Saturday, July 07, 2007

Just Asking ...

Just Asking (and apologizing for stealing the formula from Jimmy Cannon's "Nobody Asked Me, But .." as channeled by Joe Brancatelli) ...

---Now that summer holiday travel season is lurching along despite every effort of the airlines to make it as difficult as possible, isn't it about time for some new speculative news hysteria about terrorism? I mean, look at the Matt ("All Links All the Time") Drudge site today. It's just sad. That poor nervous boy is reduced to breathlessly linking to items like "Hundreds of goats die in truck crash."

Where's the usual holiday hysteria?

Come on, what are you, on vacation?

Last holiday time, just before Christmas, as you probably don't remember (who can keep track of this stuff?), Brian Ross & The Investigative Team on the oft excitable "Blotter" were man-the-battle-stations-full-speed-ahead on one of those Exclusives That Shall Ever Remain Exclusive:

"London Braces for Attack; 'Miracle' If There Isn't One" said the Dec. 21 headline.

Reported The Blotter on Dec. 21, with a slightly softened follow-up the day after:

"'It will be a miracle is there isn't a terror attack over the holidays in London,' a senior American law-enforcement official tells ... 'It is not a matter of if there will be an attack, but how bad the attack will be,' an intelligence official tells"

And then the exclusive disappeared without a trace. Online hyperventilating means never having to say you're sorry.

Well, maybe it was a Christmas miracle.

Yeah, I know, seven months later a bunch of psychotic Islamic doctors tried and failed to set off bombs in London (evidently without the assistance of skilled technicians), and a couple of these foiled criminal masterminds then raced up to Glasgow where they drove their bomb-laden car into the wall of an airport terminal. And of course there will be more criminal/terrorist attacks, somewhere, anytime.

But hey, where's the hype? It's barely July and I'm already worn out by languid stories on fishing holes and nostalgic essays on families in the firecracker business for many generations, though I am keeping an eye on those creeping, low-key sourced strories about how Iran needs to be taught a lesson next.

But it's the middle of the summer. Isn't it time to juice up the hysteria machine?

Trust me, any day now. is over-due and poor Drudge is sucking wind for links. Depend on it.

--- Just Asking ... Why don't they report the record highs and lows anymore in the paper? I'm reading lots of stories about heat waves in the West. Oooooo. It's 112 in Vegas. Hey, it's summer. It's a desert.

But when did we start forgetting about about good old Death Valley? According to, it was already 106 degrees there at 8 a.m. ("feels like 100," said reassuringly), and the forecast for today's high is 126 degrees. The 10-day forecast is for daily high temperatures well into the 120s.

Now, I myself love 100-degree heat, and so does my wife. This makes us odd, if not certifiable. We're perfectly happy in southern Arizona in the summer.

Heat actually makes me want to go clear brush, which is what I often do at our getaway in the Sonoran desert.

It's the only odd trait I appear to share with our Cowboy President, though I hasten to add that I can actually ride a horse and, unlike Cowboy George, am not the least bit afraid of them. Well, of most of them. I mean, I'm not afraid of horses, even spirited ones, that have been previously trained by somebody else much braver and willing to risk broken bones than I.

Trust me, horses don't come that way out of the box.

Some horses, "if you ain't shit-scared afeard of them, there's something real wrong with your head," as a wrangler who limped off the rodeo circuit once told me.

But I digress.

Incidentally, did you know that Death Valley-area motels actually do a robust business in the summer, thanks to "heat tourists?" Lots of Brits and Germans come over in July to experience real summertime heat. It's great fun to watch the Brits glare at the Germans who always get up earlier to stake out the poolside chairs with their towels. Sort of helps you understand World War I better.

Death Valley shares with various other claimants records for the hottest temperatures officially recorded on earth -- 134 degrees F. in Death Valley. The supposed world record is 135.9 degreees F. in Al 'Aziziyah, Libya, in 1922, but you have to wonder who was doing the recording and in what condition.

A guy who works at the Furnace Creek Ranch in Death Valley told me two Julys ago that routine 116-degree days are easy enough to handle, given the extremely low humidity. But once you get into the mid 120s and higher, he said, "it actually scorches your nasal passages" -- dry heat or not.

That's a deal-killer for me. Still, I'm looking at least for the North American record this summer.

And lastly:

---Just asking ... How come the Funny Pages ain't the least bit?


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