We finished up 2005 with the warmest New Year's Eve on record for Denver--66 degrees, which isn't
*all* that warm. It's three degrees cooler than last week's warmest Christmas on record for Denver,
which, at 69 degrees, beat the previous record by three degrees Fahrenheit.
Not quite three weeks before--on December 7th--the records for the coldest recorded low and high
temperatures for the day were broken, with thirteen below and only three above...*also* breaking
the previous record by three degrees.
Mere coincidence? Or an indication of some deeper secret political
conspiracy? My money's on the former.
But the most memorable weather-related event of the month for me broke no records and had nothing
to do with the temperature; it was the result of nothing more than the wind.
I ought to pause for a moment and explain that I've yet to see a giant inflatable holiday decoration
that I've liked. In recent years I've seen piles of these things appear and subsequently disappear
near the entrances of grocery stores and Wal-Marts, like the symptoms of some unpleasant
veneral disease that primarily affects warehouse stores.
But since they *do* disappear, I have to assume that large numbers of people, upon seeing a nine-foot, bloated
balloon made in the shape of Santa Claus, Frankenstein's monster, or a football player, think, "my,
wouldn't that be charming to have blocking my front door?" Or "Hey! That would look perfect with its
head squished up against the ceiling as it fills up the north half of my efficiency apartment!"
To be fair, I shouldn't be finding fault with these kinds of things: my decorating style has its share of quirks, too.
And there are some positive things you can say about nine-foot, bloated, inflatable holiday decorations. They're
pretty easy to take out with a crossbow, for one thing.
- however, I am not fair, so I'll just go on finding fault with ugly inflatable decorations anyway. So there.
Getting back to December's weather, not long after Christmas, I was heading off to (appropriately enough) a
Wal-Mart and happened to drive past a business that had one such giant inflatable Santa Claus proudly displayed
in the parking lot in front of its entrance.
I think this was an extra-big, commercial-grade model, which normally would have stood more like fifteen feet
tall. I say "normally" because (yes, this really does have something to do with the weather) this afternoon, the
area I was in was experiencing fairly steady winds in excess of forty miles per hour. That's pretty speedy. When
I did eventually get to the Wal-Mart, the shopping carts were blowing out of the "cart corrals" and windsurfing
themselves out towards the street.
Giant inflatable Santa, on the other hand, remained firmly anchored to the pavement by his feet, and was blown
flat onto the ground by the wind, where his entire body waved in the wind almost like a flag.
*Almost* -- The shape of this inflatable product, combined with the speed and direction of the wind,
particularly brought out the bucking motion of his hips and, in fact, produced what was absolutely the most
lifelike simulation of a sexual act by any inflatable device that I have ever seen. Flags normally *don't* do that...in
fact, even doing that *to* a flag is probably illegal in most states.
If I'd had a video camera with me, you'd probably have seen it yourself already, because I'm sure a video clip of it
would be all over the net inside of three hours, tops. I didn't. If you're really curious about it, you could
try re-creating a similar experience with some balloon animals; I don't think it would measure up to the unexpected
sight of a fifteen-foot humping Santa next to the street, but I'm sure it could still be emotionally rewarding in its
*And* you could have the foresight to have a video camera handy while you're doing it.