Weekend Open Thread: Extremely Wet Cartoon Monsters and Upstair Neighbor Troubles


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We’ll cover three topics today, each associated with a direction.

(1) Eastern Hurricane (on the West Pacific) Aims High

This is, and I am not kidding and have not retouched this at all, a false color image of Typhoon Mangkhut (known as “Ompong” in the Philippines), which was hurtling from Hawaii towards the northern Philippines early this past week.

Honestly, if a deadly typhoon ever looks more like some kind of Pokemon or other cartoon greebly than this, I don’t want to know about it.  I’m omitting some of the eye-popping pictures of the flooding from Ompong because they won’t mean much to people here — because they don’t know that the province being flooded is the Mountain Province containing the coolest area in the archipelago, Baguio, which is the home of my one of my son-in-law’s family.  This is sort of like a storm flooding an area in the High Sierras while leaving much of the lower-lying adjacent land relatively unscathed.  The last time Baguio has been flooded is approximately — never, or at least not within recorded history.  Bad Pokemon!

(2) Southern Hurricane (on the East Coast of the West Atlantic) is Slow

OJB does not like having to defend President Trump from his funnier critics, but sometimes it has to be done.   One key to understanding Trump’s statements, if one is so inclined, is to recognize that sometimes it’s just not true that he has no idea what he talking about.  Rather, he sometimes has only a vague idea what he’s talking about.  And that means that he’s not wrong, exactly — he’s just embarrassingly and unintentionally misleading.

We faced one of those situations when Trump was lampooned for describing the then-approaching Hurricane Florence as “extremely wet.”  “Well, aren’t all hurricanes ‘extremely wet’?”, he was rhetorically asked from non-Fox News TV, which means that he didn’t see it.  Yes, indeed they are. But they’re not “extremely wet” in the way that Florence was (and depending on when you read this, still is) “extremely wet,” which is worth knowing about because it seems to be an emerging feature of hurricanes in these new heated-climate years.  (And here, I’m not even talking about “storm surge” and such; just about what comes out of the storm itself as it moves.)

Florence was correctly predicted to be “extremely wet” in terms of how much water it would leave in a given area in its path from the beginning to end of its time over it.  And that is a function of two primary factors: how much water it has to drop and how slowly it moves across the territory.  Imagine moving across a lawn with a watering can: if you’re running, the lawn will get wet before it fully empties, but no sparticular square foot on law is going to be drenched.  Now imagine that instead you have the gardening can perched on a sleigh being pulled by a team of snails.  (Don’t ask how the the snails are harnessed.  We can posit a million snails with dental floss around them if need be.)  Those first few millimeters — probably even more than that — are going to be absolutely drenched!  This is not just a factor of how much water arrives, but of how quickly it arrives, such that it overcomes the natural drainage systems in the area.  (That’s why Baguio flooded.)

The key characteristic of Florence is how slowly it has been moving — which is not at all the same thing as how fast its winds have been moving.  When it made landfall, it was moving at an estimated 2 miles per hour (or, as I like to call it, “a brisk walking pace.”)  That means that between the time when the storm started in your area and time that it stopped, your area was going to get extremely wet (and thus more likely to flood) simply because the duration between those times was especially high.

This had apparently been explained to Trump — whose brain turned the concept into simply “extremely wet” and expected us to understand it.  This applies to other things that he says from time to time that, upon careful examination, are not completely cracked — but really, who takes the time to do careful examination in the Trump era?

(3) The Significance of Up and Down in Urban Living is Brutal

Relatively few people in OC live in apartments with neighbors above them.  (I’m not saying that nobody does, but just that many fewer do than in, say, Manhattan, so it’s not a big part of our shared cultural experience.)  Well, I lived for a decade in Queens, on the water border of Manhattan, much of it with upstairs neighbors and much of it with downstairs neighbors, so I do not understand why people haven’t come up with what seems to me a more plausible story of why Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger shot and killed her upstairs neighbor Botham Jean after supposedly parking on the wrong floor and entering his apartment thinking that it was hers and thinking that he was an intruder who needed instant death.

He was her upstairs neighbor!  And (based on one story I saw) he was big!  Yes, he was black and she was white, and maybe she was racist; or yes, we can’t rule out they were having an affair gone bad (though there seems to be no evidence of such), but the one thing that we know for sure was true is that his floor was her ceiling!

Upstairs neighbors and downstairs neighbors are natural enemiesEveryone knows that!

So if I were investigating this crime, I would be asking whether any of her friends ever heard her complaining about her big-footed neighbor keeping her up at night, or whether any of his friends ever heard about him complaining about her complaints.  Yes, upstairs and downstairs neighbors do sometimes have affairs — in the upstairs neighbor’s apartment, generally, unless the downstairs neighbor’s apartment is ground floor or the one below that is empty — but that’s far less common than “TURN OFF THAT MUSIC” or “STOP JUMPING ON YOUR FLOOR LIKE THAT!”  And that sort of thing can really precipitate a murder!  (Seriously: search “upstairs neighbor” and “shooting.”  It’s disturbing!)

This is your Weekend (and at this late date also Weekly) Open Thread; talk about that, or whatever else you’d like, without reasonable bounds of discretion and not waking the neighbors.  [Note: links to videos courtesy of Chairman Vern.]


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose worker's rights and government accountability attorney, residing in northwest Brea. General Counsel of CATER, the Coalition of Anaheim Taxpayers for Economic Responsibility, a non-partisan group of people sick of local corruption. Deposed as Northern Vice Chair of DPOC in April 2014 when his anti-corruption and pro-consumer work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, who then worked with the lawless and power-mad DPOC Chair to eliminate his internal oversight. Occasionally runs for office to challenge some nasty incumbent who would otherwise run unopposed. (Someday he might pick a fight with the intent to win rather than just dent someone. You'll know it when you see it.) He got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012 and in 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002. None of his pre-putsch writings ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level, nor do they now. A family member co-owns a business offering campaign treasurer services to Democratic candidates and the odd independent. He is very proud of her. He doesn't directly profit from her work and it doesn't affect his coverage. (He does not always favor her clients, though she might hesitate to take one that he truly hated.) He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)