Storm Callum

Storm Callum is upon us today, here in England. And it is indeed pretty wet and windy right now.

But I’m wondering why these weather systems are increasingly being given names. Do they need to be given names? To give a storm system a name is to also give it its own personality and even purpose, a bit like last winter’s Beast From The East, which returned after having departed. They become entities in themselves when they’re given names. They become creatures, animals, spirits. The natural world is being re-animated, and populated with magical new lifeforms. Ours is becoming a newly demon-haunted world.

If we’re going to name these storm systems, why not use the names of the old Norse gods, and call them Storm Odin, or Storm Thor, or Storm Frigg. Today’s Friday, which is Frigg’s day, so shouldn’t Storm Callum really be called Storm Frigg? Or just Frigg? And shouldn’t the weather forecasters tell us, “Stay indoors, because Frigg is coming!” And then all the old Norse gods will have come back to life.


And if we are re-animating storm systems, we’ve already re-animated tobacco smoke. It’s become a magical vapour, which can go through walls, and hunt down children in their beds. Tobacco smoke has become an entity, a spirit.

Another one is the re-animation of the whole world, as Gaea. And the virginal Gaea is a goddess who needs to be protected from greedy, rampaging human rapists.

Christianity and science dispelled these old gods and goddesses, but now they’re coming back. We are being encouraged to engage in magical thinking. We are being encouraged to believe that our diseases are not caused by bacteria or viruses, but by tobacco smoke, or alcohol, or fast food. Carbon dioxide is no longer just a gas composed of carbon and oxygen, but has become an entity armed with the magical power, in the tiniest quantities, of being able to heat up the entire world. And we have become children being told fairy stories – only fairy stories we must believe. And we are being told the stories by the highest authorities in the land.

It’s perhaps why both Science and Christianity are in retreat. We’re seeing the return of the old pagan world. It was one filled with spirits and demons and fairies and goblins. And ours is being repopulated with them. And both Science and Christianity are being pushed out of the door. We tend to see Science and Christianity as in opposition. But perhaps they’re not, and never were.

For myself, Storm Callum is just a spinning mass of air. It possesses momentum. And it’s come rolling across the ocean like a wheel, or a spinning top. And it’s no more a living thing than wheels or spinning tops are.

In my view, living things work to stay alive. They have to expend energy in order to acquire energy: like wolves must hunt in order to catch deer. And while spinning storm systems can gain energy, I don’t see them expending any energy in order to acquire that energy. Most of their energy is acquired gratis from the Sun, as a gift. And most of the energy that powers other natural processes, such as rivers, is also derived gratis from the Sun, as a gift, as it evaporates water into the atmosphere, from which it falls later as rain.

But plants are living things because they must construct and deploy leaves to capture the sunlight that arrives gratis from the Sun. And they have to convert the energy of sunlight into energy stored in sugar. And the animals that eat the sugar-filled plants must expend energy in grazing on these plants. Living things must work to stay alive. And storms and rivers are not living things because they perform no work of this kind, even if they can be yoked by watermills and windmills.

So I don’t think that Storm Callum merits being given a name, however energetic it might be. I think that only living things merit being named. And perhaps only merit being given names if they can also answer to those names, and come when they’re called..

About Frank Davis

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17 Responses to Storm Callum

  1. RdM says:

    “I think that only living things merit being named.”

    Like Carolus Linnaeus is the father of taxonomy?

    But, well, humans started naming cyclones, hurricanes, storms some time ago …

    As you know.

    I’m reminded of Frank Zappa’s song, Call Any Vegetable

    Call any vegetable
    (Call any vegetable)
    Call it by name
    (Call any vegetable)
    Call one today
    (Call any vegetable)
    When you get off the train
    (Call any vegetable)
    Call any vegetable
    And the chances are good
    Ooooh! The vegetable
    Will respond to you

    And oddly, I’ve noticed than when I appear to have mislaid an object, say a tool, if I call out loud, say, “Where is my hammer?”, somehow my subconcious mind manages to point me to it…


    • Frank Davis says:

      Do you have a name for your hammer? And not just “hammer”, but “Harry” or “Harriet” or “Henry” or “Henrietta”.? And do you call out something like, “Come out from wherever you’re hiding, Henrietta!”? If so, you’ll be just like our Met Office.

  2. rms says:

    The Met office is jealous of American’s who have names for hurricanes (which are real storms—most of the time).

  3. beobrigitte says:

    For my offspring in Scotland I christened “Storm Callum” last night “Storm Didnae” (did nae ‘appen).
    It is windier here in Liverpool, but it’s nothing out of the ordinary.
    One of these years there will be a “Storm Sh*t” happening. And I do hope it’s going to be a big one that destroys all things anti-smoking!!!

  4. Rose says:

    I have no problem with naming storms, it means that when you look back you can refer to the individual storm and name it in conversation so people will understand exactly which storm you are talking about. For instance, I had such wonderful harvests of cherries and plums this year because the Beast From The East delayed the blossom opening until later than usual.

  5. Doonhamer says:

    So that certain people can say that a future named Storm beats all previous named Storms, ever.
    Unprecedented no less. Thus proving that we need more wind turbines to stop runaway Global Worming.

  6. Joe L. says:

    In the US, it used to be that only hurricanes/tropical storms/tropical depressions received human names. A few years back, however, they started giving human names to winter storms, as well. I guess it helps add drama, intrigue and hype to what used to simply be boring snowstorms.

    My hypothesis as to the reason behind giving storms human names is that it provides people with something to blame for inconvenience/devastation caused by unexplainable acts of nature. This is the same reason why people cling to the “Smoking Causes Lung Cancer” and “Carbon Dioxide Cause Climate Change” dogmas.

  7. Joe L. says:

    Another sad addition to the Smokers’ Graveyard, Frank:

    Crewmember Dies After Fall on Set of Tom Hanks Mister Rogers Movie

    A sound crewmember on the Tom Hanks-starring Mister Rogers biopic has died after he fell two stories from a Mount Lebanon, Pa., building Thursday night on the set of the film, according to the Associated Press and numerous reports.

    The AP reported that James Emswiller, 61, fell off a second-story balcony of an apartment building around 7:30 p.m. Thursday during a break in filming. He died later at the hospital. Mount Lebanon police told the Associated Press that he fell over a brick wall on the balcony.

    Based on witness accounts, the police said, Emswiller, who worked as a sound crewmember for the production company and lives in the Pittsburgh area, was “alone on the balcony taking a cigarette break when he may have suffered a medical emergency resulting in his fall from the balcony.”

    Officers found Emswiller on the ground behind the building with several crewmembers, including a set medic, attempting life-saving measures. Officers assisted with CPR and an EMS crew from Medical Rescue Team South arrived soon after, the police said. He was then taken to UPMC Mercy Hospital where he was in critical condition. By 830 a.m. ET Friday morning, it was reported he died.

    • Joe L. says:

      ABC Regrets Firing Roseanne; “We Didn’t Think It Through Properly”

      Good. Fuck ABC. I hope the new Roseanne-less show fails miserably. It’s about time rampant, unchecked, knee-jerk political correctness affects the bottom line of a corporate media monster. Maybe–just maybe–others will start thinking before they act.

      If only smoking bans had the same effect on the Big Boys. But no, they only destroy the livelihoods of millions of insignificant smokers and publicans. Nothing to see here; move along.

  8. Clicky says:

  9. Joe L. says:

    OT: We smokers know that the new religion worships the god of health, so it was only a matter of time until something like this was published:

    How climate change will affect your health

    A report, apparently published last year (strange that it took so long for the mainstream media to capitalize on this fearmongering goldmine) by the “Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health” (there really exists such an organization?) claims that Climate Change is going to be responsible for an increase in disease-carrying insects, contaminated water, bacterial infections, mental health issues, type-2 diabetes, respiratory problems, stroke and car crashes, along with a decrease in food inspections.

    I couldn’t have written satire this ridiculous.

    • Frank Davis says:

      “Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health”

      How wonderful. And just when I’m putting together simulation models of ice ages.

      Climate Change is just their new name for Global Warming. They’re not in the least bit interested in ice ages, because I bet “disease-carrying insects” aren’t abundant in ice ages, nor much in the way of “contaminated water” with so much water trapped in pure ice sheets.

  10. Pingback: Who Fell To..? – Library of Libraries

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