Late Evening Open Thread: Florida Man and Woman in the Wake of Hurricane Irma Edition

It’s too late in the evening for another serious post, so here’s some Florida man and woman for you.

A Florida man and woman were arrested for stealing downed power lines after Hurricane Irma, according to officials.

Deputies were called to an Altamonte Springs neighborhood Sept. 16 after a neighbor said two people were cutting downed power lines on his property.

Deputies said the power lines were down after a pole snapped in half during Hurricane Irma.

The power was out and the neighborhood was dark, deputies said.

Deputies found $5,000 worth of power lines cut up in the back of a truck.

They questioned Charles Mahoy, 41, and Andrea Foster, 45, and found methamphetamine and marijuana in the truck, deputies said.

Mahoy and Foster were arrested on suspicion of larceny during a state of emergency, criminal mischief and drug possession.

Apparently it’s something of a crime epidemic:

Open thread!



Sunday Morning Garden Chat: OH! The Eclipse


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From gifted commentor Marvel:

It’s difficult to describe what the eclipse totality was like — too dazzling for my small words. But I can describe one wonderful aspect of it:

When totality struck and the sun’s fiery ring was exposed, a ROAR rose up all over the Willamette Valley — thousands of peoples’ voices in unexpected unison, shouting out the pure wonder of it.

Then, after the height of the celestial show, as the sun was being restored by an ebbing moonshadow, we rambled around the yard, looking for those wonderful crescent-shaped representations of the eclipse provided by dappled, pin-hole sunlight shining through the trees.

We were awestruck throughout.

(This photo made the Spousal Unit very happy. He’d hoped for something similar here — as happened back in 1991 — but it turned out that 63% totality & slightly overcast wasn’t good enough.)
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Here north of Boston, we are finally enjoying Peak Tomato Season, those lovely few weeks when my plants are ripening fruit faster than we can eat them fresh. Local professionals say it was this summer’s cool nights that delayed such bliss by several weeks past the usual mid-July days… but, tragically, they haven’t slowed down the blights. Since there’s no rain predicted before Wednesday, I hope to spend some time later today pruning dead leaves and spraying Serenade, in the hope that the least affected plants will continue to set fruit even if they look like lollipops…
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What’s going on in your garden(s) this week?








Wednesday Morning Open Thread: The MH370 of Presidential Speeches

Okay, I try to keep this Early Morning Open Thread positive, and yes there are a half-dozen other stories worth discussing. But Murphy take the wheel, the Oval Office Occupant’s televised “rally” last night well and truly broke all previous records — even for this guy.

If Richard Nixon had been given access to Xanax, Ambien, Twitter, and his own personal broadcast network, he couldn’t have put on a more delirious spectacle. Somewhere Hunter S. Thompson is telling himself What an imagination I’ve got
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America First! (Surely we’ve heard that slogan before.)

Like a team of horses under one driver, one whip!
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Tuesday Morning Open Thread: It’s A Start


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Apart from preparing for tonight’s Phoenix campaign rally (don’t forget the anti-nausea meds), what’s on the agenda for the day?

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One last farewell. Look backwards — but don’t stare at the eclipse!…


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Monday Morning Open Thread: GOATALITY! (Also: I Hope We See Pics from Carhenge)

Apart from the Big Solar Event, what’s on the agenda as we start the new week?

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I enjoyed this whole Washington Post story, “For one day, a fractured country will be united by sun, moon and history”… but especially the bit about a very American ‘monument’:

On the high plains of northwest Nebraska, north of Alliance, where Army pilots trained in World War II, a mysterious circle of gray objects rises from the flat expanse of farmland.

The objects closely resemble Britain’s 4,000-year-old Stonehenge, a mystical place of pilgrimage for neo-druids, solstice watchers, and legions of tourists.

But this monument is made of 39 junked cars.

It’s Carhenge, perhaps the most cosmic spot in the country to watch the eclipse. And it has an impressive two minutes and 28 seconds of totality.
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Sunday Morning Open Thread: Instructions for the Upcoming Solar Event

If you haven’t been able to score a proper pair of eclipse glasses, the Washington Post weather page has instructions for making your own personal cardboard projection ‘theater’.

If you’re not going to be able to get outside for the event, the NYTimes has a useful article on How to Watch the Eclipse Online.

If you’re just exasperated / infuriated by all the clueless ombraphiles-come-lately cluttering up the perfect eclipse-watching venue you chose months ago, the NYTimes explains Why Some Say the Eclipse Is Best Experienced in a Crowd.
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Apart from preparing, what’s on the agenda for the day?

Meanwhile, the Proper Authorities are issuing warnings both serious…

The Federal Highway Administration is offering a number of tips for drivers who will be on the road during the event:
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Saturday Morning Open Thread: Will the Eclipse Confuse the Beasts?

You think it drives just animals nuts? It’s causing thousands of otherwise sane humans to visit Hopkinsville, KY — WaPo commentor

Per the Washington Post, “During the solar eclipse, animals will be extremely confused“:

Margarita Woc Colburn’s childhood memories of a July 1991 total solar eclipse in Central America are of a social gathering for excited adult relatives who spent hours waiting for an event that was over in minutes.

But the future veterinarian’s gaze was drawn earthward.

“I was looking down on a valley in Guatemala, and I just remember the flock of birds, this massive thing going down to the trees getting ready for nesting, just like what you see at night,” Woc Colburn said, describing a short span when the moon completely obscured the sun. “Then, it felt like a new day. Birds came out and were singing.”

Today she is an associate veterinarian and researcher at the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere — which is in the path of totality. During Monday’s total solar eclipse, Woc Colburn’s primary concern once again will be on the animals she has made her life’s work. She predicts birds are likely to provide the greatest spectacle this time around, too.

“We might see something similar with the starlings,” she said. “I’m interested to see whether they go to roost. It will get very noisy if they do.”

Woc Colburn thinks additional bird species and other zoo animals such as lemurs, clouded leopards and kangaroos may also begin to exhibit nighttime habits when totality hits, whether that’s waking up, going to sleep or lining up for a feeding.

It’s all speculation, however, which is something Woc Colburn finds quite surprising.

There is scant research on animal behavior during solar eclipses, owing primarily to the rarity of such events and the difficulty of recording enough observations. That’s poised to change…

Observers nationwide, including visitors to the Nashville Zoo, are being encouraged to join an ambitious and unprecedented attempt at crowdsourced scientific research by using the California Academy of Sciences’ iNaturalist app to document animal reactions.

Nashville researchers also plan to scrape social media postings that tag the zoo. Spokesman Jim Bartoo said researchers will accept any analog observations that are submitted…

Eclipse watchers are bracing for a major bummer should clouds obscure their view. While Woc Colburn agrees that would be a serious letdown, she also noted that clouds shouldn’t affect how animals react, so those who choose to spend the eclipse at the zoo won’t be wholly deprived of a unique experience…

From the earlier WaPo story on the iNaturalist app:

Created by the California Academy of Sciences, iNaturalist allows anyone to take a picture of an animal (or plant or fungi or whatever) and make an attempt to identify it. Then others, including experts, weigh in on whether your ID is correct or not…

On the day of the eclipse, the app will feature a special drawdown menu that allows you to record observations leading up to, during, and after the astronomical event. Simply keep an eye out for any interesting or unusual behavior and snap a few pics while you enjoy the show…

I’ve never tried to download any apps to my second-hand Galaxy S6, but I may have to encourage my ombraphilic Spousal Unit to do so for the big event. Since he plans for us to observe the partial eclipse from our back yard, this will put him into a Virgo dilemma — on the one hand, he could record any unusual behavior on the part of our little rescue dogs; on the other hand, he’ll be terrified that they’ll damage their retinas…

(For the record, I predict even Sydney, who is the youngest and most nervous of our pack, will pay absolutely no attention whatsoever to the Great Event. And even were he to notice, dogs don’t stare at the sun. But if I’m gonna be dragged out to watch the show, I might as well enjoy whatever side benefits I can derive.)
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Apart from eclipse-watching preparation, what’s on the agenda for the day?