Power plants feel the heat

July 27, 2006|by TIM ROWLAND

So, is the power back on yet in Maugansville? And to think, they laughed at you for buying that generator in preparation for Y2K. Well, who's laughing now?

Maugansville residents I talked to said they had a bad feeling about the situation when they basically heard people from the power company walking around saying, "Anyone know where we can get our hands on some poles?"

Last week's storm knocked down about a half-dozen of them, which were replaced with gazelle-like speed at the rate of about one every six hours. That led folks in the area to consider planting a forest of pine trees so next time they'll be better prepared.

It should scare you that a thunderstorm was able to knock out electricity for a day and a half. Because I don't think the squirrels are going to take this lying down. They fancy themselves to be to power outages what Uri Geller is to bending spoons, and I doubt they will be too happy about playing second banana to a cold front.


I always thought it was touching the way the linemen would always strive to protect our feelings by trying to save us from the knowledge that - in spite of our inconvenience - an animal had lost its life in the explosion.

A transformer would blow and everybody in the neighborhood would be standing around asking what the problem was and they would say "oh, we don't know" at the same time they're telescoping a fiberglass pole up to the powerpack to remove the flash-fried carcass from the insulators.

But even with our squirrels and storms, we can take comfort in the fact that we are not California, where they are on the edge of blackouts because - I hope you are sitting down for this - it is hot this summer.

Weirdest thing, it gets hot in the summer. It gets hot every summer. In fact, free of charge, I will give you this forecast: Summer, 2007: hot. Summer 2008: hot. Summer 2009: hot. Summer 2739: hot.

I am a genius at this. How do I see into the future and know that summers are going to be hot? I can't really say. It must be a gift.

A gift that no one in politics or the power industry seems to have, since every summer when it gets hot they seem flabbergasted that this wasn't finally the year that a July passed without the temperature getting above 72.

No, they always seem to be unprepared that people are using their air conditioners. They say it is "unseasonably hot." And that makes a difference. Surely, we all know a lot of people who do not use their air conditioners if it's 99 degrees, but if it hits 102, well, a man can only stand so much.

What I think we need is a huge government public-relations campaign like it did during the energy crunch in the '70s. You know, make it real for the people. Instead of Jimmy Carter in front of the cameras symbolically wearing a sweater, you could have Jennifer Garner symbolically wearing nothing.

For people who think humor is easy, this last joke was a lot harder than it seemed. Being a pop-culture ignorant, I had to visit the Web to find an actress, and I needed one with a she-sounding name in case other pop-culture ignorants were reading this. What I found were a bunch of first names like Drew, Reese, Uma, Charlize, Milla, Sigourney, Halle, Rosario and Portia.

These aren't girls' names, these are pastas.

"Waiter, could I have a dish of the rosario on the side in an alfredo sauce?"

"I can give you the milla with an alfredo, but the rosario only comes with a portia sauce."

"Do you get sigourneys with that?"

"We're out. But the halles are good. They're like umas, but they're drizzled with charlize."

I mean with Marilyn Monroe you knew where you stood, but Reese?

And I can only assume these are given names. Stars change their names all the time, and you can see why Alphonso D'Abruzzo would rather be Alan Alda or Issur Danielovitch would switch to Kirk Douglas. But who would go out of their way to choose "Uma?" That's one you change your name from.

There's something going on though, because to be a Hollywood star these days you would appear to need a weird name. Of course, it could just be a California thing.

Maybe it's the heat.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. Send e-mail to him at

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