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Storm special, surf’s up

Friday, September 14th, 2018

[ by Charles Cameron — Jimmy Buffet, also complexity and ecstasy in words]
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Given the horrific storm now — and with effects lasting a week or so before the worst is really over, depending on where you live — I’d like to introduce the appropriate musical backdrop, Jimmy Buffet‘s Surfing in a Hurricane, and point you to a New Yorker article, a brilliant long read for those hunkered down by the fire with their laptops at the ready..

First, the Buffet:

In passing, let me note the authenticity of the lyric, which no landlocked poet could possibly capture. And yes, Buffet surfed the advance of Florence — Jimmy Buffett Goes Surfing in Hurricane-Fueled Waves: ‘I Ain’t Afraid of Dying’

What a life!

**

Then, William Finnegan, Off Diamond Head.

I’ll just give you a couple of tastes, the whole thing is a marvel of fine writing. The first paragraph I’ve chosen because it culminates in a description of complexity, which the arts reach from a different angle than complexity theory in math, and the second para continues that evocation. Finnegan is describing the area known as Cliffs:

It was an unusually consistent spot, in the sense that there were nearly always waves to ride, even in what I came to understand was the off season for Oahu’s South Shore. The reefs off Diamond Head are at the southern extremity of the island, and thus pick up every scrap of passing swell. But they also catch a lot of wind, including local williwaws off the slopes of the crater, and the wind, along with the vast jigsaw expanse of the reef and the swells arriving from many different points of the compass, combined to produce constantly changing conditions that, in a paradox I didn’t appreciate at the time, amounted to a rowdy, hourly refutation of the notion of consistency. Cliffs possessed a moody complexity beyond anything I had known. [ .. ]

And yet the place had a growling durability that left it ridable even in those battered conditions. Almost no one else surfed it in the early morning, which made it a good time to explore the main takeoff area. I began to learn the tricky, fast, shallow sections, and the soft spots where a quick cutback was needed to keep a ride going. Even on a waist-high, blown-out day, it was possible to milk certain waves for long, improvised, thoroughly satisfying rides. The reef had a thousand quirks, which changed quickly with the tide. And when the inshore channel began to turn a milky turquoise—a color not unlike some of the Hawaiian fantasy waves in the mags—it meant, I came to know, that the sun had risen to the point where I should head in for breakfast.

Ah, and then as the coup de grace, this:

Leslie Wong caught and pulled into the wave of the day, his back slightly arched, his arms relaxed, making the extremely difficult—no, come on, the ecstatic—look easy.

**

Over here in California, our concern this year was flame, not wave. Just how you surf a wildfire escapes me.

Beach umbrellas impaling East Coast women

Monday, July 23rd, 2018

[ by Charles Cameron — the writer is an indoors man, both literally and in GM Hopkins’ metaphorical sense ]
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The first event took place in Seaside Heights, NJ, and the second in Ocean City, MD:

**

One instance, I have always argued, is a poor indicator of anything — but two instances could be early indicators of a trend.

Two beach umbrella impalings in about a week seems less than plausible by coincidence — it looks like there’s a master plan at work, and while the first umbrella pierced an ankle, the second reached the chest. It is time to take notice, and prepare appropriate defenses..

Instance #1:

A pleasant day at the Jersey shore turned into a bloody nightmare for a British sunbather when a gust of wind blew an umbrella straight through her ankle, officials said.

Margaret Reynolds, 67, of London was impaled by one of the tips of the aluminum umbrella, which turned into a projectile about 4:30 p.m. Monday in Seaside Heights, police Detective Steve Korman told The Post.

Instance #2:

OCEAN CITY, Md. — A spokeswoman for a Maryland beach town says a woman has been accidentally impaled in the chest by a beach umbrella.

Ocean City spokeswoman Jessica Waters said it happened Sunday afternoon on the beach. She says the 54-year-old woman was conscious, but that her condition is not known at this time.

A bolt-cutter was used to help withdraw the projectile from the British tourist in Instance #1, whiln a helicopter airlift to a nearby hospital was required in instance #2.

**

Sources:

  • New York Post, Tourist impaled by beach umbrella on Jersey Shore
  • New York Post, Woman impaled in chest by beach umbrella
  • **

    I am happy to re-report of the woman in instance #2, the more grievously attacked of the two:

    She was flown to an area hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

    We wish her a speedy recovery.

    Of the woman in instance #1, I take pleasure in re-noting:

    Reynolds was taken to Jersey Shore University Medical Center for treatment and has been discharged.

    A satisfactory conclusion to a difficult affair.

    **

    The perpetrator in each case would appear to be the wind:

    Instance #1:

    A pleasant day at the Jersey shore turned into a bloody nightmare for a British sunbather when a gust of wind blew an umbrella straight through her ankle, officials said.

    Instance #2:

    Witnesses said one gust lifted the umbrella

    No winds have been apprehended at this time. John 3.8:

    The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth:

    Weather: waterworks, fireworks, & how the mindworks

    Friday, April 13th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — and reality alwys strains towards a metaphor of itself, doesn’t it? ]
    .

    Today’s weather headline:

    This isn’t a metaphor, weather here means weather, even thought you might imagine it’s politics it’s talking about. If it was politics and we were lucky, the header might read:

    Wild storm raging across globe to unleash all modes of extreme weather through the weekend

    **

    Here are some of the details, graphically — very graphically — represented:

    Blizzard conditions and heavy snow

    Extreme fire danger

    Oh, my!

    Tornadoes and severe storms

    Torrents!

    Just suppose this was politics, after all!

    **

    Another headline today:

    That’s almost meteorological, ne?

    Or try this one, a week out, and international in scope:

    I’d be lost without my wifi..

    Whether, weather or not you believe in climate change

    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — in thunder, lightning; in darkness, light; in the eye of the hurricane.. ]
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    Weather or weather:

    **

    Sources:

  • CNBC, Powerful nor’easter ‘bomb cyclone’
  • WaPo, D.C. lawmaker says recent snowfall caused
  • **

    We don’t need the details of the two articles, or of other coverage such as the New Yorker’s Bomb Cyclones, Nor’easters, and the Messy Relationship Between Weather and Climate — the top panel headline deals with the weather-weather, the regular day to day no need to look further weather, but the lower panel headline lets in alternate, nay Biblical, spiritual explanations — and with that freedom I’ll fly to a consideration of atmosphere and atmosphere — the one measured by the barometer, the other an intangible presence in a room —

    For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

    **

    That’s Bibical, too — but it may apply, probably does indeed, to those of other and various flocks.. the joyful givers of any denomination, belief or disbelief.

    YMMV, of course. But read this:

    In his correspondence with Suzuki (the two finally met in New York in 1964), Merton refers to the doctrine of analogy in Aquinas by which it was just as legitimate , in one sense, to say of God that he is non-being as to affirm God is being, since God so transcends being as we know it that any attribution of being as we know it would mislead. Merton was quite taken by the mystical tradition of a kind of un-knowing in our contemplation of God. He said to Suzuki: “I have my own way to walk and for some reason Zen is right in the middle of wherever I go. If I could not breathe Zen, I would probably die of asphyxiation.” He also told Suzuki: “Speaking as a monk and not a writer, I am much happier with ’emptiness’ when I do not have to talk about it.” Merton and Suzuki exchanged manuscripts and books and eventually engaged in a written dialogue which appears in Merton’s posthumously published book, Zen and the Birds of Appetite.

    I cannot believe that between Merton the Trappist monk and Suzuki the man most responsible for introducing zen to the west, the I am was not resonant in the air between them.

    And you know something’s happening, but you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?

    Monday, August 28th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — gulf water temperatures 2° above average fuel winds, flooding in TX ]

    Furthermore,

    **

    These frank admissions that we have gone beyond the known signal a qualitative shift in the situation.

    You don’t know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?

    It’s altogether a hard rain falling..


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