LOCAL VIEW –Leafstrippers and Eagles–


The storm is up in Canada now, and the winds have died down, but the trees were not so pretty at daybreak today.


Notice the shutter hanging from the neighbor’s house. We got blasted by a leafstripper.  We moved from summer to winter in a roar.

Friday the wind was mild and southerly,  and the storm was brewing up over the Great Lakes, and for a time it seemed the heavier showers on its east side would move south to north to our west, over Vermont, and never progress east. I went to watch a grandson play a high-school soccer game, and a misty rain ended just before it started and then the entire game was played in various sorts of mild fog, ranging from thick and deep purple, as if thunder was coming, to light and colored like honey, as if the sun was about to break out. I was thinking a storm had to be coming, or else I was coming down with something, as my old bones were aching like crazy. It was foolish to stay out in the damp, but the game was well worth watching, especially as my grandson’s team won 2-1, with a heart-stopping shot by the opponents, in the final seconds, that squirted past our goalie and was dribbling towards the open goal before a frantically dashing defense-man  booted it away inches short of the goal line.

After all that excitement I just wanted to warm up by the fire, and sip some beer, and focus on writing, but the beer didn’t sit well in my stomach, which is not a good sign. I was starting to suspect my aching muscles might not merely indicate storm, though the Friday night sky filled with more pink lightning and sky-thunder than we got all summer. “So maybe it is the weather…” I suggested to my suggestible mind, trying to talk myself into being better.

I was incredibly stiff and sore Saturday morning, but it was my turn to cook at the Church’s men’s breakfast, so I dutifully trudged off and likely infected everyone there. I had no appetite, so I can’t have infected myself. Then I dutifully did dishes and dutifully trudged back home with one thing in mind: Going back to bed. However as I trudged up the stairs my wife’s lilting voice cheerfully reminded me, “We have to go to our CPR and First Aid re-certification class in half an hour. Goodness! I see no need for such language!”

Seldom have I been so dutiful and downright noble as I was, going back out into the rain to go to that class. Especially noble were my smiles at people as I entered the classroom. (Hopefully they weren’t too skullish). Then the minutes seemed like hours as I dragged through learning the same old stuff once again. The only amusement I find is noting where they change things. For example, tourniquets are back in style, after being frowned at for a bit. I suppose they figured the risk of choking off blood to an extremity was worth it, if the person didn’t bleed to death. Also teaching people CPR has been somewhat successful. When people collapsed of a heart attack, 98% of them used to die, but now only 85% do. Heart attack remains our leading cause if death.

The idea one should stop chest thrusts, and breath two puffs into the mouth of the victim, during CPR, is fading, as apparently people were getting brain damage from too much oxygen. This was learned from compating the results in cases where good Samaritans out on the the streets did the formal CPR, with cases where good Samaritans only did the chest thrusts because the idea of meeting lips with the patient seemed too yukky.

Instead in today’s classes  you pound the chest of the dummy twice as fast as you were suppose to in the old days. In the old days you were suppose to do it to the timing of “Another one bites the dust” (but never saying the words aloud) but now you are suppose to pound the chest 120 times a minute, pushing down two inches, which can break ribs, but only makes a little clicker click in the dummy, and also makes an old coot like me feel about ready to keel over, after 360 chest-thrusts or so. I wondered if maybe they’d have to practice CPR on a genuine specimen. All I can conclude is, if anyone’s heart ever quits on my watch, they had better revive in five minutes or we are both goners. However if you do the pounding that fast there is no need to breath into the mouth of someone who may have ingested poison,  as the commotion apparently stirs the air in the lungs enough to keep the blood oxygenated, even if no one in the class can pronounce the word “oxygenated”.

I didn’t get out until after 1:30, and by then the rain was cold and starting to drive. I was cold and wet by the time I got to the car, and as we drove home my wife didn’t much want to hear my opinion about bleepity-bleep state officials in nice warm offices, who never have to perform CPR, mandating others risk pneumonia by going out on a rainy Saturday when they ought to be in bed.

When I got home I couldn’t stop shivering, even under a warm blanket in a warm room, and I didn’t need a thermometer to know I’d got a fever spiking, despite gobbled aspirin. All I could do was set my jaw and prepared myself for the ride, which is never fun for me, as fever causes despairing to dominate my brain. Despite the wet weather, crimson leaves were swirling by my bedroom window and sticking to the glass.

In church we’ve been focusing on how those of faith will soar on new pinions like eagles. It seems a sort of Biblical version of the Phoenix, the mythical bird born again from its own ashes, but I was of so little faith I could only think I was getting the burning-up part right, but not the rest. After all, one of these days we will get sick and go down for the count, and when you are shivering and feeling worse and worse, and there is no improvement in sight, you hope for the best, but maybe part of you prepares for the worst. In any case, if I had to compare myself to a bird right then, it likely would not have been to a soaring eagle, but to a dead duck, blasted from the sky by a hunter.

I kept being woken from strange dreams by leaves spatting the window, and was confused it was daylight, and unsure what day it was…still today or already tomorrow? A long list of Saturday chores was being neglected. Out the window read and orange leaves kept blowing sideways, first one way and then the other, which let me understand the storm was growing into a leafstripper, and also brought Oliver Wendell Holmes’ poem “The Last Leaf In the Tree” traipsing through my head. I memorized it long ago, and now it wouldn’t quit:

I saw him once before,
As he passed by the door,
And again
The pavement stones resound,
As he totters o’er the ground
With his cane.

They say that in his prime,
Ere the pruning-knife of Time
Cut him down,
Not a better man was found
By the Crier on his round
Through the town.

But now he walks the streets,
And he looks at all he meets
Sad and wan,
And he shakes his feeble head,
That it seems as if he said,
“They are gone!”

The mossy marbles rest
On the lips that he has prest
In their bloom,
And the names he loved to hear
Have been carved for many a year
On the tomb.

My grandmamma has said–
Poor old lady, she is dead
Long ago–
That he had a Roman nose,
And his cheek was like a rose
In the snow;

But now his nose is thin,
And it rests upon his chin
Like a staff,
And a crook is in his back,
And a melancholy crack
In his laugh.

I know it is a sin
For me to sit and grin
At him here;
But the old three-cornered hat,
And the breeches, and all that,
Are so queer!

And if I should live to be
The last leaf upon the tree
In the spring,
Let them smile, as I do now,
At the old forsaken bough
Where I cling.

Pretty sad stuff, and the violins of my self-pity might have nursed a few tears down my cheeks, but if I was going to going to cry about anything it was about my goats needing to be fed. That was one chore I couldn’t skip. But one joy of farming is that you get to go outside when others stay in, so I went out into the bluster and saw a few lava-like cracks in cloud-cover to the west, and also put up with a lot of nagging by seven goats who do not approve of late meals. Then I headed home to some hot soup, which I didn’t much feel like eating, and a granddaughter, who I didn’t much feel like watching (and who may have given me the ‘flu), and a movie about a pig I didn’t much feel like watching either, “Babe”. However as I sat I begrudged that I liked the movie, especially as the hero is an odd, old farmer who, in the end, is victorious, soaring on new pinions like eagles, albeit in a rather low-key and nonchalant way.

I was starting to shiver again and knew it was time for more aspirin and more bed, and so I handed off the sleepy granddaughter and took a dive in my pillow. Next thing I knew it was ten hours later. (I never sleep like that.)

I felt a bit better, so I took a long, hot shower and then tottered off to my duties as an elder at a tiny church, (listening with a certain, less-than-faithful cynicism to the stuff in the sermon about soaring on new pinions like eagles), and then tottered home and again dove into my pillow. I knew I had a long list of Saturday chores to catch up on, but if I am a eagle I am a recuperating eagle. Anyway, Sunday is suppose to be a day of rest. I concluded that actually I was spiritual to loaf, as I listened to the wind roar and the leaves, now drying, hush and scour by the window. I knew I’d have to eventually feed the goats, but drifted through dreams about last leaves on the tree, and people of my generation who are leaves who have already left the tree, and other morbid stuff, until I wondered if my life was passing before my eyes, and also was getting a tad fed up. I should be getting better by now. I should be soaring like an eagle by now.

By the time I finally budged I knew I’d get more nagging from my goats, but before I could leave the house my wife mentioned the stove was on the fritz and the oven didn’t work. Another chore. Then, as I headed to the farm I clicked on the radio, and was annoyed that I had forgotten all about the football game. I must be sick or something, to forget that! And even more aggravating was the fact the Patriots were ahead 14-0 when I turned the radio on, but the tide of the game shifted and it was soon 14-7, and then, as I listened at the farm with the heater on and the engine running, it became 14-10. And if that wasn’t annoying enough, I couldn’t even listen to the game in the privacy of my truck without a bunch of goats looking at me indignantly through the glass and nagging at the top of their lungs, until I replied, “All right all right all right ALL RIGHT”. (Animal Rights Activists please note: I did not use a single bad word.)

As I got out and looked around the farm seemed a shambles. Bags of trash were still in their bags, but the entire bags had been lifted clear across the yard and plopped in odd places.  Plywood was flung about and lawn furniture rearranged, but I just didn’t want to deal with that. Feeding the goats was enough for now. If I just rested a little more  I could surely show up for work early on Monday, and face the mountain of chores. As I drove home the Patriots lead shrank to 14-13.

When I was a boy I was ridiculously superstitious about my power to influence sporting events through my actions. My older brothers could drive me wild by switching the Red Sox  game from the AM station to the FM station, and then holding me back from the radio and forcing me to listen to the Red Sox blow another lead and again lose. (They nearly always lost, back then.) I was convinced the Red Sox would have been a first place team, (they always came in 8th or 9th), were it not for my brothers listening on FM.

I blame the fever, but some sort of echo of that nature returned as I shut off the radio in disgust and shivered. I just felt I must be doing something wrong, when nothing went right. I felt this way even though I know the reasonable and mature outlook is to see we live in a time of immediate gratifications, and if people look at the cards they are dealt, and don’t see a royal flush, they tend feel fate is cruel and God is unkind and to start up their violins, and that behavior is downright infantile. However, though I can think mature thoughts, I confess I still have an immature heart.

In any case I hunched out of my truck and went slogging through a profound gloom, stomping up the the front steps dejectedly, and then took a deep breath and prepared a fake smile. At the door I was met by a laughing daughter with a funny tale, a granddaughter hugging a better tackle than the Patriots were doing, a jealous, wagging dog that wanted equal attention, and the sight and smell of a roast chicken. I asked my wife, “How can you roast a chicken with no oven?” She explained her craftiness as we sat down to eat.

I have heard chicken is very good for sick people. It seems to have worked on me. I went back to bed, (after turning on the radio and learning the Patriots did manage to win,) and again slept like a log. But there no way around facing the music of Monday morning, and the fact that one chore I didn’t do was take down the summer awning at the front of the Childcare. 


The awning was pivoted completely around on one leg, despite the legs being anchored by pins and bags of stones. One bag of stones was thrown ten feet away. Now that’s some gust!


It gave me something to do, and an excuse to avoid going indoors and perhaps spreading residual germs to children. I chased down some missing lawn furniture and tidied up, and then the small boys came out and wanted to throw a football around. (Among six year old’s I’m still a star athlete.) I was huffing and puffing pretty quickly, but the fresh air likely did me good. Then the bus came, nine trooped off into it, and I drove a smaller bunch to kindergarten, marveling at how the wind had changed the landscape.

Fully half the leaves are gone in a single blow, but there’s still some left, and I seemed to see the glass as half-full rather than half-empty, and even to see there were some views I couldn’t see before, that were revealed, now that there were fewer leaves in the way. As I drove back from the kindergarten one view stopped me in my tracks, and I got out of the van to click a quick picture.


And then, only because I was out of the van, I saw the big bird powerfully surging along the ridge-line. I was so awed I nearly missed my chance to take a picture.


It was a bald eagle. Not an old one, with silver hair like mine, but a young one, brown-headed, and strong like no other bird. Their wings are straight out when they soar (Vultures hang from their wings in a “V”) and when they power with their wings they can cut through a gale. I never saw one in New England, until five years ago, and still get a thrill each time I see they are coming back.

Maybe I’m too old to believe in omens, but you have to admit it was a rather nice coincidence to see an eagle, just then.

In any case, I’m back. Did two simple jobs today that gained great kudos. Fixed a plugged toilet at the Childcare, and replaced a fuse that got the oven working at home. I like the jobs that are done in five minutes and gain you acclaim.  But…our world is held together by those who work long and hard unnoticed. They are the true eagles on whose backs the rest of us fly.



I’m trying hard to keep my mind off the election, because it seems bad for my gut to think of it. All I need to do is broach the subject, and I find myself restlessly pacing like a lion in a cage. But what can I do? I am only an old grouch with a single vote. My lone vote will likely  be countered by someone in the “corpses-for-Clinton” category. Instead of a sword all I have is a pen, and it doesn’t feel all that mighty, no matter what Edward Bulwer-Lytton may have hoped to convey with:

“True, This! —
Beneath the rule of men entirely great
The pen is mightier than the sword. Behold
The arch-enchanter’s wand! — itself is nothing! —
But taking sorcery from the master-hand
To paralyze the Caesars, and to strike
The loud earth breathless! — Take away the sword —
States can be saved without it!”

In Hebrews 4:12 it states:

“Indeed, the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.”

The prophet Mohammed purportedly said,

“The ink of the scholar is holier than the blood of the martyr”

Of course, the power of the pen can work for fools as well as the wise. In his play “Hamlet”, talking about young, ignorant, loud playwrights and actors, Rosencrantz states,

“…But there is, sir, an eyrie of children, little eyases, that cry out on the top of question and are most tyrannically clapped for ’t. These are now the fashion, and so berattle the common stages—so they call them—that many wearing rapiers are afraid of goose quills and dare scarce come thither.”

The power of the pen exists whether one uses goose quills or computer keyboards, and explains why my American Forefathers were so big on Freedom of Speech and the power of a Free Press. It may also explain why the so-called “elite” currently in Washington DC want to have a completely compliant media, that only echoes their opinions like parrots.

There have been all sorts of versions of pen-is-more-mighty-than-the-sword across the mists of time, and likely, before the pen was invented, “the word was more mighty than the club”, (as I have occasionally displayed at bars, while fast-talking my way out of a confrontation with a Neanderthal), but one of my favorites, (as a writer), occurred when Akbar was the great Mogul emperor of India, and a king up to his north (King Abdullah of Bokhara, in what is now Uzbekistan), purportedly said something along the lines of,

“I am more afraid of Abu’l-Fazl’s pen than of Akbar’s sword.”

Akbar was an amazing historical character, and one of the neat tales I’ve heard about him involves when the Portuguese wanted to build trading posts on his coast, and protect their posts with cannons. The tale states Akbar said he would let them do it, as long as he could build trading posts along the coast of Portugal, protected with his cannons.  The Portuguese realized they were not dealing with a fool, and headed further south, and focused their energies on their “trading post” at Goa.

Akbar was not merely brilliant, but attracted other brilliant minds.  Abu’l-Fazl was one of them, and was counted as one of the nine “pearls” of his court.

The current elite of Washington DC like to think of themselves as pearls. (There are far more than nine, and may number a million, though Wikileaks suggests they think they are the pearl, and their contemporaries are not pearls.) but I fear they are increasingly seen as quahogs by the ordinary citizen.

(A quahog is a clam on the coast of New England which almost never has pearls, and, when it does, the pearl is almost always misshapen and worthless. One in a million quahogs contains a pearl of value.) (I should mention I often have opened quahogs with a knife to use the raw innards as bait. When the fishing is really, really bad, I just eat the quahogs instead,  like oysters. The “foot” is chewy while the “stomach” is a gelatinous mass it is best not to look at, as you slurp it from the shell. The jelly-like nature of the quahog “stomach” may explain a bit of Cape Cod slang, which is as follows: When a heavy smoker develops a bad cough and cold, and his cough brings up a particularly gross glob of mucus, the disgusting blob he spits into the sand is called a “quahog.”)

Anyway, as I was saying, the “elite” of Washington DC increasingly resembles quahogs, rather than pearls.

It has been amazing to watch the elite fall into disgrace, and I have had an unique view of their downfall, for though I am poor and humble today, years and years and years ago I was on the periphery of being one of the elite. (I have been very downwardly mobile, since then.)

Back when I was a teen in 1968 my stepfather, (likely fearing for the safety of his home, if I was left home alone), used to drag me whining and sulking to his yearly reunion of the OPA. The OPA was the “Office of Price Administration”, which was Harry Truman’s desperate attempt to control the complete chaos that was unleashed when World War Two ended, and a military that had expanded from 174,000 in 1939 to over 16 million was abruptly asked to disband, or at least reduce its size to a half million.

In fact most of the people in the armed forces were not volunteers, and were chaffing at the bit to be free again.  However the fact of the matter there was not even the housing extant to shelter them, as few homes had been built during the Great Depression, and almost none during the war.

To have 15 million young people abruptly free was a frightening prospect, especially as, after seeing so much death in the war, they had a huge instinct to make babies and have large families. It was a chaos we cannot imagine, especially as we have a current chaos to attend to, that we are having difficulty imagining.

The OPA did well in some respects and less well in others. I’ll leave it to others to argue the finer points. The primary feeling I got at the reunions was that the survivors were amazed things hadn’t turned out far worse. They were Harry Truman democrats, and had a practical, pragmatic side which modern democrats can’t imagine, and I wish I had payed more attention than I did, as they reminisced about their travails. One thing I recall was they sang “OPA songs”, describing political opponents from 1946, laughing as they recalled the battles, though it was 22 years later by 1968. (In fact they were officially part of the “Office Of Economic Stabilization”, but they sang they were the “OPA” rather than “OES”.)

I could have cared less. They were nothing but a bunch of old farts, to me. However it did dawn on me that I was amidst a sort of afterglow of glory. I was in the company of retired kings, who were kings no more. There was something odd in the atmosphere.

The event was held at Chester Bowles’ place in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. No one explained to me Chester was a former Governor of Connecticut, Representative to Congress, twice Ambasador to India, and other stuff. To me he was just an old, shaky goat with Parkinson’s. I completely blew a chance to acquire knowledge, for it was a chance for me to mingle with the “elite” of that time, and I would have none of it. I hung about the edges of conversations and silently scowled, emanating disapproval.

As a teen my disapproval was a mishmash of unformed ideas that, in retrospect, seems very hypocritical. On one hand I could believe in Free Love, while on the other hand I respected fidelity, and frowned on any sort of “cheating”. And so on and so forth. I hadn’t thought things out.

After these elite elders had a few drinks, they’d open up and discuss the shortcomings of their peers, and even, occasionally, confess their own, (of 22 years earlier). I’d scowl and listen, as they laughed about the time so-and-so got too drunk, the time so-and-so went home with the cook rather than his wife, the time so-and-so promised the same political appointment to two different people, and I was shocked. SHOCKED, to hear of such shenanigans. After all, they were suppose to be old, and of a generation that was repressed by rules, and I was supposedly of the new breed, free to do as I wished. I was the one suppose to be breaking the rules, not them.

I must say this: Although they were indeed backbiting, gossipping, and to some degree bad-mouthing, it was nothing like the stuff Wikileaks demonstrates currently takes place in Washington DC. Rather than contempt there was pity, rather than disgust there was forgiveness, and rather than hate there seemed to even be a sort of love. Even though they  were old and out of power, and facing the resurgence of their dreaded foe and nemesis Richard Nixon, they were not so hateful and threatened as the modern Liberals are by Donald Trump.

Back then I think people had a sort of “boys will be boys” attitude about the shortcomings of politicians. Churchill might smoke fat, stinking cigars,  and publicly state “I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me”, but people forgave his shortcomings, for they felt he was working very hard for them. People might not have known about other shortcomings other politicians had, (or only have heard the shortcomings murmured and whispered), but people back then had the feeling at least half of the government was on their side. Now such feelings seem naive. The trust has been frittered away, and people feel both parties are foes, and in cahoots.

People are increasingly disgusted, and less willing to say “boys will be boys” or “girls will be girls.” As I try to get my mind off the election, my mind keeps gravitating back to the difference I am sensing. What has changed?

Today I found myself wondering if the misbehavior my elders chuckled over, and I was so appalled by, at age fifteen in 1968, was the thin edge of a wedge. It was the beginnings of an infection, a slight redness. It could be laughed at, and dismissed as a “foible”, but it kept getting worse and worse, over the years, until now it is an infection resembling gangrene, and requiring amputation.

Before World War Two the efforts of both the “doves” and the “hawks” sought to avoid war. Churchill was derided, as a war-monger, because he wanted to stop Hitler with power, as others thought they could halt Hitler with appeasement, but all yearned for Peace. Then, at some point, people awoke to the fact Peace might no longer be possible.

I cannot find the text, but at some point Winston’s wife Clementine wrote him a plaintive and sweet cry of anguish, and the words were something along the lines of, “Oh Winnie, are we sliding into a war?”

I have the same sort of feeling, as I pace around today. “Oh America, are we sliding into a revolution?”

But what can I do? I am just an old man
With a pen, who never slept with the editor
And never obeyed the rules they smooched. I ran
Like a timid mouse, though you can be sure
I was a haughty mouse. I would not join
Their catty corruption. And I’ve watched them sink
Lower and lower as they’ve kicked the groin
Of honor. Now they’ve made a sewer, and stink,
And all look at them knowingly, and thank
God they don’t share power, as stink wins new terms
speaking what they call a “policy plank”,
But the plank is of wood so full of worms
That they sail a ship dishonesty sank
As voters raise pens to fill in the blank.

When I tear my mind away from the grim reality of the election, I see life goes on, for ordinary people.  Children still swarm my Childcare as parents hurry to work, and the children quarrel and fight about things, utterly unaware of how they resemble Washington DC, and then silence descends as they troop to the bus.


And in that silence I hear what the din of humanity usually hides. The sound of drops falling from colored leaves on a misty morning. And I also see things that escaped my sight.

Last spring an ex-employee planted cosmos in a tub by the gate, but so hot and dry was the summer that, despite watering, the cosmos never did well.  Many other plants bloomed, and the employee became my daughter-in-law, but the cosmos only sulked in the tub, as the newlyweds left for their brand new life, far away.

Only in September did the first buds form, and, as frost after frost cut plants down in the garden it seemed impossible the buds could ever bloom. September became October, and the frosts were sharper, but the cosmos plant only made more and more buds, and no blooms. Half of October passed, and a freeze killed even the most sheltered tomatoes, and I became very busy making sauce from the ruins, and then this morning I happened to look towards the tub as the children waited for the bus,  and saw….


It surprised me that cosmos could survive frosts and freezes even after October 15, and burst into bloom. Perhaps America, the Land Of The Free, is the same, and will burst into riotous bloom after November 8.




Hillary mentioned the children of Syria in last night’s debate, mentioning a tragic picture making the media rounds, which is of course a good way to stop our brains from functioning, and to touch our hearts.

The problem is that pictures can be faked. I know about this because my family  has been involved in medicine, surgery, nursing and rescue work since I was born, and I have, for over sixty years, seen “simulated wounds.”

I think the first simulated wounds I saw were a plaster sequence of gory abdomens simulating the surgical removal of an appendix,  donated by the Massachusetts General Hospital to  the Museum of Science just down the street, around 1959. Since then they have gotten better and better at simulations, especially in regards to training ambulance workers.

The first wound I saw that could “spurt blood” was around 1975, and was invented originally to train medics in the Vietnam war, and then the simulations evolved further in order to train EMTs how to handle disaster situations involving triage, where first responders have to swiftly decide who has the best chance of survival and will die without treatment, who will survive without treatment, and who is likely going to die even if treated.

Unfortunately this skill is now being used for propaganda purposes, and there are some fine examples of wounds being created to cause our hearts to lurch.


The media should be on guard to avoid being made into chumps.


Unfortunately, there is some evidence our media is gladly performing as chumps, in order to support our presidents policy in Syria.

War is hell. It is vile, and hard on the hearts of even the toughest men. Post-traumatic-stress has a long history, past the times it was called “battle fatigue” and “shell shock.” War is even harder on women and children, even when soldiers try to make sure they are protected. When women and children are instead beheaded,  we are entering a lower level of hell.

In times like this it behooves our media to be especially hard-hearted and cynical about all pictures it receives. Sadly, they are merely behaving like chumps and tools of governments. It is up to us, the people, to harden our hearts and examine the grim evidence for signs of fraud and forgery. The really good reporting now occurs on small websites. Here is an interesting example:


I am disappointed in the mainstream media’s failure to do due diligence. If individuals at small websites can utilize the ability of modern computers to identify a picture (even when it is clipped), and see when a picture from an earlier time and place is “reused” for propaganda purposes, why cannot a major network do the same?

Modern computers are able to utilize “face recognition” to identify the same individual in a wide variety of pictures. If independent bloggers can use this feature to spot a good actor who appears in dramatic poses in too many “action shots” for coincidence to credibly allow, why cannot a major network with millions of dollars do the same?

I used to think the reason for the media’s failures was laziness, or perhaps reduced budgets, but increasingly I suspect the media is a willing accomplice of those who do not wish the public to know the Truth, the Whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth.

The American people must refuse to allow their heart strings to be plucked, and played like banjo’s, by opportunistic politicians using sound-bytes and pictures.


It should be noted that, if any journalist claims they “had no idea false images might be involved”, as if this is some new phenomenon they were not prepared for, then that journalist must be very poorly educated. A little over a decade ago Reuters was caught changing images involving Israeli missile strikes in southern Lebanon.


The primary difference between 2006 and 2016 seems to be that, in 2006, journalists at least pretended to be ashamed.

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Ralph the Elephant–

I tended to dream, withdraw and avoid a lot, looking out windows and studying clouds rather than the blackboard, when I was back in school,  and I’m still prone to focusing on writing rather than riches, as an adult, but at times such avoidance catches up with me, and my avoidance has to avoid other things.  Recently I’ve been busy avoiding bankruptcy, which tends to put a subject such as sea-ice on the back burner. However, Thank God, I eked out a way to pay bills, and can now reward myself with a bit of time gazing at clouds and sea-ice.

Not that I didn’t peek at the views from O-buoy 14 even when avoiding bankruptcy, but I couldn’t post on them. The buoy went through a loop in Parry Channel, first moving northeast, then northwest, and then a long way back west. The westward movement meant the ice, which had been compressing in the channel, spread out and leads of open water appeared. obuoy-14-1001-webcamAfter moving west the camera again reversed, moving southwest, southeast, and then due east. The camera very nearly was destroyed as the ice crunched up again, at one point tilting and looking down, but it survived and now has crossed its own track and continues on east in Parry Channel, with the days getting shorter and the temperatures dropping towards 0°F (-18°C), and the views often gorgeous.obuoy-14-1006-webcam


Of interest were the surges of milder air heading north over the past month, even as the temperatures fell.


These surges were part of a truly remarkable occurrence at the Pole, which I have jokingly dubbed “Ralph”. Low pressure has persisted, and seems to be to some degree persistently ignored, as a sort of elephant in the room, despite the fact the warmth ought to get Alarmists rejoicing, for it is producing the mildest DMI temperatures-north-of-80°-latitude graph ever, for the start of winter.


Each recent peak in the above graph represents fuel, as a sort of “feeder band” of mildness and moisture, for “Ralph”. Ralph represents a drain of heat from our planet into outer space. It is a new and interesting pattern, and seems worth more attention than it has received. It is different from other examples of the AO in a negative phase.

The surges of mildness have also effected the ice-extent graph, which has slowed after a fast start to the sea-ice-growth season. (Unfortunately these graphs have been “adjusted” by DMI, which has disgraced itself by succumbing to the pressures that always “adjust” graphs to make Global Warming look more significant than it truly is. These “adjustments” are a topic for some other post. Let it suffice to say that, where I focus on writing rather than riches, some focus on riches rather than science.)


One reason for the diminished ice-extent is that the growing cold of East Siberia hasn’t been pouring north, as it usually does, and isn’t freezing the coast of Siberia. The snows have grown over East Siberia as they usually do:snowcover-pole-20161018-cursnow

Usually the developing cold air over East Siberia clashes with the relatively milder coastal waters of the Arctic Sea, and lows tend to scoot along the coast, and ahead of the lows the south winds are not mild, but frigid. This year the cold over Siberia has tended to head east rather than north, which is nervous-making for Europe, for Europe’s coldest winds come from the east during the winter, (from Mordor, if you read too much Tolkien.) The map below shows the building cold over Asia (gray is below zero, Fahreheit. (-18°C).

asia-temp-21061018-gfs_t2m_asia_1The above map shows how much colder it is over the land than over the Arctic Sea. It doesn’t show whether temperatures are above normal or below normal. That map is below:

asia-temp-anomaly-20161018-gfs_t2m_anomf_asia_1As is usually the case, when it is milder-than-normal over the Pole, we see the cold has been displaced further south. (Credit to Dr. Ryan Maue at the Weatherbell site, who makes these maps possible, along with thousands of others. Free week trial available.)

In essence, our planet is sucking warmth north to the Pole, and losing it to outer space, even as it is pumping cold south. My sense is that this is a sort of over-reaction to the past El Nino, which was a sort of over-reaction to the Quiet Sun. Even though the sways in one direction and then the other tend to balance out, (and are in fact part of the balancing process), they can be impressive. Exactly how the current sways play out remains to be seen, and I’ll leave it to braver fellows to forecast.

I don’t currently have time to go through a month’s worth of polar maps, but will stick them below, hoping I have time later to update this post with individual comments about the individual maps.

The thing to note is how the high pressures can’t conquer the Pole and how low pressure (“Ralph”) persists, and also the plumes of mild air the temperature maps show swirling up to the Pole. (The growth of the Scandinavian High is also interesting. Maybe I should name it.)


LOCAL VIEW –The Glory Days–

One of my daughters has a way of choosing just the perfect boyfriend to test my spirituality. I tend to breathe deeply, in a seething manner, when I first hear of her latest friend, but I think God forgives me, for mostly I remain mute. Then, after a great deal of spiritual endeavor on my part, just when I’m getting over whatever prejudice was stirred up, and am starting to really like the fellow, he suddenly is history, and I am introduced to the next poor fool aspirant.

After too much of such soap operatic doings, (seventeen years),  I find it hard to get as excited, or even as interested, as I used get when my daughter was thirteen. I’ve been worn down. The latest fellow is an illegal immigrant from Brazil. Big deal. I just sort of nodded from my computer when he first came into the house, until my wife gave me a hidden kick. Only then did I remember it is polite to shake hands and look interested.

But one interesting thing about the fellow is he had never seen leaves change before. He didn’t live far enough south in Brazil to see the occasional Antarctic frosts and snows of their far south, and had grown up where leaves pretty much stay green.  He was startled, even a little alarmed, to be driving about (without a licence) and see very strange things happen to all the trees. fol-1-img_4015

It is odd how you can take such beauty for granted, if you’ve seen it most of your life. I was glad I had an outsider to remind me to get out see the view. One place I like to go is the flat-lands of the Sharon Stretch (a good place to drive over 100 mph late at night, unless you meet a moose coming out of the swamp).fol-2-img_4017

It was so beautiful I forgot my errand, and got out to wander into the swamp’s blueberry barrens.fol-3-img_4018

It’s a good place to get the blue and orange reflected below, as well as above.


These trees are called “swamp maples” and always seem to be the first to change, perhaps because the cold settles into the lowlands first. I call the flaring of color in the swamps “candy autumn” because it is sweeter, brighter and warmer than when the cold really starts to hit and hold.

Once I was out I wanted to stay out, but I had to get back and work. Back at the Childcare many trees were still green, but a swamp maple (which gets called a “red maple”, when they root outside a swamp), was peeking from the oaks.

Unfortunately I couldn’t even hang out with the kids, and see if they appreciated the beauty or just took it for granted, because I have tax problems to deal with. Nothing like sitting indoors and gnawing a pencil to make you appreciate your own back yard.



My mother used to always say this, “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”


I’m glad Trump apologized for “Locker Room Talk”. Men should be ashamed for some of their admiring statements about women. Women should be ashamed about some of their admiring statements they say about men. Lust should not be put above higher impulses.

One of the few things I admired about President Carter was that he confessed he had “committed adultery”, although only “in his mind.”

The Clinton’s past behavior involves lust that was not “in the mind”, but, “in fact.” For them to attack Trump was absurd hypocrisy.

This has next to nothing to do with what really matters.

Except it has to do with Truth.


LOCAL VIEW –Good-bye Old Cat–

It was meant to be a Manhattan cat, I think. Definitely not an ally cat, nor a country cat. Never got involved in nighttime squalling and brawling, preferring to observe from the porch, when it was warm enough to step outside. If there was any mist, or temperatures dipped below 70°F, it headed in. Therefore I knew there was a problem when I saw it laying on the lawn in a cold drizzle.

My wife brought it in and we laid it by the fire to warm, but it stirred only once to drink from a bowl of water I held up to its mouth, and then slept the Big Sleep.


Who asked you into my life to steal my heart?
Unwanted cat; unable to make the move
Into no-pet housing, when old owner made new start;
Grossly overfed; never outdoors; in a groove
Of fat habits; unaffectionate;
Looking like a bowling ball with short legs;
Doomed to be destroyed, but then my dim wit
Thought, “My barn could use a cat”. Such wit begs
jeered laughter. You couldn’t outrun a mouse
And you didn’t like barns, and daily would waddle
To mew piteously outside my house.
“Don’t let that cat in! Be tough! Don’t coddle!”
But you worked your way in, grew old, died fat,
And in spite of myself, I miss you, old cat.