Hurricane Harbor

A writer and a tropical muse. A funky Lubavitcher who enjoys watching the weather, hurricanes, listening to music while enjoying life with a sense of humor and trying to make sense of it all!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Time to be a Hurricane Prepper!! Will the 2013 Hurricane Season be Busy and Unlucky?

Busy meaning "very active" and unlucky meaning "they might make landfall at a town near you" . . .

That's the definition here and the predictions are beginning to come in faster than a storm surge as the Atlantic Hurricane Season gets closer .... a mere two months away.

Katrina Obama Era

Craig Fugate, administrator of FEMA, gave his annual "be prepared speech" and photo shoot while in New Orleans this pass week celebrating not Passover or the Pascal Lamb or the upcoming Easter they were discussin' the hurricane season and each lobbying for their favorite cause while enjoying all that New Orleans has to offer...and it has a lot to offer.

Notice they don't give these conferences in places like Fargo, North Dakota... or Abilene, Texas. Nope...they do it up right.

Craig is head of FEMA.... and what he was warning people of was not storm surge but... ready for this??? Higher insurance rates.

Seems that FEMA needs to at least stay above water, financially speaking, so they will raise insurance rates to stay afloat. I may have gotten that a bit wrong because it doesn't really make sense other than to say there will be "no more free handouts" and I can't believe that's exactly what he means. Then again from experience.... rates do go up and they go up often especially after the insurance companies FINALLY pay out.

Would you like an example? Hurricane Andrew in 1992 came after 27 years of Miami NOT getting hit by a hurricane. Let me put this into better perspective.... it came after the average Miamian who owned a home and paid insurance for 27 years without making one claim. TWENTY SEVEN YEARS...   Let's put 27 years into perspective.  It's the average time a parent goes from giving birth to watching their child give birth and becoming a grandparent. It's longer than most people teach in the school system and have already made it to retirement. It's the length of time most people own a home before they decide to downsize and sell the home after they have paid off the loan. And, after the FIRST time Miamians made claims on said insurance their rates were hiked and many lost their homes or sold their homes fast unable to continue paying high insurance rates on a fixed budget.

Again.... John Sr and Mary Elizabeth give birth to a little boy named John Jr. in January 1965 6 months or so after Hurricane Cleo made landfall. The Beatles were still singing I want to hold your hand...and the country was still more on less mourning the death of their young, handsome President Kennedy. Vietnam was a military action on the other side of the planet.

 Carolina Snowball was still jumping through hoops at the Miami Seaquarium drawing massive crowds who came to see the albino dolphin named "Carolina Snowball" and people who caught porpoises on purpose were considered heroes not enemies.

I had one of those as a small child. We stood waiting quietly, in awe as the machine that looked like a little like a machine from OZ and Lost in Space... as it made our little white, waxy still warm souvenirs of our beloved dolphin which was really stolen from a lagoon in South Carolina by porpoise hunters who heard about the legendary white dolphin. (GREAT it, enjoy)

It was TWENTY FIVE CENTS....think on it................

It was the early 60s...and Miami was the place to be. The Beatles came, Cassius Clay came to beat Sonny Liston and Hurricanes Cleo and Betsy came as well.

And, then.... Miami settled down to suburban bliss and raised a generation of kids who would watch the New York Jets beat the Baltimore Colts just the way Joe Namath said they would. They went on to watch the Miami Dolphins beat the New York Jets when Dan Marino was still trying to figure out which college to apply to and they went on to watch Dan Marino play for the Miami Dolphins. The Perfect Season came and went.... and there was a lot of water under the proverbial real estate bridge and the citizens of Miami paid through the nose for insurance fearing a repeat of Hurricane Cleo or Hurricane Betsy but that didn't happen for a long, long time.

The TV series Flipper came and went... followed by Gentle Ben which also came and went.

The 1980s came and went... Castro did not die but the Mariel Boat Lift brought Cubans to freedom in Miami and the Cocaine Cowboys ruled the city and still we had not had any hurricanes make landfall. The only Hurricanes that were making landfall were the Miami Hurricanes.

Somewhere down the road UM became "The U" and a legacy of memories was born and played out in televisions across the land where a "Cane" ONLY meant a sports team as the meteorological canes had deserted Miami.

Miami became "cool" again as Miami Vice was king on television and took over the fashion world.

Kids grew up and went away to college to places up north like Gainesville and became Florida Gators and a few went off to the golden colleges of the South like Tulane and Duke and Chapel Hill... and still Miami had not seen a real hurricane of the meteorological kind.

LBJ was President of the USA when Hurricane Betsy pummeled Miami.

Followed by:


Another handsome young democrat named Bill Clinton was campaigning for the Presidency and his signs littered our lawns before the next Hurricane hit Miami.

Native Miami kids moved away to get away from the high crime and the Cubans who made Spanish our second language. The Cubans moved away to get away from the Colombians who took over the streets.

Public Enemy #1 in Miami was no longer the weather disaster known as the hurricanes, but the Cocaine Cowboys who had chased so many of the tourists away.


The media blasted Miami with articles on ridding itself of crime and it's negative image.

Sigh................. it was the best of times, it was the worst of times and still Miami had not seen another hurricane. And, still.............Miamians paid insurance waiting for that day when meteorological hurricanes would blow the cocaine cowboys away...

Miami tried to woo the tourists back and ironically so did the hurricanes come back and I don't mean the ones at the U. long last............................the Insurance Companies had to pay out money to the people who had been investing since before John Jr was born and who were now grand parents to Johnny their grandson.... who now lived in Atlanta where his parents moved to get away from the crime and the Cubans and the Colombians before the Haitians took over the City of Miami....


TV shows came and went like Presidents and third world immigrants became rich and moved out to Sweetwater and built big mansions and as soon as Miamians made claims on their insurance companies they were dropped faster than a hot potato or more realistically faster than a drug dealer dropped dead under an overpass in Opa Locka.

Trust me... if there is one prediction that will come true this possibly busy hurricane season it will be insurance rates will rise. They will rise as sure as the Crimson Tides will lose again to the Florida Gators.

Trust me on this...

So...stay tuned as the hurricane specialists have all gone home from Nola and they are kicking around the things they learned with their fellow forecasters ...which by the way are mostly fellows... and waves will form far off in the Atlantic and move west north west towards South Florida. And, whether or not the storms make landfall or they do not... insurance rates will rise like the cost of batteries and first aid supplies.

So, when you see them go on sale ....stock up. When you see can goods go on sale...stock up.

Not because you are a Prepper waiting for the world to end and civilization as we know it to fall apart but... because you are a Hurricane Prepper.

That's right... you heard it here first... be the first to be a Hurricane Prepper!!

Besos Bobbi ;)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Springtime Snow.... and the Miami Heat are HOT!

Sounds like the name of a new variety of magnolias, but no it's the reality of this never ending winter.

Winter came this year and so far has refused to leave. It's got to give up eventually and go back to the North Pole and Santa Claus and Superman's Magic Ice Fortress.

Winter or Spring?
Flowers or Snow?
Boots or Barefoot?
Picnic or Fireplace
Crockpots or BBQ?

So many questions dancing in my head as every day brings a new decision - - -  whether  to wear sandals or leggings... 

I watched on the radar as a cluster of snow showers came down through Virginia and dipped down near by and then bounced northeast off towards the Outer Banks and Elizabeth City. It's sunny here and warming up with dreams of taking a walk to look at the daffodils dancing in my head. The hyacinths that is pushing up through the cold not frozen ground. My lust for snow is giving away to dreams of running barefoot across the yard and dancing with the butterflies. I'm wishing the dogwood would open up and hang poetically over the edge of the deck.. I'm dreaming of sipping coffee on the deck and watching the sun rise early in the morning through the dogwood tree.

I'm dreaming. I'm waiting. I'm wishing. I'm holding on...

Another storm might be waiting in the wings on TWC. They are naming it Virgil or Virgo or some V name. 

That would be an icy mess in the middle of the country. And, if it forms....where will it go?

Keep watching and wishing on summer... 

I know I am... because summer brings the hurricane season and its my time, prime time in my world.

Til then the Miami Heat is amusing me as I keep holding my breath and hoping they will keep on winning and winning and winning... 

Besos Bobbi

Ps... What are you wishing on?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Miami History Lesson ...Pope Francis.. A Jesuit From Argentina & Father Benito Vines

Everything links back to the tropics to me in some way.

I wrote on Twitter yesterday while watching endlessly at the bird on the smoke stack who seemed to be waiting for his favorite candidate to get the 77 votes needed to become the next Pope...that I really wanted him to be from South America.

Okay, I'll admit I'd like to see a South American Pope. Almost like Miami. Doubtful, but would love to see it.

Wasn't so doubtful it seems and cannot believe I used that word, must have been totally enthralled in the process of the Papal Election.

Again, I have a degree in International Relations and my background in Religion and History makes me more aware than many of the important political power that the Pope has that goes far beyond any one region. He is a WORLD leader and yet, he has in the past usually been an Italian one or European one even though his influence goes around the world as far away as almost the end of the world... to South America.

South America is MY America.. it should be OUR America and yet for some reason we always look back to our shared European Ancestry that started this country (after we stole it away from the Native American tribes) and rarely realize we are in the AmericaS.  Being from Miami that does not get lost on me as Miami is the capital of the Caribbean and the gateway to South America.

I grew up in Miami in a neighborhood that was as Cuban and Spanish as it was Southern which it was back in the early 60s before the Florida Crackers lost their accents and the Cubans moved north to Broward to get away from the Central Americans and the South Americans and the flow of demographics continues always in Miami as to show is the largest "minority" as if there is any one minority. School papers are sent out in three languages and Creole is the second and Spanish is now on the bottom.

Miami... love it. Always did, always will.

So, my most famous Miamian and close friend is Dr. Paul George the historian... a man who was educated in a Jesuit school and whose voice takes a lilting beat up when he says "Jesuit" which he says often usually reminding his students that before the 1800s there wasn't much here except a small Jesuit mission at the mouth of the Miami River whose job was to of course educate the natives...

" Pedro Menéndez de Avilés and his men made the first recorded landing in this area when they visited the Tequesta settlement in 1566 while looking for Avilés' missing son, who had been shipwrecked a year earlier.[8] Spanish soldiers, led by Father Francisco Villareal, built a Jesuit mission at the mouth of the Miami River a year later, but it was short-lived. By 1570, the Jesuits decided to look for more willing subjects outside of Florida. "

Miami history is rife with stories of Jesuit educational missions and many of the Cubans who came here in the 1960s had studied at the Belen school in Havana. As a matter of fact... Fidel Castro was schooled there as well before he moved on to making himself his own diety and turned against the Church. Over the last several years he has modified his views... years back he outlawed people from celebrating Christmas because it interfered with the harvesting of crops and allowed people to celebrate it in the middle of summer...quietly, if they really wanted.

The Belen School in Havana is famous and it's prestige is considerable, legendary in Miami circles.

File:Belen School 1854-1925.jpg

Belen School 1854-1925

This is how the school looked when Castro got there...

File:Belen School 1950s - Havana.jpg

An aerial photograph of Colegio de Belén, Havana, Cuba.

We will get back to this later.............

With regard to the History of Miami... the Jesuits are intricately linked to early Miami History.

"The Gesu Church is significant for its important role in the religious history of Miami and as a reflection of the City's growth and development. In addition, the buildings are excellent examples of religious architecture and noteworthy for the excellence of its design, craftsmanship, and detailing.
Gesu is Miami's oldest Catholic parish and has served the religious and humanitarian needs of the community for over a century. The growth of the parish closely parallels the development of the City of Miami.
Miami's first Catholic service was conducted in 1872 when Father Dufau, who had been sent to South Florida by Bishop John Marcellus Peter Augustine Verot, P.S.S. of St. Augustine, celebrated Mass and confirmed the pioneer family of William J. Wagner. Wagner constructed a small wooden church on his homestead in 1875, and this became Miami's first house of worship.
The Holy Name Parish (now Gesu) was organized in 1896 and the pastor was Father Ambrose Fontan, S.J. A new church was constructed in 1897 on land donated by Henry Flagler. As Miami's population and the Holy Name congregation expanded, the need for a larger church became evident. A cornerstone was subsequently laid on December 10, 1920, on the site of the earlier church, and the new building was dedicated in 1925. The Gesu Parish School opened in 1905 with six grades and 60 students. The original school name was The Academy of the Sisters of St. Joseph St. Catherine's Convent. The school was also known as St. Catherine's Convent School and St. Catherine's Academy. There were four graduates in the first high school graduating class of 1913. The Sisters of St. Joseph of St. Augustine, Florida, were the teaching staff at the school.
A new five story school was built in 1926 and the name changed to Gesu Parish School. It was located at 130 Northeast 2nd Street. The last Gesu High School graduation was in 1953. There were 40 graduates in that class. The last eighth grade graduation was in 1982 when the school was closed. The school was demolished in 1984.
In 1961, Belen Jesuit Preparatory School was established in the United States. The fourth floor of the Gesu School became the first site of Belen Jesuit Preparatory School. The faculty, like many other priests and religious, had been expelled from Cuba by the government of Fidel Castro, an alumnus of the school. In October 1962, Belen Jesuit moved to 824 Southwest 7th Avenue; and, in 1981, to 500 S.W. 127th Avenue." (history)

NOTE: This sentence says more about Miami Demographics and the movement of people than any other sentence I can think of... 

" Belen Jesuit moved to 824 Southwest 7th Avenue; and, in 1981, to 500 S.W. 127th Avenue"

Moving South back towards Cuba... Father Benito Vines, one of the fathers of meteorology or more specifically Tropical Meteorology was a Jesuit Priest who studied hurricanes in his spare time. Of course his immediate concerns were to learn about the, warn his people and fellow priests... but he became one of the foremost experts on Hurricanes in the Tropics that there ever was... maybe until Bill Gray took up his studies in Colorado and taught a new generation of tropical meteorologists.

I've posted this link before, it's worth posting again.
The story of the 1900 Galveston Hurricane and the US Weather Bureau's refusal to take heed to the warnings from Cuba in the Spanish-American War Era are legendary.

"Eyewitnesses who observed storms throughout the West Indies telegraphed each other with personal observations. Father Benito Vines, a Spanish Jesuit priest who was meteorological director of the Royal College of Belen in Havana, had organized the tracking system. He was famous for his ability to interpret eyewitness data. His hurricane predictions saved many lives. People called him "Father Hurricane."
When Father Benito died in the summer of 1893, he left behind a staff of well-trained hurricane-predicting pioneers. Father Lorenzo Gangoite became head of the Belen Observatory. Although the Cubans had much to offer the new U.S. Weather Bureau (which was less than 10 years old in 1900), people in the Bureau disagreed. They refused to accept that Cubans could accurately predict hurricanes - let alone do it better than the Bureau could.
As a monster storm made its way toward Galveston, at the height of the 1900 hurricane season, U.S. weather predictors did not rely on data provided by anyone other than themselves.  Some historians believe such arrogance was a contributing factor to the magnitude of the Galveston disaster."

It is written about in the book Isaac's Storm as well.
NOTE: The 1900 "Galveston" Hurricane went the length of Cuba and the Cubans definitely has salient information that may have saved lives had it been heeded. Few storms traveled as much of the Cuban Coastline as that storm...before it traveled on across the open warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico to Galveston. As a weaker storm coming off of Cuba, it spared Key West devastation but delivered it instead to Galveston.

Another closer up view:

File:Galveston hurricane track, Sept 1-10, 1900.jpg

People always forget the BEFORE part of the Storm ... the way they forget the Hurricane Sandy slammed into Cuba doing damage that was not expected, showing early on the strength of potential for misery of this now infamous storm.


Some salient parts from the above link that you really MUST read:

"A year later, on September 14, 1876, Father Vines predicted the future path of another violent hurricane. The captain of the sailing vessel Liberty ignored the warning and his ship was wrecked when he sailed directly into the path of the storm.
The following September the little priest wired the Barbados of an approaching hurricane still out in the Atlantic Ocean. He then contacted Puerto Rico and told them not to fear as the storm would pass well south of the island; at the same time, however, he warned Santiago de Cuba ". . . it will reach you on the 24th, be on your guard." Everything happened just as the Reverend Vines predicted.
Father Vines' accurate predictions won him praise and offers of help. By 1877 he was able to start a small hurricane reporting network throughout Cuba-including a "pony express" between the most isolated villages-and on a few other Caribbean islands. Steamship companies offered him free passage for his investigations and ordered their ship captains to pull into the nearest port and cable the observatory whenever hurricane-like weather threatened. Railroad companies also offered him free transport, and telegraphic and cable services were put at his disposal.
His Greatest Work
The same year (1877), after six years of study, Father Vihes finished his greatest work: Apuntes Relativos a los Huracanes de las Antilles, which was soon published as Practical Hints in Regard to West Indian Hurricanes by the U.S. Army Signal Corps' national weather service (the Weather Bureau wasn't established until 1890). It quickly sold out three large printings.
Father Vines was the first to suggest that the clouds well in advance of a hurricane could be used to locate the storms center, and also the first to forecast hurricane movement on the basis of cloud movement.
The Pilot Charts of the U.S. Hydrographic Office printed and reprinted the "laws" of Father Vines. The May issue of the 1889 Pilot Chart reads: "These important laws, established by the study and long experience of Father Vines, should be thoroughly understood by every navigator and utilized by shaping his course so as to avoid a hurricane."
In 1886, in reply to a query from the Havana Chamber of Commerce, Father Vines wrote: "For my part I am desirous only of serving all so far as service is rendered possible by my poor health and the limited means at my disposal; nor do I wish other recompense, after that which I hope from God, than to be of use to my brethren and to do my little share for the advancement of science and the good of humanity."

Note again the good of humanity was his concern, not acclaim though they awarded him acclaim anyway.

Remind you of anyone?

Pope Francis has degrees in chemistry, philosophy and theology with a love of literature and psychology. Jesuits often teach vs lead in the political sense and he is the first Jesuit Pope adding to the list of firsts being the first South American Pope. His parents, like many Argentinians, are from Italy.

Yes, I'm very happy that he was chosen. I thought he would be a long shot, but hoped he would become the Pope. It's time for us to open up the world around us and be more global in our orientation.  It's not all about Europe...  

And, as many have suggested the birds were hoping he would become the Pope St. Francis was known to talk to birds and believed they talked to him. 

Who knows what the real story is... I suppose ...only the Seagull knows for sure.

Yesterday I watched the sun go down as the sky around the chimney got darker and darker until the buildings of the Vatican glowed in the dark and a while after the Seagull flew away... the white smoke poured out of the chimney and the history of the Church was re-written, a new page... a new beginning with a man who became the Pope and asked us to pray for him. And, I do .. 

He has a message to teach of love, humility, giving to help the poor and being himself. Something we can all learn a bit on...   He will give the Vatican's version of the Secret Service a run for their money as he already ditched them this morning and went to the church he said he would go to yesterday without pomp or fan fare... to pray. 

We could all use in our own way in our own religions and in our own heart of hearts to connect more to our creator and nature around us be in the wind or the stars or the birds soaring overhead.

Besos Bobbi

Ps........I really can't wait to visit Cuba one day, after the Castros have gone the way of Chavez and it's the top of my places to go after Key West which is always on my list of places to go.

Anyone wanting to see more pictures of Cuba B.C. as many call it... Before Castro can enjoy the link below. (charity to rebuild in Cuba from Sandy)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Watching Comets ... and Waiting on White Smoke

So, I went last night and tried to see the comet. The weather cooperated, although the comet did not. I couldn't see it. Too much ambient light coming from the nearby street lights and the glow of the sky around the moon. Maybe if I had a telescope or binoculars but being a storm chaser vs a comet chaser I don't have either handy.

I stood under a magnolia tree facing west at a spot where the horizon is almost visible and either I was a bit to late or not in the right spot ...but I only saw an awesome sliver of a new moon... but no comet. The moon was the smallest sliver, delicate looking as it hung low looking almost fragile appearing just moments after sunset.

This picture was taken in Charlotte and posted on Facebook by Brad Panovitch and on his Twitter account

The key here is to go up high, somewhere away from too much light. The roof top of a parking deck possibly, the Florida Keys definitely. Imagine looking out over the marsh on the Outer Banks you can see it as well.  Tonight it climbs higher, further from the trees and with luck I'll see it.

There are a few charts below posted online that tell you where to look, but now that you know what to look for it might be easier.

Looking west in bright twilight

I retrospect I may have seen a bit of the tail as a light glow a few minutes after I took that picture and my cellphone informed me that the battery was too low to take pictures........

Shows how the comet looks getting closer to the horizon...

Good luck...

In other news.................there has only been black smoke no white smoke.

Still watching... 

My brother suggested we drive down to the Grotto in Key West at St. Marys..

Wait for word on the Pope and light a candle for the hurricane season and...

watch the comet at sunset in Key West..


If you are IN the Florida Keys... 

you got a prime spot for comet watching

Take pics!

Besos Bobbi

Ps... am going to look on Pinterest and Instagram for good start posting

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

March Madness - - - Pope Watch Vs Wxr Watch

              The weather in Rome will be rainy all week, the sun will not even peak out until Friday.

Okay, I will admit it. I am one of those Jewish girls who has always been fascinated by the Catholic Church. I've always valued anything that was "God Centered" and "Cause Oriented" and wrongly thought of it as the "Orthodox Version" of the "Christian Religion."

Into quotes today, maybe I'll look online for some good quotes from Popes.

To be fair, over time and instruction from several good Christian friends who explained to me that it is a different religion I do understand how it all works. But, in my simplistic Jewish childlike mind I thought of Catholic like Hasidim, Baptist as Orthodox, Christians were kind of like Conservative Jews and Protestants and Lutherans as Reform.   There is a sort of historic logic there. Stop laughing.

So, the weather is mild and Triton was a "wash out" and the next storm is a good week away from creating valuable weather writing so I'm watching for smoke.

There are webcams and Pope Alerts... and there is always Twitter.

Hey when leads off with a story on the election of the Pope in a state that is not predominately Catholic during March Madness... that is a big news story.

The world we live in is so funny. Cardinals tweet their blog posts. Maybe we are all more alike than we want to believe. And, what do we all believe is the bigger question.

Greetings again from Rome, the Eternal City, the city of Saints Peter and Paul! <--- better="" he="" link="" p="" posted.="" than="">
Next time I make a tweet so I can post my blog, I will feel less guilty. If he can do can I ;)

So, the Cardinal is a blogger and as always he writes eloquently as well as from the heart with a touch of a whimsical sense of humor. It must be such a huge event for him to participate in such a historical gathering that often rarely happens.

I remember watching for smoke with my ex-husband in an apartment years back. Both of us America kids working as Lubavitch Shluchim while taking care of our first baby and curiously, watching and waiting for the right color smoke to appear. People who answer a calling can I think better understand others who have such a calling even if the religion that is calling you is different. The commonalities exist....  prayer that you are doing the right thing, the need to serve others properly and get it right ... the urgency of the job and the needs of your congregants or students whose life emergencies do not exist on a 9 to 5 time clock. The sense of history and the value of a leader who leads a worldwide movement and the needs of his followers to be able to connect with him and be a vehicle to help others in the correct way.  History, religion and the power of the moment all colliding at once.

Prayers can be soothing in any language when sung with real devotion.

The Pope becomes a world leader who is looked upon for help by people as far away as South America and Vietnam. We become ethnocentric so often and forget that the there are Catholics everywhere. Just as there are 7th Day Adventists everywhere, especially in the Caribbean.

Growing up in Miami the first Catholics I knew were Irish. A short time later the Catholic Church in Miami became a Cuban institution in many people's minds.

This history of St. Peter and Paul in the Road Section of Miami IS a history of Miami in ways.

Worth reading for any real Miamian reading this blog today.

My two little girl friends with long blonde white poney tails would disappear into that big stone building for school as I went to Public School down the way. Somehow it seemed exotic and mysterious that they went to the big religious school that was used as a location shot in the movie

From the website on history above:

"We were constantly on the lookout for a proper place to establish our own church. In August 1954 attention was called to a mansion located at 1411 S.W. 11 Street. The mansion was originally built in 1927 for John Bernard Reilly - the first elected mayor of Miami. With the purchase of the property in the fall of 1954, we then adopted and recorded our charter in November 1954, by-laws were in place December 1959 and in 1957 the Sunday School was established with 20 children enrolled. On November 20, 1960, the property was paid for and a "Burning of the Mortgage" banquet was held."


That's the "ROAD SECTION OF MIAMI" where I grew up... my grandfather built homes and I lived in the shadow the three big religious buildings.

St. Peter and Paul seen up above.

Greek Orthodox Church on Coral Way:

Beth David on Coral Way.

Catholics, Jews and Greeks in old Miami in the 1960s living at the Sweet El apartments that now sell as condos... comically so somehow.

So, that was my world and the Pope was to me that man in Rome who they always spoke about.

When people make fun of the Pope...they make fun of other religious leaders too. You either respect it or you don't.

The Pope elected this year will be pushed to deal with social values that the Church has views on as well as political ones and I am sure somewhere there is someone at TWC.. possibly Cantore..who is hoping he will address Global Warming. As if the Church doesn't have enough critics now...

Seems in the old days weather was a safe topic and religion was not.

Nowadays religion is easy and the weather is not.

As a Miami girl I would love a South American Pope... or one from America or Canada, but could such a thing happen?

Either way I'll be here blogging, watching, tweeting and wondering and also praying. If the prayers of a Jewish Miami Girl living for now in Carolina are worth while ... as people of the Catholic faith need a leader that can help them navigate their way through the questions of faith that weigh heavy on all of us whether we discuss it with others or whether we hold those questions deep inside.

And, hey....there isn't anything going on in the Tropics to watch and as of yet I don't have a real favorite in the NC College Wars. If I have a child who attends a college here then that may change. I do lean towards Carolina Blue as a writer they have an edge in the literary world.

Besos Bobbi

Ps... if you want to weave together worries on the Pope being elected while a comet is in our skies.. many are and many do connect those dots here is the link for you:

Monday, March 11, 2013

Spring Scream or a Season in March Madness...

There are so many things about nature that annoy a person. It's a love slash hate relationship always.

The noise of the birds early in the morning in the Spring is beyond annoying. There is chirping.... and there is chirping. They have this high pitched restless sound... a tad competitive as if they are seeing who can warble louder. Or maybe they are pissed off that some human decided to switch the clock and suddenly there are men and women about in their little metal vehicles upsetting their pre-sunrise concerto.

I wish they would shut up.

I like a sunrise over the water in the morning with gulls silently soaring about, not loud baby birds that sound like they just hit their terrible twos.

You'll have to forgive me this morning. It's early, I'm up and the football season and the HURRICANE SEASON is far away into the future and an almost violet colored sunrise is casting it's Neptunium shadow across my soul.

(you thought I was making this up?)

There are currently seven planets (or celestial objects) in Pisces conjunct my Moon and my Mars. It's a new moon today and in Hebrew it's a new moon tomorrow. That means today I can play, tomorrow is two weeks until Pesach aka Passover and things get ramped up in my world really fast.

Solar System by google pictures
"Pisces stellium:     
        With 7 planetary energies in Pisces we might find ourselves tuning out what's going on in the world and tuning into what's going on inside us.   That's the proper way to show respect for these cosmic energies.   If you do turn within, you'll probably find yourself having weird and interesting dreams, discovering some valuable and even brilliant insights and being filled with grace.  "

For now I am Pinteresting through pictures of Pavlovian Berry desserts and wondering if Pinteresting is a legal verb or not yet.

I am not making this up... my daughter-in-law in Miami who is an all around wonder in that she is beyond beautiful, inside and out, smart and sexy and has this amazing ability to study deep things about government and make desserts that you would only see grace the cover of Southern Living. 

I think I might try Pavlova for Passover this year.  What a fun idea! A meringue based cake with no flour.  If you adhere to the rule of excluding corn products for Passover, you can substitute the cornstarch with potato starch, arrowroot, or tapioca.  Those are common gluten free ingredients.

Pavlova. First made for the dancer Anna Pavlova while visiting Australia back in the Roaring 20s. Oddly I learned that while making a Chabad Cookbook in California with Miriam back in the 1980s. Several of the women who were from Australia used to make it as a special treat for the holidays. I've lost my mock up of the cookbook and hoping I will find it while cleaning for Passover.

I know, I am digressing. This is "off season" for me so if you are here... sit a spell, relax and listen up.

So far so good... no emergency phone calls today from Miami where my Southern Gothic Jewish Mother has taken to calling the police when she is upset with her children or grandchildren and the parade of care givers who come and take care of her when she is left alone too long. Mind you she can walk around the apartment, has a "silly string" around her neck called "life alert" and her granddaughter Shayna living in the next bedroom... neighbors up and down the hall but in true Tennessee Williams style she only wants my brother Ronnie to wait on her hand and foot and gets down right pissy when she decides he isn't there. So... she calls the police because the police are there to help her when she has a problem or is in danger. Obviously, "danger" does not mean "danger, danger Will Robinson" it means "call my kids and tell them I shouldn't be alone."  Unfortunately, she does not want to be together in a nursing home with a roommate either. And she is really not alone... she's just annoyed she didn't get to go out somewhere or other and honestly she just wants my baby brother Ronnie or attention.  And, she gets attention when she does the "I'm going to call the Police if you stay out too late" as someone runs over, sits with her and has tea and when Shayna or Ronnie get back all frustrated and worried on her calling the police she looks like Kate Hepburn in Suddenly Last Summer having tea with some sweet stranger and conjures up her best Blanch Du Bois voice and says, "She came to visit with me a little, she's so sweet"

It is so true, you are sometimes damned if you do and damned if you don't. My father used to say "do the best you can, that's all you can do."

Trying to help keep her where she is happy and wants to be... but after a life of everyone indulging her we are suddenly paying the price for that as there is no easy answer to old age. She is not senile, she's incredibly smart and good at getting her way.

What is amazing about Tennessee Williams is that he conjured up the oldest trick in the book with regard to drama... Deus es Machina and brought his controlling mother down onto the stage much like Deus coming down to try and solve or control the play. 

Lowered onto the stage... pulling the strings, hovering above the ground... at the end of the play.

Sort of like the Hermit Card in Tarot, but not really.

"Deus ex Machina- Literally "God From Machine" was a spectale device that would "fly" an actor portraying a God in and out of the playing area in Greek Theatre.

Tennessee was a genius and that is why he chose to live in Key West. Yes, you knew this would come back again to Key West, didn't you now?

Great scene, except that really mothers don't run up stairs like that carrying babies unless they are weight trainers and a little but crazy.. but then all of Tennessee William's characters are a little crazy taken from real life people he knew. (the famous scene and no I don't mean EDTV...)

The man knew how to live...

Love that house on Duncan Street.

As for the weather..............Storm Saturn is now out in the Ocean tapping into moisture and still spinning... crazy but true.

I really wish it would stop snowing as my kids are driving in from Iowa for Passover.

The sun has risen... the birds have mostly shut up.

TWC is trying to sell us Storm Triton as I type this and the cardinals are meeting in Rome this week to vote on a new Pope.

We are a world in transition it seems.

Winter is receding back to north of the Mason Dixie Line ...

I know the Hurricane Season is not as far away as it feels, because one of my weather friends ended his weekly weather discussion saying he thinks the hurricane season will begin early this year and be a threat to Florida...    

We are all like that... waiting for the real season to begin...

Not the season that takes over Carolina this time of year... March Madness or a Season in Hell as some of us like to call it...

Those are not Roman gladiators nor is it a modern day version of Edward Munich's masterpiece. It's a Duke fan with dreams of beating UNC.

Hand-painted Oil Reproduction of Edvard Munch's <i>The Scream</i>.

Yes, there are patterns everywhere and I see them. I didn't get awards in the study of International Relations for linkage just cause I looked cute in my high platforms...

And, that's my world this morning. Winter is slowing giving way to Spring. The dogwoods are days from pretending to open, the Pear Blossoms are already white and clustered on bare branches and that Japanese tree that is an early bloomer is blooming in Raleigh.

A mix of clouds and sun during the day with intermittent chemtrails is the weather this morning. I may or may not start Weight Watchers again as they have a special. I may or may not walk a mile for exercise but I have exercised my mind this morning online here.

It's been a year since my son Levi married the beautiful Lauren and it blows me away how time flies and how beautiful it's been this past year.

(Note the Miami Dolphin Yarmulka) ... so Miami this wedding compared to the others which were equally beautiful, but different.

Going to take a shower and not worry on North Korea or South Korea or the cardinals in Rome or whether ot not the weather will turn warm enough for the azaleas to open for Passover. 

So, I'm going to dedicate this post to the Dream Team... my daughter Shayna and my brother Ronnie doing their best to make Bubby's life as easy as it can be... while talking over life whether it's at the beach or an art show or shooting pool and venting a bit or talking on the phone to me for hours while we try to do the best we can as my father would want.

Besos Bobbi

Ps Happy Birthday Rob, belated but still my best wishes...where ever you are ...

Friday, March 08, 2013

Trouble with Snow... & Broken Forecasts & TWC Naming Storms...

Visible Water Vapor - GOES East 12 hr Loop

The problem with Snow is it's very sneaky and hard to predict what it will do and yet the TWC wants to name Winter Storms as if they were hurricanes. And, oddly hurricanes are easier to predict than Snow Storms which form in real time.

They set up a scenario for Washington DC being ground zero for a Snow Attack that would shut the city down for hours and yet the only thing that shut down DC for hours was amusingly Rand Paul rather than a snow storm the size of Saturn.

A blown forecast left DC without the blizzard of the century and predictably dumped snow on New England and according to my very well trained storm spotter there.. it is still snowing..

Hurricanes are named as they develop in REAL time AFTER they develop and sustain a certain level of wind speed, barometer drops and when an eye develops we know they have the real thing. Yes, they name Subtropicals and Tropical Depressions get a number... but the name goes with the territory of being a known entity and then there is the RESPONSIBILITY for the FORECAST.

The people at the NHC have a fiduciary responsibility to back up their data and to carefully assess the possible tracks and issue the proper warnings for the correct areas. IF they mess it up by 50 miles at landfall all hell breaks loose in the media and the Twittersphere is lit up brighter than the Empire State Building at Christmas with tweets on how they prepared for the storm and spent a fortune and long, long rants on how the NHC blew it.

The people at the TWC have been blowing it ALL winter. If you name enough storms... some do become massive, deadly and have "societal effects" . . . it's called WINTER.

If you are going to name a storm... get it right is my point.

Snow storms are hard to get right. According to the storm specialist this morning on TWC he complained that it's hard because just a degree or two up or down can make all the difference. (Tell me something I don't know... ) And, that DC was just a degree or two above the snow differential and yet he didn't explain or elaborate on why the NC/VA border got the heaviest, fluffiest snow. He waxed poetic about the difficulty and the how one cold column of air four or five feet above the ground level can make all the difference. Does that mean Michael Jordan might smell snow ... but Snippy the Squirrel ain't getting any?

I was 18 and living up north for the first tine in my life. And, my room mate and I sat waiting for snow. She was from Brooklyn, she said when it snows in Central Park we will get snow soon. I waited listening to my trusty weather radio as the temperature in Central Park dropped and dropped and suddenly they said on the radio it was snowing in Central Park. This is not rocket science. Oh, and the girl from Coney Island was right and it snowed later that night in Brooklyn... big flakes coming down as the temperature dropped.

TWC has really added nothing new in forecasting. They package the weather up into nice mareketable segments and play up the "names of winter storms" as if they are the National Hurricane Center (which they are not) and then they bulk up on advertising revenue while people in another part of the country that "maybe get some snow from Saturn" are buried under 2 feet of snow which was supposed to bury DC.

Busted, broken forecast.

And, you know what their response is? Nothing. They up the hemline on the skirts of their on air weather girls and find a snowy shot of an island getting high surf and then cut to some news story that if I wanted to see I'd be watching CNN or FOX.

If you are going to name them... warn for them.. you have to take the responsibility for what is basically another snow storm that snowed on the wrong part of the country far from the estimated high totals that the media went GA GA on because it's name was Saturn or Neptune. They have already dumped Saturn and are trying to move on to the next snow storm hoping everyone will forget Saturn didn't snow where they said it would as they will remember snow in Hartford coming down heavy and to a good part of the viewers of TWC in Southern California or Florida snow is just snow and no one really knows where Hartford is.. it's up there past DC near New York but  not in Maine.

Geographical Ignorance is relied upon and either way people are watching.. because they are naming them and the advertising revenue is up so ... they are winning even though they are losing.

They lost the battle with Saturn, they will win the long term war with Winter as people will tune in and they will blame "Mother Nature" oddly that she did not cooperate.

Already forecasters in DC were heard to blame the storm itself not the  models, as they stand by their models no matter what happens in real time.

House just slid into sea on Mass. coast (NECN) 

I know it's a wild video, but to me it's not big news as it happens there all the time. If it was happening in Hilton Head with a rare blizzard in March THAT would be NEWS! I do love Jesse, don't get me wrong but it's weather... wild, winter weather not end of the world, larger than life winter. It's not the Winter of 1978..  it started late, came on strong and won't go away.Now that is the story of the year, not TWC naming storms that they can't forecast correctly.

Love this tweet that has been retweeted all morning by meteorologists laughing their you know what off..

Quote of the Week - blaming Nature for poor model performance


I never heard the NHC complain it was Debby's fault that the forecasts were wrong ... they blamed bad modeling back in

Debby was supposed to become a monster Intense Hurricane and eat the Keys for hors d-oeuvres and swallow South Beach whole for the main course. And, it didn't and the NHC took responsibility and the models have improved. 

You don't issue storm warnings when you aren't sure who is going to get the storm.

And, today... these days... the Weather Channel pulls the media strings and everyone has to up their ante to coincide or they look stupid I suppose. You can't have TWC crying WOLF and everyone else goes out on a limb and cries lamb...

From the link above:

"Still, I blame the storm more than I blame the computer models. The models are pretty good. It’s Nature that messed this up.
I hope he escapes from his alternate reality soon, people must be looking for him. snow from a cam on Rhode Island Avenue:

Hartford... lots of snow:

The trouble with snow is that is fickle and the NWS does a bang up job forecasting for the winter storms with or without names, but sadly they don't get the press that TWC gets as they are accurate and reliable and not a sexy weather organization with an edge that attracts the viewers with short skirts on the women and sexy suits on the guys. Shame the NWS is like that reliable, best friend guy who you never date and talk to after every break up with every cute, guy with an edge who does you wrong. Takes you years to wise up and realize that the sweet guy who was your best friend all along was the guy you should have gone to the prom with and gone home with...

As for me... I'm doing fine in Carolina. Got a few problems but they are not of the meteorological kind. And, what is in a name really? An old stalker friend of mine told me that years ago... a rose is a rose is a rose is a rose by any name ... you can tell it's scent even if it's pretending to be a daisy. As for me I've got cows in Wilmington that I am worried on... but it's not gonna scare me from going to see the azalea blooms that will burst forth really fast and make Carolina look really Southern really soon.

Got to love weather...

Besos Bobbi