Blog Bits: Autumn, Obama, Katrina
This is adapted from postings on the recently reactivated "Editor's Note" blog at thepilot.com.
Pressure I Can Handle: Tired of yelling, "Turn off the washer, honey - I need to take a shower"?
If so, chances are you live in Weymouth Heights in Southern Pines, or in some other -elevated area that has municipal water but is cursed with anemic water pressure. My wife and I put up with that for years. But no more.
Belatedly following the lead of some of our neighbors, we finally broke down and had my plumber friend Matthew Mills come out and install a booster pump in the garage. He did it last week, and it took less than a day for him and his guys to hook it up to our plumbing system. It consists of an electric pump not much bigger than a loaf of bread that feeds a pressure tank much smaller than your average water heater.
OMG, what a difference!
The pressure at the street is about 36 pounds per square inch, as I recall. But it was less than that by the time it went through our old pipes, which no doubt suffer from a degree of -a-rteriosclerosis. Now it's 60 psi. (You can adjust it.) The shower suddenly feels like a fire hose blasting you. The washer and the toilet tanks fill up in a fraction of the time. My lawn sprinkler goes "whirr" instead of a lazy "whoosh, whoosh."
We're in heaven, Matthew. Thank you. Sure, it cost a few bucks. But it's worth it. Why the heck didn't we do this sooner?
Not Autumn Yet, But ... My own personal autumnal early warning signal is the dogwood tree in our side yard.
When a few of its leaves first start displaying just a hint of blush here and there, I take it as an announcement that summer will soon be drawing to a close and autumn, about whose advent I always have such mixed feelings, is out there on the horizon.
It happened this week [Aug. 13], as you can see in the attached photo. Or maybe it's just some kind of fungus.
What Was Obama Thinking? Sheesh. President Obama could have gone all week without wading into the Manhattan mosque firestorm. Or perhaps the better term is "blundering" into it. And then trying to blunder back out.
The irony is that Obama didn't even have a dog in that fight. He had a free pass. He didn't need to say a word. It's a local issue with no federal involvement, and he could have remained discreetly silent. And that's what he should have done.
One obvious reason, and I hate to say it, is that his name is Barack Hussein Obama, and it's unrealistic to expect the American people, at least 60 percent of whom hate the idea of an Islamic center going next to 9/11's hallowed ground zero, not to think there's some connection there.
I know, I know - that sounds racist and ethnicist (if there is such a word) and everything else. But it's a fact of life that stares you in the face.
By unwisely taking such a public stand on the issue - and doing so before a Muslim audience at that - he has handed the opposition a chunk of red meat that they can chew on at least until the November midterm elections, if not beyond.
President Obama is an honest and intelligent man, and there was a certain amount of courage involved in what he did. But it's not just his own image of fairness and tolerance at stake. He also should have taken into account the fortunes of Democratic candidates all across the land, whose lives do not need to be made any more complicated.
And again I say, sheesh.
Katrina Anniversary: We're approaching the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Look for a lot of publicity this week in the media.
A somewhat more personal anniversary takes place a few days later: How could I ever forget the post-midnight long-distance phone call I received from a guy who was then a total stranger, calling from a place I'd never heard of? His name was Eddie Farve, and he was mayor of Bay St. Louis, Miss.
I had written a column urging that Moore County adopt a storm-stricken town as a sister community. I'd placed several phone calls to people in several possible places. But as soon as Mayor Farve returned my call and began telling me in his polite but obviously weary and heartbroken voice about what had befallen his beloved town, I knew we had our partner.
A few days after that, several of us were on a private plane to Bay St. Louis to assess the situation and develop assistance projects, and the rest is history. You can read more about it in a Sunday story by Staff Writer Hannah Sharpe.
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