Friday 21 January 2005

Hail to the Chief

From the ABC :
Storms have swept across southern New South Wales and the ACT, leaving about 23,000 houses without power and causing extensive damage to some homes.

Wind speeds of up to 120 kilometres an hour and large hailstones damaged more than 100 homes across the Riverina, ripped part of the roof off a TAFE [College of Technical and Further Education] at Griffiths and virtually destoyed a pub at Mattong, near Junee.
Homes and businesses were blacked out around Wagga, Griffith, Leeton and Temora, as well as in the Shoalhaven, while storms also passed through Yass and Braidwood.

Hail stones measuring 2.5 centimetres were recorded near Berrigan in the southern Riverina.
The SES [State Emergency Service] has also responded to a number of calls for help around Canberra, after a large hailstorm swept over much of the ACT.

Rain is continuing to come down across the region, with reports of hail the size of 20 cent pieces.
That's the size of a US Quarter, or a UK 10p piece.

I can confirm that the ones that hit us averaged that size, and the very largest ones were smaller than tennis balls - just. Most were the size of ice cubes you get from the fridge, coming down at what, 60-100 kph? Enough to leave serious bruises, anyway. The one I retrieved for Andrew (my 3 year old son) was only 3cm across, but was one of the smaller ones. It's just that it was also one of the nearest to the door, as getting hit by these things hurt. The things we do for our kids. OK, for me too.

Fortunately, the skylight glass we had put in a few years ago performed as advertised, and didn't shatter despite some very direct hits by quite large chunks of ice.

Then there's the subject of President Bush's second term, and his inauguration. A word which always suggests to me something painful involving a large, helical drill. Ewwww.

From the ABC again :
US President George W Bush embarks on his second term in office today with world leaders expressing hope that future relations with the US will be marked by more openness and greater consensus on the international level.

Mr Bush will take the oath today in the 55th US presidential swearing-in.
"Swearing-In"? That term's more applicable to Democrats, whose language will no doubt involve considerable swearing and many blasphemous oaths.
"It is not just France that must make concessions. A new relationship means that we respect each other. We are allies," French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier told CNN television.
And with Allies like them, who needs enemies.
"The French want to move on, and so do the Americans.
About 47% of them anyway. is a creature of the Democratic party, and has been since its inception.
Referring to the widespread criticism of France in the American press, he said: "It is not fair always to make a caricature of France.

"Just because the French say something, it doesn't mean it is wrong."
But that's what the smart money is betting on. Still, he did say it wasn't always fair.

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