Why I don’t do trees


tree-trimmerLast December’s ice storm destroyed a lot of tree. Parts of our property have looked like an artillery range for the last six months. Today a crew of hard-working lads are cutting down the fatally wounded. The price tag seemed a little high at first glance, but after seeing the guys 30 feet up with a chain saw roaring in one hand, it seems about right. I’m proud to say that I gave NO thought to attempting this project on my own.

“Honey, did you roll up the windows on the truck?”


The Gizmodo caption for this photo was better than the NY Times’:

“Last Tuesday, Lori Mehmen looked out her front door in Orchard, Iowa and this is what she saw. She had a digital camera handy, and somehow managed to take this photo before crapping her pants and taking cover. This, my friends, is why always having a camera nearby is helpful.” [NY Times]

Shredded memories


My friend David, who lives in southwest Missouri, found some… I hate to call them scraps or debris… shredded memories from the weekend tornadoes that hammered parts of four states.

He posted them to his blog in hopes someone might recognize the photo and help get (what’s left of) it back to the owner.

Regular readers of this blog know I loves my photos and I keep iPhoto backed up nightly. And I take great comfort in having many of them on flicker or embedded in a post here.

If you have a shoe box full of photos but lack the time, tools or patience to scan them… send them off to one of the many services that will do it for you. I’d add: then hire a high school kid to put them up on flickr, but a lot of folks are just not comfortable with that. But it give me great comfort knowing mine are safely floating in cyberspace.

When the time comes, I’m going to figure out a way to see that they stay up (out?) there after I’m gone.

Cold and dark

Zhivago250The ice storm that hit mid-Missouri last night knocked out our power about 10 o’clock this Sunday morning and it didn’t come back on until after 6:00 p.m. We spent the day camped in front of the fire place.

Any information about the extent of the power outage or when juice (and access to the net) might be restored was going to have to come from one of our area radio stations. I’m sure that if I could stand to listen to the Rams broadcast (local AM) or an opera (NPR) long enough, I’d hear something about our situation.

But Google has conditioned me to expect (and demand) instant access to the information I need. Yes, I understand that the radio station has to serve the needs and interests of all of their listeners. Some want music (maybe), some want sports, some want news and weather. So everyone has to wait patiently and trust the radio programmers to dole out info and entertainment, like UN aid workers tossing bags of rice to screaming refugees.

So there we sat in our chilly, dark living room, unable to tap into the Great and Powerful Internet. My only source for information –had I the patience to wait for it– was the local radio station. And it’s not fair to second-guess the local radio guys. I don’t know what was happening at the station. But they were reporting 17,000 people in and around Jefferson City without power. I think I might have gone wall-to-wall with updates.

So, does this situation make me value my local radio station any more than I did before the lights went out? Or has on-demand access to… everything, raised my expectations to a new level that will be difficult or impossible for terrestrial radio to every reach again?

Flood images: YouTube and Flickr

People in the midwest (Iowa and Missouri) affected by the flooding wasted no time in posting video to YouTube. Here’s some footage from Washington, Missouri.

Missouri Valley, Iowa got 5-7″ of rain in a very short period of time, which resulted in three levee breaks. This clip is part of a series … this guy (I don’t know why I think it’s a guy) decided to go with a rock video treatment … and here’s one from Wyeth Hill in St. Joseph MO. (Across the river, Elwood Kansas was in the process evacuating.)

A Flickr search for “missouri flood” pulled up 490 images. I’m sure I missed some good ones. Go ahead and post them in Comments.

Photos of last week’s ice storm

Ice StormtNot sure who took these but they were being emailed around and I grabbed them. I believe they were taken near Neosho in southwest Missouri.

If they’re yours, let me know and I’ll give you the proper credit or pull them.

The forecast calls for 3-6 inches here tonight/tomorrow. I’m wearing long underpants so I can get out of my limo any damn way I like.

Bootheel Tornado

Thanks (once again) to Charles Jolliff for the local 411 on the tornadoe(s) that hit the Bootheel (and western Tennessee). Some really good images on the blog of a local TV weather guy. Not sure who took the photo above (Stephens Gin off Hwy 412). It was sent to me by several people.

I’m a little fuzzy on this but I think these pix were taken by Charles, who provided the following descriptions:

One of the images is from the theatre downtown (Kennett), looking southward down Slicer street. It’s a very dark shot. Tornado was on the ground behind the neighborhood that is beside McDaniel funeral home. One of my moms neighbors (she has house in that neighborhood) told me they watched the tornado on the ground for a long time. It actually was just north of Scobeyville down old 25 highway and then headed east crossing Johnson Island road before hitting Braggadocia (1 woman dead there) then hitting Deering, then Caruthersville before crossing the river into Dyer county Tennessee.

The neighbor of my moms told me that it was two tornados that were dancing back and forth that they saw, till it combined and got bigger. Marmaduke, Arkansas got hit hard. Over half the homes destroyed or badly damaged, according to news reports. I drove through (Highway 49 was closed till noon today to clear the road of debris) late this evening but could not stop, traffic was incredible. I suppose a lot of folks were sight-seeing or looky-looing. I had the camera and just guessed on the shots in my album link. All taken from a rolling/driving truck by a guy not looking.

While all this was going on in this area, another violent storm hit Wynne Ar, and destroyed several homes including 3 that belonged to some of my racing friends. Totalled their race cars as well. All in all, everyone in Kennett is very lucky, if this thing had come up a mile and a half, it would have gone thru this little town like the proverbial hot knife thru butter.

This brings back vivid memories of crouching in a dark, dank “storm cellar,” just like the one in Wizard of Oz.

Doing what radio does best

Tornados hammered parts of the midwest Sunday night, including Springfield, Illinois. TV was off, cable down, power out, Internet out, newspaper 12 hours from publication…but radio station WMAY was on the air, doing what radio does best. GM Glen Gardner shares this sement from a caller that illustates how to keep radio relevant. [AUDIO: 2 min MP3]

Notice that the person on the air who took the call didn’t interrupt. Didn’t feel the need to jump in and start yapping. That is so rare. If radio has a future –and I hope it does– it won’t be endlessly playing the same 400 songs or turning the signal over to Rush for 3 hours. It will be in on-the-ground, local relevance like this. Thanks, Glen.