This Evening: Icebergs

Self found reading about Antarctica so fascinating that she figured everyone else would, too. Late last night she was just beginning Chapter 7 (“Antarctica”) of the book she is currently reading, Sea of Glory: America’s Voyage of Discovery, about the U.S. Exploring Expedition, 1838- 1842.

Self wrote a post that very helpfully pointed out that the leader of aforementioned U.S. Exploring Expedition was responsible for naming southernmost continent Antarctica. Then she threw in a few more salient facts from the chapter.

So, it serves her right to discover today that no one, absolutely no one is interested in Antarctica. And who can blame them? Who (except for self) can find ecstasy in reading a passage like the one reproduced below, from pp. 149-150 of Sea of Glory? Who in their right minds?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

At 5.4 million square miles, the Antarctic Continent is roughly the size of the continental United States and Mexico combined. Almost all of it is perpetually covered in ice that in some areas is more than two miles thick. Since the ice reflects as much as 90 percent of the sun’s solar radiation, this is the coldest place on earth, with an average annual temperature of -22 degrees F. Between 70 and 80 percent of the world’s freshwater is contained in this approximately 6.5-million cubic-mile reservoir of ice and snow, in which is preserved a climate record that goes back 200,000 years. If the Antarctic ice sheet melted, the sea level of the globe would rise by more than two hundred feet.

Antarctica is also the most inaccessible place on earth. Except for the point where the Antarctic Peninsula reaches toward Cape Horn at the Drake passage (a gap of six-hundred plus miles), it is surrounded by a moat of more than two thousand miles called the Southern Ocean. In winter, a six-hundred-mile-wide belt of pack ice seals off the continent. In summer, when the ice begins to retreat, the waters surrounding Antarctica become the mariner’s equivalent of a minefield. Indeed, an appalling vocabulary has been created to describe the appalling variety of icy hazards a navigator encounters as he or she approaches the continent. A “growler” is a piece of sea ice that is about 180 square feet and rises just a few feet above the sea; a “bergy bit” is about the size of a two-bedroom house, while a “floeberg” is described as a “massive piece of sea ice” with a dimpled or “hummocky” surface. But growlers, bergy bits, and floebergs are nothing compared to the vast, flat-topped icebergs that are spawned from the edges of the continent. “Calved” from the fronts of land-based glaciers, these tabular floes are unlike anything seen in the Arctic and are sometimes more that two hundred feet high and a hundred miles long. Making these dimensions even more remarkable is the fact that seven-eighths of a typical iceberg is under water.

What’s New and Exciting on the Internet?

The Economist knows. Or, rather, the ad self saw in the Classifieds section of the latest Economist purports to know.

Self and hubby had just finished dinner. In fact, today self managed to produce a fabulous dinner, thanks to recipe for arroz caldo in Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan’s Memories of Philippine Kitchens, a recipe she followed assiduously (even though it took her all of two hours, from first to last step). And, since hubby had just purchased some tripe from Mexican grocery near our home, self decided to throw that into the mix. And the house smelled heavenly. And hubby was in a very good mood. And self’s tummy is now mucho distended. But never mind.

Anyhoo, after dinner self was resting her weary limbs on couch in front of flat-screen HDTV. The whole day, self had occasion to watch at least four different college football games. She got to see USC wipe the floor with Notre Dame, 38-0, at Notre Dame (USC quarterback Sanchez looks like he could be in the movies). Then she saw part of the Michigan game. And part of the Auburn game. And she knows that Ohio State is the strongest college football team in the country. And she knows that Cal lost to UCLA (major upset). Let’s see, is there anything self is leaving out? If any blog readers care to chime in here, please feel free.

Self called son. He sounded tired. She asked him if he had a weekend free, and he mentioned that as a matter of fact he was “off duty” the coming weekend. Self then asked, why didn’t son spend the weekend at home? And hubby was signaling that he thought it was a bad idea, because of the wear and tear on son’s very old and banged-up Civic. But self told son that if he wanted to take the train, she’d pay for it. And son said he’d think about it and let her know.

And then self opened the latest Economist, and just for fun she decided to start from the back, and her attention was caught immediately by an ad that began:

What’s New and Exciting on the Internet?

As loyal blog readers know, self is always ready to discover anything that’s new and exciting on the internet.

And so she read further and discovered that there is something called SUPREME MASTER TELEVISION, which provides

Positive, Inspirational and Entertaining Programs!
24 Hours a day, 7 Days a week

But, alas, it is only available in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.

Oh, would that SupremeMasterTV were available in the United States! Self is practically gnashing her teeth, as she would so love to watch inspirational programs all the time, it might be something like listening to inspirational tapes/CDs on the way to work. “How To Get Rich in Six Months” would be a very interesting topic, self thinks. Or, “How To Get Thin Without Dieting.” Or, “How to Travel to Nepal on Someone Else’s Dime.”

Then she thinks that she might try suggesting to Dearest Mum that they try taking a trip together next year. She would look on the trip as an experiment. To see if it would really be possible for self to embark on a joint venture with Dearest Mum, to see if they could pull it off without driving one another crazy. Self already knows where she would like to go: Dublin, Ireland, where self has an old and dear friend, a retired priest who lives in a nursing home, and who is none too healthy.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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