Wednesday, May 25, 2011

On the Weather

For the last couple months, we have been getting a good deal of snow, and rain, and rain-and-snow mixed together. There is hardly a week goes by without some sort of weather, usually quite cold weather. For me, this is not a big deal. I happen to like snow and rain, and much prefer cold weather to hot. I might admit that a bit of sun and warmth is quite pleasant for a change, but since we actually have had a few days this week featuring those qualities, I cannot say I was disturbed at the snow we got today.

I rather think, however, that I might be the only person left in town that is not fed up with the weather. When the rain started early in the afternoon, my co-workers let out a unanimous groan. When the rain turned into quite a serious snow storm, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. "Are we ever going to have spring?" was the despairing cry I heard quite often today. By contrast, during the late afternoon, when both rain and snow stopped, and the golden sun broke through the black and fantastic storm clouds, the populace rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

The best reaction probably came from a small, handsome Mexican child, who was playing with his father in the Children's Section of the library. He saw the sun coming in at the window, and stood stock still, gazing at it in awe. He exclaimed fervently, "It's a miracle!"

Monday, May 9, 2011

Beware the Hunchbacks, and Other Warnings Posted on British Roads

My sisters and I are recently back from a trip to Scotland. A good friend of the family whom we were visiting there, drove us about the countryside, putting over 2000 miles on his car, and ensuring that we saw a great deal of interest. So much driving also gave us a chance to observe some rather peculiar (at least, I found them so) road signs. There was, for example, this sign:

which appears to be advising one of the upcoming danger of running in to a tuning fork, but which is actually warning that the 2 lane road you are currently bowling pleasantly along on, is about to become 1 lane.

Then, of course, there is the sign cautioning against zombie-like hunchbacks:

which is actually alerting you to the far less sinister possibility of frail persons - i.e: the elderly, blind, disabled - crossing your path at this point.

Indeed, the majority of people crossing signs I found to be a bit sinister looking. Take, for example the sign warning of impending danger from hulking juveniles:

which is actually just a harmless school-crossing notice. Or there is this one, that suggests the possibility of imminent abduction by preternaturally tall aliens:

which is merely giving you fair warning that there might be pedestrians in the road ahead - though, I must admit, if I noticed a pair of pedestrians looking like this, I'd still be inclined to think there was something sinister about it

There is also this slightly confused sign, mostly seen along Highlands roads:

The weather, while we were in Scotland, was, up until the very last day, both sunnier and warmer than our section of California had been at the time of our departure, so we observed neither ice, nor snow. The Highlands also boasted this dire-looking notice:

which sometimes appeared with a small car beneath all that unlikely shedding from the crumbling mountain. This sign seemed to appear most often along side a bit of innocent road, looking rather like this:

in which the mountain which was about to collapse upon you, could only be faintly glimpsed through the trees.

My favourite sign, however, might possibly be this one:

Very civilised, that polite notice. Very kind of them to be so polite about it. The impolite notice, should you inadvisedly ignore the polite one, would consist of a parking warden in a fluorescent-yellow vest (with which Scotland is thronged) appearing the instant your vehicle stops moving (even if the motor is running) and writing you up a citation. Or possibly, if you had actually gotten out of your car, clamping your vehicle to the road by its wheels, so that you have to pay a ruddy great fine to have it unclamped. Obey the polite notice.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Good Advice

I recently came across the following:

Commas save lives!

"Let's eat Grandpa!"

"Let's eat, Grandpa!"

Never underestimate the power of good punctuation!