Measuring Tornadoes, Earthquakes, Hurricanes and TRAFs

east-coast-earthquakeBoy, Henry, you’re really feelin’ your oats today.  You’re going to trash the Richter Scale?

Well…  Quick raise of hands:  How many people reading this know exactly how the Richter Scale works?  C’mon…be honest.  You know that one number is a whole lot worse than the last, and that’s about it.   Imagine your kid comes home from school and tells you that instead of a 75 on the math test, he got…an 85.  “Freddy, you didn’t just mess up a little…you are officially dead meat”.

Truth is, for every whole number on the Richter Scale, there’s 30 TIMES THE ENERGY RELEASED!  (TEN times the magnitude!). That’s pretty bad!  And I have no idea what ole Charlie Richter was thinking.  For the average guy, when you go from a six to a seven and that’s…a little bit more.  If I were re-doing it, I’d have something simple that everyone could understand.  A little rumble…well, that’s a four…not so bad.  That big one that sank the entire nation of Ruwanda?  Well, that one is a ninety-seven.  I can wrap my brain around that concept.  5.8??  What does it mean?

tornadoTornadoes and Hurricanes: Perhaps I’m just meteorlogically dyslexic, but I keep getting mixed-up as to whether an F-1 tornado is the worst, or an F-5.  In auto racing, F-1 is pretty much at the top of the heap.  Please don’t write in to explain…I know that an F-5 is worse….I think.  Same thing with hurricanes…and tropical storms.

 A tropical storm almost sounds nice:  We were sunbathing in St. Martin when a tropical storm arose.  We ducked under a palm tree and had another Mai Tai.  But, the way things are right now, you can have a tropical storm…goose the wind speed up about 5 miles an hour and now…you’re in trouble with a hurricane.  And to be absolutely honest, I don’t have a ready recall as to just how much worse a Cat 5 hurricane is than a Cat 4.  Yes, I can Google it in four seconds, but that isn’t the point.  It’s not intuitive…and something like that should be.

TRAFs:  Which cleverly and adroitly brings me to the point of this article:  TRAFs.  Did anybody guess it yet?  Eeeeewww…  Yes, that’s why I tiptoed into this nauseating topic by resorting to the cowardly technique of spelling it backwards.  The impetus of this article came about half an hour ago, when our three Boston terriers, Scooter, Gigi, and Moose leaped onto our bed, burrowed under the covers and then…traffed.   Pamela, who sleeps on the left side of the bed, gave the early warning.  She said, “Oh GOD… This is a bad one!”  Chicken liver that I am, I reflexively stopped breathing and jumped out of the bed, but it was still too late.

SBD:  Now, the only category of TRAF that I am aware of is the SBD TRAF….. Silent But Deadly.  They are kinda self-explanatory but did you ever sit in a movie theater, minding your own business and suddenly…the aisle starts to empty?  People stand up and look around.  There’s usually some flat slob sitting there…grinning.  Why don’t TRAFs seem to bother the perpetrator???  No one has ever explained that to me.  Why do they sit there and grin at you?

01-02 BBB Scootie doing what he does bestBoston Terriers:  In the prestigious Westminster Dog Show, they have categories for sporting dogs, non-sporting dogs (what the hell is that?) and other strange categories which I also don’t understand.  I submit to you that any Boston Terrier would take First Prize in the category of: Traffing Dogs.  I’m serious.  I made the mistake of giving each of them one of my little miniature shredded wheats at breakfast yesterday.  It was bad. Open the doors and wave ’em back-and-forth bad.


37 Cents a Fart and Other Infamous Animal Stories:  This is an amazing book, written by an incredibly gifted writer…just can’t remember his name, but he actually addresses the problem in an entire chapter.  I have to applaud his sensitivity as well as his bravery.  Apparently, he eventually solved the problem, only with very, very expensive dog food ingredients.  In the end, he calculated that each time one of his Bostons traffed, (which is a very large number) it set him back…37 Cents.  I really like that book…and there were about 40 other chapters that were, if anything, even more amazing!                                                   


23-02 AAA Reginald Van Scooter the Fourth of CrossBowI submit to you that something should be formally done to categorize TRAFs.  My thought is that the first one should be categorized as:  Awesome.   That word has come to mean pretty much nothing.  “Wow, that was an awesome French fry.”  I would keep the SBD.  It’s short, descriptive and to the point.  Perhaps the next one could be:  CTR:  Clear the Room!  And perhaps the last:  DBF  Death by Fart.


Today in particular, I am proud to post my paper bag of shame photo…


P.S.  One of my secret goals in this article was to not actually print the word, fart at all…though I see that in the last paragraph, the word, fart, actually did appear.  But I only wrote fart once…not bad.  Hey wait a minute…Doh!!!


3 Responses to "Measuring Tornadoes, Earthquakes, Hurricanes and TRAFs"

  1. Hi Henry,
    I enjoy your articles very much and appreciate your sense of humor. It seems to me that your sense of humor increased from the time we were stationed at Keesler AFB. I guess it is because of the wonderful treatment of your gorgeous wife. Thanks too much!
    Mo and Su

  2. Collin Craig says:

    Really didn’t know where you were going with this latest article. Well, I know now. While it’s funny, I think you are wise to don that paper bag when you write. Probably facilitates your being able to travel outside your house.
    Collin C.

  3. Ya got me! Liked the blog, particularly wondering what the hell a non-sporting dog is. But I really loved the link to your book. Where do I get one?
    Perry S.

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