Sunday, May 20, 2007

Third Time's The Charm

That is, if you consider rainfall on a weekend charming. Not a lot of rain, about .30 inches so far at our house, but if the weekend has to be cool and cloudy, at least we got some rain out of it.

And we needed some rain. We've had about 10 inches of precip since Jan 1, which is about 4 inches less than normal. Doesn't seem like a huge deficit, but I can't remember the last time I had to start watering the lawn and yard in late April rather than early June. The soil is very dry, as I learned last week when I had to dig a post hole in the lawn (for a clothes line). Bone dry all the way down to 12 inches, which is as far as I got before encountering a rock the size of.... the size of something I didn't want to explore any further.

This is the 3rd weekend in a row where the weather took a downturn while the weekday weather turns great. Next weekend is Memorial Day weekend, and we shall see if the pattern holds.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Weekend Weather Effect Part 2

Although this is only the second weekend in a row with cool, cloudy, windy weather that turns sunny and warm on Monday and Tuesday, this pattern is getting old. Either it changes, or I start taking Mondays and Tuesdays off.

Wind sports on the Columbia River have been great the past week, so that's a plus.

The HR Weather Poll this week asks about the situation in Iraq. Specifically, what should our exit strategy be? I present some choices based on my own perspective; there are certainly other options but I am limited to just a few in a poll.

I, along with many others, thought before the war started that the whole concept of invading Iraq to help "safeguard our nation against terrorism" was a huge strategic error. It ignored the cultural and religious history of the area. Iraq was/is a nation of 3 distinct religious groups that were only held together by the power of a dictator. In the words of General Colin Powell, "if we break it, we own it". At the time, we (along with the world community) had Saddam Hussein completely contained. We had control of his airspace. Many teams of inspectors had determined that he did not have WMDs. Protecting us against terrorism could be done much more effectively through covert intelligence actions, encouraging moderate Islamic positions worldwide, and strengthening the security of our ports, borders, and infrastructure. Not to mention, way less expensively, both in terms of money and loss of human life.

But, since it was clear that this Administration had already decided upon an invasion, evidence was presented that "supported" their position. It's an age-old situation: if the boss is obviously dead set on something, the people that work for him tend to provide him with the information that supports his position. Or. you might possibly lose your job. And the proper heroic fighting words were presented to the public: "You're either with us or against us" "We'll fight the terrorists in Iraq and that will keep them too busy to come over here and fight" "Freedom is on the march" and other such simple feel-good phrases.

And we, as a nation, bought into it. Those of us who didn't were labeled unpatriotic, freedom-haters, and appeasers. I had hoped that our experiences with Vietnam had made us understand that going into preemptive and/or optional wars is not such a great idea. Diplomacy, negotiation, and coercion trump going to war far more often than not (WW1 and 2 being exceptions).

And yes, I do support our troops. Some of the best ways to support them are: 1) don't send them into optional wars, 2) get them out of ill-conceived wars sooner than later, and 3) provide them with all the material, armor, and future support (as veterans) that they need.

Enough of my opinions already. What do you think (other than I should keep my opinions to myself)?

By the way, I planted my cucumber starts too soon, as usual. They have since withered and collapsed, and will have to be replanted next week.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

The Weekend Weather Effect

I've had a 4 day weekend off (Thur-Sun), and the weather has been cool, partly cloudy, and windy. And the forecast for this Monday and Tuesday (the "back to work" days)? 80 degrees, clear, and calm. Doesn't that just figure...

But it's been a great weekend for planting in the vege garden. Tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, corn, and pole beans are now safely tucked away in the soil. At least I hope they're safe. I live in the Hood River city limits, and frosts after May 1 are unusual at this elevation.