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Jun. 2nd, 2012

We have some evidence that the house was struck by lightning recently. Not directly, of course. If it had been we wouldn't need evidence. There was a house in the development struck by lightning last year and that's extremely striking, what with how four-fifths of it wasn't there anymore, and the sides of the houses beside it were either burned or melted.

However, over the weekend and the start of this week we accumulated pieces of data that suggest something happened. The first was with my parents' television set. The set itself has been a little wonky for ages --- the picture flutters and distorts like an alien energy being on the original Star Trek, at least until it sufficiently warms up --- but now the cable box wasn't showing anything but an error code which their technical support people couldn't identify. Their guess was that the access card had shorted out, and they promised to send a replacement priority mail which should fix everything.

Then, too, was the DSL. It's been prone to suddenly failing, yes, but over the weekend it went from blacking out on occasional Fridays to going through intermittent hours of service with intermittent hours of blackout. While working through the issue with their tech support --- and a surprisingly responsive person who actually listened to what I was saying --- we tried replacing the DSL filter thingy and found that there was just a steady source of static from something on the phone lines, with our modem the apparent cause. But it also sounded like something fried at least one DSL filter.

The other piece of evidence was the other phone, from which we swiped a DSL filter in order to test the first filter. That phone unit's dead. No dial tone, no signal, no nothing. It was plugged in and the base station was fine, but, the phone itself wouldn't respond to any button anywhere. No great loss since the phone wasn't very good and the clock would lose its timekeeping every few days (and it was the answering machine, so we kinda wanted to know what time calls came in). But the phone needs replacing certainly.

All this could be coincidence, certainly. Our DSL has never been very good and the modem being faulty is a good guess, as is the filter being faulty. Phones do die. And access cards can short out anytime. But all these did come to a head in short order after a severe thunderstorm, one producing over 82 inches of rain in two minutes before it got heavy. It's a possibility, at least.

Trivia: The New York Mutuals baseball club of the late 1860s was packed with secretly professional players nominally employed by the city's coroners. Source: But Didn't We Have fun? An Informal History Of Baseball's Pioneer Era, 1843 - 1870, Peter Morris.

Currently Reading: Undersea Quest, Frederik Pohl, Jack Williamson.

PS: One Way To Fall Over, as I start figuring out how to make a box fall over.

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