Moral Dilemma, Severe Weather

With the onset, and direct threat of severe weather having begun, I’d like to relate a personal account of a few close calls. My first tornado experience was many years ago, I was 16 or 17. My folks had a sizable wooden shed where many tools and whatnot were stored. There was an old recliner in there that I would sometimes kick back in, and listen to a stereo, and pass the time. I fell asleep in that recliner one night, and vaguely remember my mom coming in a draping a blanket over me, then I was right back asleep. I soon awoke to the sound of multiple thunder claps occuring in very close bursts. The wind got up quite intensely, then the rain came in blowing sideways at a great velocity. There was a piece of wood covering a windowless pane that was quickly blown down. Instinctually I reached for some nails and a hammer and proceeded to tack this piece back in place, already soaking wet and using my body to hold it in place against the wind and driving rain. At that point the sound became frightening, the common reference to locomotive diesels running wide open is an apt one. The building was supported on concrete block pillars, and began lifting up and shaking back and forth, but remained in it’s initial location. The storm soon passed and I was not injured physically, but I will never forget that experience. This storm moved on and just a little further on destroyed a marina a few miles away. You could literally trace its path by the wake of downed trees, and damaged roofs. 

I was a commercial diver for over 30 years working on the Tennessee river, a harvester of freshwater mussels, whose shell is used in the cultured pearl industry. Having been out there for so many years battling the weather, currents, and ignorant fools with large fast boats, I have a lot of tales I could tell but this one was my only visual sighting of a tornado. I was working in deep water 45-50 feet or so, and had a boat tender hired at the time. His job was to pull up the sacks I filled and grade the shell, by legal requirements. I had finished up my 1st dive which yielded a decent haul for the time spent and was about to break for lunch, when we saw a fairly mean looking storm heading our way. There was an inlet close by to some backwater, you do not want to be out on the river in the wide open when the wind gets up and the lightning starts blasting. So we idled in and hit the bank to wait out the storm and eat lunch in the meantime. I was preoccupied with the lunch part, when my boat tender tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to the sky. There was a small funnel descending from the dark storm front. Then as we watched you could occaisionally see a ribbon of dark material traveling up an otherwise invisible air current. A tornado. This visual repeated itself a lot, now you see it, now you don’t, then we started getting quarter sized hail falling on us, and an eerie updraft could be felt. You could feel the air lifting upwards from around your feet, it was almost enough to make the hair on your hand stand on end. After the storm passed, me being the kind of guy I am I was ready to get back to work, but at my tender’s request we quit for the day. The next morning during breakfast at our usual restaurant, there was another table with divers seated, that I overheard talking. One guy was saying “it was like being in a tornado.” I asked what was his location, and he was right in the path of what we witnessed the day before. I informed him indeed it was a tornado, probably an F0 or a weak F1 he had experienced.

This next one was close to home, damn close. I awoke in dead of night, just like the first story, to multiple thunder claps in rapid succession. I lay there hearing it get louder and more menacing as it got closer. Soon the wind got up to a level I have never experienced, and the locomotive sound and vibration was deafening. I quickly analyzed that this was approaching from my southwest, and tornados generally travel southwest to northeast, and I concluded this was my last night on earth. I lay there with no place to run, and could only think I was grateful I had hugged my kids before I went to bed. The storm passed without any major damage to us, thankfully. It was somewhere around 3 in the morning and I decided to wait till daylight to see what had ensued. Our yard was littered with trees limbs and other debris, I started finding golf tees, a mounted deer antler, parts of roof shingles, an F3 had passed within 400 yards of us, right after it completely obliterated a nice brick home not far from here. The debris in my yard was from their house. There was no house left. The people escaped to their basement just in time and were not harmed. This tornado went on a ways and killed a woman not far from here, who was out looking for her dog in the storm. I hear flying debris hit her killing her on the spot. This storm moved further west spawning tornados one of which did a great deal of damage to Clarksville Tn.

Cut to today. Somehwere around 20 dead in Arkansas, a couple dead in Tn. and a lot of damage in Miss/Ga. and who knows where else. We have only just begun. Let me tell you, I am a grown man, lived through a lot, have fear of very little in this world, but a tornado scares the shit out of me. When severe weather threatens I often tell the wife “I would not wish upon anyone the death and destruction that comes with these storms, but I sure hope it doesn’t hit here.”  

I know there are many who have survived much worse than what I have encountered, many who did not. Having experienced what I have, I feel a great sense of sorrow knowing what has befallen them. Yet am grateful that me and mine are allright. I do not know exactly how to feel about this. On the one hand I am concerned for the health and welfare of my neighbor, yet on the other hand, I am certainly grateful for not having experienced the full force brunt of what is possible. There are days it makes me feel like a dick. Other days I am just glad it hasn’t been much worse that it could be.

My sympathies to all affected by this recent round. Much luck to everyone facing the next.

It Looks Like Oklahoma Will Have Bible Classes In Schools

Clearly an end run around the constitution. Another RWCRFM (Right Wing Conservative Republican Fundamentalist Moron) following the well known wedge strategy, this time by foisting upon children some hoohaw about the bible. You have heard about the Hobby Lobby x-ian asshole, it looks like he is behind this whole thing. The article says and I quote “billed as a way to teach archaeology, history and the arts through Bible stories.” What a bunch of lying bullshit. Then goes on to say “also tells students God is always there in times of trouble and that sinners must “suffer the consequences” of disobeying.” Which is RELIGION. In a school. Which is UNCONSTITUTIONAL!

Here is more “While the course does explain the inspiration behind famous works of art and holds a prism to historical events, it also endorses behavior for religious reasons and implies that bad things happen as a direct result of disregarding God’s rules.” Are you kidding me? If this crap actually becomes a reality, and gets taught in public schools, we are doomed as a society. Start packing your bags and looking for another country to live in. I hear Canada is nice. Here is another gem from the article:

“The superintendent of Mustang schools, Sean McDaniel, said if the board believed the curriculum crossed a line it wouldn’t have approved the course.”  “We’re not asking kids to believe the stories,” McDaniel said. “This is a purely academic endeavor. If it turns into something beyond that, either we will correct it or we will get rid of it.”  More lying bullshit from a lying bullshitter.

There had better be a huge outcry about this, and the people behind it should be made an example of. There is no excuse for this kind of crap in what is supposed to be a society based upon freedom. Freedom means not having someone’s religion forced upon you.

EDIT: I posted this last night, even got a “Like” on it. I got up this morning and it is sitting here in the draft file, untitled, and no longer up on the blog. Has anyone else had this kind of odd behavior? Anyway I have retitled the post and am about to hit Publish. Let’s see what happens.

Nuther Edit: I reread the article, it appears this class will be an elective, not required curriculum. Still it is a generic, watered down, court dodging attempt to introduce religion in schools. This is part of the wedge strategy. Getting the foot in the door, is what this is. I stand by my initial disgust.

Hawk Update, and Meteor Watch

The wife was walking the dog today and noticed some new activity with the hawk nest. I just came in from a look with binoculars and indeed the hawk is sitting on the side of the nest now, looking in the nest quite a bit. This suggests there could very well be little hawks. As I get time I will be out getting some pics.

Tonight is supposed to be the peak of the Lyrids, and it will hopefully be clear here. I have to be up and about from 12- 2 AM anyway tonight, so I will definately be dedicating some time to catch the action. I do hope it is lively. Last year we had a pretty good show with around 2-3 meteors a minute for as long as I was out there looking up. If it’s half that good I will take it.

So if any of you are up late, go out and look up! Sometimes these things can be really awe inspiring. Especially if you manage to catch a fireball (self explanatory) or a bolide (exploding meteor). Both of which I have seen at one time or another. They are spectacular.

EDIT: Lyrids damnit. Lyrids (Not Leonids). The goof has been corrected. I blame my odd hours of late and the lack of sleep. I turned off the alarm clock this morning @6:00 AM and fell back asleep for 30 min. If I hadn’t heard my boys shuffling around I’d still be lying there asleep… Doing too much through the day and not getting much sleep in between makes for a zombified way of living.

Oh and the shower was a bust at my location. Nuttin. I mean absolutely nuttin in the 25 minutes I spent looking up. Heck on any regular old night I can usually catch at least one meteor in 25 min. With that lack of sleep already mentioned I packed it up and hit the hay. Will perhaps try again tonight but doubtful, I have a genuine opportunity to get some sleep tonight.

Quote of the Month


I thought I would change things up a bit, from the usual founding father quotes, and go with something a tad more modern. I googled famous atheist quotes and found this. I had no idea Clooney was leaning atheist, he just went up a notch in my book.

As for the quote, I like the second part best. I think we all should take this to heart. Live your life. Do something with yourself. Enjoy the things you enjoy. I know one thing for sure, and I may have this put on my headstone, “I have lived my life.” Have been all over this country as I grew up in a owner operator trucking family, played lead guitar in a local classic rock cover band, was a commercial diver for over 30 years, have a few kids, and a great wife. We all should be so fortunate, to have lived a little. Live!

As a side note, I do not know for sure that this quote can actually be attributed to Clooney, having picked it up from the internet, we all know how that goes, but I am going to run with it right or wrong. Sometimes living means living with your mistakes 🙂

More Hawks!


Got out today and manged a few pics throughout the day. This hawk doesn’t like to pose much, I was lucky to get a few broadside shots, unfortunately focus is proving difficult through my setup. Was windy today as well, the trees were swaying a bit, which made things interesting. 

I thought early on this morning perhaps there were babies in the nest as the hawk that is staying home to incubate was up and about, (I assume the female, but do not know this for sure, I have not heard of male hawks doing any incubating but must admit my ignorance on the issue)… but this hawk soon settled back in the nest and stayed there most of the day. I got one more decent shot (of many that were not so good) here:


I’d damn near order me a nice Canon DSLR but the last thing I want to do is add more debt to any of my credit cards. My wife has a pretty nice Olympus camera but it won’t quite get close enough as this through the telescope shooting I am doing. Perhaps with time I can get better with what I have 🙂

Will continue to get shots as I can, I want to become a semi regular thing out there so they can sort of adapt to me being there. Hopefully the little ones will be along soon.

Your Inner Fish

It has been all day. I have yet to hear anyone say anything about Neil Shubin’s “Your Inner Fish” show last night. I thought it was fantastic. Such a classic case of using the theory of evolution to go to the place where the transitional species you are looking for should be in the geological column. Search out these known places where the geology is dated to the time period you are investigating. And BAM! They found what they were looking for. Tiktaalik was born. A modern success story if ever there was one. Based on the overlapping fields of biology and geology, using science for discovery.

Talk about the power of prediction, evolution has got it. 

It was such a good show covering embryology, DNA connections, Sonic Hedgehog genes, all about our inner fish, as well as the Tiktaalik discovery. I’ve waited all day and none of my usual blog spots have said a word, I haven’t heard any wailing from the usual creationist slime pits either. It just seems odd. So I thought I would do a post my self! If you have not seen it, it is a must watch program for anyone scientifically inclined, and I highly recommend it. I think there is supposed to be another show or two, I will be looking tonight for any follow ups.