Monday, May 16, 2022

Who names these hurricanes? 2022 Edition

Every year, the World Meteorological Organization, which is based in Geneva, Switzerland, comes out with a list of hurricane names. They do so in order to simplify communication about these life-threatening storms. (For the history of hurricane naming, read this article from the National Ocean Service.) 

Maybe it's because the World Meteorological Organization is based in Geneva. Or maybe it's because it's hard to come up with over 20 new names ever year. But I can't help feeling I would do a better job naming hurricanes. Take this year's list of hurricane names, for example, which are as follows: 

  • Alex
  • Bonnie
  • Colin
  • Danielle
  • Earl
  • Fiona
  • Gaston
  • Hermine
  • Ian
  • Julia
  • Karl
  • Lisa
  • Martin
  • Nicole
  • Owen
  • Paula
  • Richard
  • Shary
  • Tobias
  • Virginie
  • Walter
You cannot name a hurricane Bonnie and not name the next one Clyde. I mean, come on! Colin? Seriously? What were the Swiss thinking? 

And where's the o in Hermine? Hermine? Really? Though I like the idea of a Harry Potter theme. You could name the hurricanes after Slytherins and/or various villains. You could have Bellatrix for B, Crabbe for C, Draco for D, Gilderoy or Grindewald for G, Narcissa for N, and, of course, V would be Voldemort, the hurricane that should not be named. 

As for the other names on this year's list, I don't know about you but I get the feeling it was a Swiss guy who picked Danielle and Virginie, perhaps to get back at former girlfriends. Though I think Gaston is a great name for a hurricane. No one blows like Gaston! Wipes out homes like Gaston! No one's as frightening with lightning and thunder like Gaston! 

Anyway, here's hoping we don't have to use all of the names, and if we do that none of them reach Category 4 or 5 or stay offshore. 

Sunday, February 13, 2022

This Valentine's Day, go bear

I admit, I got excited when I heard that Build-A-Bear had released a new line of "adult" teddy bears. I mean, why should Halloween get all the sexy? Especially when everyone knows that Valentine's Day, or VD Day as I like to refer to it, is the sexiest holiday? 

But I was sadly disappointed when I went to check out the Build-A-Bear "After Dark" line of adult-themed teddy bears. I mean, look at these guys? 

Sorry, Build-a-Bear, but there is nothing sexy or adult about these adorable stuffed toys. They're not even naked!  

The Love Bandit Bear the spouse got me from the Vermont Teddy Bear Company -- no pants and a Zorro mask! -- was way sexier. (Though maybe he was too sexy as he has since been retired.) 

Maybe instead of a sexless teddy bear, get your sweetie something he/she will really appreciate, like a heart-shaped box of cheese, or a heart-shaped pizza, or a bouquet of bacon this Valentine's Day. 

Sending love to all of you...


Sunday, January 16, 2022

Can we talk about Wordle?

Look, I love a good word game just as much as the next guy or gal. Maybe more. (I do the Spelling Bee in the New York Times digital edition practically every day, ditto the crossword.) 

So when I read about this addictive new word game that was sweeping the internet, I had to check it out. And I could see why the game, called Wordle, after its "inventor," Josh Wardle, was so popular. It's a real brainteaser. You know what else Wordle is? A rip-off of a game called Jotto invented in 1955 by Morton M. Rosenfeld

And you know what I don't love? Plagiarism and people who take credit for other people's work or games and journalists who are too lazy to do any research or fact check their articles. (I'm looking at you Daniel Victor of the New York Times.) 

If I read one more effing article about Josh Wardle "inventing" Wordle -- i.e., Jotto -- I am going to effing scream. JOSH WARDLE DID NOT INVENT THIS GAME. It's been around for over 60 years. (Actually far longer.) My mother and I played it in our heads back in the 1970s. (Scorepads? Phooey!) And I began playing mental Jotto with my daughter in the 2000s. 

Which led me to wondering why the makers of Jotto didn't sue Wardle over Wordle. But as I discovered, 1) IP law surrounding games like Jotto/Wordle is complicated. And 2) the company that supposedly produces Jotto, Endless Games, doesn't seem to produce it right now. And hasn't for a while. I did a search on the Endless Games website, but I couldn't find it. Though I found some other cool games. So it's possible that Jotto is in the public domain and fair game. However, to say that Wordle is original is WRONG. 

All that said, I will still play Wordle. (My best score so far? 3/6.) For now. At least until some other non-plagiarized word game comes along. 

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.