When it comes to severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, this past spring has been nothing short of unbelievable.
Parts of the nation not only experienced tornado outbreaks, but this time some of the strongest of storms struck populated areas from Tuscaloosa, Alabama to Joplin, Missouri. And sadly, this has included significant loss of life and complete destruction of an untold number of homes, schools and businesses.
- April of 2011 set a new record of 875 confirmed tornadoes, smashing the previous record of 267 back in April of 1974.
- 2011 has been the seventh deadliest year on record with a total number of 508 tornado-related fatalities.
- The EF-5 tornado that struck Joplin, MO is the eighth deadliest tornado on record with 135 (updated – June 1, 2011) confirmed fatalities.
- The National Weather Service has estimated that the U.S. has experienced 1,228 tornadoes so far this year. The yearly average number of tornadoes within the past decade is 1,274.
So what does this mean? Read more…
Recently I finished reading the third installment in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
This latest adventure begins with Harry on his summer break (a.k.a holiday) and suffering from the usual torment from the Dursleys. When Uncle Vernon’s sister, Marge, comes to visit, her nasty attitude towards Harry’s murdered parents pushes Harry past the breaking point, causing him to cast a charm and make her swell to an incredible size, making her float away into the night sky. Not wanting anything else to do with the Dursleys, Harry grabs his suitcase and leaves their residence.
A Knight Bus soon arrives and gives Harry a lift to the Leaky Cauldron, a pub and inn for witches and wizards, in London. There, Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic, cuts Harry some slack for using magic outside of Hogwarts and also warns him about Sirius Black, a convicted murderer, escaping from the legendary Azkaban Prison. While staying at the Leaky Cauldron, Harry meets up with Hermione, Ron, and the rest of the Weasleys. Read more…
Today, Wednesday, May 25, 2011, is the last day of school for students in Cobb County and other areas throughout metro Atlanta, GA.
As I write, the elementary and middle school students are already coming home from the school bus stop well ahead of normal. Even after missing over a week of classes from the snow and ice this winter and not making up a single lost day, apparently it’s okay for the last day of school to be an early release day. We all know that they weren’t going to accomplish anything in the classroom anyway.
Most of the school systems around here aim for the bare minimum, and looking around at many of the students and their parents, that’s exactly what they’ve been producing. Great. But it’s the last day of school for the year, so the students can go have fun outside (or inside playing video games) and forget about homework and assignments until classes resume again in August.
Yes, when I was that age, summer break was always a lot of fun.
Well, at first it was fun. After the mid-point it was a battle against boredom and then counting down the last few days of freedom before classes resumed. But it was still something that nearly all of us looked forward to experiencing each June. Yes, June. Not May. Back in the 1990s and beyond it was common for classes to end nearly two weeks into June and NOT before Memorial Day. Read more…
It’s easily argued that the events that took place in August of 1914 set in motion the next thirty years of warfare, literally changing the heart of Europe and many nations around the world.
The political assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria by Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb assassin, ignited a powder keg of tension and alliances that ultimately brought the European nations to war.
The Guns of August is an incredibly well-researched book that brings August of 1914 into new light, which I’m sure most of us have never really understood. My own knowledge of World War 1 has substantially grown from this book alone, and this is just the first month of a war that lasted over four years and left more than 10 million soldiers dead.
This history novel takes you from the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand to the mobilization of Austria-Hungary and invasion of Serbia, to Germany’s Schlieffen Plan and the Rape of Belgium and invasion of northern France, to the Russian attack on eastern Prussia. The book ends with the First Battle of the Marne, letting the reader know that the Germans could be stopped but a Herculean effort and new tactics were going to be needed for either side to ultimately win the war — something that wouldn’t happen after another four years of bloody combat. Read more…
For those of you unaware, Atlanta, Georgia is notorious for its traffic problems.
The city has some of the longest commute times in the country. Here, rush hour commonly lasts from 5:30-9:30 am in the mornings and usually from 3:30-7:30 pm in the evenings. Throw in a wreck on one of the major roads and you’ll be lucky to arrive at home before bedtime.
Yes, our roads were not designed to handle this much traffic.
Yes, our poorly trained drivers know almost nothing about smooth traffic flow and how not to drive like a complete retard.
And sadly, yes, our traffic “engineers” commonly look the wrong way for traffic solutions.
A major project being discussed in the AJC talks about how the proposed toll lane project along I-75 and I-575 in Cobb and Cherokee County will be up soon for bidding. The plan proposes building reversible toll lanes in the middle of the interstates and basically charging drivers a flexible rate to use the toll lane with the cost depending on the severity of the traffic.
NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!
That’s NOT how you improve the traffic flow, morons! Read more…
Last week I finished reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the second book in the Harry Potter series.
Year two begins with Harry still at home during summer break and more miserable than ever with his cousin, aunt and uncle, the Dursleys. Despite them being terrified by Harry’s magic abilities, they keep him on a short leash and have him busy with housework the moment he steps out of line.
Harry’s magical adventure begins before leaving for Diagon Alley for school supplies or Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. On the day of Uncle Vernon’s big meeting with business clients, Dobby the house elf and servant to a magical family, warns Harry not to return to Hogwarts for terrible things may happen to him. While trying to get more information out of him, Dobby causes chaos during the Dursleys’ dinner party and Harry takes the blame. Uncle Vernon’s punishment for Harry is locking him in his bedroom (complete with barring the windows), forbidding him from attending school at Hogwarts.
Fortunately for Harry, Ron Weasley and his older brothers, Fred and George, appear one night in Mr. Weasley’s magically enchanted flying car, and Harry is rescued from his bedroom prison. They all fly away to the Weasley’s magical home and Harry spends the last few weeks of summer break living with them.
When the Weasleys leave for Diagon Alley, Harry learns about traveling via Floo powder. His trip doesn’t go as expected and Harry finds himself on the wrong side of town. Luckily, Hagrid appears and leads Harry to the more familiar part of Diagon Alley, meeting up with the Weasleys and Hermione Granger. In the book store is where the Gryffindor group meets Gilderoy Lockhart, a proud teller of personal tales, fan of Harry Potter, and the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts. Read more…
FREE CELL PHONES!
STEP RIGHT UP AND GET YOUR FREE CELL PHONES AND FREE MONTHLY MINUTES!
COME AND GET IT!
That’s pretty much the message sent to us through those SafeLink Wireless and Assurance Wireless TV commercials. If you’re in the poor house because of one reason or another, or have a job but still fall below that magical poverty line (however much that is these days), the federal government will step up and make sure that you can have a FREE cell phone and FREE monthly minutes.
The programs vary slightly between the states and aren’t available everywhere just yet, but here in the great state of Georgia, if you qualify for the programs you’ll receive a FREE cell phone and 250 FREE monthly minutes.
Wow! Is that amazing or what?
Remember that we’re not talking about private companies stepping up and doing charity work. Both are being funded by U.S. taxpayers through the federal government. Read more…
Last week I finished reading Vince Flynn’s novel, Protect and Defend.
Protect and Defend is a modern day story taking place mainly in Iran and Iraq. The story starts with a daring Israeli covert ops mission that levels a secret Iranian nuclear reactor. The attack is from within the building and basically collapses the structure on top of itself, completely destroying the secret nuclear reactor program.
As expected, the Iranian government comes out blaming the U.S. government for destroying the structure, and threatens the United States in its usual manner. Sensing potential terrorist strikes in the U.S., the United States president enlists Mitch Rapp to essentially go overseas and target the terrorists, bringing the fight to them and eliminating the bad guys before they could strike Western targets.
Rapp ultimately heads to Mosul, Iraq to meet with a contact, while Azad Ashani, the head of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security, is also en-route to Mosul to meet with CIA Director Irene Kennedy. The plan for Ashani and Kennedy is to meet and hopefully diffuse the escalating tensions between Iran and the United States before open war is declared. Read more…