Saturday, September 17, 2016

'Fooled Again'

I strongly suggest never bet on a weather forecast...you might be safer gambling on the Cleveland Browns winning the 2017 Super Bowl. Weather forecasters are a lot like politicians...you just can't trust them.

On the weekend of May 27-29/16 inclusive my Executive Assistant (E.A.) and I decided to plant marigolds, coleus (they curb the north side of our driveway) and tomatoes. This has been a yearly spring time custom for us. We both agreed it was a desirable time and the Weather Network (WN) was forecasting a thunderstorm for Hamilton, Ontario. I also chose to spray my backyard for chinch bugs.

Chinch Bugs are extremely annoying and bothersome insects putting it mildly...they are fucking infuriating. They are one-eighth of an inch long and literally suck out the nutrients from the grass stems, instantly killing the turf. The chemical I use is illegal now thanks to that 'caring and wonderful' bird brain ex premier Dalton McGuinty banning many lawn care products in Ontario.

I figured I would "kill two birds with one stone:...do our planting and spray. Professionals have told me I must water after spraying or the chemical won't take effect. Well, the WN was wrong AGAIN...I had to water my backyard, compliments of the City of Hamilton's H2O adding to our water bill...thanks Weather Network for your flawed info as usual.

You may be asking, if I get so irritated about paying for water, why do I plant tomatoes and flowers every year. Like most homeowners we take pride (no, not the parade) in our property and in my opinion if you like tomatoes home grown garden are the best. As far as chinch bugs let me put it this way...YOU DON'T WANT THEM!! Within a very little time frame they will destroy and wipe out your lawn...your lovely green turf will be completely eliminated.

What I'm trying to say is when someone makes a statement, you want to believe and trust the views or facts that person is claiming, not like politicians preaching their falsehood. If I can save a few bucks by not watering my lawn, so be it, and let 'Mother Nature' go to work. But on the flip side our hypocritical municipal politicians always raise our water bill, no matter how much aqua we use. They ask us to conserve water and we do and they still increase our rates...we just can't fucking win!

I don't know the difference between cirrus, nimbostratus or cumulonimbus clouds and don't know the contrast between low and high pressure systems. Unlike politicians, weather forecasters are presumed to be highly skilled and trained in their professions.

However, an article written by Lee Falin PhD in Scientific America on Jan. 9/13 is a bit confusing. He states meteorologists use numerical forecasting (mathematical model) which is a set of equations that can predict an outcome on a set of inputs. I don't know if I have any assurance in "fun with numbers".

Weather forecasters have many other resources, some are very high tech, such as weather satellites. An article in Global.com stated, to design, construct, launch and monitor a weather satellite costs $290 million. The Economist (June 19/16) stated there are 11,000 weather observations throughout the world, aircraft, merchant ships and weather balloons that all contribute to weather information...so how can they be "so off target," more than half the time with all this supreme calibre assistance?

An article in 'How Stuff Works-Science' stated three day forecasts are better than one day forecasts were twenty years ago. From 'Time and Date.com' stated that five day weather forecasts of today are as reliable as two day forecasts were twenty years ago and from 'Physics.org' stated a seven day forecast now is as accurate as a five day forecast was in 1988...I wonder about those statements...are they having "fun with numbers" again like our governments do with statistics.

Here are a few weather predictions and the end results: on May 29/16 at 4:45 p.m. the WN lifted their term risk of thunderstorm, meanwhile later on that evening there was a significant thunderstorm. Remember the heat wave we experienced the week of July 5-8 inclusive, there was a severe thunderstorm watch also listed. Day to day accumulations and probability changed but the sever thunderstorm watch was still a priority. It altered from 70% risk and 5-10 mm of rain to 40% chance and 1-3 mm of rain...on Saturday July 9/16 the severe thunderstorm watch was cancelled and on July 19/16 there was a 60% chance of a thunderstorm...final outcome not a drop of rain...what the hell do they do, roll the dice on those foretells?

I don't know how the WN can predict only a 10% chance of rain with an amount of 2-4 mm as they did on June 26/16...that is a sufficient downpour. Even though it didn't rain, (only having 10% chance) with that kind of quantity 2-4 mm, it puzzles me only a 10% chance. Maybe we should have confidence in cattle...like the old tall tale, when we see cows laying down it's going to rain.]

The United States Weather Service are seldom wrong on predicting hurricanes from the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. The majority of times they are "right on the money". Although some hurricanes will diminish to tropical storms people still know they are going to receive a heavy cloud burst.

I read an interesting article in the Toronto Sun on June 22/16. Montreal businessman Jacques Guertain, who owns a race track in southeast Montreal is suing independent meteorologist Michel Morissette. Guertin had to cancel an event because Morissette forecasted rain for two days and as usual it was dry as a bone...could this be history in the making?

On June 5/16 very good friends of ours invited us for a barbecue at their home June 11/16. They emphasized they wanted to sit outside for the get together...I can't blame them, it's summer and it's never long enough plus they have a pool. Here are some facts on the weather predictions for that week:
Wed. June 8 - 80% chance of thunderstorms
Thurs. June 9 - 60% chance of thunderstorms
Fri. June 10 - 80% chance of thunderstorms
Sat. June 11 - 40% chance of thunderstorms

On Saturday morning June 11 our friends cancelled their cookout (to a later date) because of the thunderstorm threat was still lingering...I don't fault them, 40% is something to seriously think about...why take a chance...guess what though, you know what I'm going to say...it didn't rain at all, not even a drop. This is just another example why we can't place any faith in weather synopsis. Again, doesn't it remind you of some big organization that operates at three levels.

I have always been curious about some of the forecasters terminology, such as risk, chance and possibility...all three words basically have the same meaning. I recommend they use terms like notion, guess, hunch, I feel it in my bones, my arthritis is acting up, it's going to rain or gut feeling.

Do you ever ponder about the percentages the WN uses for the prospect of rain and snow...the scale is 10-100%. There isn't much difference between 10% and 20% or 80% and 90%. Instead of saying there is a 60% chance of snow maybe they should state  there is a 40% chance it won't snow.

In defense of the WN their prognosis for high and low temperatures, for the most part are correct, especially when it's going to be frigid cold or scorching hot. So why can't they be "on the mark" for snow and thunderstorms specifically probability and accumulation. For what it is worth I do enjoy the smooth jazz song by Jason Carroll titled "Weather Channel".

I realize science, particularly physics is associated with weather. However, it amazes me the tax money spent on all of the technology for weather predictions. You would like to conclude their accuracy would be somewhere in the neighborhood of 80%. Maybe Reno and Las Vegas should be involved in the weather business...five will get you ten their predictions would be a lot more authentic.

Epilogue

So here is your forecast for tomorrow: risk of thunderstorm with a chance of 10-15 mm of rain. A snow watch is in effect with 70% chance of snow and accumulations of 10-20 cm and a 50% chance of freezing rain. The low will be 10 F. There is also a heat advisory...possible highs will be 100 F. It might be a good idea to pack your winter attire as well as summer apparel. Remember our predictions are a lot more accurate than hey were twenty years ago.

The End
The Harvenut Puritan Project

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Elapse of Time

Numerous times I find it difficult to believe I'm 62 years old. I graduated from Westmount Secondary School in Hamilton, Ontario 43 years ago...that is over four decades. Where has the time vanished?

I think most of us would agree when we were young boys and girls we didn't have too many worries or concerns...our parents would nurture us and life was grand. We definitely had no idea or interest about government. All we knew, they were a group of individuals who looked after the country and 'cared' about the citizens.

We would trek to the family operated candy store...twenty-five cents could buy an ample amount of penny candy. My favourite outlets were Nicholls store located on Garth St. just north of Sanatorium Rd. and Rudy's Groceteria at the north-east corner of Mohawk Rd. West and Garth St. I recall some of the candy that was available in those days: candy necklaces, mojos, wax flavoured lips, candy cigarettes, black balls, licorice pipes and cigars and black babies. Unfortunately like a lot of other businesses, they locked their doors forever, many years ago.

Remember a lot of homes had milk delivery...two dairy companies I recall were Bordens and Royal Oak. The milkman would leave the beverage in a milk box that was built into the house brick beside the side door.

I also recall the home delivery by Jackson's Bakery. Both of my parents worked (R.I.P. and God Rest Your Souls) so quite often I was home alone. The bread man would be standing at my front door holding a large tray of breads, cookies, donuts and tarts...I would be salivating.

Then we had the Good Humor man. He would drive around in his cube like ice cream vehicle ringing his bells...my favourite item was 'Buried Treasure', orange sherbet ice cream covering a plastic character stick.

A lot of us boys would collect sports trading cards. I recollect the C.F.L. (Canadian Football League) players' cards on the back of Post cereal products. or about the Wacky Packages cards such as 'Choka Cola' or 'Ratz Crackers'.

A long time friend (my fighting pal) and I enjoyed and bought American Civil War cards, they were realistic but extremely graphic and bloody...so vivid and expressive both of our fathers instructed us to stop buying them. I always wondered why but a few years ago I finally understood their logic. Both men served in WW2. Five will get you ten the pair encountered horrifying and grisly experiences that we as children and now as adults could never imagine.

We even had certain games with our cards such as flipsies (something similar to heads and tails), knockdowns, and closies. Occasionally someone would have a scramble where a card owner would throw scores of cards up in the air and the rest of the pupils would scurry and try to gather as many cards for themselves.

I think boys were more outgoing and troublesome than girls. Guys would play sports but somehow discover some way to engage in mischief. I participated in both of those activities. I did have a couple of skirmishes with the law, nothing serious just minor shenanigans.

How peculiar was it when we use to consider folks who were thirty or forty years of age were old and our parents, well, they were really aged. I wonder if that belief has changed or is it a natural instinct of all children.

My grade 12 geography teacher once said "the older you get, faster time goes by". I didn't give much thought to her statement at the time, thinking what does she know, she's just my geography teacher...I'm 18 years old and I know everything...was I ever wrong.

I was born in Toronto, Ontario and my parents adopted me on June 12/54...I was ten days old. My mother was 37 years old and my father was 51. My father served in WW2 and experienced extensive action in Europe. Maybe that was one of the reasons he was very strict with me at times. My mother was a typical loving and caring woman. Don't get me wrong my father demonstrated love and affection also.

Both my parents tried their best to raise me. It's been stated many times, the hardest job in the world is being a parent and I thoroughly believe that. Our parents tried to lead and guide us in the appropriate manner and the right direction. If you were like me, quite often their advice would travel in one ear and out the other ear, thinking what do they know, they're jut my parents...I'm a teenager, I know it all. I think one of the popular lines parents said to their kids was "wait till you have children". We couldn't even fathom that scenario...what me with kids! One of the classic lines I heard from my parents more than once was "there are only two things for sure in life...death and taxes". Maybe they weren't so naïve as we thought they were.

Our parents tried to prepare, counsel and influence us in our future life adventure. No matter how bad we were they still thought the world of us, with all of their hearts. Sure there were 'ups and downs' (every family has issues) but at the end of the day they still cherished us.

Unfortunately that dreadful and horrible day arrives and our parents can't love us ever again...they have passed away or don't recognize us anymore because their mind had deteriorated. Sadly enough parents perish when their children are in their childhood, preteen or teenage years and the same can be said about losing siblings.

We have seen a lot of changes since we were kids. Who would ever have thought professional athletes would receive massive salaries or file for arbitration or free agency. We very seldom saw players bounce around to various teams for more money. The game of North American football has greatly changed especially with the schemes and strategies that have been developed in to multiple offensive formations and 'high octane units'.

I look at Hollywood as a prime example of innovation with the old farces and comedies such as The Munsters, Gilligans Island, Green Acres, The Adams Family, F Troop, Hazel and Batman. They were basically no brainers but still funny probably because they were so silly. The programs like Columbo (still one of my favourites), I Spy, Man From Uncle, Perry Mason, Rescue 8, Cannonball, Sea Hunt, Flipper, Combat, Honey West and westerns such as Laredo, Gunsmoke, The Rifleman, Bonanza and Have Gun Will Travel were all very popular back in my hay day. Then we had variety shows like Ed Sullivan, Red Skelton, Lawrence Welk and Carol Burnett. Now we are bombarded with reality TV episodes. We can't forget about the cartoons such as Dodo-The Kid From Outer Space, Heckle and Jeckle, Huckleberry Hound, Mighty Mouse, Mr. Magoo, my favourite Popeye and Quick Draw McGraw.

However, there was one TV show that premiered on Jan 12/71 that certainly opened up viewers' eyes and had us thinking. It covered just about everything in the political forum: abortion, homosexuality, liberals and conservatives, racism, religion, Viet Nam War and women's liberation. I believe it paved the way for a brand new Hollywood avenue...the program I'm talking about is "All In The Family".

I've noticed movies are far more authentic and life-like than they were back in the forties, fifties and sixty's. I'm not talking about the advancements that have improved the quality of motion pictures i.e. cinematography, special effects and sound of film editing but the acting and scripts. I have observed a big difference in war movies over the years. The old John Wayne flicks seem to wave the flag and almost glorify war but movies like 'Platoon' 1986, Born on the Fourth of July' 1989 and 'Saving Private Ryan' 1998 show the gruesomeness, shocking and terrifying human cost of bloodshed...the grim and evil destruction of war. Hollywood has taught and educated us that war is horrifying and has devastating consequences for military personnel, civilians, and families.

Wouldn't it be fantastic if war was totally and completely eliminated, forever, that will probably never occur, remember what the experts said about World War One...the war to end all wars.

Technology is never ending and timeless...they sky is the limit. Did we ever visualize holding a small device in our hand that was a mini telephone, we thought the push-button telephone was a stroke of genius. What about the electric typewriter, a great idea. We never had a notion about another piece of electronic equipment that also has a keyboard but can perform diversified and numerous tasks and functions and even correct our spelling errors. Who would have guessed that a lot of gadgets Kirk and the boys used in the original Star Trek series would be utilized by us today. Then we can look at motor vehicles thinking an AM-FM stereo radio, power windows and cruise control were the greatest things since sliced bread. Now cars, trucks and SUV's have copious amounts of 'hi tech' options or 'toys'.

The British Invasion in the mid 1960's would change music forever. It really intrigues me that our kids know of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who and American bands such as The Doors and The Beach Boys and listen to their tunes.

Fashion was definitely different four and five decades ago. I recall the high platform heels on shoes, woman's hot pants, penny loafers, men's multi-coloured beaded belts, Scholls  wooden exercise sandals for women, men's desert boots (a suede ankle boot), London Fog windbreakers, bell bottoms and coloured paisley pattern shirts and tops. We can't forget about the hair styles especially for the guys, crew and brush cuts and later boys had longer hair than some girls. They say trends return...time will tell.

We have observed some major medical breakthroughs in the last fifty plus years, such as the birth control pill 1960, heart transplant 1967, medical scanners 1972, test tube babies 1978 and the human immunodeficiency virus (H.I.V.) identified in 1983. Many vaccines were invented: measles 1964, mumps 1967, rubella 1970, chicken pox 1974, pneumonia 1977, small pox 1980, Hepatitis B 1981 and Hepatitis A 1992.

Did we ever imagine women would become firefighters, tradespeople, forepersons, the Prime Minister of Canada, United Kingdom, Chancellor of Germany and possibly the President of the United States.
Did we ever imagine smoking would be banned almost everywhere.
Did we ever imagine new types of music would be born...one in particular, smooth jazz.
Did we ever imagine we would be allowed to gamble legally...all of a sudden gambling is OK because the government says it's OK.
Did we ever imagine a lot of products we would buy have less quality and quantity but at a higher price.
Did we ever imagine when someone phoned us their name and phone number would be displayed.
Did we ever imagine we would get married and over 50% of all marriages would end up in divorce.
Did we ever imagine some people would have half of their bodies covered in tattoos.
Did we ever imagine we would be retired.
Did we ever imagine the majority of items we purchase are manufactured in China or other foreign countries.
Did we ever imagine that disease and hunger would never change in Africa and other third world countries.
Did we ever imagine that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (N.A.S.A.) would develop a rocket called The Shuttle.
Did we ever imagine a metal roof (guaranteed for life) would replace a shingle roof.
Did we ever imagine we would be wearing glasses to read.
Did we ever imagine that portions of the world would be in complete chaos...violent conflicts, economic blight, terrorism, poverty.
Did we ever imagine Chinese food would never change.
Did we ever imagine a lot of big industries and manufacturing companies would become bankrupt.
Did we ever imagine a pack of cigarettes would cost $11 and we would pay $35 for a case of 24 beer.
Did we ever imagine the Rolling Stones would still perform live concerts.
Did we ever imagine that parts of the Middle East would become a threatening volatile area.
Did we ever imagine a theatre movie could gross over one billion dollars.
Did we ever imagine country music would make a comeback and listened to by millions of fans.
Did we ever imagine we would pay as much as $1.40 a litre ($6.30 a gallon) for gasoline.
Did we ever imagine that a device measuring only 4 inches by one and three quarters inches could store thousands of songs.
Did we ever imagine the two highest grossing films were written and directed by the same individual, James Cameron.
Did we ever imagine our vinyl albums and forty fives would be replaced by small discs.
Did we ever imagine we would be buying motor vehicles engineered by the Japanese and Koreans.
Did we ever imagine the province of Ontario's debt would be higher than California arrears.
Did we ever imagine a certain group of Muslims would be sadistic terrorists.
Did we ever imagine decades later we would look back at our high school years and say there were a lot of good times.
Did we ever imagine good paying full time jobs would be few and far between especially for our youngsters.
Did we ever imagine 'a couple of guys' named Bill Gates and Steve Jobs would change the world with their technology.

Epilogue

I ponder the changes our children will see when they reach their "Golden Years". I'm not talking about medical, technology or Hollywood movies but violence in the world and financial survival. Our governments (federal and provincial) are in astronomic debt and operating excessive deficits but still spend money like it flourishes off trees and the forests are the size of Canada and Russia combined. We all know the tax payers are the folks who pay for the regimes feeble and bungling attempt to manage our country and province. Five will get you ten our children are going to be in for an extremely rough and uncomfortable ride of their lives. Then I watch the wee little ones on my street playing with their toys and having loads of fun and think what kind of turbulent journey will they experience. They are in a state of turmoil and it's going to get worse...welcome to doom and gloom.

The End
The Harvenut Puritan Project 

Heebie - Jeebies

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