Posted by psa on Jul 18th, 2007
Jul 18

They turn off the water you know, as if it was some gigantic spigot. At night and in the off season, when the tourists are not around to admire and be awestruck, they turn it off. Well, not off completely although perhaps that is possible and has actually happened, at least once naturally due to the formation of an ice dam one winter.

During the main part of the tourist season 50% of the water is diverted. At night and during the off season about 75% is diverted. The reasons for doing so are multiple; however, it appears to be an extraordinary waste to let all of that potential energy escape. Instead, they reroute it through the hydroelectric plants on both the Canadian and U.S. sides whose power is then shared, by virtue of international accord, between the interested parties, the US and Canada.

However, power isn’t the only reason for diverting the flow of water. Another major consideration is erosion. The falls are receding toward Lake Erie at a rate of about a couple of inches a year. The rate used to be a foot or so, but the diversion has slowed it down, along with some fix it work on the American Falls by the Army Corp of Engineers, yes, those of Katrina fame.

What is the problem here? Why not just let the falls erode, let nature do its thing? Several reasons, the tourism, shipping and hydroelectric industries all require that the location of the falls be somewhat stabile. Shifting the tourist hotels might be fairly easy, but re-cutting the Welland Ship Canal would be a problem. Another issue is that the bottom of Lake Erie is higher than the bottom of the falls. So, eventually, as the falls recede at whatever rate, the lake will drain.

So, why write this? Who really cares? I like the ironic juxtaposition that environmentalists have concerned themselves with restraining industry and development in the area, when to my way of thinking, they should be concerned with letting the falls return to their natural state. Let them erode. Free the Falls. I want to see the evolution, the change.

Nonetheless, even in their diminished capacity, it is an awesome sight.

PS: For serious fun, try the jet boat trip up the Niagara Gorge.

An Unsolicited Dining Companion

Posted by psa on Jul 15th, 2007
Jul 15

He is sitting the by himself in the bar at McCormick and Schmick’s. This is okay, I eat by myself in restaurants all the time and I am female. Yes, it is harder for us then for you others, but another matter that. There he is. “Yes, sir, we do have a one and a half pound lobster.  Our last one for the evening.” So, he works his way through two plates of assorted other appetizers and at last it arrives, the lobster, shining in its slightly luminescent red glory. Is he awed; slightly worshipful, humbled by the feast laid before him? No, the fool is on his cell phone. So he lays into the lovely thing, this piece of nirvana, one handed, the other hand occupied with clutching his cell phone to the cheek he is determined to stuff.

Now lobster should not, cannot be gobbled down one handedly, distractedly while nattering away on a cell phone. Lobster is to be savored, eaten slowly, bite by bite, to lovingly dip each morsel in drawn butter and then slowly savor its delicate taste and texture. Delighting in its sweetness and licking ones lips. Hmm…. maybe licking someone else’s lips, but I digress. Here before me is my unsolicited dining companion, the result of an unhappy conjunction of circumstance.  He is trying ineffectually to detach the tail meat, which he cannot do without a knife and fork, two hands and a chunk of focus. The best he can do is to roll the tail meat as if it were spaghetti into a huge ball on his fork, then he holds down the shell with the elbow of the cell phone hand and jerks the mass of tail meat away from the shell.

Okay, dip and nibble I think, that could work, but I have forgotten who I am dealing with here and I watch shocked as he shoves he whole ball of tail into his mouth. He is perplexed, what to do? Too much to chew, can’t swallow, worse, can’t talk! Alas, he is forced to hang up the cell phone and attempt to sort the situation out.

Consummate foolishness and a sad waste of a lovely lobster.

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