Just Call Me Geoff

Over time, more and more people have taken to calling me Mr. Fox. It’s a little disturbing, because I don’t want to be that old.

I usually tell them, “My name is Geoff. Mr Fox lives in a condo in Florida.”

Of course Mr. is the least of the titles you can have with your name. You could be Dr., or Rev., or Senator, or… well the list is nearly endless.

A few years ago, while perusing the British Airways website I came across their choice of titles. I saw the list cited today on another website and thought I’d post it here – just for fun.

Some are so obscure, I have no idea what they could possibly be. I do know, few holders of these titles will ever be flying with me in Row 39, aft of the wing.

Click the list and choose a title. They’re free.

Haiti Floods

Every time I read the wire service reports about the deaths in Haiti, the death toll grows. That this disaster has happened, and happened in such a horrific way shouldn’t be a surprise to those who know the island of Hispaniola, it’s weather and the history of the eastern side.

It is no one’s fault that two feet, or more, of rain has fallen between May 18-25 (here’s a satellite estimate from NASA’s TRMM project). No one can be blamed for the mountainous interior of the island which forces runoff to congregate in swift flowing rivers. But decades of irrational land management are surely a contributing factor in this devastation.

I have been to Hispaniola three times. My family and I vacationed at the Club Med in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic in the 90s. In the 70s, I visited Club Med’s “Magic Isle” village on the Haitian side.

I remember leaving the airport in Port au Prince and driving cross country to the club. I had been to places marked with poverty, but never to the extent that I saw there. We crossed rivers, marked with signs warning of malaria. As I remember, I had to medicate with quinine for malaria protection.

The club sat on the coast with a magnificent view of rugged mountains. Though in the tropics, these mountains were barren – totally devoid of trees. After a few days at the club I was told the forests had been slashed and then the wood burned for charcoal. The mountains were left as they were.

Even in California, a contributing factor to mudslides which occur many winters are the removal of plant life during brush fires. But, in California the problem is recognized and often there is remediation. That was not the case in Haiti.

From the Toronto Star:

The mountains on the Haitian side of the devastated area rise to heights of 1,500 metres or more, and the region