The Curmudgeon is back with a series of random thoughts and observations.
We were in Williamsburg, Virginia this weekend, but we didn't spend any time at the Big Three of history there (Jamestown, Yorktown and Colonial Williamsburg). Instead, we were at the Big Two of kid fun: Busch Gardens and Water Country USA.
It's best to go to Water Country in a bathing suit, T-shirt and flip-flops, taking a credit card and just enough money to feed the kids and buy them the stuff they want (i.e., a lot of money). Of course, you'll need your car keys as well. Put 'em all in a plastic baggie and you're all set.
Or so I thought. While on one of the many water slides I lost the baggie with the aforesaid items. It wouldn't be a big deal but for the car key--kinda need that to leave the park.
Well, we were in panic mode, to be sure. Weren't sure whether it came out at Wild Thang, Atomic Breakers, Rampage or the Hubba Hubba Highway. Ran around the park checking with the lifeguards at each one, with no luck. And let's face it, we weren't optimistic!
Well, lo and behold if we didn't hear the Curmudgeon's name shouted out over the loudspeaker to report to Guest Services. Sure enough, the offending baggie had been found!! Thank goodness--vacation saved. For now on, the car keys go in a locker. (Hmm, just like Mrs. Curmudgeon had suggested . . .)
Why Do People Drive Through Flooded Roadways?
You've all heard it before: don't drive through standing water on a flooded roadway. We all know it's the leading cause of death in flash floods. Every year, especially in summer, we see a report of someone who ignored the warning and had to be rescued. Tsk, tsk we say.
Certainly, the Curmudgeon is a smart guy and is well aware of the risks.
Yet, there we were last night, driving through a torrential downpour that brought Washington to a standstill, trying to get home from Williamsburg (having gotten that darn key back). Sure enough, just two miles from home, we ran into a flooded stretch of I-395. We were in the express lane and essentially trapped between the barriers as muddy water surged over the roadway.
Some cars in front of us were backing up, away from the rising water, while traffic behind piled up. There was no way out. So we followed an SUV into the murky water, at least 3 feet deep, probably a bit more. Halfway through, we could see quite a few cars that hadn't made it--one lady was climbing out the window of her Ford.
What could we do? We plowed on. The Curmudgeon's heart was pounding. His brain was saying, "dude, haven't you seen those videos on the The Weather Channel--you're not supposed to do this." Fortunately, the kids were asleep in the back seat.
Somehow, we made it through. Someone was definitely looking out for us this weekend!
I hope that those of you in the rest of the country don't have to put up with the ads we get here in Washington on the legislative debate over "net neutrality." They gunk up the news and they're awful. (And we get to suffer through George Allen's feel-good campaign ads as well--talk about a guy who's worried about the November election!)
The big telco's sponsor one bunch of ads, under the phony banner "Hands Off The Internet," without disclosing the real source of their funding. My favorite: an ad that "congratulates" the House of Representatives for passing a bill that supposedly protects consumers' interests.
Hey, all the Curmudgeon needs to know is that the House passed a bill to know that it sucks. With this House, anything that gets through is bound to have been bought and paid for by a bevy of lobbyists in the pockets of big business.
Then there's the opposite side, sailing behind the "It's Our Net" smokescreen--these are the big internet online firms, such as Google, Amazon, etc. They favor "net neutrality," i.e., they believe that big internet users should pay the same as little internet users.
ALL the ads are misleading--hey, what'd you expect--they're made by the same people who make negative campaign ads.
Here's how the long range forecasts held up over the weekend:
Friday, June 23:
10-day forecast: hi 88, scattered T-storms, 60% rain. Rating: Y
5-day forecast: hi 90, isolated T-storms, 30% rain. Rating: N
Actual: hi 86, rainy.
Comment: The longer range forecast was pretty accurate. The shorter range wasn't very useful.
Saturday, June 24:
10-day forecast: hi 84, am clouds/pm sun, 10% rain. Rating: N
5-day forecast: hi 81, scattered T-storms, 30% rain. Rating: Y
Actual: hi 85, tad of rain, but mostly a decent day.
Comment: The five day forecast was pretty realistic.--a little rain, but mostly a good day; the 10-day forecast was too rosy.
Sunday, June 25:
10-day forecast: hi 84, scattered T-storms, 60% rain. Rating: Y
5-day forecast: hi 81, scattered T-storms, 30% rain. Rating: N
Actual: hi 80, torrential downpours.
Comment: The longer range forecast put us on notice--tough day to plan outdoor activities. The five day forecast was not useful.
10-day forecast: hi 84, scattered T-storms, 30% rain. Rating: N
5-day forecast: hi 81, scattered T-storms, 40% rain. Rating: N
Actual: hi 78, mostly rainy.
Comment: Granted, the 5-day forecast was close, with a 40% chance of rain, but compare that to the forecast last night, which was for 80-100% chance of rain today.
In the end, there was nothing in any of the long-range forecasts to predict record rainfall over the past two days (yesterday set the all-time record for single day precipitation at National Airport, where records date back to the 1880's).
Tomorrow (we hope): an analysis of our little experiment.