Monday, October 26, 2015

Random thoughts

Thanks to being relatively isolated from news media here at Montauk, about all we know about the latest round of Benghazi hearings comes from a few comments on the local NPR station and some clips on the Internet. We did not go looking for more -- the Republicans have been obsessing about Benghazi for several years now, and, like most people, we're thoroughly sick of hearing about it. At this point, the only question I have is why the idiots in Congress who keep wasting time with these hearings can't seem to figure out what everyone else already has: it doesn't matter what any of the witnesses say, no one is going to change their minds.

There is a sizable percentage of the American populace that is convinced that Hillary Clinton is evil incarnate, an incorrigible liar and opportunist who doesn't give a rat's patoot about anything other than her own political career. There is an equally sizable percentage of Americans who view her as the best qualified person to be the next President of the United States. Neither group is ever going to change its collective mind. As for those of us who fall somewhere in between those camps, we're so sick of hearing about Benghazi we're tuning out the whole thing. So what's the point? If anything, each round of hearings makes it more and more obvious that it's all political theater, and rather ineptly done political theater at that. At this point, the only people who are paying any attention are the ones who get paid to or are ideologically committed to one of the two camps mentioned above.

Meanwhile, out here in the real world, people seem to be paying a lot of attention to the weather. It's sounding like the folks down in Texas need to invest in arks. A friend who lives near Waco said they got 12 inches of rain down there a day or two ago. That is a lot of rain in a very short period of time. The upper Midwest is being told (depending on which source to believe) to brace for a lot more snow or a lot less. Given that the county is no longer plowing our driveway, I'm voting for the "lot less," but I'm probably going to be disappointed. I'll just have to hope that our POS Dodge plow truck functions through another winter -- and if it doesn't, there's always the Guppy and the highway south.

More and more people do seem to be willing to concede that climate change is real, we can no longer count on much of anything being the same from year to year. Not that we ever really could, but guesstimates of last Spring frost and first Fall frost used to be reasonably accurate. Not anymore. I saw a headline recently that said the sea level rise is going to make it inevitable that both Miami and New Orleans end up underwater. For that matter, most of the state of Florida could vanish in a few decades -- there's quite a bit of it that's only a few feet above current sea level. We have a friend who owns some property in Florida that he inherited from his parents. He's been trying to figure out what to do with it. My suggestion? Sell it now before it reverts back to swampland or worse.

Here in southeast Missouri it's definitely fall. The leaf colors seem to be at peak, or close to it. The rainbow tree (sweet gum) I see out the Guppy's windows is still about half green, but those green leaves are mixed with red and yellow. In some ways the fall colors in Missouri are less spectacular than those of the upper Midwest. Oak tends to be the dominant species in much of the forest, and oaks turn a russet color so don't have quite the drama of the brilliant red of hard maples. On the other hand, there are those rainbow trees. . .

The weather this month has been, I think, slightly warmer than it was when we were here a year ago. We haven't had to run the furnace much, although I did turn it on this morning (it was 40 outside and 50 here in the Guppy when I got up). There also hasn't been as much rain, which means fewer problems with condensation and dampness. I think the S.O. is a little disappointed. He invested a fair number of hours in sealing the front window by the bunk over the cab but we haven't really had enough rain for him to be sure his repairs worked. It would be good if it did rain -- things are tinder dry in the woods; it wouldn't take much when the ground is covered with leaves for some spectacular wildfires to get going. Given that people in Missouri are every bit as inclined to burn trash in the ditches as the folks in Texas, I'm a little surprised we haven't been hearing wildfire warnings on the radio. Of course, we listen to KMST, a public radio station "broadcasting from the campus of the Missouri College of Science and Technology in Rolla," and this is fund-raising time. Lately we're a lot more likely to hear about your chance to win an I-phone if you donate than about anything else.  

In any case, our month here at Montauk is now winding down. The campground (at least our loop) is a little fuller than one would expect for the last week in October -- lots of people staying through the end of the month instead of just coming for this weekend -- but promises to be relatively quiet. This is the time of year when the park gets a fair number of snowbirds from the St. Louis area who stop here for a week or two to make sure their equipment is working right and they didn't forget to pack whatever they need before they head farther south for the winter. We talked with one fellow last fall who gave us a pep talk about the Del Rio, Texas, area. I'm not sure we're interested in that particular part of the state, but you never know. He made it sound pretty nice so we researched it -- the fees at most of the RV parks around there are remarkably low.

We have had slightly more excitement this month than on previous stays here. More weirdness, more knocks on the door late in the evening. Had two strange ones yesterday. First, late in the afternoon a close to hysterical camper came to tell us that some idiot was burning leaves down at the other end of the loop. We looked down that way and sure enough, there was a huge column of smoke wafting through the trees. Got on the radio to alert someone with more authority than we have to go deal with it. Turned out the guy doing the burning wasn't a complete idiot -- he had raked up the dry leaves on his campsite and piled them in the fire ring to burn. His plan was to clear all the leaves in a fairly large radius around the fire ring so they wouldn't be a hazard when he did an actual campfire. Except he had such a huge pile they basically buried the fire ring so to a passerby it looked like he was just burning a pile of leaves out in the open . . . and it's never a particularly smart idea to burn leaves anywhere when an area is in drought conditions and you're surrounded by many square miles of forest where the ground is covered with dry leaves. All it would have taken was one strong gust of wind to scatter those burning leaves and it could have been a major problem.

Then, around 9 pm we had another camper at the door reporting an emergency. Someone had managed to lock himself in one of the individual showers at the showerhouse in Loop 4. I was a little puzzled as to why the guy came to tell us when there is a host in Loop 4 (we're Loop 2), but then I remembered that those hosts were off duty. Still, I'm a little surprised they weren't available -- even on their days off we tend to see them cruising around the park on the golf cart for no apparent reason. If they have a life outside campground hosting, it's not obvious.

In any case, some poor sap managed to lock himself into a shower room. These are individual showers on the end of the building; each opens directly to the great outdoors. They lock with a deadbolt. Apparently, after the man finished his shower and dressed, he wasn't able to get the door unlocked from the inside. That's got to be moderately embarrassing -- here's hoping it doesn't turn into one of those stories his wife likes to trot out when people ask them about camping at Montauk. We contacted the park's assistant superintendent; he called back not long after to let us know he'd been able to open the door. The fellow was actually lucky he was part of a couple. If he'd been someone camping alone (and the park gets a fair number of people who come on their own for a few quiet days of fishing), he could have been stuck in that room a lot longer.

1 comment:

  1. we're not getting rain today, but supposed to get more this weekend..we actually got 16 inches in areas..


My space, my rules: play nice and keep it on topic.