.

    Let's give power back to the people by limiting big business's and wealthy donor's role in our elections -- and by outlawing gerrymandering.

    Let's make America great again.

    Let's embrace those who honor democracy and human rights and work together to spread the message that love trumps hate.

    Saturday, February 10, 2018

    Mutual of J-TWO-O's Wild Kingdom: Birds of Sanibel Edition

    Greetings fellow nature lovers!

    This Friday I had the good fortune to go on the Stokes Private Birding Tour of the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, sponsored by the "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society, of which I am a member.

    Donald and Lillian Stokes are noted bird watchers and the authors of the Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America. And I, along with a few dozen other people who like to watch and photograph birds, got a lesson from Lillian Stokes on how to take a good bird photo.

    It was a great morning, with the weather warm, the tide low, and birds aplenty. And despite the problems associated with trying to photograph birds -- they move a lot and us loud, pale apes frighten them -- I managed to take over a dozen good photographs. (Unfortunately, my Nikon DSLR is apparently not a morning camera, and refused to take a good photo, but I had my wonderful little Canon SX720, which takes amazingly good photos for a camera its size.)

    Here are some of my favorite bird photos from the Stokes Private Birding Tour of Ding Darling. (Sadly, there were no roseate spoonbills, but you can't have everything.) Enjoy!

    White pelican and great blue heron

    White pelican in flight

    White pelicans

    Snowy egret

    Puffed up snowy egret

    Snowy egret in flight

    Snowy egret in flight

    White pelicans

    White pelicans and little blue herons

    Mottled duck

    Tricolored heron

    Male and female mottled duck

    Snowy egret in mangrove

    Tricolored heron


    Tricolored heron in mangrove

    Cormorant (this photo cracks me up)

    Friday, October 20, 2017

    What can I say?

    What can I say (or write)... that won't cause someone to write something nasty on one of my social media pages, even if what I wrote is innocuous or correct (i.e., factual or truthful)?

    I've been struggling with that question for a while now, ever since a neighbor accidentally came upon a blog post and decided to write something nasty on the blog's Facebook page (later to delete it).

    As it says right at the top of the page, J-TWO-O is a satirical blog. And for those of you unfamiliar with satire, satire is "the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues."

    Not everyone gets or appreciates satire, though, which is why I also wrote (when I started the blog nearly 10 years ago), "I started this blog to amuse myself, my friends, and my family. If you are not amused, just click on some other blog."

    Unfortunately, we have entered an age of un-reason, or willful ignorance and "alternative facts," and incivility, where instead of people agreeing to disagree or politely disagreeing, they hurl insults and death threats at people they disagree with, often anonymously.

    It's gotten to the point that I often think, Why bother? Who needs the aggravation? So, even though there are many topics I would love to write about (e.g., Harvey Weinstein and the culture of sexual harassment), or write more about (politics), I'm not. Why spend the time when either no one is going to bother reading what I wrote or, worse, the people that do hurl abuse at me?

    So this is probably the end of J-TWO-O, though not the end of my writing. Indeed, for years (decades) I've tried to write a book, but have never gotten past the first few chapters -- until this summer. Now, in just a few weeks, my first novel will be published, via Amazon. It's a cozy mystery that takes place on a tropical island -- and has absolutely nothing to do with politics (or thongs, another favorite topic). I think it's going to be a hit, and I'm about to start on book two.

    Wish me luck! And thanks for reading J-TWO-O.