Skip to main content

Unwillingess to Make Exceptions Results in Further Fire Damage

When the latest California wildfire was raging through Santa Barbara, tanker planes –– the ones that drop water and fire retardant onto the fire –– were forced to fly 120 miles out of the way to Porterville to reload, because the US Forest Service didn't have a contract to use the Santa Maria airport that was only 60 miles away.

According to a story in the San Luis Obispo Tribune, 10 planes were forced to make the hour-long trip over two days while the contracts were worked out, adding an unnecessary five hours to the trip, putting more lives and property at danger.

It seems to me you can come up with a short-term interim contract or even a memo of understanding to fill in the gap while waiting for the regular contract to be filed. But then again, I still use common sense to make decisions, so what do I know?

No one is sure what those wasted five hours would have meant in terms of containing the fire, but some residents who were driven from the area are upset with the air response. The fire turned from a moderate brush fire on Wednesday afternoon to a "wind-driven inferno that burned dozens of homes to the ground."

However, fire service officials are adamant that it was the wind, and not the problematic air response, that led to the fire's growth.

It's always the weather with you people, isn't it.

But this isn't the only time the air response has had problems. In the fall 2007, fire fighting helicopters were grounded for more than a day because of bureaucratic screwups. At the same time, California Air National Guard cargo planes were never equipped with retardant and water tanks.

Ironically, the contract with the Santa Maria airport was cut from year-round to the regular wildfire season in order to save money. Money that, now saved, can be used to help pay for fire damage that might have been prevented with those missing five hours.

If only we could harness the power of bureaucracy to fight fires. Unfortunately it would be glacially slow, require consensus from the entire group, and spend three weeks crafting a mission statement before getting down to the business of putting out fires.

Drew Curtis at had the best quote over the entire incident: Heckuva job there, Smokey!

Like this post? Leave a comment, Digg it, or Stumble it.


Popular posts from this blog

AYFKMWTS?! FBI Creates 88 Page Twitter Slang Guide


Did you get that? It's an acronym. Web slang. It's how all the teens and young people are texting with their tweeters and Facer-books on their cellular doodads.

It stands for "The FBI has created an eighty-eight page Twitter slang dictionary."

See, you would have known that if you had the FBI's 88 page Twitter slang dictionary.

Eighty-eight pages! Of slang! AYFKMWTS?! (Are you f***ing kidding me with this s***?! That's actually how they spell it in the guide, asterisks and everything. You know, in case the gun-toting agents who catch mobsters and international terrorists get offended by salty language.)

I didn't even know there were 88 Twitter acronyms, let alone enough acronyms to fill 88 pieces of paper.

The FBI needs to be good at Twitter because they're reading everyone's tweets to see if anyone is planning any illegal activities. Because that's what terrorists do — plan their terroristic activities publicly, as if they were…

Understanding 7 Different Types of Humor

One of my pet peeves is when people say they have a "dry" sense of humor, without actually understanding what it actually means.

"Dry" humor is not just any old type of humor. It's not violent, not off-color, not macabre or dark.

Basically, dry humor is that deadpan style of humor. It's the not-very-funny joke your uncle the cost analysis accountant tells. It's Bob Newhart, Steven Wright, or Jason Bateman in Arrested Development.

It is not, for the love of GOD, people, the Black Knight scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I swear, if anyone says Monty Python is "dry humor" is going to get a smack.

Here are some other types of comedy you may have heard and are just tossing around, willy-nilly.

Farce: Exaggerated comedy. Characters in a farce get themselves in an unlikely or improbable situation that takes a lot of footwork and fast talking to get out of. The play "The Foreigner" is an example of a farce, as are many of the Jeeves &…

What Are They Thinking? The Beloit College Mindset List

Every year at this time, the staff at Beloit College send out their new student Mindset List as a way to make everyone clutch their chest and feel the cold hand of death.

This list was originally created and shared with their faculty each year, so the faculty would understand what some of their own cultural touchstones might mean, or not mean, to the incoming freshmen. They also wanted the freshmen to know it was not cool to refer to '80s music as "Oldies."

This year's incoming Beloit freshmen are typically 18 years old, born in 1999. John F. Kennedy Jr. died that year, as did Stanley Kubrick and Gene Siskel. And so did my hope for a society that sought artistic and intellectual pursuits for the betterment of all humanity. Although it may have actually died when I heard about this year's Emoji Movie.

Before I throw my hands up in despair, here are a few items from the Mindset list for the class of 2021.

They're the last class to be born in the 1900s, and are t…