11 February 2010

Snow is Very in Right Now

As the East Coast becomes the new Siberia, and Vancouver the new Atacama, I've seen and heard a number of people throwing snowballs (so to speak) in the faces of environmentalists, touting the recent precipitation as a sure sign that global warming is not only non-existent, but patently absurd.

Now before I go any further, let me set a few simple premises to guide us through this entry: 1) the Earth's climate is changing, it's been measured, denying it is patently absurd. 2) Whether it's caused by man, a natural Earth cycle, or otherwise, is irrelevant to this post. 3) I'm not a liberal, tree-hugging hippie.

For a very long time I was one of the smug. I sat by and watched the blizzards and heavy winter weather and amused myself thinking of how each extra flake of snow was like another little needle, piercing their "scientific" bubble. I was pleased to see their environmental igloo melting away at its foundations and was certain global warming would go by the wayside like health care reform or Sarah Palin's bid to run the world (oh wait). When "they" changed global warming to global climate change, I declared victory in Iraq--er--the environment, and prepared for their widened approach to fail as only a second-string strategy could. This is no longer my opinion, and I'd like to briefly explain why, for the information of anyone who may be interested.

The Earth is heating up and it is changing some of the make up of our weather systems. Lest you think my move to Oregon has negatively affected my judgement on the matter, let me dispel your fears with on simple phrase: I hate the green movement. While all the many facets of climate change are more in-depth than I wish to address here, suffice to say that as the earth becomes warmer, more water is evaporated into the warm air. When it comes to winter, while the air is hardly warm, it is still warmer than it used to be. This leads to increased precipitation in certain areas. The change in temperature, which equates to more ice melting and therefore, changing temperatures and flows of oceans also disrupts current weather patterns. Areas that once got a lot of precipitation, instead have their water evaporated which then travels elsewhere. Locations with little ability to withstand heavy precipitation are faced with it, causing increased erosion and desertification. When our atmosphere is concerned, to simply say "things are heating up," is insufficient to understand the intricacies of the issue. While I may have gloated when global warming became global climate change, it was in fact the correct adjustment made by more years of research and understanding about our evolving systems.

Whether or not you believe humans have created global warming, climate change is a reality, and it's far more complex than our limited liberal or conservative opinions and agendas can take us. Single (or even coupled) weather events cannot prove a point. Snow in DC or no snow in Vancouver is only one small piece of the puzzle. For what it's worth, I propose we all learn a little more about the Earth, before making its natural, all be them, reactionary, processes the poster children for our political stances.



05 February 2010

The Beautiful Commonwealth

Now, a week after Caressa Cameron, a native of Fredericksburg, Virginia, was crowned Miss. America 2010, I believe it's very timely to point out that Virginia is a very good looking state. Being that I was raised there, I understand if you feel as though I might be a little biased, but I believe you will come to my side--the Old Dominion side.

Let's be clear before we go any further, I'm not talking in the slightest about the people (although, yes, the denizens are, on a case-to-case basis, quite attractive). And I'm not talking about the landscape (although, again, with mountains, rolling hills, lush forests and shoreline, we've got a pretty beautiful place [which sounds redundant, but isn't]). I'm not even talking about the wide array flora and fauna (okay, I just wanted to use that expression, because it makes me feel very David Attenborough).

I'm talking about borders. Yes, borders. Virginia is a very well-shaped state. When looked upon with any map that outlines man-made state lines, Virginia is, geographically, very good looking. It's got peaks, dips, straight lines, jagged lines. It's really got a little of everything.

Come on a features tour with me, won't you (Please see image below to reinforce the tour)? At first glance, the Commonwealth looks a bit like a scalene triangle. Beginning at the southern side, Virginia has a rather a planed southern border. The straight x-axis tilts slightly, causing the state to look ready and poised for movement. Coming up the western side, the tip juts up, like a shark's fin, before plunging down and then back up in a steep, sail-like rise. Another jut before the descending lines of the northern tip make way for the drop, slide and finger-like peninsulas of the inner Chesapeake shoreline. The Eastern Shore peninsula, while perhaps awkward in its separation from the rest of the state (see Michigan, which would be a very good looking state, were it not for that silly western monstrosity), provides a nice weight to balance the expansive western span. All together, Virginia looks not unlike a sleek, maritime vessel sailing triumphantly from battle (although admittedly, it also looks a bit like a duck that's fallen flat on its face).

The borders weren't always this (I dare say) sexy. Virginia has a long history of shifting its lines. In the early colonial periods, the name "Virginia" applies to basically he entire East Coast down to South Carolina and north and west up into inland Canada. From their, the state was sculpted down to its current trim and tone self through agreements, treaties and general demands from what would turn out to be less good looking states and provinces (let's be honest, aside from Quebec, Canada doesn't have a lot going for it in terms of good looking dividing lines).

Lest you call me a xenophobe, there are a number of states I find attractive (and a number I find unattractive).

Top attractive state lines:
  1. Virginia (of course)
  2. Texas
  3. Illinois
  4. Michigan (minus the western monstrosity)
  5. Hawaii
  6. Florida
  7. New Jersey
  8. Montana (business in front, party in back)
  9. Louisiana (like a foot with algae growing off it)
  10. Idaho

Least attractive state lines:
  1. Wyoming & Colorado (tie for fugliness)
  2. All the other square-like ones
  3. Minnesota (it's like a strange, lanky, tall person)
  4. Oklahoma (what is that sticky-outty thing?)
  5. Maryland (it's so close to being attractive, but instead looks like it's had bites taken out from surrounding states)

03 February 2010

Yes, I'm Back, But I Might Be Going Out Again

Dear Blog,

I want you to know that even though I haven't written on you, visited you, or SEO optimized you in the past 90 days, two hours and 25 minutes (but who's counting?), that I still loved you during all of that time. I thought about you often, but just didn't make the time for you. It pained me... more than you will know.

I've been collecting stories to write on you about.

I've got 10 a the moment, and they're rearing to go.

[Long pause]

I've been thinking about doing another blog.

[Deep breath]

Okay, there, I finally said it. It would be a totally different genre. Nothing would compete with you directly. I even have a pseudonym to publish it under. It's just that I think I have a fun idea, and it would be a good additional release (I know, I don't even use this release, why do I need another?).

It's a blog about cooking. I know what you're thinking. "Cooking? Really?" But it's not like that, blog. I want to do a blog from the vantage point of a single guy cooking. None of the frilly stuff (What is blanching anyway?) No wasted time with foofy crap. Raw. You know?

The other day (like four months ago), I created a stage name for myself. It came from a meeting (which was going on way too long) in which I needed to entertain myself and the person sitting next to me. We thought up names we could take on for an alter-famous-ego. My name is Max Stone (awesome, huh blog?).

But look, I'm still me. This is still The Chris Show. The other blog will be Max's show. It's a clear, psychological divide. Two people, one body. Easy.

I think I'm going to call the blog Cock of the Wok. It seemed kinda cheeky (But then again, I don't even own a Wok, and don't really want to do Asian food only). It should be cool. So blog, I hope you'll forgive me for having ignored you for a bit. I'm back, and even if I do have another blog getting ready to launch, I won't ever forget you. You were my first blog.

What do you think blog?

Yours,
Chris (AKA Max Stone)

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