Tuesday, April 27, 2010

gremlins and the king of the world

As they promised, Environment Canada threatened or bribed or cajoled the weather gremlins into smiling upon us and sending rain today. And tomorrow. And Saturday. And Sunday. And Monday. That's the problem with those gremlins. The word "moderation" doesn't exist in their language. It's all sun and cloudless and dry until the poplars are ready to shrivel up and blow away in the wind, then it's rain upon rain until I'm digging out my manual on 302 easy steps to build a replica of Noah's ark.

Someday when I am king of the world, I'll straighten the weather out. I know, it's a tall order, but somebody's got to do it.

We did get our fair share of grass/brush/forest fires in before the rain hit. And a cord wood fire. I suspect only those living in the far-flung peripheral edge of the universe have cord wood fires. They start when a roguish spark escapes from an outdoor wood stove chimney and lands in just the right spot to smoulder unnoticed until just the right moment to go poof, and all your hard-earned firewood is in flames before it ever makes it through the door of the stove.

Some cord wood fires are spectacular. Years ago, we were paged to a kiln fire, with lots of cords of birch firewood burning inside. Imagine the Jolly Green Giant's fireplace on a cold January morning, and you might get the idea. When the kiln burned a second time, the intrepid owners decided to build a a bigger, better one . . . large enough to
blacken his bright green tunic and singe his eyebrows if it caught fire. They asked my opinion as the Chief Fire Official Who Is Supposed To Know These Things, and the cautious voice of experience (which suits my personality better) said, "Whatever you do, put a Storz connector on the outside and hook it to the sprinklers inside, because if those gazillion cords of wood catch fire, I'm not opening the doors." I think it was Don Quixote that said, "Discretion is the better part of valour."

We actually responded to a small forest fire yesterday that wasn't extinguished by a vigilant homeowner or a firefighter-errant out doing good deeds and robbing us of our fair share of glory. It was big enough to be exciting for a brief moment, and small enough that we still got a good night's sleep after it was out. If there is such a thing as the perfect forest fire, that would be it.

Speaking of blazing things, some daredevil scientists in Livermore, California are planning to create a star using the world's largest laser. The plan is to solve the world's energy problems through nuclear fusion. If it works, they might seriously challenge my bid to become king of the world. If you put solving the world's weather problems up against solving the world's energy problems, there's a chance energy might win in our power-hungry world.

The trouble with amazing technologies like nuclear fusion is that they have the potential to solve all of our problems in an in one fiery blast. Maybe these guys should read Don Quixote.


  1. When you become king of the world, can you please fire my captain?

  2. I'll see what I can do. Even the king of the world has limitations.

  3. I don't visit as often as I should. But your blog is very witty and when I clicked on sitemeter it said I was the 2000th visitor to your blog.
    Do I get a new car? Or a piece of an old one?
    Keep up the great work.

    Gerry (aka Teamoakville)

  4. Thanks Gerry. I appreciate the compliment from a veteran blogger (you were my introduction into the Wide World of Blogs). The new car will have to wait until I become king of the world, but you can get a piece of an old one on any extrication training night . . .


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