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THE HAIR HOUSE

Natures Chea-pet

My wife and I, on road trips, keep our eyes peeled to the signage (my wife's term) come-ons for beauty shops (aka shoppes). The choice of store-front names is sometimes worth remembering. Near the Lynchburg, Virginia airport there is the Hairport. There is no need to wait on a runway when you need a trim if you are in Lynchburg. Gary Larson advanced one increment of his many increments of fame with his "Buck and Cut" establishment that featured an electric bull instead of a barber's chair. My wife went to a "Hair Hut" for a while. Charlottesville's phone book has Chateau Darlene, Che's Beauty Salon (I thought he was killed in Bolivia), Country Cutting on 19 Deer Drive, the Crowning Touch, Grill's Hair Styling (that's a hot place), Hair Graphics, Hair to Please, Imelda's Beauty Salon (perhaps you can get shoes there as well), and Mane Cut. Check your yellow pages for your local salons.

So what does all this have to do with climate? Well consider the recent book review in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. (Tornado! 84 Minutes, 94 Lives by J. M. O'Toole, 1993 in paperback by the publisher DATABOOKS). In the book there is the story of the "Hair House". The Hair House Tornado began in Petersham, the current home town of David Foster and a stones throw from the Harvard Forest LTER site, then made its way to Worcester where it crafted the Hair House. This Tornado, in Worcester, is known as the Worcester Tornado (7 June 1953). O'Toole writes, "A house in the path of the tornado was bombarded by stalks of grass and straw carried by the wind. Its velocity drove the stalks and stems into the clapboard siding of the house in such quantity that it would be called the 'hair house'." A mother and her child were lifted and transported 400 feet. And you thought it would be hard to get a gopher turtle into the air to make a turtle-in-a-hailstone. Four riders in a car decided to ride out the storm. Seventy five yards in flight after a Harrier style take-off, and they ended up on a house roof. A bit of hospitalization and they were off to their next great adventure. A Worcester neurosurgeon, called to autopsy duty at the morgue, reported that one tornado victim had lost his "entire intracranial contents." He goes on to note that there must have been a "tremendous suction to remove the cranial contents." Speaking of sucking sounds try this one on. Nature 125:728-729 (1930) "Whirlwind sucks up carp and pike." The waterspout in question happened on May 15, 1586 at Kestrzan in Bohemia. This whirlwind carried the water of two ponds into the air and with all the carp and pike that they contained. File this one under core area: disturbance and fish dispersal.

Photo: I, Cszmurlo. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License

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