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Hurricane Earl, Paris Hilton, Basebrawls

September 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Hurricane Earl has just begun to weaken a bit , now a Category 3, but still huge; about 400 miles across with 75mph+ winds 90 miles from the eye. He has taken his expected slight northerly turn. North Carolina starts feeling it this afternoon and then really gets it tonight. The winds are expected to die down a bit over cooler water and then Earl is likely to speed up as he heads directly for an encounter with Cape Cod tomorrow night and into Saturday.

Looks like the 50 mph+ winds are definitely going to be felt along the shorelines and tropical storm winds may be felt pretty far inland.

This is what Paris Hilton tweeted on July 25th- along with the caption, “Love My New Chanel Purse I got Today. :)” RadarOnline.com put 2 and 2 together as they compared this picture to video of her recent Las Vegas cocaine arrest in which a very, very similar purse was caught on tape. This is the purse Hilton told police she had “borrowed” from a friend. Still, you have to give her credit for thinking so fast and coming up with such a clever excuse. Busted by her own vanity?

My- what a brawl in Florida last night as the Nationals and Marlins went at it. It’s complicated. I will have to presume some basic knowledge of the situation but here it is in a nutshell.

Basically, the Nats have a Center Fielder in Nyger Morgan who’s become a bit unhinged lately. He ran into an opposing catcher last week who didn’t even have the ball. He’s been handed a 7-game suspension for throwing a ball into the stands in the direction of fans who were heckling him. Tuesday night in Florida, he was headed for home, looked like he could have slid, but instead, ran headlong into the Marlin’s catcher, separating his shoulder and knocking him out for the season.

So last night was all about the expected revenge the Marlins would take on Nyger. These are the customs and culture of baseball. So he gets plunked by a 92 mph fastball in the 4th inning wiith the Nats getting clobbered by ten runs and Nyger accepts his “punishment” and goes to first. Apparently, when you’re that far behind, baseball’s unwritten rules also dictate that you don’t steal bases. But Nyger has been a little edgy lately so he figured, screw it, I’m stealing second. And then third. And then he scored on a fly ball. For violating these unwritten rules, they didn’t hit him, they threw behind his head in the 7th inning. Nyger lost it, charged the mound, benches emptied, high drama.

Nat’s Manager Jim Riggleman, bless his heart, defended his crazy little guy and I tend to agree, at least on one point. Screw the customs and unwritten rules of baseball when it comes to stealing bases and scoring runs. It was the 4th inning. As it turns out, the Nats made a game of it. If they didn’t like what he was doing, the Marlins should have tried to throw him out. Also…the unwritten rules of baseball do not include trying to hit a guy twice.

Anyway, we’re not going to be seeing Nyger for awhile, I suspect. He’s already got a 7-game suspension plus whatever they add on for the little fight he started last night. Oh, and as one of his coaches was walking him off the field after the fight, he strutted, thumped his chest and jeered back at booing fans. That’s probably extra suspension time too. A class act; not exactly. A one-man baseball crime wave? Possibly. Starting CF for the Nationals next year….I don’t think so. But he certainly has made it a fun week to watch baseball.

By the way, the Marlins come into town next week. Should be a raucus good time.

Here Comes Earl- Sort Of


As of mid-afternoon, Tuesday, 8/31/10, Hurricane Earl is a fairly ferocious Category 4 storm centered just northwest of Puerto Rico, with maximum sustained winds of 135 mph and moving WNW at 14 mph.

Storms like these are of particular interest when they come near the Northeast corridor, of course, since it’s the most densely populated area of the United States. Late afternoon, evening and overnight on Thursday, the western part of the hurricane may hit the North Carolina coast- folks on the Outer Banks are expecting to be evacuated in the next 48 hours.

The Maryland, Delaware and Jersey shores are next on the likely hit-list followed by a brush of Manhattan, a good swipe of Long Island and then by Friday night and into Saturday, a good chunk of what’s left of Earl may well go right over eastern Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Maine.

East Coast storms are not that unusual. Hatteras gets hit about once every three years. Atlantic City, New Jersey about once every 13 years and Cape Cod gets smacked about once a decade. New York City itself is long overdue while Long Island has been battered quite a bit over the last quarter of a century.

I have personal remembrances of three hurricanes, two that hit and one that came close.
Hurricane Donna in 1960 was quite destructive and even though I was just 4 years old, I remember me and my family having to get the heck out of Lavallette beach in Jersey. I can still recall the daring glimpse we took of the ocean as the waves and the churning sea presaged Donna’s arrival. And I remember a massive oak tree that fell across the driveway of a family friend’s house in Orange, NJ.

The remnants of Agnes passed over the Washington area in 1971 and that was really something. I remember water about one foot below Chain bridge, the C&O canal being completely submerged and the downed trees littering the Potomac shoreline for what seemed like years.

Hurricane Felix ruined a perfectly wonderful Outer Banks vacation back in 1995. It was a big Cat-4 with 140 mph winds lurking a few hundred miles offshore and acting very undecided in terms of its direction. The surf was dramatic and they made us leave but not before I filed for CBS News Radio from the deck of the beach house, made a few hundred bucks and earned a comp day. There was a 7-hour traffic jam crawling out of the Outer Banks all the way to friggin’ Norfolk.

At one point the tie-ups were so bad, cars just stopped and people got out and compared their tales of misery. One guy I was talking to actually recognized my voice from the report he had just heard on the CBS hourly news on his car radio. What I had just filed a couple of hours before from the beach house deck. That was weird.

Felix changed his mind and kept on trucking north after we evacuated and never made landfall anywhere. But it did have the distinction of becoming extratropical, last seen tracking toward Norway before finally dissipating.

I have friends who used to love keeping track of hurricanes on their little maps with grids on them (reading this, Bill?), entering latitudes and longitudes as they kept personal track of these storms, waiting breathlessly for the latest update from the National Weather Service. One of our producers at NPR is a hurricane nut and one of those old grid maps is still hanging on the wall in the newsroom. I’m guessing they’ve become obsolete now and if so, that’s too bad. Hurricanes are an amazing manifestation of the power of nature and plotting their course seemed like a perfectly reasonable way of trying to understand the vagaries of life.

Then God invented the Weather Channel.