Women Are Not Disasters

I had another, comical thought about the storm the other day, stemming from the series of mishaps and whatnots since that day. The day Sandy was chugging up the eastern seaboard, destined to hit New Jersey right square between the eyes, all TV channels were “there first” to bring us the story. The wind began to howl outside like a freight train and at times, during that pounding sound the trees didn’t even seem to be moving.

Okay, so the storm passed. I’m leaving out the obvious because what we went through pales in comparison to what others have and are still going through, even though, let’s face it, no matter how small, you always feel your own hardships. So be it.

So, my comical thought was, I should write to Ellen DeGeneres, magnanimous as she is, and maybe if I tell her we haven’t seen her show in  3 weeks, she might fly us out to be in her audience. Or better yet, for a taping of one of her 12 days of Giveaways for Christmas. The day of the storm, like I said, all channels were focused on Sandy. Then we had no power until Saturday, but the cable didn’t come back until the middle of the next week, but all that was happening during the Ellen time slot were special reports of storm follow up and then of course news of the Nor’easter. Then, mysteriously, this past Monday morning, my cable went out again and as of Tuesday, 50% of the area had been restored. Still, as of today, 20 homes inexplicably still have no service.

So, really, why do hurricanes have such cute harmless sounding names? I looked it up and I will tell you in a nutshell. Apparently it was a hassle trying to figure out how to identify them so all sorts of methods were used; the great storm of such and such a year or naming them after Catholic saints days on which they made landfall; using Greek and Roman mythological characters, Australian politicians (devised by a late 19th century weatherman). In early 20th century, US Air Force and Navy weathermen paid tribute to their wives and sweethearts by naming the storms after them. The military phonetic alphabet was even used for a time but options soon were exhausted. Finally, in 1954, the National Weather Bureau started assigning feminine names to them.

That didn’t sit to well with the feminists of the ‘60’s and by the 70’s, a leader among the National Organization for Women, Roxcy Bolton suggested using Senator’s names, taking her cue from that Australian guy but that idea was poo-pooed. She argued that hurricane was too close to “her”-icane and to replace it with “him”-icane, and stated that “women are not disasters, destroying life and communities and leaving a lasting and devastating effect”. Oh no, Katrina, Irene, Sandy?!

So, in 1979, The NWS and the World Meteorological Association made the switch to alternating female and male names. When a storm is particularly devastating, such as Katrina, and now I suppose Sandy, the names are permanently retired.

I propose a numbering system, by year and event. Since it’s 2012 and Sandy apparently was the 19th named storm, we could called it Hurricane 12-19 or H12-19, if you want to stay kinda cutesy with an abbreviated name.

But then, if we didn’t have names we wouldn’t have graphics like this one that was quite popular on Facebook:

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