Happy Halloween, everyone! In honor of this spooky holiday, it seems only appropriate to devote this week’s post to the most frightening topic of the day.
Hurricane Sandy, with her 85 mph winds and 450-mile reach, is certainly a monster. No argument there.
But “Frankenstorm”? Really?
While I understand that whoever nicknamed this hurricane must have thought they were devilishly clever for replacing “stein” with “storm” (pat yourself on the back, buddy) I would like take a moment to deconstruct this little comparison, and perhaps propose an alternate theory.
The name Frankenstorm does correctly note that Hurricane Sandy is worse than the sum of its parts. Take a regular ol’ tropical storm and add some westward winds from Greenland plus a cold front from the Arctic and voilà! You have created a monster! (More on that here)
If you’re going to continue with this Frankenstein comparison, then the story naturally requires some kind of creator of the thing. Many have pointed the finger at climate change as responsible for the deadly combination of weather anomalies that is Sandy. Though it’s illogical to link a phenomenon such as a hurricane to climate change (because climate change is about long term patterns, and this would be more along the lines of what we like to call “weather), scientists are looking for the possible link between Sandy and that gum wrapper you just threw on the ground.
Adam Frank with NPR reports, “One thing that does seem clear is that warmer oceans (a la global warming) mean more evaporation, and that likely leads to storms with more and more dangerous rainfall of the kind we saw with Hurricane Irene last year.”
Regardless, it’s comically spooky that the one thing that was completely ignored during the presidential campaigns, and, most obviously, at the final presidential debate at Lynn University, has come to wreck havoc on the election.
Obama and Romney ignore the challenge of climate change (David Horsey / LA Times / October 30, 2012)
So here’s what I’m getting at:
If Hurricane Sandy was actually like Frankenstein, then…
1) There would be someone who intentionally created the storm, preferably a mad scientist type
2) People would run into the storm with pitchforks and torches instead of hiding in their houses for safety.
3) The American public would finally realize that “Frankenstein” is the name of the doctor who creates the monster, not the monster itself! (The monster’s name is “Frankenstein’s monster” – sorry for the cliff-hanger there.)
|…and his monster|
|Dr. Victor Frankenstein|
This is just one of those pet peeves we English majors harbor against the general public. Please respect Mary Shelley’s wonderful work of fiction by referring to her characters properly. Thanks!
Now, to replace this nonsensical comparison with my own!
Whether or not you believe in werewolves or are a Twilight fan is completely irrelevant to this discussion. For the sake of comparison, we will only be looking at the supposed facts about werewolves.
Firstly, it is well known that werewolves turn from their human form to their wolf form on the eve of the full moon.
Secondly, if you have any fear of being bitten by a wolf (were- or non-were-) it is wise to prepare yourself. The easiest way to protect yourself from a werewolf is to carry some kind of silver weapon.
Thirdly, (a tidbit you might not know) one method of curing someone from werewolfism (yes that’s the technical term) is exhaustion, meaning that essentially you just have to wait it out.
Full moon you say? National Geographic kindly pointed out that the full moon, which occurred on October 29th (dangerously close to Hallows Eve) is adding to the catastrophe of the storm. Because of the alignment of the Earth with the sun and the moon that occurs during a full moon, there is a stronger pull on the Earth than normal. “This pull can cause a bulge in the ocean that makes high tides a little higher than at other times of the month. These tides are known as “spring” tides, so-called because high tides spring up higher than usual,” reports Willie Drye with National Geographic News.
|courtesy of National Geographic|
Next, just as you can prepare for a werewolf attack, so too can you prepare for a massive hurricane. No silver weapons needed. (Take note, East coasters!…but seriously.)The federal government suggests that you prepare by:
– Being aware of the latest forecast
– Having cash on hand in case ATMs don’t work or the bank is closed
– Have a plan for your family, business, and property
(Wait…in general? Duh. In that order? Hopefully!)
– Assemble a disaster preparedness kit (including a sleeping bag, three days worth of food and water, a first aid kit, games, and more)
– Purchase flood insurance
Well, I’d say that’s pretty similar to werewolf preparedness. You’ve gotta know where the werewolf is, have cash just in case, have a plan for your life (obviously), have a werewolf preparedness kit (minus the sleeping bag, plus a silver sword), and…go to your local voodoo shop and see what “insurance”-type spells you can conjure up.
Finally, if none of that works, the only way to really “cure” the storm is to wait it out. Exhaustion. Just like a werewolf.
It should be quite obvious by now that we should have nicknamed Hurricane Sandy something quite different. (Despite hours of attempting to come up with a clever werewolf and hurricane combo name, I’m stumped. Any suggestions?)Certainly, if there was ever a werewolf attack, I should hope that you are prepared and have a minimal knowledge of the beast.
You should probably also do exactly what the people of New England are doing amidst Hurricane Sandy: if you’re in a safe zone, stay where you are and wait it out. If you’re not in a safe zone, grab your disaster kit and run for your life.