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Reblogged:Friday Hodgepodge

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Four Things

1. While I was never in the path of Hurricane Ida, I kept apprised of the storm out of concern for my mother, who lives in central Mississippi. In the process of trying to get an idea of how the storm might affect her, I learned of the Windy website/app, which I have since incorporated into the my hurricane watching suite.

The information from the National Hurricane Center was quite good, but not as fine-grained as I wanted in this case. I was pretty sure Ida wasn't going to bring hurricane conditions to my mother's neck of the woods, but I wanted to get a better idea of what it would do.

Remembering someone raving about the site nailing a hurricane ten days in advance, I went there. Windy offers four different models, projections up to ten days ahead, the ability to zoom, and a map overlay. It was easy to see that the worst-case scenario, absent a tornado, was 35 mph sustained winds for a few hours in the middle of the Monday after landfall.

I don't think my mother was as worried as I was, but my sleeping better was still worth it. Conditions proved to be within the range of the available models.

Mom was fine, although without power for a little over a day. (Katrina had left her town in dark for a week.)

And if you don't have to worry about hurricanes? Take a look, anyway. The app has all kinds of weather information and displays it very well.
Image by Mrs. Van Horn. Feel free to re-use.
2. Meet Ethel, the anhinga who took up sitting on our fence every evening a week or so ago, pictured at right. I see birds of this kind often in Florida, usually drying out their feathers by a lake. That's because they hunt underwater, where they spear fish with their long, sharp beaks -- but lack waterproofing and can't fly when wet.

But Ethel has been the first I have been able to observe up close, and for several days, I had no idea what kind of strange bird I was looking at. She stood out mainly for her long neck and ungainly movement atop the fence. But a couple of days ago, she spread her wings out to dry them on the shore of the lake, and I instantly recognized what kind of bird she was.

Among the several other names for this bird, I think water turkey suits them best.

3. In the most recent installment of the long-running saga of the dental health effects caused by a childhood accident comes a new cast member: Listerine.

I recently had to begin rinsing with it as an adjunct to the special attention I am having to pay a dental implant that was not quite correctly installed.

Naturally, after noticing that it contains something like 25% ethanol, I wondered why the state isn't trying to protect everyone from attempting to get drunk from it. In answer to that question, I found the following, upon translating my question into the cultural vernacular. Can you get drunk off Listerine?
Many mouthwashes contain compounds such as menthol, eucalyptol and thymol. These ingredients can be toxic when consumed in amounts large enough to become drunk from mouthwash. Just in case you think I'm making this stuff up, there is a case study of fatal mouthwash ingestion. [link omitted]
I believe I read elsewhere that the alcohol in Listerine, whose percentage is well below the 70% needed for it to serve as an effective antiseptic, is there as a solvent.

That said, even the newfangled flavors they sell now, as opposed to the nasty yellow flavor I recall from childhood, are so gross, I can't see how anyone would manage to drink enough of it, let alone hold it down long enough to suffer ill effects.

4. Everyone knows that gumbo is of French and African origin, but many are likely unaware of an Amerind influence. Atlas Obscura takes a look into this, noting the Choctaw origins of filé, a powder made from sassafras that is used to thicken some varieties.

There is also some discussion of a variety of gumbo made with greens, as well as a recipe towards the end.

-- CAV

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