Sunday, September 23, 2012

There was a touchdown in Cleveland, and the Browns game had not even started yet

Picture taken with my iPhone from the top of the east ramp to the upper south concourse at Cleveland Browns Stadium at about 12:30 pm EDT today:

Tornado (waterspout) on Lake Erie about a mile east of Cleveland Browns Stadium. In the foreground is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and a windmill. Just behind them is Burke Lakefront Airport. Taken from the top of the east ramp to the upper south concourse of Cleveland Browns Stadium.
Lemme tell you, if you have ever been curious like me and actually wanted to see a tornado, but without the massive death, destruction and terror that often accompany one, this is the way to do it. Tornadoes over large bodies of water -- waterspouts -- are generally not nearly as dangerous as their land-lubbing brethren.

I had seen a tornado only once before -- a rather disorganized job glimpsed for only a second or so between the trees as it went down a road about a half mile from my house. I was at work when a decade ago, almost to the day, one went tearing through my subdivision, leaving my house -- fortunately made of brick -- with very, very minor roof damage. I saw this one from the beginning, walking up the ramp to our seats at Cleveland Browns Stadium on a weird weather day in Cleveland -- windy, dark clouds but also, as you can tell from the picture, sun. Saw a weird tongue of cloud of a type I had never seen before, looked sort of like a spinning straw, much straighter and sharper than I've ever seen from a cloud. Saw it keep extending and thinning up. Thought it had dissipated and I turned around to leave, but I turned around again and it had touched down. The result was this.

I gotta tell you: it's pretty cool. At least when you can watch one like this, where there is little if any danger to anyone.

No reports of any damage or injuries that I am aware of and it dissipated after a few minutes. A big crowd of us had gathered at the top of the ramp to watch and photograph it. An example of the awesome power of nature, all too common in its most destructive and deadly form, but here in a harmless form few of us are lucky enough to witness.

Just absolutely fascinating. That my Browns got outcoached and outplayed -- again -- could not compare to this.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Israel bombing Iran may be our only hope

I have never understood all the angst in the political and foreign policy world's about the possibility of Israel bombing Iran to keep the mullahs from getting their hands on nukes. While not the ideal solution, it would not be nearly the catastrophe it is being made out to be, not compared to the alternative of letting the Iranian mullahs get nukes, in any case. Now, Spengler seems to agree with me. The attack may indeed be the catalyst for all-out war in the Middle East, but that is actually the best-case scenario for resolution of the current conflicts across the region:

[C]onsider the possibility that all-out regional war is the optimal outcome for American interests. An Israeli strike on Iran that achieved even limited success - a two-year delay in Iran's nuclear weapons development - would arrest America's precipitous decline as a superpower.

Absent an Israeli strike, America faces:
  • A nuclear-armed Iran;
  • Iraq's continued drift towards alliance with Iran;
  • An overtly hostile regime in Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood government will lean on jihadist elements to divert attention from the country's economic collapse;
  • An Egyptian war with Libya for oil and with Sudan for water;
  • A radical Sunni regime controlling most of Syria, facing off an Iran-allied Alawistan ensconced in the coastal mountains;
  • A de facto or de jure Muslim Brotherhood takeover of the Kingdom of Jordan;
  • A campaign of subversion against the Saudi monarchy by Iran through Shi'ites in Eastern Province and by the Muslim Brotherhood internally;
  • A weakened and perhaps imploding Turkey struggling with its Kurdish population and the emergence of Syrian Kurds as a wild card;
  • A Taliban-dominated Afghanistan; and
  • Radicalized Islamic regimes in Libya and Tunisia.
  • Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day!

    I hope everyone remembered this was Talk Like A Pirate Day. I, for one, can never forget the words of Captain Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush):

    I'm curious. After killin' me, what is it yer plannin' on doin' next?

    But as much as I like Barbossa and admire the splendid performance by Geoffrey Rush in portraying him, Barbossa, obviously, cannot be my favorite pirate of all time, for that position is already taken:

    Wednesday, September 12, 2012

    A foreign policy of apology

    After yesterday's events - the attacks on our embassy in Cairo and our consulate in Benghazi, which were apparently intended to distract from the main target, US Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, who was murdered in a well-planned and -executed attack - it seems that Obama's State Department has actually found a foreign policy worse than appeasement: a foreign policy of apology. As if the attacks were our fault.

    So, do you think if Obama had been POTUS on December 7, 1941, he would have apologized to the Japanese?

    Thursday, September 6, 2012

    Wednesday, September 5, 2012

    Is it just me?

    Or have the conventions of both the Republicans and the Democrats been virtually unwatchable?