Yesterday it made it up to 86 (F) which, with a breeze and passing clouds, seemed very warm but not debilitating.  Today, however, it has reached 80 just after 9:00 in the morning,   and I expect to be wrung out by the afternoon.

I’m busy writing another, longer post which I think will be funny, when I’m not busy at the Childcare, so my posts will be short for a while.



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The above map and radar image shows a warm front pushing north through New England, with a impressive little squall line rippling along the front.  The squall passed just south of us, but we had just enough thunder to awake me from a sound sleep.

I’d crashed way too early, before 8:00, thinking I’d just nap.  Next thing I knew it was nearly 11:00.  I suppose I’m just paying the price for refusing to “graciously give up the things of my youth.” Or, to put it another way, “refusing to grow up and act my age.”  However I don’t know what else to do; I can’t afford to hire hands.

 The Good Lord has given me a body which has refused to get pot bellied and arthritic like my peers, and I suppose the reason I remain strong is so I can work my butt off.

I spent most of Monday mowing the Childcare playground, and using the clippings to mulch the garden.  The recent rains has done wonderful things for both the growth of grass and weeds. I did inherit a rider mower from a neighbor who is moving away, but this only enables me to also mow more than I did walking behind my old mower, including part of the pasture the goats don’t adequately crop.  It was getting a bit brushy, so I rented a brush hog last summer to beat back the brush, and now I’m mowing the pasture, to keep weeds down and turn it to turf.

Sitting on the mower gives me time to ruminate, and what I think about is: Why the heck am I bothering to fight back the brush on this pasture?  I remind myself of my great-great-grandfather, who my grandfather told me his father told him about.  (The male side of my family tends to have sons when they are well past thirty, forty, and even fifty, which increases the spread between generations, and my great-great-grandfather was born in 1797.)

That old man apparently bewailed the fact the good-for-nothing younger generation, (my great-grandfather,) didn’t appreciate all the work that went into clearing the land, and were allowing fields to grow over and become puckerbrush.  Things only got worse, and New Hampshire, which once was a sort of OPEC of the Northeast, supplying the “gasoline” for a horse-drawn world, (IE hay,) has gone from 90% pasture to 90% forest.

I wonder why I fight to keep my little patch of pasture from growing over.  Partly it for the Childcare, (the older kids play baseball in it,) and partly it is because that field can be a corn field, if we ever need to grow all our own food (and it is far easier to plow up a pasture than a forest.) However I’d rather be writing than mowing and lugging mulch.

Tuesday I spent wrestling a rear-tine rototiller in the garden, which meant today I woke and remembered I’m sixty.  I could feel the front coming in every bone.  However, besides my work watching the kids at the Childcare, I had to go get some heavy fence posts to expand the electric fence, to keep the goats out of the garden. Because goats are psychic, they knew what I was up to, and as soon as I was gone they made a determined dash for my brocolli seedling, and ate roughly half before my sister-in-law drove them off by spraying them with the garden hose.  So I had to start right in with the fencing when I got back, though all I wanted to do was snooze.

Either that, or work on on an essay I think might be pretty funny, that is only half done.

In fact, that is what I’ll spend the rest of this this bout of insomnia doing.



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Above is the ECMWF Day 3-7 map, showing above average temperatures coming to the northeast part of the USA.  (I was alerted to this map by Joe Bastardi’s blog at WeatherBELL.)

This made me click over to the Accuweather point-and-click forecast, which informed me that, after a warm front pushes through tomorrow, we could expect temperatures of 88 degrees (F) on Thursday, 93 on Friday, and 91 on Saturday.

An official heat wave requires three full days with temperatures above 90.  However I am going to take a page from Jim Hansens’s book, and “adjust” Thursdays temperature from 88 to 90.  (If need be I’ll move my thermometer into the sun.)

In any case it is going to get a lot warmer than it’s been.  Snow was mixed into the cold rain two days ago.  Right now, as I sit at 3:45 AM with insomnia, it is 39 (F.)

This means it is time to get the corn, squash and beans in.  I held off, as the seeds rot when the soil gets too cold, but now I have to work hard and swiftly.  We have only 24 days until the days start getting shorter, and only 95 days until September and the first chance of an early frost.  (In my bones I feel that next winter will start off quickly and harshly.)

We have such a short growing season this far north that it gives me an understanding how close to the edge my ancestors, who depended on their gardens, lived.  What a complete disaster 1815 (The legendary year of “Eighteen-hundred-and-froze-to-death”) must have been, with the corn crops killed by frosts in June.  They then replanted, only to have many corn crops killed by a frost in July.  The corn that survived was killed by an early fall frost in late August.

All that work, and nothing to show for it.

Or imagine the Greenland Vikings, on farms where their elders had lived for 400 years, seeing the soil fail to even thaw.  (In the year 2020 my family will have lived in New England for 400 years.) All that work, and nothing to harvest.

They must have girded their loins and prepared to live on seal blubber, however one theory holds an interesting fate befell the Greenland Vikings.  Perhaps they had a prayer meeting, and asked God for warmer weather.  Then pirates swooped in, gathered them up, and sold them in Southern Europe as  white slaves.  There were apparently over a million white slaves back then, especially in the Ottoman Empire.  Many ships in the Mediterranean were galleys, propelled by men bending over oars.  It may seem a harsh fate, but maybe it beats starving to death in Greenland, and maybe some were not slaves forever, got promotions, and wound up living in cottages on the shores of the Aegean Sea, basking in warm Mediterranean sunshine, and ruminating over the mysterious ways in which God works.

If such a thing happened, you would think the sailors on the coasts would hear the tales.  Both Columbus and Cobot grew up in Italy, and could have heard such lore, and both sailed west in the 1490’s, seeking a New World, not long after the Vikings vanished from Greenland around 1480.

How’s that for a tale before sunrise?  But that is how my mind works when under the influence of insomnia. It wanders from New England to Greenland to the Ottoman Empire to Italy and back to North America.  It drifts back in time and then starts forward.

However the reality is that it is now 4:30 AM, and a robin has started singing in the dusk of a long day, and I’d better go back to bed and catch a quick hour of sleep before work.

A hands on view of tree growth and tree rings – one explanation for Briffa’s YAD061 lone tree core

This is a comment of mine  from back in 2009 that appeared as a “guest comment” in early October of that year.  It is now nearly 44 months later, and it seems Briffa is still attempting to “draw out the signal” he wants to see by including some tree-rings while excluding others.

I left this comment on the Climate Audit site:

Forgive me for mixing my metaphors, but I get the feeling Briffa is between a rock and a hard place; he wants to come in from the cold, but can’t very well bite the hand that feeds, and therefore is standing with one foot on the rowboat and one on the shore.

At least he seems more honest than others about what he is leaving out, in order to “draw out the signal” he is seeking to reveal (and wants to see.) The problem is that even an average Joe like me, who has worked cutting down trees, and has looked at tree rings, since age ten (1963) can see the problems Briffa is going to slip into.

When I was just commenting on these problems on WUWT in 2009 Anthony made a post of my comment, and it drew a surprising 199 other responses.

I’m afraid that if Briffa really wants to come in out of the cold, he is going to have to make a clean break with his old pals.

Such divorces from old friends and workplaces are difficult, but can be done. In my younger day I hung out with a bad crowd who were a lot of fun, but up to no good, and who got me into such trouble I finally had to walk away from their society. By then I had such a bad reputation that it took decades to clear my name, (and some still don’t trust me.) However I felt much better after making a fresh start.”

I am not all that impressed by the big word, “dendrochronolgy” simply because I know a thing or two about trees and tree rings, having worked in the woods a lot in my life, however before anyone assumes I am an authority, they should read this confession I wrote (comment 189 of the 199 comments,) back in 2009.

  1. Caleb says:

    I was delighted to see my comment elevated to the status of “Guest Comment,” and have been flattered by many of the nice things people have said about it. However I feel I gave a false impression, for many seem to believe I am far more honorable than I actually am.

    Therefore I would like to clarify that the reason I have spent so much time working in the woods is not because I am a successful lumberjack, but rather because I am an unsuccessful writer.

    If you have any experience with writers you know that a major aim of all writers is to avoid working a real job. If my life had followed the script I wrote for myself as a teenager, I never would have worked a real job at all. I only worked real jobs because I ran out of people to mooch off. Therefore I should not be equated with honorable people like “Joe the Plumber.”

    Many unsuccessful writers reach a point where they have to decide just how far they will go, to avoid getting a real job. Will you lie? Will you forge? Will you steal? Will you sleep with the editor?

    Being something of a prude, I would not go as far as some of my peers would, to get published. Some suggested this explained my lack of success, (though I myself think the reason for rejections was that my writing put people to sleep.)

    One trick, which my fellow writers seemed very adept at, was to get people to pay them for work they hadn’t done, and likely would never get around to doing. It was called “an advance,” and I had friends who were very good at getting advances. To me they seemed more like con artists than true artists. They were slick talkers, and landed an advance or endowment or grant, and spent all the money on wine, woman and song, and then awoke with terrible hangovers, flat broke. They called awaking with hangovers and being flat broke “the suffering of an artist,” and sometimes got patrons to pity them, and earned further grants and endowments and advances. It was quite a racket, but I was no good at it, and wound up washing dishes or cutting trees in the woods. Eventually I stopped telling people I was “a writer,” and just called myself “a landscaper and handyman.”

    Therefore, if you judge a man by the company he has kept, it should be obvious I don’t deserve some of the flattering comments people have showered on me. However I did learn one thing, during my time as an unsuccessful writer, and that was: “How to recognize a con-artist.”

    Naming no names, I often have felt I recognized the work of con-artists in the work of climate scientists, and have rudely and bluntly said as much. Over at Climate Audit my comments were quite regularly snipped, because I was too blunt. I feel Steve McIntyre deserves a great deal of credit for not allowing people like me to be rude and blunt, and to turn his site into a free-for-all. Rather than making accusations he keeps his cool, and politely states, “Excuse me, but it seems you made a mistake here.” I hugely respect his calm and collected manner, and am trying my best to learn how to emulate it.

    In the end I feel remaining calm and collected will bring truth back to the science of climate. Also I believe people will eventually learn as I have learned, and recognize real jobs are better than con jobs.”

    So you see, one of the few things I can actually claim to be an authority on is: Being an unsuccessful writer.  However one does not have to be an official authority on anything to get older and wiser, and to be able “to see through a brick wall with time.”  

    So there is still hope for Briffa.


Watts Up With That?

One of the great things about WUWT is that people from all walks of life frequent here. We have PhD’s right down to Average Joe  that read and post comments here. Everyone has something to contribute.

A general truism that I’ve noticed through life is that the people that actually work “hands on” with the things they study often know far more about them than the people that study them from afar. As in the case of the surface stations project, top scientists missed the fact that many of the climate monitoring stations are poorly sited because they never bothered to visit them to check the measurement environment. Yet the people in the field knew. Some scientists simply accepted the data the stations produced at face value and study its patterns, coaxing out details statistically. Such is the case with Briffa and Yamal tree rings apparently, since the tree ring…

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            The above map looks more like winter than the unofficial start of summer.  Temperatures here in New Hampshire are in the upper thirties this evening.  A bit of slush was mixed in with the rain, as I studied splatting circles on the windshield, between the wiper’s sweeps,  at a stoplight in Keene, as we drove home from eating out.

Last week we did talk a bit about a trip to the beach on Memorial Day Weekend, but as the week passed that seemed more and more like a bad idea, and sitting by a fire seemed more and more like a good idea.  Venturing out to a warm restaurant and eating Thai food seemed like a bad idea to me at first, as I looked out at the raw, sweeping rain, but I’m glad I got budged from my armchair by my wife, and enjoyed a meal with my three sons, my wife, my daughter-in-law and my three grandchildren.  These reunions will become more rare, I fear, as they head off into the big world.

When we noticed the slush on the windshield we recalled fishing derby chilled by falling snow around ten years ago, in late May.  My wife identified the date as May 25, linking it with a nephew’s birthday, but I’m not sure it was quite that late.

I then recalled a day in May back around 1975 0r 1976 when the leaves had just opened out, and there was a half foot of snow in the western suburbs of Boston.  I recalled hurrying to my boyhood neighborhood, where I was saddened to see many trees I had climbed as a boy had lost major limbs, or were broken down completely.

When we arrived back at home I noticed, on Joe Bastardi’s blog, a mention of a cold storm back on March 25, 1967, where a cold rain switched over to snow, which even accumulated as a thin slush on the deck of a yacht,  racing on Long Island Sound.

The point being that this sort of miserable weather, although uncommon, is not unheard of in New England.  It is not a sign of Global Warming or of Global Cooling.  It is not proof of Catastrophic Climate Change.  It is just a royal pain in the butt.

It was somewhat amazing how swiftly my garden went from too dry to too wet.  I’m glad I held off on planting corn, squash and beans, for this sort of weather is perfect for rotting such warmth-loving seeds. However I did get my eggplant and pepper seedlings in, and I fear they will not be happy.  Even if the weather warms next week, they do not take kindly to being chilled.  Even if there is no actual frost, they tend to sulk, and in some cases seem to sulk all summer.

The children at our Childcare didn’t sulk as much as you’d imagine, as the weather went from warm and muggy on Monday, to a humid, soggy midweek,  to showery, to abruptly chilly on Friday, as the rain let up for a bit, before the nor’easter brewed up on our coast.

The children were all too fascinated by how the mud, which had vanished in the drought, reappeared, and how our tiny pasture brook, which had also vanished, reappeared, as we had nearly three inches of rain in a series of heavy showers, during the week.  And, though we keep the kids nicely wrapped in rain gear, they have an amazing ability to accidentally sit in the brook, and there is nothing short of dressing them in a wet suit that can keep them dry, when they do that.

At one point I saw a haughty seven-year-old covet a pail a four-year-old girl was using to dip water up from the brook in.  The older girl tried to ask politely for the pail, and then tried guile, and then tried rearing up and blustering, but nothing worked.  The four-year-old was in no mood to share the pail. So the seven-year-old resorted to barbaric brute strength, but the four-year-old clung to the pail with a look like a snarling leopard. I was rushing forward to break up the fight, but before I could break it up the pail’s handle broke, and the four-year-old fell backwards and sat in deep, oozy mud.  The seven-year-old, who held the pail, saw me coming, and attempted to look nonchalant as the four-year-old wailed like an air raid siren. (Actually the seven-year old’s look of nonchalance was an amazingly good job of looking innocent, considering the circumstances, and I told her so, as I took the pail from her, whereupon she became a second air-raid siren.)  I cleaned up the four-year-old as best I could, but her mother later wondered about the mud in her child’s fanny-crack, when she undressed the four-year-old for a bath that night.

As a general rule, I expect such fiascoes, and therefore try to keep the kids away from the mud, unless the weather is truly hot and I can hose them down afterwards. However kids just love mud, so I need a stroke of genius to lure them away.  Unfortunately I was suffering from a shortfall of genius, and had to resort to being a mean, old grouch, and simply ordered them all uphill.

I don’t much like being a mean, old grouch. Getting glared at by a large number of children is not one of my favorite experiences. It makes me sigh, and it was as I sighed, and rolled my eyes towards heaven, that the answer came.

Just above my head a lower branch of a pasture oak made a ceiling of yellow-green leaves.  Sometimes I can make grouchy children laugh by reaching up and jarring the branch, which brings down a shower of droplets when the leaves are drenched by rain.  I then pretend to be upset by the mini-rain shower I cringe amidst, and the kids forget to hate me in fits of laughter.  However before I could resort to this ploy I noticed a little inchworm hanging from a tiny stand of web, and said, less than brilliantly, “Well I’ll be danged!  A little inchworm hanging from a tiny strand of web!”

It was a sort of miracle.  I highly advise rolling your eyes to heaven as often as possible, for the children all were cured: They forgot they hated me and each other, and instead were wonder-struck.

Unfortunately they all, nearly instantly, became covetous of the inchworm.  The boys said they deserved it, because worms are for boys, but the girls said they had just been crying like air raid sirens, and that meant they had suffered more and deserved the inchworm more.

Hatred towards me had been forgotten, however a new war between the sexes loomed, and I knew that if I sided the boys, the boys would fight among themselves about who got the worm, and if I sided with the girls the two girls would resume their battle.  I would again have to step in and would again wind up hated. The inchworm would end up torn in two or else totally smushed.  I again rolled my eyes to heaven.

Above me the light was shining through the yellow-green leaves, which are much more translucent when just unfurled, before they darken to forest green with summer chlorophyll. As I looked up at them I saw the webs of their veining clearly, and then also saw a short, straight shadow.  I drew the leave carefully down and saw an inchworm on the upper side of a leaf. Then I carefully let the leaf rise back up, and said, somewhat casually, “Oh, it is easy to find inchworms, but I’ll only do it for the ones of you who don’t fight.”

The children instantaneously forgot their war, and I had their attention riveted on me as I pointed upward at the leaves, and told them to look for short, straight shadows, and then pretended to just discover the shadow of the inchworm.  I nonchalantly drew the twig down and showed them the small inchworm on the top of the leaf.

Then the true miracle happened.  Once I had showed them how to do it, and made it look so easy, they all began hunting inchworms.  A week that might have been remembered as, “The Week Of The Rotten Weather,” will instead be recalled as, “The Week Of The Inchworms,” for it turned out they were rather good at inchworm-hunting.  They found the typical little green ones, and even smaller lime-green ones, and fat grub-like deep-green caterpillars like the ones found on cabbages, and amazingly slender thread-like loopers, and even the despised (but beautiful) mini-caterpillars of just-hatched gypsy moth eggs.

They found so many inchworms I had to jokingly tell them to slow down, or the mother birds would have none left to feed their babies, (and I would run out of Dixie cups to hold them in.) The only down-side was the hint of displeasure parents later shot at me, as they arrived to pick up their children, and their children rushed to show them their new pets.  However this discomfort was more than made up for by the simple fact the children were utterly engrossed, completely happy, and got along well with each other as they shared the wonder of each new discovery.

It was only a fad, and fads are forgotten.  By next week inchworms will bore them, and they’ll move on to new interests.

However I did not forget to look heavenwards again, and be thankful. Once again I have turned children away from quarreling and fisticuffs, and taught them about nature, and once again I can take no real credit for it.

I can’t take credit despite the fact the nicer parents might even compliment me, saying, “I think it is so wonderful you teach our children about inchworms.”

I can’t take credit because I know deep down that, had I written down, “Teach about inchworms,” as a sort of agenda and curriculum, things would not have worked out so well.  In fact we likely wouldn’t have even found an inchworm, and I would have been so frustrated that, after rolling my eyes to heaven, my eyes would have fallen, downcast, and I would only then have noticed fiddle-heads, or polliwogs, or slugs in the grass, and they would have become the nature lesson, instead.

To be honest, when dealing with children it doesn’t pay to plan too far ahead.  An inch about does it.

In the same way, adults aren’t all that different.  It takes longer, and the sense of time is different, but adults also inchworm forward, from droughts to drenching, pretending all is planned, when it isn’t. Not by us, it isn’t.

This Memorial Day I’ll be missing an old man who used to attend our little church, who, as a teenager, landed on Omaha Beach.  He inched across the sand, one of the few who lived. He inched from moment to moment, horribly aware each moment could be his last, and indeed was the last moment for other teenagers, inching beside him.

The wind outside is gusting with unseasonable chill, as it did on the beaches of Normandy seven years before I was born.  That storm convinced the Germans there could be no invasion that day.  Had the weather been better, had the weather been “as planned,” the slaughter on all four beaches might have been even worse than the hell of Omaha beach, and the invasion might have failed.

We like to think we have all things planned out beforehand, but we don’t.  Powers beyond our consideration are always messing up our battle plans, our agendas and curricula, our organizations and schedules, to a degree where even when we insist they are set in concrete, they are so variable they seem like little more than fads.

Last week it was important to water my garden, but it would have been foolish to do so this week.  What seems to matter much, changes, as you move from drought to drenching.  However there are some things that do not change, and one of those things is remembering to glance up towards heaven in gratitude.

In their own way my garden’s seedlings are still grateful I watered them, though I’d look stupid if I watered them today.  Watering was not merely a fad.  The seedlings might be dead, if I didn’t water them, though water is no longer needed today.

In some ways brainless plants are smarter than us, for at times we see the efforts of our elders as foolish fads, and rather than grateful are resentful. We know nothing of the droughts they endured, and we think the fact they watered us proves they are all wet.

And if we cannot even understand our fellow mortals, (and our elders are, after all, fellow beings only slightly older than we are,) how much less can we understand mighty powers beyond our consideration, especially the power of a Maker who, I believe, cares for us?

We can’t.  We are mere inchworms, with the understanding of inchworms, compared to our Creator.

However we are inchworms who operate websites, and sometimes write rants that blare like air-raid sirens across the blogosphere to the far side of the planet,  thinking the level of our noise proves we care, while the silence of the Creator is proof he doesn’t.

At our worst we think we are mighty, and the Creator is just an uncaring inchworm, if He exists at all.

Then again, sometimes the slings and arrows of droughts and drenchings makes us a bit more humble, and we toy with the idea we ourselves might be the inchworms.

The odd thing is that it is when you are feeling at your smallest, and most insignificant, that you tend to roll your eyes towards heaven.  When at our least significant, we turn towards what is most magnificent. It doesn’t make much sense for a tiny thing to expect to be noticed by a huge thing, but we are not exactly sensible, when feeling small. We are like a terrible two-year-old tantruming that all the world must stop and heed him, when he stamps his foot.

Even odder is the sense I have that, when I roll my eyes to heaven, as a mere inchworm, I do get noticed. Despite all the things I forget to remember, even on Memorial Day, I am not forgotten.

Although I can’t remember
The day I was begotten,
And now get old, and oft forget,
I haven’t been forgotten.

Quote of the week – misplaced priorities

MY COMMENT:  Considering the money our government wastes on “green energy” businesses, which then go belly-up, and wastes on plum-grants to so-called “climate scientists,” who then refuse to show their data even in the face of FOI laws, and who produce forecasts which fail to verify, it seems a very great shame that children die because their schools lack storm cellars, NYC’s subways flood because they lack storm barriers, and New Orleans’s levees fail because recommended improvement aren’t made.

Watts Up With That?

One of the most shocking stories to come out of the Oklahoma tornado this week is this one. The mind reels that in the middle of tornado alley, in a place where a previous F5 tornado devastated the town in 1999, no safe room existed in the school.


Full story:

Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. puts the issue into perspective with our QOTW:

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I awoke in the wee hours to the rumble of thunder, and lay in bed watching the dark outside light up with lightning.  Then I heard the trees sigh, as the rain came.  Soon it was drumming on the roof, and splashing down from the eves outside.

It was as if all the trees were sighing in thanks, for it has been a very dry spring.  I’ve had to water my seedlings daily, which is unusual in New England.  I’m more accustomed to the problem being too much rain, and having seeds rot.  In parts of the tilled garden I haven’t planted, the unwatered earth was dry as dust.

I won’t have to water, when the sun comes up.  Of course, there will be new problems.  The weeds will get a boost from the thunder-rain, which actually has plant-food in it.  I’m not sure of the details, but, as I understand it, the lightning, leaping from cloud to cloud, chemically alters the nitrogen in the air, turning it into trace amounts of fertilizer that falls with the rain.  This is why a summer rain gives plants more of a boost than watering with a garden hose does.

So I suppose I could consider weeds and be crabby about the rain, however I prefer to lie in bed and be grateful.  There is much to be grateful for, when thunder is high in the sky and benign.  It is the softer, hushing sort of thunder, totally different from what Oklahoma just went through.

We might get stronger storms when what is left of that Oklahoma monster passes over us, in 48 hours.  However I’m not going to worry about that, either.  For the moment we are  on the edge of a warm front extending east from that “bowling ball” low pressure area, and a ripple has come east along that front and has given us the blessing of rain.

It is best to count your blessings, for life has plenty of hardships.  If you focus only on the hardships, you are missing the point of life itself.

And what is the point?  Ah! Figuring that out is half the fun!

In the end we are only passing through.  Any shelter we devise is but a temporary tent, or perhaps a mobile home like a turtle’s shell.  Though we pass through beautiful landscapes, they cannot compare to where we are going, and therefore it does not pay to get too attached to any particular place or thing, which we will eventually depart from.

This includes hardships.  They too are temporary.  If we focus too much on what makes us sing sweet blues, we are as attached to our hardships as miser is his gold.

Sometimes it is good to just let go, turn off the news and computer and stop listening to politics, and to instead just listen to the rain on the roof.


torngraph(6) 21tornado8-articleLarge-v6


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            It really bothers me when politicians, such as Senator Whitehouse of Connecticut,  use the suffering of others to bang the drum of their own agendas.

“Never let a good crisis go to waste” is a horrible and inhumane attitude to have.  However already I see some using the ruinous tornado in Moore, Oklahoma as a way to further their Global Warming Agenda, with all its attached bangles and bells and taxes.

The real heroes are the people rushing to the scene to save friends and neighbors from the rubble; the teachers, with blood on their brows, leading dazed children from the ruins of a school.  The real idiot is the politician who sees it all as a “photo op.”

Have these politicians no shame?  Can’t they see that to seek gain from the misfortune of others makes one little more than a vulture?

How much better are those who rush in to rescue others.  They are exposing themselves to loss of peace, and likely will suffer some sort of “Post Traumatic Stress,” or “Battlefield Fatigue,” or “Shell Shock,” (different phrases for different generations,) for doing their good deeds. However look at the hope in the child’s face in the above picture.  One moment she was in darkness, crushed under the weight of a collapsed wall, and the next moment she is plucked up into the light, back in the fresh air, in the strong, warm hands of a grown up who obviously loves.

Look at that rescued girl’s face again.  If you want a reward, this side of heaven, that expression is the best and finest reward. Politicians who want other things (primarily money and power,) are hyenas in comparison.

I include those who bring up Global Warming, for it is not a thing that does the slightest bit of good in such a scene of mayhem and chaos.  Instead it is a sort of blame game, almost as bad as accusing someone of causing the tornado by practicing witchcraft. It takes people’s concentration away from the things they ought to be concentrating on, and focuses on a trace gas measured in parts per million, and possible temperature changes of tenths of a degree.

The Global Warming Alarmists concoct a theory so dunderheaded I can refute it with two pictures, which sandwich the picture of the rescued child above.

The first graph shows that we have actually had far fewer tornadoes than normal this year. In fact, the 365 days that ended just before the current outbreak occurred, set a new record for the fewest tornadoes in a 365-day period.  The old record, only 247 tornadoes in a 365 day period beginning in June 1991, was shattered, for in the 365 period beginning early in May a year ago, we had only 197 tornadoes. (Thanks to Joe D’Aleo at the WeatherBELL site for that chart.)

The third picture is the front page from a newspaper from back in March 1925, describing the huge tornado, which crossed three states, and killed and injured thousands.  (The “Tri-state Tornado.”)

The simple fact there were terrible tornadoes in the past, and the fact we have just passed through a time with far fewer tornadoes, makes a liar of any politician who attributes the current tragedy in Oklahoma to “Global Warming.”

In actual fact, these politicians should, if anything, blame the lack of tornadoes on Global Warming, for tornadoes require cold air clashing with warm air.  If the climate truly was warming, there would be fewer tornadoes to the south, and more up in Canada, as the jet stream retreated north. Instead the lack of tornadoes is due to the lack of warm air, as cold air has plunged south to such a degree even the waters of the Gulf of Mexico are chilled below normal. The muggy, high dew-point air necessary for tornadoes has been harder to brew, over those colder waters, and didn’t come north until half-way through May.  (The “Tri-state Tornado” happened two months earlier in the spring, in March, back in 1925.)

To even bring up this sort dubious blame-gaming, when people may still be pinned under the ruins of their homes, is proof a politician is a selfish dolt.  The fact I have to argue such trivia, as people are working in the dead of night, seeking survivors in rubble, makes me something of a dolt as well.

At times the entire debate about Global Warming seems a colossal waste of time. This is especially true because we are entering a time when the weather patterns seem likely mimic the 1950’s.  That time was a time when the baking heat of the Dust Bowl 1930’s was falling back to the chill of the 1970’s, (when people thought an ice age might be returning.)

If you look at the old, yellowing newspapers, (rather than dickering about with computer models,) you see that, as the cold started coming back in the 1950’s, there was a spike in the number of tornadoes in the Midwest, and a spike in the number of hurricanes on the East Coast.

In other words, although the recent lack of tornadoes I demonstrated is rather handy, when debating Alarmists, it is unlikely to last.  In the same way, the recent lack of major hurricanes hitting the USA, (which has lasted such a length of time that it too has set a record,)  is also handy, when debating alarmists like Bill McKibben, however it too is unlikely to last.  Eventually we may very well return to the tornado levels of the 1950’s, and the hurricane levels of the 1950’s.

Because this will be a return to circumstances of the past, it obviously has nothing to do with CO2. Instead it is a simple weather-cycle any layman can understand.  I think any layman can also understand what to do in such a situation.

You do exactly what laymen are doing in Oklahoma, right now in the darkness of neighborhoods without electricity, even as I type.  You run to help your neighbors when they are in trouble.

We very well could be returning to a time that Joe Bastardi, a decade ago, forewarned would be a time of “climatic hardship.”  I hope he is wrong, but my intuition tells me he likely is right. If such a repeat of history does occur, idiot (and unspiritual) politicians will, I fear, attempt to make a photo op of every tornado, and to profit from every East Coast Hurricane.

Have you ever noticed how, when a politician visits a storm ravaged area, he stands in the flood lights?  Neighborhood after neighborhood has no power, but he has the power.

Have you ever also noticed how such politicians, when they visit people devastated by storms, never propose helping the hurt by taxing themselves?  The people they visit are tax-payers, while politicians are paid by tax-payers.  Therefore, if they truly want to help taxpayers, they should lower taxes, and lower their own rate of pay, which, in effect, is a way of taxing themselves.

Funny, how this never actually happens.  Instead they say sophist and cynic slogans such as, “Never let a crisis go to waste,” and always propose taxing somebody besides themselves, “To help the poor,”  “To help the minority,”  “To help the children.”

When a tornado hits, it misses most of us. Those hit are a minority.  So who helps that minority? Without legislation. Without taxes. Without pay.  Who helps the poor? Who helps the children?

The One who helps the poor, the minority, the children after a tornado sure isn’t a politician arriving after a tornado and standing in floodlights, when the poor have no power, and flashling brilliant-white, twenty-thousand-dollar teeth, as the poor have lost dentures and have toothless gums. It sure isn’t a fool who blames coal mines for the tornado, when the poor have no mines.  It isn’t the idiot proposing carbon taxes that will make him richer and make….well….somebody, somewhere….poorer….(but not the politician himself, of course.)

What politicians fail to understand is that even when a layman is thick as a brick, politicians themselves are thicker.  They can’t see that the layman, even when in debt up to his ears, and even after losing both his home and his car to a howling storm, still taxes himself.  He taxes his weary body to the limit.

Look back to the picture of the rescued child one last time.  Please notice the guy who is part of her rescue is making a big political mistake.  You cannot see his face.  You only see the back of his head.

If a politician was involved, you’d sure as shooting see his tax-payer-funded twenty-thousand-dollar ivory teeth, gleaming an election-winning smile.

He’d be so busy grinning at the camera he’d probably drop the little girl.







There has been a lot of talk by Alarmists about how Global Warming will affect the poles first and worst.  For a while the talk stated our children wouldn’t even know what snow was.   These statements have led to embarrassment the past few years, as the Northern Hemisphere has suffered some severe winters.

The above graphs were created by Joe D’Aleo, I think.  I’m first aware of them appearing on his Icecap site back on May 1: (Second post down, left hand “What’s New And Cool” column.

The appeared again on May 19 on the “Ice Age Now” site.

What the graphs show is that the snow cover in the northern hemisphere hit an all time high last winter.

Attempting to explain how this is possible, in a warming world, the Alarmists hit upon the idea that less ice up at the poles would allow exposed water to evaporate more moisture, creating more snow.

The first problem with this idea is that it would only explain snow early in the winter.  Later in the winter the ice has re-frozen in the Arctic sea, And therefore there can be no evaporation and extra snow.  However there was extra snow right into April.

Second, Alarmists are big on something called “Albedo.”  The idea is that less polar ice will reflect less sunlight, allowing the poles to be warmer.  However the record-setting snow cover increases the area reflecting sunlight.  Therefore rather than warmer the poles should be colder.

In fact what is reducing the ice at the poles is ocean currents melting the ice from below.  For a while two oceanic cycles, the PDO and AMO, were pumping warmer water north.  The PDO has switched to its cold phase, and right on cue ice has increased on the Pacific side, in the Bering Straits.  When the AMO switches to its cold phase, likely in the next five to ten years, the ice will likely increase on the Atlantic side as well.

In other words, the size of the ice cap at the north pole has much to due with natural cycles, and little to do with CO2 made by man.



Click above graphic to enlarge. It shows the drought occurring in my area, in southern New Hampshire on the Massachusetts border. I am in the pink area of “moderate drought.”  Boston is in the yellow area of “abnormally dry,” and a graph of its precipitation (shown below) shows even Boston is more than 5 inches (250 mm) below normal for the year. You can click the graph below to enlarge it as well.



            I’m busy planting, but feel the urge to post an entry about how dry it is.

It’s so dry that I have to spend time watering my planted rows, twice or three times a day, which is extra work, and a bit unusual. Usually our Yankee springs are wet, if not muddy, and the worry is that seeds may rot in cold muck, before they even sprout, however this year I worry they will sprout, and then the tender roots will shrivel in dust-dry soil near the surface, before they can grow downwards to the moister depths.

Seedlings are tender things, even when they are tough plants who, once established, are the last holdouts when frosts end the summer’s lushness.  Even plants as tough as kale, Brussels sprouts and parsnips begin as delicate and tender little tendrils.

Despite my care, I’ve managed to kill some by crunching them with too much mulch, or allowing them to be bit by frost by not mulching enough, or not being careful enough when I remove the mulch, or not watering them enough, or pounding them with too much water when I spray the garden. I’ve inadvertently killed so many that I won’t have to thin as much as I would have had to thin, had the weather been perfect.

Also I won’t have to weed as much. Because I only mulched the thin line I seeded, and attempted to only water that thin area and not the dirt between the rows, the poor weed seedlings have had a rough time, and have been bitten by frost and shriveled by drought.  I am shedding copious crocodile tears over the seedling weed’s sad fate.

When I am not busy worrying and fretting about the late spring and drought, I am fairly good at seeing the silver lining. “I will not have to thin as much or weed as much,” I say to myself, as I spend time I can ill afford to spend, mulching and watering.

Sometimes I annoy my wife, by refusing to worry and fret, and seeing the silver lining too much.  She thinks there are better ways I could spend my time.

She tends to suggest I have too many interests and spread myself too thin, and urges me to concentrate on a single thing.  This is quite helpful, on occasions when I have forgotten to pay the electricity bill because I am off writing a sonnet.  It is also helpful, on occasions when I am too busy paying bills to remember her birthday.  However, on a whole, I think I do concentrate on a single thing, which is: To spread myself too thin.

I like to think of myself as being a bit like Ben Franklin, who had a wide area of interests.  However I confess this is a two-edged-sword.  At my worst I avoid depth, like a stone merrily skipping out over the surface of a pond, until I am way over my head, whereupon, against my will, things become deep indeed, as I, like a stone, sink.

A practical person would either focus on farming, or on writing.  However I see a common ground in the two occupations. Both involve being dirt poor.  Therefore I attempt an overlap.

When we were first married my patient wife urged me to do less of the scribbling and more of the working.  Back then my only involvement with childcare was my own children, and my way of earning my living was to be a handyman, who learned many trades but was “master of none.”

Now, because my scribbling has been called “interesting” and appeared on the Watts Up With That website, she has changed her tune. Now she urges me to scribble more, and garden less (though the garden is an important part of our Childcare business.)

Where I used to tax her patience by scribbling when I should have headed off to garden, now I tax her patience by gardening when I should be scribbling.

It goes to show you how bull-headed males are.  I actually am the steady one, doing what I always do, which is to spread myself too thin.  It shows you how fickle females are.  First she says I should scribble less, and now she says I should scribble more.

However I see the silver lining, which is the same whether it is the love of a woman, or the weather of New England.  It does not stay the same.  One year it is flood, and the next year it is drought.

Because I am male, I tend to support the mostly-male attribute of digging in my heels, and lowering my shoulder, and refusing to be swayed by the buffeting winds of life.  Sails are wonderful, but without a keel the sails billow and capsize the boat, and you go nowhere.  I’m a keel, a stubborn resistance to tilting, a holding of the ground gained, and, in my personal case, it involves a seemingly irrational insistence that I spread myself too thin.

There is a method behind my madness, and it is this:  If I chose to only write, or to only farm, it would only make sense in the short term.  I see farther, and see a vision of a better life if I do both. Admittedly it divides me, and at times I feel I am being split like a man with one foot on the rowboat and one foot on the dock, however I intend to draw the rowboat back to the dock and to not fall into the water, because the alternative is not to be too wet, but to be too dry.

The alternative is sunshine to excess, and eventually that withers life.  That is hard to conceive, here in New England, where we are too often cold and wet.  However when I was young, in the mid 1960’s, we had quite a drought in New England, much worse than our current drought.  Reservoirs shrank to half their size, and the Quabbin Reservoir in Massachusetts re-exposed the town that was sacrificed when it was created.

In my boyhood haunts, the Stony Brook Reservoir on the border between Waltham and Weston, in Massachusetts, shrank downwards until it exposed a big delta of mud, where Stony Brook entered into that reservoir. Because it was legal to fish in the brook but not the reservoir, I, at age eleven, thought it was great that the brook extended out onto the reservoir, and ventured out on the baked surface of the delta, though it dented under each step. My best friend thought I was nuts, and his fears were realized when I broke through the crust and began sinking in the mud.  My buddy tended to be a bit melodramatic at times, and I was slightly annoyed when he screeched “Quicksand!”  However his bellow awoke me to possible danger.  There was an unpleasant sort of bottomless feeling to the mud, and when it reached the bottom of my thighs I cast all dignity to the wind, and did what I was taught to do, if I ever found myself in quicksand:  Lie flat, and proceed with a breast-stroke motion.

It made a mess of my school clothes, but I extracted myself.  However I had left my fishing rod behind.  Therefore, to the huge annoyance of my best buddy, I again lay flay and went over the cracking surface to retrieved my rod.  My buddy didn’t think a rod was worth it. When my mother saw my school clothes, she didn’t think fishing was worth it. (I didn’t bother explain, because by the time you are eleven you know better than to add to a Mom’s worry.)

In retrospect, my buddy was smart to scream.  The mud, (judging from topography maps of how the brook plunged there, before the reservoir was built and the delta was created,) was nine feet deep.

What is the moral?

The moral is threefold.

First, the guy who made the law against boys fishing in the reservoir could have killed me, because he lacked the foresight to envision a drought, which could extend a harmless brook outwards into a deathtrap banked by a crusted quagmire.  His focus was too narrow, and like many who make laws, he failed to see all consequences.

Second, it is impossible to outlaw all troubles a boy can find for himself, and therefore it is smarter to equip a boy with knowledge of what to do when he gets in trouble.  It may seem odd to modern types, but back in 1964 most boys knew enough to “lie flat and do the breast-stroke,” when they found themselves sinking in quicksand.  For the life of me, I can’t remember who gave me this knowledge, but I’m very glad I possessed it.

Third, drought can happen here in New England, even if it has never happened in your lifetime, because you were not alive in 1964.

And what is drought?  Drought is sunny day after sunny day after sunny day, until even the people of New England, who crave sunny days more often than not, have an insane urge to legislate and abolish sunny days.

Why is it insane?  It is insane because the problem isn’t the golden sunshine and warmth.  The problem is the excess of one side of weather, and the lack of the other.  We need the rainy days.  Even when you are on the side of a thing as lovely as golden sunshine, you need to remember the value of the other side, even if it is as unpleasant as a cold, dark day of chilling rain.

Day before yesterday was a very warm day with a strong breeze, with gusts of gale force, and, because the temperatures were touching 80 (F) it made me remember lore I have heard of the “withering wind.”

Once, when the oaks were golden, and all the plants were tender, a hot spell came from the southwest, bringing air from the deserts of Arizona to New England’s springtime.  The weather pattern squeezed this hot air mass to a degree where the winds reached gale force, even as temperatures passed ninety. So hot were these winds that all the tender sprouts on budding trees were burned and shriveled, and within hours all the trees were blasted and shriveled.  The weather passed in a matter of hours, but the landscape looked more ruined than any frost could have ruined it.

In conclusion, to be one-sided is to be on the wrong side.  Even lovely things like sunshine and warm weather can wind up shriveling life, and be withering winds.

It is far better to be broad minded and embrace both sides, though people will call you two-faced, and your wife may accuse you of spreading yourself too thin.  Even though you may feel as ripped in two as a man with one foot on the rowboat and one on the dock, it is better to support a two-party system than a one party dictatorship, and  better to support a two sex marriage than a one sex myopia…

…And, in my case, it is best to spread yourself too thin, and attempt to be both an otherworldly writer and a very-worldly planter of a vegetable garden, even in a drought, than it is to be anything less.