Tomato varieties clockwise from top-left: Pruden's Purple, Ultimate Opener, Stupice, Sungold, and Sweet Million
My dog and I awoke this morning to find the backyard covered with water, the result of the first measurable rainfall in 49 days. In case you're wondering, that's just shy of Seattle's record 51 day drought set back in 1951.
Ah well, this extended summer was nice while it lasted, particularly in the garden where this year's sloooow tomato crop took advantage of the past couple weeks of unseasonably warm and sunny weather to finally start ripening in quantity. We are now enjoying a steady supply of ripe tomatoes from all five varieties we planted: Pruden's Purple, Ultimate Opener, Stupice, Sungold, and Sweet Million.
While we only got a touch of rain—not enough lessen the need to water—the mornings have begun to get rather dewy, so I remain on the watch for the usual late season tomato troubles. Rain or dew can crack the skin of ripe tomatoes, and that means use 'em or lose 'em. And once the season turns wet, late blight is always a possibility.
I guess any tomato season in which I get a few beefsteaks can be considered a success, but I'll wait a few weeks to pass judgement on the 2012 crop.
And while esteemed experts say that the current TOTALLY ALARMING weather anomalies are not due to climate change and that they wish media types would stop YELLING ABOUT IT—while noting that "human-induced global warming is both observed, real, and a serious problem for mankind"—I CAN'T HELP IT, I AM FREAKED OUT.
*Again, we use weather.com because its suns are so nice and yellow. If you'd like to be yelled at about the weather by the National Weather Service (and who wouldn't? The National Weather Service rules), here you go.
We are only 7 days away from breaking the known record, 51 rainless days. (That miracle happened in 1951.) And the air has been clear and cool. Breezes, which have replaced rain, animate the light-hungry leaves that shade our streets.
One of the pleasures of summertime in a city like Seattle, where many apartment-dwellers spend an entire season with their windows wide open, is walking down the sidewalk and occasionally hearing someone having a loud orgasm. (The orgasms I hear always seem to come from women. Maybe men have quieter orgasms. Or maybe, as a heterosexual dude, my ears are more pricked—so to speak—for the lady-orgasms than the man-orgasms.)
That sounds a little pervy and prurient on its surface, but the pleasure is more like watching a person get a present and seeing in their eyes that they really, truly appreciate it. It's just nice to be reminded that someone nearby is, if only for a moment, genuinely happy with life.
Just as my plane was beginning its descent into Tampa, the sky turned a dire black. The gentle blanket of clouds that I'd heard were over the city all day was fleeing northward and some fast, evil-looking beasts were moving in, buffeting my plane and swirling the hot, humid air around in gelatinous chunks. An angry, red sun set in the west, straight down the fault line created in the sky by hurricane. It looks like Isaac is giving Tampa a wide berth, instead aiming itself directly at New Orleans. (It could land there on Wednesday, on the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. That sound you hear is hundreds of political writers around the country licking their chops at the same time over the prospect of calling back to one of George W. Bush's greatest failures in the middle of the Republican National Convention.) It seems my fears of being stuck in some sort of Terminal-like nightmare at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport were unfounded. I arrived right on time. I almost wrote that I arrived "safe and sound," but even with Isaac shooting far to the west, Tampa is preparing for damage. The winds are ramping up, rain is going to pummel the city for the next 36 hours, and there could be tornadoes. People are storming the grocery stores for bottled water, officials are reminding people that the situation is serious, and President Obama reportedly received a briefing from FEMA today about the safety of convention attendees.
This preparation for Isaac adds another layer to the elaborate preparation that the city has undergone for the Republican National Convention. Billboards along the highway trumpet the national debt in such a gaudy, bright advertising language that it's hard to tell whether they're for or against debt. An ad for something—I think a radio station—proclaims in loud letters, "DON'T BELIEVE THE LIBERAL MEDIA." The airport is all done up in GOP elephants and bunting; an alien might assume that Tampanians are preparing a sacrifice for an elephant god. A local informed me that the downtown area is being "guarded" by soldiers and Hummers. There's a weird mixture of sluggishness and excitement in the air tonight; it's impossible to separate the civic excitement for the convention with the civic dread of Isaac.
Even though the convention's Monday programming has been cancelled, I'm going to go downtown and see what's going on; it seems as though people are still arriving on schedule, and they now have an unexpected free day wedged into their itinerary. But because of the torrential rains, I'm going to leave my computer at the room I'm renting; I don't trust my supposedly waterproof bags and cases to protect my computer from a tropical storm. This means I probably won't have any updates on Slog until tomorrow night, after I come in from the rain. I will probably be updating my Twitter feed if I find anything interesting between now and then. For now, I'm just going to lie in bed and listen to the weather.
TAMPA, Fla. — Republicans on Saturday canceled the opening day of their national convention, saying their first concern was for the safety of delegates and guests in the face of Tropical Storm Isaac, which is strengthening and is headed toward Florida’s West Coast...The opening day was to have been called “We Can Do Better,” featuring speakers who would address what they considered to be the failures of Mr. Obama’s administration. Planners had said “real people who have been affected by the Obama economy” were scheduled to speak.
I'm supposed to arrive in Tampa tomorrow night, but based on the most recent reports, I'm thinking I might be stuck in layover purgatory for at least a day or so. Does anybody need anything from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport? I'm about to get to know it pretty well.
If everything goes well with my flights, I'll be arriving in Tampa on Sunday night to pick up my press credentials for the Republican National Convention on Monday morning. Tropical Storm Isaac is set to arrive in Florida on Monday.
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn downplayed the threat Wednesday morning, saying that there’s plenty of time to prepare for the possibility of Isaac.
“I’m not really worried about this one yet,” Buckhorn said on CNN’s “Starting Point.” “The good thing about living in Florida is, we’re accustomed to this. This is our reality every storm season. So we’ve trained for this … but, you know, we’re monitoring it, we’re watching it, we’re tracking it. I think we’re going to be okay, but we’ll be prepared in the event that it heads this way.”
Buckhorn said that safety will come first — going so far as to say that he would cancel or reschedule the convention, if necessary — but he said the experienced staffers working on convention logistics won’t be fazed by weather.
I'm not worried. After all, Republicans have a great track record with managing hurricanes, and with all those evangelical Christians in one city, praying the storm away, Tampa is sure to be the safest place in the United States.
"The next three days are going to be very dangerous in terms of the potential for wildfire," Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark said in a press release. "That is true in Western Washington as well as Eastern Washington. It is everyone’s responsibility to be safe and not take any risks."
In other words, you know, don't start a fire.
Also, it's useful to keep in mind during the dry season that while only you can prevent forest fires, only the government is adequately equipped to fight them. You might want to remember that in November when you're asked to vote on Tim Eyman's latest initiative to make it impossible for the state to raise the taxes necessary to pay for things like putting out fires.
by Josh Bis
on Tue, Aug 14, 2012 at 11:15 AM
I hope it doesn't sound too cliche or dismissive to say that Doe Bay Fest isn't really about the music, but I submit as evidence that the festival's headliner was swapped out at the last minute and barely anyone thought to notice it or care. Surely part of this acceptance was that by the simple nature of their respective genres neo-soul pinch-hitters Pickwick almost certainly provided a much more upbeat and danceable mainstage finale than the previously scheduled Cave Singers. Another part seemed to be that while most everyone appeared to enjoy the string of solid, mostly thematically similar performances, the general mood felt like one of being pleased at being there: at the resort, on this particular weekend, with a thousand similarly-inclined relentlessly polite fans, for an event that very rapidly built its own mythology, in part to to its near-unattainability. And really, you'd have to be some sort of monster not to delight in a weekend on Orcas Island, let alone in near-perfect temperate summer weather on a gorgeous wooded coastal property with its own locally-sourced gourmet restaurant under clear skies in the middle of a meteor shower.
Just filled out my ballot today, but had a little trouble sealing it in the security and outer envelopes. Turns out my ballot was delivered during a thunderstorm, and got a little soggy. Both of the two envelopes were sealed shut. I sliced them open as cleanly as I could, and glue-sticked them back closed. But they clearly look like they've been opened before, so I hope that doesn't spook anybody at the elections office.
Not a tragedy, but you know, it does rain out here, and mail does get wet. So maybe those self-adhesive envelopes would be a better idea?
Yesterday—only the first day of the month—was brutal enough to shatter 27 records and tie 24 records for the highest ever July temperatures...More amazingly, the first day of the month also broke 6 and tied 11 records for the highest ever recorded temperatures on any date at sites in Georgia (Rome: 108°F), Kentucky (Barren River Lake: 108°F), North Carolina (Tapoco: 106°F), and South Carolina (Grnvl Spart Intl Ap: 107°F).
Of course, the Midwest and Washington DC both suffered epic thunderstorms over the weekend, leaving many without power for days. (And Instagram was down. Dear God, Instagram was down!!) While the high-pressure front that inspired most of this bad weather is moving on, it looks like it could be a long, hot summer. But is it...the end of the world?
The first named storm of 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, Tropical Storm Alberto is not expected to make landfall, having turned eastward off the coast of Florida. The hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to November 30; Alberto is the earliest tropical storm to form since 2003.
Nothing else to say; just looking for an excuse to post the pretty satellite image.