Overheard on CNN.com: 'It's not the heat, it's the stupidity'
Residents crowd onto the beach at Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York, in the powerful heat on Saturday.
July 3rd, 2012
07:40 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: 'It's not the heat, it's the stupidity'

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Surging mercury and power outages because of storms have combined forces to make many readers miserable.

With temperatures around 107 degrees in Nashville, iReporter Holly Coons tried to bake cookies in the car.

"I actually burned my hand when I grabbed the cookie sheet out of the car," she says, adding that she considers the hourlong experiment a success. "I would have made a bigger batch if I knew they were going to turn out so good."

In South Charleston, West Virginia, Eddie Harmon has been without power for days. He's unemployed and trying to stay cool as much as he can;  his wife and the couple's younger daughter slept in the car last night. Another daughter is staying with her grandmother, who has a generator. At 6 feet 5 inches, Harmon has to try to sleep in the house.

"It is very hard to sleep," he says. "I’m doing the best I can with it. I’m probably getting anywhere from five to three hours of sleep and not until 5 in the morning when the house finally cools off."

He recorded a video the day after losing power, in which he shares his tips for coping with the heat.

Several CNN.com readers also joined the conversation about temperatures and energy stability.

More than 1.3 million customers lack power amid unrelenting heat

For some, a short time without power was enough to have them concerned. The following reader said they had made several calls to their electrical service provider in the hopes of getting information, but it was very difficult. They also said Santa might be bringing them a generator this year.

RabbitMan196: "I live in Virginia and was without power for three days. I have an electric well (no manual capability yet - will be rectified VERY soon) so no power means no water. I drove 50 miles on Saturday looking for ice. I think I now know what the end of the world (at least in America) will look like: thousands of folks driving in their air-conditioned cars, clogging gas stations and looking for ice."

But others said we need to be more resilient without power.

Lovemypitbulls: "We are so reliant on computers and electricity that we freak out when we lose them. That gas station in Silver Spring could still sell ice and food. People shouldn't go without because electric cash registers aren't working. Pen and paper will get the job done; it'll just mean a little more work for the owner when the power finally comes back."

Some people are very miserable.

batman8318: "Having these 105 temps in North Carolina wouldn't be so bad if the humidity wasnt at 70. The humidity is what makes these temps so bad! Someone from Arizona was boasting about people not being able to handle the heat. Well I will trade you your heat for Southern humidity any day my friend ... see if you can handle this humidity."

JeremyH6: "But, it's a dry heat ..."

It's the Arizonan's lament.

KConor: "107 is nothing. We already hit 114 this year in Arizona. The water of my pool reached 92F."

HeyDummy1: "And that's the reason nobody lives in Arizona, so clearly 107 is 'something.' "

Those traditional summer sayings keep coming back.

SfromTX: "Easy to make snide comments when you've got power. Once again posters here prove 'it's not the heat, it's the stupidity.' "

GoRemoteKCI: "It's not so much the heat, but the heredity ..."

Time to buy a generator?

Barackismyhero: "How much did you spend on Starbucks last year? How much do you spend on dining out? Here's an idea. Most banks will allow you to skip a car payment, push it back to the end of your loan. Take that money and buy a genny ... a reliable one will cost you $400-$600. Also, maybe grandma and grandpa can't afford to send all the kids birthday money, maybe they need to keep it to buy themselves something so readily available and easy to use. Yes, of course you need the $1,500 [model] to run A/C but at least you would have SOMETHING now wouldn't you?

Johnny Mustard: "Here in Louisiana , many people have learned the convenience of owning a generator and small window units that it can run. 5,500 watt generators sell for around $550-600 and it is enough I found out to run two 8.5btu A/C units, the refrigerator, a freezer, TV, PCs and about three or four lights."

Or maybe we just need to toughen up.

KenKrieger: "I was raised in Florida in the 1950s with very high humidity and no air conditioning. I remember going places that had air conditioning and thinking it was too cold. I stayed outside all day and never had a reaction to the heat. Now everyone has air conditioning including people on welfare. Now we even provide cell phones for the poor. We now live in a wimpy, 'woe is me society' with double-priced government-controlled heath care that means fewer jobs and more on welfare and more 'woe is me Democrat voters' who blame the people who work for all their problems. I set my thermostat on 79 and I use air conditioning mostly to keep the moisture out of the house, not so much for cooling. You over-taxed socialist liberals in the North need some heat. Ken Krieger, Cape Coral, Florida"

Are power fix-it folks heroes?

jillian Frias: "Thank you to my wonderful husband and his crew down is MD. Journeyman lineman put their lives on the line every day for us. Thanks guys!!! xoxoxox"

place57: "Not to take away from their job (I think it would suck to do that), but I think the 'putting their lives on the line' every day is a little much. I appreciate the hard work, but heroes they are not. ..."

This reader is tired of the heat.

Linda Brown: "God I feel for these folks because even though I have power and have had the AC going nonstop it is extremely humid and the high temp for us in my neck of the woods in MI is going to be 96 at about 5 p.m. and I am so tired of it already. I had to go out to do errands and buy groceries and it was all I could do to walk out the door, so I can't imagine what these poor folks are going through with no AC or fans, I would go to one of the cooling stations but most of these places would not allow pets and I have three cats who as of now are lying on the floor near the AC. We had some strong storms come through this a.m. and all that did was heat it up even more! It is like walking into a sauna! Now it is summer in MI, but this is getting old these relentless 90s! So I do hope these folks get their power on soon or more people are gonna drop like flies."

Several people mentioned buried power lines, which were the subject of a recent opinion article by columnist David Frum.

Michael White Frejac: "Well. How smart are we really? Tons of people and still sending electricity in above-ground lines, via a system that cannot take hard weather? Goes to show how governments tend to forget voters, in a bad way. Note, not too many are wealthy in those zones. Seems like they like your money more than they (the gov) likes you."

But other countries live without air conditioning!

Slumdog77: "My friend went to visit her family in Europe, she forgot that those guys have no AC, not only in their homes, train stations, stores, libraries. Russia, Ukraine are NO AC country's, and they live to tell the story, no problem there."

Bill Rogers: "Amazing people can't live without air conditioning. I spent a year in Vietnam and we had none there and survived. Back 60 years ago, not many people had air and all survived. Geez. What a lazy pitiful world of people these days."

Some people feel like it's getting worse.

bkungl: "We are experiencing the same kind of heat wave here in Ontario. The only difference is that we never experienced those terrible storms on Friday night so we still have our electricity. I used to look forward to summers, however, it seems that every year the heat is getting worse and for longer periods at a time. I'm so sorry for all those who are suffering in this extreme heat ... hopefully, the electricity will be up and running soon."

Of course, air conditioning is a modern thing.

SofaKings: "My ancestors survived without a/c, electricity, laptops, cell phones and refrigeration. This is NOT a travesty in the NE folks ... learn how to survive without comfort conveniences and stop your whining."

Tsimbi: "My God! Over a million Americans without air conditioning!! Call Al Gore!"

Are we over thinking this?

maipenoor: "Fun fact: Temperature gets higher in the summertime and lower in the wintertime."

And ... not everybody's hot.

snowtrails: "It was a blistering 72 degrees here in the Northeast kingdom of Vermont yesterday, woke up to 53 this morning and a chill in the air. Nature's AC is working just fine here in New England, and my solar banks are fully charged. I hope we can escape any heat up here this summer. If ya want to cool off, come on up and go camping in our mountains, you won't regret it!!"

Vlahos: "Come to Washington state. It's a blistering 57 here and its raining."

Are you hot, or just getting a good laugh? Share your opinion in the comments area below or share your story via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: Heat • Overheard on CNN.com • U.S. • Weather
soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. BaltoPaul

    My family had no power for about 4 days. No big deal, except that we have a well, so no power means no water. We've always kept spare water on hand so that we could flush the toilets in times like these. You can stand in the shower and wash with about a pint of water. No big deal, if you're not an idiot. Most of the people moaning about no electricity had no interruption in water/sewage service. If you can't get by without AC, you need to toughen up.

    I did enjoy taunting my children, though. All they did was moan about not having their computer and console games. I got to do the old guy thing and tell them "back in my day, we didn't have no dang fancy computers! We had two sticks! and a rock! ... and we walked to school barefoot in the dead of winter, through the snow, two miles there and back, uphill both ways! Now go play outside!"

    July 4, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lilith

      Lol. I know every parent has used that story, with varying amouts of mileage involved: "Back in my day..."! Thanks for the chuckle! (And the timely tips.)

      July 4, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Lars

    Raised in Calif's Central Valley during the 40's & 50's, triple-digit summer heat was expected. We coped w/o AC; some swamp coolers. It is gratifying to see so much positiveness by people trying to live through this current heat wave and power outages. I especially liked baking cookies inside her car one woman posted. When you get down to it, situations like these are preventable. We all need to demand our elected officials begin to cooperate to solve our country's real problems instead of just catering to special interests and the next election. "The greatest good for the greatest number over the longest run" (Gifford Pinchot, 1905). Is that a screwy goal, or not?

    July 4, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • BaltoPaul

      The costs of making sure that every American is immune from the rare, occasional inconvenience far exceeds the benefits. No need to make this" preventable." Eventually you reach the point of diminishing returns. I've lived at my present location for about 20 years. We've had a few power outages that measured in hours, and this recent one that ran about 3.5 days (for me, anyway). A bit over three days without power in 20 years vs. how much money to ensure that I never get that inconvenienced?

      Keep some spare water and canned goods in your house so that you can "survive" a few days without electricity, and you'll be fine.

      People survived for many generations without electricity. You can manage for a few days.

      July 4, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. chrissy

    lmao @ baltopaul, i too, had to trudge a few miles back and forth to school but thank god i had shoes! Days like this all the neighbor kids would get together and have a hot game of baseball. Then ghost stories around the bonfire! Kinda miss it.

    July 4, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. BaltoPaul

    Isn't that how the story always goes? I just told them it was uphill there and back, just like my grandfather told that story to me.

    July 4, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Yeah, Okay.

    Tell that to them when they're young and gullible...

    July 4, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. chrissy

    lmao so you took a chance they were too horrified 2 think about it much? Good job old boy! I got the same response when i told my kids we only had 2 channels on tv, and only then if you smacked the side of it. & that baseballs games were on da radio lol!

    July 4, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Piers Morgan, Supervillain

    Wow that KenKrieger is a complete fool. He actually thinks that only democrats complain about the power outage. Not all conservatives are stupid people, but it sure seems like all stupid people are conservatives.

    July 4, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonquil

      Yeah, it's interesting because I'm a Liberal and I don't use any air conditioning. Sometimes, I'll use a fan. I don't have a cell phone, either. Some of my Liberal friends have even managed without air conditioning while building solar toilets in Kenya, during their summer. I think, perhaps, that poster was transferring some of his own, subconscious prejudices and personal ignorance onto the subject matter? Do you think ;)?

      July 6, 2012 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe1

      The evidence is quite contrary to your statement. Of course, if you understood that, you wouldn't be a liberal.

      Multiple studies have shown that conservatives understand liberals (they just think they're silly and wrong), but liberals don't "get" conservatives at all. Make all the excuses that you want about why that is, but it's an evolutionary thing.

      July 6, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Cal

      Where would that "evidence" be, Joe1? Studies have shown that smarter, more educated people tend to be liberal. Studies have shown a link between low IQ and conservatism.

      March 29, 2013 at 3:26 am | Report abuse |
  8. chrissy

    lmfao @ Piers, i like how you think! That was a beautiful post my dear man!

    July 4, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. psbklyn

    Honestly, I can't believe this is happening in the US in 2012. Has the US become a third world country?? People shouldn't be without power for 24 hours, let alone DAYS. I've seen footage of trees and wirelines down that haven't been touched since the storms came through on FRIDAY. Thanks, Republicans, for gutting our fire departments, emergency services, etc. Teams from CANADA have been called in while hundreds of thousands of American men are sitting without jobs. Well done, Republicans, well done.

    July 4, 2012 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • little foot

      I don't know much about the situation of your civil services but it takes a heap of extra qualified people to fix downed power lines. If I asked someone to fold 500,000 envelopes in 6 days, my bet is anyone would be hard pressed to complete it. This is a considerably more difficult task. It's not just flipping switches or putting a plug back in a big wall. There's no "reset" button at the head office. In a lot of cases there's one or more trees with wires wrapped around and tangled into what's left of the branches. You don't just plug that back in. And you don't just grab it and start moving it around. You need skilled people, you need trucks to take away the trees. Then you can find all the damage to the wires, then you can begin to fix. And that was your neighbor, now it's your turn....repeat.

      It's a tad exaggerated but not really in a lot of cases. I know everyone is accustomed to instant service but take a moment to consider the size of the job. The fact that these events mean folks from each country come to the aide of one another is really nothing to be all that upset about. I would have been sad if we hadn't come to help out as that would have shown a definite change from previous years. Years ago when Quebec got flattened by an ice storm, folks came up from the US to help get us back up and running. When way more than 500,000 addresses need to be cleaned up, made safe and then reconnected....and those addresses are spread out....and the weather has not yet abated...it simply takes people and time (especially if you want it done right by qualified people). It is a part of the US-Canada relationship and a piece that I hope will never be lost.

      July 5, 2012 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe1

      LOL. See what I'm talking about, Jonquil?

      psb here was blaming Bush for everything when he was in office, and still is LOL even when it's obvious Obama is a bigger screw up. Is it a case of extreme tunnel vision by only seeing one side to blame despite the evidence? Or is it un-evolved logic?

      July 6, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  10. Obama Mama

    Today in Missouri we will set yet another record with the temperature reaching 106 degrees. Another record will be blown away by it also being the 8th day of 100 degrees. We also have had rain to the north and some rain to the south but dry as a bone here. Whew.
    It took more than a week with crews the summer we had downed lines. There are alot of states and people out and I would assume it would take alot longer in the east with so many people out. Check your neighbors, especially the elderly.

    July 5, 2012 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
  11. JennyLee

    I agree that people can live without A/C... and that Americans are spoiled and overly sensitive.. but you also have to factor in the elderly or disabled.. the air quality is terrible and many people find it hard to breathe. Not everybody is a vet who spend time in humid jungles.. So get off your high horses and lets find out what we can do to help our neighbors, as tough as we think we are you never know (however prepared we may be) when we will need help.

    July 5, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  12. doug

    Recently got to observe how Democrats act when things go bad, with the power outages in blue new jersey areas.

    The libs were fighting each other, screaming, driving with a total disregard for human life, being as selfish and rude as a person can be.

    A total 180 of what I seen in red areas during times of crisis where all the Republicans come together and help each other out. Their sense of community and desire to do all that they can to help their neighbors makes you proud to be an American.

    This is just one of many, everyone knows of the Democrat districts that are warzones, like Chicago where 38 people get shot a weekend thanks to complete Democrat rule for decades, major all the way down to community organizers who love to promote that Democrat violence and crime. Every good hearted American has a moral obligation to vote Republican. Democrats represent the worst that mankind can offer, again you just need to observe dem in the bluest districts in this country, a stark contrast to the amazing giving loving tolerant Republicans in our most red areas where they do all they can to help their neighbors, where they show you what compassion and common courtesy mean, two things that every Democrat is completely void of, just observe 'dem.

    July 7, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan I

      Unless you're gay, black, or muslim.

      July 10, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. cartercarter

    Non "readers" are suffering the high temperatures too.

    July 10, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ann

    Looking at the picture - why would anyone want to hang out at a beach that's so crowded? Imagine all the pee that's in that water. Ugh.

    July 11, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
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