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Hurricane Barry

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In 1979 it was decided that the decades-old practice of naming hurricanes after women was unfair. Whether it weighed down the moral standing of women to associate them with inchoate and uncontrollable mayhem or if it was man-kind who was shorted by being overlooked, we cannot say but we have long exercised gender-blindness using alternating male and female names alphabetically so it is no surprise that early in the storm season we should be battening hatches against Hurricane Barack.At this point it is not clear if there will actually be a Hurricane Barry. At the moment the system in question is moving over the Gulf erratically and constitutes a mere Tropical Depression but shore dwellers know that we lose track of these larval disasters at our peril.

The signs are ominous. A slow moving storm is deceptively tranquil. If Tropical Depression Barry pauses in what was never a fast approach and lingers but does not fizzle, he is not dragging his heels; no, while the center is mysteriously still the speed of the conflating warm and cold currents is only increasing, drawing in more and more power.

Indeed, this walking/talking embodiment of spinning mayhem is obviously drawing more and more power into himself if authority is power. And it is. British Petroleum, apparently, was sucked into the slow-rolling vortex on the very day the Deep Horizon exploded one hundred and forty miles off our shores. According to Tropical Depression Barry on that very day he annexed BP as the fifty-eighth state minus the Governor or Constitutional foundation, not to mention possible objections from the british! BP, according to BO, has not made a move without the blessing of Tropical Depression Barry. Presumably this was the metaphorical “boot on the throat”. But did Dr Obama, well known geologist and fluid-dynamics expert come up with the top-hat from last week? Unlikely. Certainly Dr O would have foreseen, as any dolt could, that at this depth methane crystals would quickly stop up that weak measure like a clydesdale on a low-flow toilet, so of course this was BP off the reservation on that maneuver and we can be certain the boot was pressed down a bit more firmly when that failed.

So of course the administration decided quite crisply, no more President Nice Guy. “Plug the damn hole!” he declares and geez, the hole is plugged! Now THAT is some executive action; maybe this guy is The Decider after all. It makes you wonder though why British Petroleum were such laggards. Didn’t anyone at the big, round table have the authority or the stones to say, “Plug the damn hole!” to this army of engineers whose checks they sign? Oily pelicans aside, the stuff pouring out there is still worth about seventy bucks a barrel. Was it siesta time? It is the Gulf of Mexico.

Well, it is best not to examine this too closely. After all, if the President had the answer to this gushing problem is it really such a dereliction that it took thirty-odd days to implement it? Not at all. There are procedures. First comes the explosion… this gets a few folks attention. Yes on that very day BP became an American commonwealth but it was done retroactively today so no responsibility can fairly accrue. But in short order we then have the slicks. These make for good news video so now we are really in the President’s wheel house. He sends the weak third of his entourage and swat teams of lawyers to Lake Charles and Houston where the waves still lap up only gently. These accomplish the truly important task of preventing local yokels from muddying up the waters any further with their crude solutions. That buffoon Bobby Jindal receives a well-deserved seminar on petroleum bio effects and wetlands ecology while the Army Corpse of Engineers keeps a well-shined boot on his pencil neck. Droves of grammar schoolers trek down to bathe the afflicted albatros and manatee in dishwashing liquid but are dissappointed; only snapping turtles are available.

But all the while, far out at sea, Tropical Depression Barry turns and turns. Lesser weather systems are pulled in, dissolving like a puff of smoke and adding their own force to the swirl. The very energy industry itself seems little more than a flash squawl to be assimilated. Of course it was already dissappearing into the turning winds but now it goes in with a plop. There is to be no more drilling; not in the Gulf. Not in Alaska. Not in California or even Virginia, to hell with any other  laws, policies or sovereign actors. No, this storm is truly a force of nature. We knew we were going “green” but now the speedbumps, never tall, are to be flattened completely: bulldozed with solar equipment. We must hope that the physical laws that make black energy so much more energetic than green energy succumb as easily but it doesn’t really matter whether they do or do not any more than laws of mathematics were pertinent to the swallowing up of GM. Or the divying of Chrysler. Or the banks. Or the spending of money unminted and unmintable.

It is all a whirl! One day, perhaps soon, Tropical Depression Barry will have drawn in so much ambient energy that he will crash ashore as a Cat-5 sending your screen doors to the next county and your sewage into the streets. Another theory asserts that this has already happened.  In any case we are all already spinning; we are trapped in this vortex and can steer or slow it about as effectively as a kid with his arm out the window can steer the bus.

So wherever this tropical depression is going, we are all headed in train. We can draw some solace in the metaphor, knowing that hurricanes and all storms do eventually pass. The damage will be extreme but, as in New Orleans, it will prove far from fatal. Now, we are in the eye of the storm. Flying cows orbit our houses but we seem to have come through the leading edge well enough so grit your teeth and grab a poncho and hang onto the nearest anvil. We will see it through.

Unless of course there IS no Hurricane Barry. There is another vortex phenomenon we know even more intimately than the weather.

It is the toilet flush.

So let us pray for hurricanes!

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One Response to “Hurricane Barry”

  1. Wait a minute … “the decades-old practice of naming hurricanes after women was unfair” ? I thought they did it because the storms were called hurricanes, and not himmicanes.


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