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MARTHA SEZ: ‘Proof of actual rainfall!’

November 7, 2019
By MARTHA ALLEN , Lake Placid News

Halloween was last Friday. In Keene Valley, a phalanx of trick-or-treaters and their parents streamed house to house through the rain and the dark under a moving roof of umbrellas. It was warm enough outside that the children didn't need to hide their costumes under winter coats, but the rain was heavy, and sporadic wind gusts made it difficult to keep the umbrellas from blowing away.

"Would you have wanted to go out trick-or-treating in this weather?" a dubious adult asked.

"As a child? For candy? Yes, definitely," I said. I think the parents were good sports. Maybe they were looking forward to going home, changing their clothes and sitting down to a hot dinner or a glass of wine.

Meanwhile, across the state of California, wind-driven wildfires raged. On television and on the internet, the fires are terrifying to see, especially if you have family living in California, as I do. I consult KTLA, virtual channel 5, to keep up with what's going on.

It doesn't rain much in California. This becomes apparent when we see news items on KTLA about what is termed "actual rainfall."

Actual rainfall in Southern California surprised forecasters Saturday, KTLA reported. Readers sent in videos of actual raindrops on car windshields, actual raindrops pattering briefly on the flagstones of a courtyard. Look at this! Californians seemed to say. Proof of actual rainfall! They marvel at videos of light rainfall the way we would marvel at videos of UFOs or yetis in our neighbors' backyards.

I was struck by the actual rain videos because on Halloween night I woke up to find that, in my sleep, I had been mentally deploying the rain that was pounding on my roof to douse the wildfires in California. This happened not once but several times. In my mind I was sending the storm across the USA in order to protect my daughter Molly, my son-in-law Jim, and my grandchildren Emma and Jack.

Before you accuse me of delusions of grandeur, let me quickly add that I am not trying to take credit for the actual rain that fell in Southern California the next day. I feel sure that Jim's parents, who live in the Boston area, were also mentally pushing rain from the East Coast to the West Coast. That's a long way, and it is to be expected that by the time the rain arrived it had been reduced from a deluge to a sprinkle.

What sign is the moon in, anyway? I washed nine pairs of socks and every pair came out of the machine intact. No strays! No singletons! Unprecedented. Mercury can't be retrograde. Can it?

Yes. Mercury has been retrograde since Halloween.

As you know, when the planet Mercury is retrograde, appearing to travel backwards through the night sky, astrologers tell us that human endeavors go haywire. Astronomers, however, inform us that the Mercury retrograde myths are not true. I have neither the time or the space to explain the science here. Suffice it to say that the socks matched.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has recently threatened to cut off FEMA and other federal wildfire relief aid to California.

Last Sunday morning he tweeted, "The Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, has done a terrible job of forest management. I told him from the first day we met that he must 'clean' his forest floors regardless of what his bosses, the environmentalists, DEMAND of him. Must also do burns and cut fire stoppers ..."

This is reminiscent of his assertion, a year ago, that Finnish President Sauli Niinist told him that the Finns prevent wildfires by raking the forest floor. When asked about this, Niinist politely said he did not recall having said anything of the kind.

The issue launched a spate of humorous Finnish forest-raking videos. Finns pointed out that the Finnish climate is nothing like that of Southern California, featuring, as it does, considerable actual rainfall, some of it heavy, and cold, snowy winters. None of this has shaken our president's conviction that assiduous raking is the key to wildfire management in California.

In other news, I keep hearing about "kitchen table issues," pertaining to supposed family discussion of health insurance. But whose family sits at a kitchen table anymore? Who has a kitchen big enough to hold a table where a family can sit around discussing health insurance, even if they are so disposed? Who even understands health insurance? I want to know.

Have a good week.



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