TORONTO MICROBURST: it's not about microbrew

We survived yesterday's weather.  Good grief. Consider this a placeholder until I can pull images from my phone.

Toronto hit hard by microburst TORONTO — The National Weather Service said it was a microburst with wind speeds in excess of 60 mph that caused damage throughout the city Monday afternoon. 
Fred McMullen, a weather service meteorologist in Moon Township, Pa., said the city was under a severe thunderstorm warning when the storm hit. But radar showed no rotation in the storm, which would have indicated a tornado, he noted.
"It hit us hard, but nowhere else," said Mayor John Parker Monday evening. "The temperature also dropped like 10 degrees, maybe a little more, which is consistent with those types of weather events."
A building on the 300 block of North Fourth Street lost its roof and part of the facade in the storm, and brick and other debris from the building littered the street and caused damage, some serious, to other buildings and businesses in t…


I tend to think about Clem Schultz whenever I hear the word "tornado".  His story serves as a potent reminder to never take life for granted.  You see, Schultz filmed the 2015 tornado that took away almost everything he held dear. His house, his mementos, and especially his wife were ripped from him.

We would not have heard his story at all had he not offered the footage to a meteorology student for use in the student's doctorate studies. The video went viral, thrilling meteorologists while disheartening the average citizen.

I recall the story not from the video, but thanks to a particular human interest piece.

Suburban Chicago's Daily Herald was only one of the numerous papers that covered the story. It is the piece written by their that surpasses all else.

Ms Sarkauskas humanizes the event, lifting it from tragedy to prove the mettle of the human heart and mind.

I don't think anyone else could have done it such justice.  The writing found in hu…


I have so much to post, and so little time, and so little motivation, and insert excuse here, and here, and here.

Rather than attempt it so late at night, here's a throwback to the Cottage.

BEETLE FAN: the unidentified visitor

Problems my friends do not have: spending two hours in a fruitless attempt to correctly identify a damn bug. Brown click beetle with a pale, firefly-esqe abdomen?

I ran it up the flagpole on iNaturalist. Let's see if sage minds can do a better job at it.


Happy Independence Day from Toronto!  Our fireworks display was on 7 July this year rather than the 4th.  The whole town gets into the spirit.

Mike and Natalie stopped by with their sons. Mum stayed inside with Dante to keep him calm. Sadly, Dad is back in the hospital and missed out.


The day before my birthday, we discovered a Bronzed Grackle chick under the porch.  Sadly, he was discovered after I'd doused him with the hose.

Chilled to his core, he wouldn't have lasted the night. So to the deck table he went, and BH took a walk to the local gas station to purchase some live bait.

He did well with them, obediently opening his mouth and raising a ruckus once the chopped worm came into his view.  He also accepted some water droplets from my hand. Still, the chill remained despite his pushing into my palm for comfort.

I set him in a box with some old dishrags, then brought him indoors for the night.  A heating pad under the box soon made him comfy, and he slept well enough.  At dawn, I brought him back outdoors and set the box in the garden, close to where I found him.

He wasn't too sure of himself or his surroundings. I left him there and watched the early morning fog burn away.

Grackles do spend a few days on the ground after dropping from the nest.…

INDEPENDENCE DAY: the physics of the humble paddle ball

Excuse the ramblings!

Today we celebrate Independence Day, which has its roots in the American revolutionary war. It was a push for freedom and democracy - the desire to be independent from Great Britain - that allowed our nation to thrive.

"Push". It's an odd-sounding word with so many interpretations.

You can push something or someone away, such as bodyguards pushing paparazzi from a star.  You can push yourself away from something, like a reporter pushing off the wall move forward again. You can push forward, and in fact push or shove the bodyguard to the ground. And, of course, that bodyguard might be pushing his age thus he snaps his hip when he hits the pavement. You might want to push some narcotics on him at that point - or pray you haven't pushed the other bodyguards to emotional breaking point. In their frustration, they might push for the police to arrest your sorry ass, and that's when you'd be pushing your luck.

In physics, we speak of forces ap…