Thursday, March 22, 2012

Once in a Thousand Years

That's the weather experts' verdict on this amazing spring we're having: a once-in-a-thousand-years event. I told Dean that we're setting records that may never be broken in our lifetime! We'll be able to say, when in some future year people are murmuring appreciatively over a +6 degree day in March, "Ahhhh, but you should have seen the spring of Oh-Twelve! Why, the roses were in bloom by April! And we were eating zucchini in May! There's never been a year like it..."

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wait and see, no leaping to conclusions, benefit of the doubt, yadda yadda yadda

We woke up yesterday morning to the appalling news of a massacre at a Jewish school in France. In true knee-jerk Islamonausea fashion, I snapped out "Muslim!" when they newscaster said that the police were searching for the gunman.

Then the news continued, with reports that this same MO had been used to kill 3 French soldiers in the past week. I still thought the culprit was Muslim, but the PC spin was hard at work to weaken my resolve. The French soldiers were not only Muslims themselves, but black! As the day went on, the reports continued that the police were hunting for (drumroll) a neo-Nazi. It made sense: National Front type, they hate Jews, they hate blacks - why not?

Today the news reports that, what do you know? I was right all along: the shooter, currently holed up in an apartment with a bunch of guns, is named Mohammed Merah, generally described by his neighbors as a quiet man, with a penchant for watching “violent jihadist videos online, including footage of decapitations” at home.

The bad thing about knee-jerk reactions is that they so often turn out to be wrong and lead the one doing the jerking to do things that don't match the reality. When the jerking knee turns out to be right 95% of the time, we really have to come up with some other term for the reaction, one a little more in line with the the statistical likelihood.

UPDATE: "Mohammed Merah, a 23-year-old Frenchman of Algerian descent, ended a night’s silence when police closed in on him. Surveillance cameras show that he left a bathroom holding two firearms and shooting at the police, then jumped out a window while continuing to fire. He was found dead on the sidewalk below. It was not clear whether he was killed by the fall or by bullets."

As Captain Renault would have put it, "We are not sure if he committed suicide or died trying to escape..."

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Havin' a Heat Waaaaaave

Not quite a TROPICAL heat wave - yet - but the weather during this Spring Break is unbelievably warm for March. Since the weekend, more than half the back yard has become clear of snow. Just one week ago, we had about 4" of snow fall; today they're predicting thunderstorms for the evening. And Sunday is supposed to be 20 degrees! This weather would be good one month from now, but in March...! No sign of the rhubarb yet, but I've bet Dean that the first pink shoots will be poking up by the end of the weekend. The ice on the river all went out on Tuesday night. I'm glad I ordered my seed potatoes to come 2 weeks early this year.