LOCAL VIEW —FOR THE CHILDREN–

Kids by water IMG_1326The phrase “for the children” has become associated with hypocrisy, and with people who don’t really care for children. I think this is a huge pity, but is too soundly based upon the sad facts of our times to be ignored. There are all sorts of politicians who pretend to love babies, kissing them for the cameras, who shudder at the contact and thrust the baby back at the mother, as soon as the cameras point away. There are all sorts of political proposals made “for the children”, when in fact the true motive is gain for adults, and where in reality the consequences of the proposals are that the children are faced with paying off a huge national debt which their greedy elders accumulated.

Some hypocritical schoolmarms claim their aim is “for the children” when they care more for their pensions, and pharmaceutical companies claim their drugs are “for the children” when they know the drugs harm, but are profitable. The same can be said for the sellers of Chocolate Sugar Bombs breakfast cereal, or any toy or clothing that advertises a movie, or…and on and on the list goes. It is truly sickening what amazing hypocrites adults can be “for the children”. Divorce? It is “for the children”.  Abortion? It is “for the children”.

People really need to take a hard look at themselves, rather than jabbing a finger of blame at others, if we want to rid ourselves of this vile hypocrisy. And such hypocrisy truly is vile, for it is not merely socially destructive; it is socially suicidal. Children are our future. Even the drugged-out Jimi Hendrix could sing, “You’ve got to tell the children the truth, for one of these days they’ll be running things.” However too many selfish so-called adults treat children as if they don’t matter, beyond being a maudlin means of suckering money from unsuspecting parents.

So deep is this hypocrisy in our society that it invades even primal levels, such as many people’s idea of the purpose of sex. If you don’t believe me, I dare you to state the following at a party:  “The purpose of sex is the creation of children.” You’d be surprised how many hit the roof, if you state this fundamental reality, which every farmer knows is a fact. I suppose it is because sex makes it all too clear, to some, that they do not do what they do “for the children”, but rather for their own gratification.

Even while people do not confess they ought “throw the first stone” at their own mirror, they are eager to see the evil of this hypocrisy in others.

One of the things you often hear spoken, as if it is gospel, is how a radio personality named “Uncle Don”, at the end of his show for children, thought his microphone was off, and muttered, “That oughta hold the little bastards”. There are even recordings of this “blooper”, but the recordings turn out to be “recreations.” The truth is that there is no evidence “Uncle Don” ever said such a thing. Yet people believe the worst.

http://www.snopes.com/radiotv/radio/bastards.asp

Not that many of us didn’t suffer abuse during our childhoods. I did. Yet the foul deeds of the few is no reason to throw out the baby with the bathwater. However it seems to be happening. Due to the grotesque and vile hypocrisy of some Catholic priests, a nearby Catholic church which once was vibrant, and assisted many, is now nearly abandoned, with only six cars in its parking lot some Sunday mornings, where I once had to drive slow and squeeze by, because the parking lot was full and people were parking in the street.

This demonstrates how discouraging the hypocrisy is. People quit. Caring simply doesn’t seem worth trying. Simply stating you care “for the children” immediately stigmatizes you as a sort of exploitative hypocrite, if not a sexual predator. It is safer to be indifferent.

I seem to escape most of the stigmatizing, at my Farm-childcare, because I am an old fossil and probably am deemed too pathetic and feeble to be a sexual predator, but I have been witness to totally unfair and cruel attacks on my employees, when they are young men. It is as if any young man who likes kids must be sick, in the eyes of some parents. This is a sad state of affairs, because the fact of the matter is children crave any sort of father-figure, yet only 3% of preschool “Child Care Professionals” are males.

One reason few men want to become Child Care Professionals is because the pay sucks. There may be good money to be made in selling little children Chocolate Sugar Bombs breakfast cereal, but there’s not so much to be made by actually caring.

The guys who care for children tend to be the sort who are living “alternative lifestyles”, making money in six different ways, and eking out a minimalist existence which God may approve of, but most parents find highly suspicious.  Such fellows may earn a bit by playing guitar some evenings, so their hair tends to be a bit long. Then they may make a bit more selling wood carvings, which involves another odd crowd, and they may make a little more teaching classes about how to weave Inca blankets from llama yarn, and then shovel stables at minimum wage, and then make some goat’s milk cheese for sale on the side, which is how I happen to meet them, and discover they are great with kids, and ask if they might want to work for me part time. They then have to undergo an exhaustive background check involving fingerprinting, which the state mandates and I have to pay for. However some parents do not feel that is enough, and must do a bit of checking themselves. So they check the fellow’s Facebook page, where there is usually some evidence the fellow behaves differently off the job than on the job. (Don’t we all? Who drinks beer on the job, and who never imbibes off the job?)

These fellows do not need the crap parents give them. They have five other jobs, after all.

In one case a fellow happened to say “trees have sex”, meaning that, in some cases, you must plant two trees, one a male and one a female, if you are to have fruit. To a farmer like myself this is nothing but a fact. However to some parents, (who think carrots grow in cellophane bags), the statement “trees have sex” was a proof the fellow was a New Age weirdo, who was teaching their children trees were like some pornographic version of Tolkien’s Ents, grappling limbs in some hard-to-imagine, but definitely X-rated, manner.

As a capitalistic businessman this put me in odd shoes, for the customer is always right, but this seemed an exception to the rule. I stood up for my employee, and was on the verge of telling the worst customer that they needed to find some other place for their child, when my employee solved the problem by telling me, in a most gentle fashion, “You can take this job and shove it.”

And so it is that stupidity wins.

I know of a worse case, which I thank God didn’t happen at my Farm-Childcare. A young, male employee was urinating in the bathroom of a Childcare when a little boy came dashing in from outside and hit the door at top speed and, because the lock was flimsy, opened the door. The boy later told his parents, “I saw Mr X’s penis.”  This caused a huge uproar, as if the fellow had been flashing. I could read all about it in the local papers. The young man involved, (who I knew from the adult-education classes we all are required to take), could not work for that Childcare until an investigation was carried out, had no money for legal assistance, and decided, in the end, that it was better to make three times as much money working construction. He still had to be investigated, and was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing, but after all the crap he had to undergo he had not the slightest desire to ever return to Childcare, and I can’t say I blame him.  So once again, stupidity won.

There are even worse cases, where the tables are turned, and it is the parents who are accused of atrocities they never even dreamed of committing.

I well can remember the psychologies of the 1970’s, and how much time was spent remembering the past, seeking the childhood roots of current habits. In the end it didn’t do a lick of good to blame parents or teachers, but it was a handy way of avoiding ever actually quitting a bad habit, (and, if you had the time for such inner study, it actually did help one see the motives that move us from our subconscious, if one was honest, but not all in therapy groups were honest. Some were only there to meet chicks.)

However some psychologists took the blame-the-parent aspect too far, and actually berated clients, accusing them of “avoidance” and “denial” if they said they didn’t hate their mother, and actually loved her. One particularly nasty woman wrote that not a few parents, but all parents, sexually abused their children. She then made a good living “helping” people to “recover” memories of possible things their parents in fact never did. In some cases parents were professionally ruined, as well as completely brokenhearted, and had little defense,  until an amazing mother stood up and said enough was enough, forming FMSF.

http://www.fmsfonline.org/

I feel a male version of Pamela Freyd is likely needed, but doubt I’m the guy. I simply couldn’t stand all the accusations Panela Freyd has had to put up with, (of being a lackey for the CIA and so forth), when she simply stood up and said parents love their kids, even if some psychologists are determined to prove otherwise, and even if their own children have been led astray.

For just as parents band together, and defend themselves, psychologists band together to defend themselves, and if you are a person like Pamela Freyd you must be prepared to see an anti-Pamela-Freyd website appear,  brimming with horrible accusations about your dishonesty, your perversions, and the conspiracy against innocent psychologists that you represent.

http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/sociopolitica/sociopol_tavistock04a.htm

And what does all of this have to do with children? Amazingly, absolutely nothing. It is full grown adults battling full grown adults, with adult reputations and adult livelihoods at stake. Even the people making accusations that their childhoods were ruined are full grown adults. All insist they are doing what they are doing “for the children”, but let’s be honest. Are there any children present during these debates? And, if a child was present, would a child really care a flying flip about what the adults are discussing with such purple-faced zeal?

Some children might, (relating more to the purple-faced adult emotions than the adult’s intellectual points), but many other kids would wander off to find something more interesting, such as an experiment involving a plunger and toothpaste in the bathroom.

I too get tired off all the arguing. Perhaps I’m entering a second childhood, for I’d rather wander off with small children and see the world through the wonder of their eyes, and obsess about what they are obsessed by, and constantly challenge limits the way they must do in order to grow, and ride the roller coaster of their emotions. They do cry a lot, but so would you if you failed as many times a day as they fail, but they are amazingly resilient, and come bounding back from failures far more swiftly than adults ever dream of doing, and also they laugh a lot. If you can tap into that well of good humor, not far beneath the surface of even a morose child, even a prolonged tantrum may be spiced with odd, occasional smiles.

I definitely am not overly protective. I figure a child who never has scrapes and bruises likely is a child who is not coordinated, and I have seen this proven true again and again.

I once knew a precocious and charming little girl who took ballet classes, but couldn’t walk in the woods without falling flat on her face. She simply couldn’t coordinate her feet to avoid short, broken and barkless pine branches, which can form little rollers underfoot, and during the initial tour of our Farm-Childcare, as I walked her parents through the grounds,  this little girl fell heavily five times, as we strolled down a groomed path through pines. Her parents explained she was used to flat city sidewalks, but I had private misgivings, and publicly explained to the parents that we went on long hikes every day, requiring a certain degree of ruggedness from four-year-olds. They seemed to deem such hikes as merely one more class in the rather lengthy itinerary their child underwent every day, so the little girl was signed up and went trooping off with country kids. She did fall a lot at first, but it was amazing how swiftly the falling faded away.  Only a month later I shook my head in amazement, watching her play follow-the-leader with other girls, teetering along the top of a mossy old stone wall in the woods. Some might explain away her swiftly-gained coordination as being due to her being trained in ballet, but I tend to think bruises played a part as well. (And I think ballet can involve bruises, though I myself never experienced such training.)

In any case, that is merely physical coordination. I wrote about that, and the problems with being over-protective in this post called, “OSHA Snow”. https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/02/16/osha-snow/

What is really fascinating is how children learn about social coordination. It too involves bumps and bruises, though they are of an invisible, emotional sort.   Basically social coordination involves a child learning they are not always in control and the boss. Some have already learned this from parents, as they enter our Childcare as young as age two, but we get our fair share of little tyrants, with parents prone towards permissiveness, (though I’m sure such parents would prefer the word “tolerance”).

One sign of a tyrant is that the parent’s kindness doesn’t seem to generate a reciprocal kindness, but rather contempt. It is shocking how rude some tykes can be towards their mothers, (and fathers). A mere toddler basically commands, “Come hither, wench, and remove my boots.” However these tyke-tyrants themselves are in for a shock when their parent dumps them off at our Childcare. The complete tantrum the tyrant then throws, when the parent attempts to abdicate, doesn’t change anything. I try to gently hurry parents out the door, but they tend to prolong the misery of parting, trying to reason with the unreasonable. (I have noticed that, when the parent finally does shove the wrathful child into my arms and leaves, they are skipping as they cross the parking lot to their car. As kind as such parents may be, they are still glad to escape the monster they have created.)

Parents really seem to create a lot of monsters, these days. I think it is partly because of the great distrust caring “for the children” causes in people’s minds. Parents distrust their own natural impulses, and instead go for “parenting skills” taught by people who too often are childless and too often, if they ever actually worked at a Childcare, got kicked upstairs because they were absolutely useless with actual kids.

As a “Child Care Professional” I am required by law to go attend classes on the latest fads and fashions, in the world of “parenting skills.” Compared to the natural love a mother has for her child, and the reciprocal love a child has for its mother, all these scholastic ideas are dim reflections of reality at best, and drivel at worst. It is humorous how the stuff I was told ten years ago is now “outdated”, and also how the distinctions between the old ways and new ways don’t really matter. For example, “time outs” are now out of fashion, and the new thing is “redirection”, but this means little when a three-year-old is too wild. Rather than being separated from the group for a “time out” he or she is separated from the group and “redirected” to a chair in a corner.  It is the same thing with a new name, brought to us by government decree, costing the taxpayers a fortune, and keeping some meddlesome do-gooder in a bureaucratic job with a six figure salary.

Decades back the word came down that what was needed was to get children away from bad environments and bad parenting and into good environments and foster care, but that belief has now changed. Foster parents can be saints and foster homes can be comfortable, but a child still longs for its natural parents, even if both are heroin addicts in prison. Attempting to quash this natural love for natural parents has apparently had undesirable consequences.

Another idea that has fallen by the wayside involved “freedom of choice” for little children. According to this approach, rather than, “Get in the car”, the parent is suppose to inquire, “Would you like to get in the car?” The child, being honest, may well reply, “No.” Then the parent asks “Do you want Mommy to be late for work?” The child might reply, “Yes.” The next question tends to be, “Do you want Mommy to lose her job, fail to pay the mortgage, so we are thrown out of our house and freeze in the street?” At which point the small child develops an ulcer.

At a recent class I heard follow-up studies suggest that too much freedom-of-choice causes chronic insecurity in children, because the child is expected to make decisions the parent should make, and it is too much to ask of a developing psyche. As a consequence of “freedom of choice”,  children in well-to-do homes were manifesting symptoms associated with orphans in refugee camps. However originally the parent was scolded for making decisions, and originally was accused of stunting the child’s growth, if they dared decide for the child. Parents could have saved everyone a lot of grief if they had simply trusted their natural impulses, made choices for their children, and had told the authorities on “parenting skills” to go jump in a lake.

Perhaps the most contentious natural impulse a parent has is to paddle their child. While the ancient authorities tend to suggest “spare the rod and spoil the child”, modern authorities pounce on parents who so much as think of such discipline, calling such discipline “abuse”, “bullying”, and worse. However, when I inquire of the parents of the better-behaved children, it often turns out that they did resort to corporal punishment on a rare occasion or two.  Apparently that was all it took. Once they had made it clear that such a possibility existed, they created a boundary the child knew better than to cross. However the parents of the little tyrants never dared spank, perhaps fearing arrest. And perhaps their children were bad tempered because they knew their parents were total wimps.  Or perhaps not. In any case, I was handed an unruly child, and the parent fled across the parking lot crowing “Free at last! Free at last!”

And what am I to do with this young person? They are screaming and clawing at the glass of the window as the parent’s car departs in a cloud of dust, and they are definitely in no mood to learn the rudimentary skills of social coordination. I am suppose to “process” the child and regurgitate them months later in a form where they can fit the social norms of kindergarten, but when I tell them in my best, smarmy voice, “It is circle time”, they adjust their sombrero and inform me, “Circle time? Circle time? I don’t need no stinking circle time.”

I am glad I am not a state school, bound by the laws of bureaucrats and the Teacher’s Union. I may be wrong, but it is my understanding that at State Schools, in such situations, teachers respond to a obstinate child who utterly refuses to obey by evacuating the classroom and calling in the state police. Because I am a private institution I simply pick the kid up and say, “Soldier, I am going to make a Marine out of you.”

Or…well…actually I don’t say that, but sometimes the way my wife and staff react you’d think I did. They are mother-figures and put up with stuff father-figures don’t. They are tender, merciful, long-suffering, and sometimes need a father-figure to step in.

So what do I do? I am not allowed to smack the kid’s butt, (which likely would do the child good, provided the blow was delivered in the manner my father (a surgeon) and mother (a nurse) recommended,  low on the buttock  and not up where it could have even a slight chance of damaging a kidney. And also making sure the child was not given “a good shake”, (which actually can quiet a small child, because it concusses the brain). And lastly, not acting out of anger, [which I seldom feel beyond the annoyance of having my glasses knocked off].) However I do employ gentle restraint. In the worst cases I remove the child from where he is disrupting the activities of the other kids, and allow the child to tantrum to their heart’s content in my lap in a quiet place, but making it clear that a rule is a rule, and that no amount of tantruming will gain them a waiver and let them break that rule. Some tantruming children will scream, “You’re hurting me”, but I make sure I never do, physically. The hurt is all emotional, and I tell them I’m sorry about the emotional pain, but a rule is a rule. I often croon a shortened version of “You can’t always get what you want”..

Children at my Childcare become familiar with that tune, and on several occasions small children have looked up at me and informed me, “Mr Shaw, you know, I really hate that song.” However they get the point. Some rules don’t bend, and definitely don’t break. And it has been my experience that one full blown tantrum is usually all it takes. Once a child realizes tantrums don’t work,  they seem to feel they might as well find better uses for their energies. Only twice have I met children who tantrumed regularly, and in both cases they had nightmares in their home-lives that were beyond my ability to heal.

(As an aside, I’ll state it seems important to not have the rules be “my” rules. Rather they are “the” rules. You want to avoid a battle of wills, and the involvement of egos.)

In any case, once the introductions are over with, the little tyrant turns out to be, like most very small children, a very nice human to be associated with. Once they are given a framework they can depend on, they get busy with the business of testing limits in every other way imaginable. In a sense children seem to need both restraint and freedom, (in the same way a ballet dancer needs the law of gravity, even as they come close to defying it, at times).

Another way of saying this is that, once you have established the rules, there are no more rules. Ambiguity is involved, but the fact is that, rather than teaching the child, the child is teaching you. Every child is an unique individual, with unique problems, and therefore beyond a certain point having a “rule” becomes a preconception that clouds your ability to see differences. No two children approach the same problem the same way, and unless you keep your mind and eyes open you will miss something not only unique, but marvelous.

The person most likely to see what is marvelous in a child is, of course, that child’s mother. We poke fun at this fondness, stating, “He has a face only a mother could love”, but the disrespect towards motherhood inherent in many modern bureaucracies is of a lower and more sinister order. The beauty of a mother’s love is called “favoritism”, and that is used as a springboard towards further downplaying of something that is high and beautiful.

The aim of bureaucrats, when they scorn motherhood,  is, I assume, an “internationalism” where all care for all, irregardless of nationality. And as an aim, this is admirable. If there is a God upon a throne of golden light in heaven, surely He would want us to love our neighbors as much as we love our own kids, and to love distant orphans in third-world countries as much as we love our neighbors. However that would mean we’d all have to have hearts like mothers have for their own children. What some bureaucrats do instead is to sneer at mothers, and discredit their love as mere cronyism and nepotism and racism and sexism and other isms I can’t think of at the moment. And then, having ripped apart one of the most beautiful loves most of us ever see,  what do they have to replace it with? Paperwork?

In like manner, fatherhood gets sneered at and belittled. Though for some woman a father is the only example of sexual purity in men they ever experience, fathers are treated as if they are all incestuous creeps, for, even if their sexuality is never acted upon, it’s existence in a state of abeyance is described as “sexual repression,” which shows it does exist, and fathers are therefore guilty. Paperwork, on the other hand, has no sex.

In my darker moments I feel bureaucrats dislike all that lies outside their jurisdiction, yet a mother needs no permit to make milk, and a father needs no permit to be enchanted by a tiny daughter. Therefore, when bureaucrats become demented, they attempted to control what they have no business controlling, and state that making milk or being enchanted is not allowed without a permit. It is in some ways like the nonsense regarding Global Warming, where the government thinks it has jurisdiction over temperatures. It is a colossal waste of time and money and, in the end, is an extravagant exercise in futility, and the epitome of folly.

In my lighter moments I just dismiss the bureaucratic jerks, and get on with my job, which is being neither a mother nor a father, but rather a sort of grizzled Great Uncle.  I supply the discipline that keeps children from hurting themselves or each other, and after that is done I can sit back and enjoy the marvelous freedom of young minds.

I’m trying to think of examples of what a joy such minds are, but often the joy isn’t obvious at first, and perhaps it is best to chose an example of a child you might initially want to swat.

For example, little girls, even when they are only four years old, can be precociously aware of stuff involving who-sets-next-who that I, at age sixty-two, still have a thing or two to learn about, and am often oblivious of. In some way I suppose it is a woman-thing.

One day, as we paused to have the morning snack in the woods, one little girl began crying, and crying, and crying, because a second little girl sat with a third little girl, and not with her. The woods were beautiful and the weather was kind, but this poor, forlorn little girl would not eat, nor sit with the rest of us, but rather sat at a distance making a noise reminiscent of an air-raid siren, all the while shooting daggers with her eyes towards the second small girl.

The joy wasn’t obvious at this time, partly because this particular girl had a history of throwing a fit every time the second little girl didn’t do what she wanted. For a while this strategy had worked, and the second little girl would rush to her and soothe her, but now the second little girl had apparently decided enough was enough, and was unmoved by the wailing. So the wailing got louder and louder, but still remained ineffectual. The noise was so annoying birds were having a hard time flying away, as they had to hold their wings by their ears. I decided I should step in.

Sometimes distraction works, but changing the subject only caused the child to laugh briefly, before her eyes returned to the second girl and she again wailed. (I noted there were actual tears, which is not always the case in such situations.)

I tried comforting. Sometimes a child just needs to have a good cry, and that is that. (In fact my wife took a series of pictures of me sitting beside a small girl on a swing, looking sympathetic as the girl wept, and the last picture is humorous and a little embarrassing, for I still look very woeful and sympathetic, but the girl is over her grief and gleefully laughing.) However this small girl made it very clear she wanted no comfort. By hook or by crook she was bound and determined to cry her friend into submission.

I likely tried some other tricks, such as asking her if I could have the snack she was refusing to eat, and removing it from her backpack and salivating over it, because sometimes that stimulates both appetite and greed, and the child forgets the problem and snatches the snack from me and eats it, but this little girl was intent on solving her problem. My bag of tricks was completely exhausted.

It is at this point irritation can arise, and an urge to smack the child may appear, especially if one is foolish enough to have an agenda and curriculum and be attempting to cram the child’s skull with a plethora of ridiculous government-mandated “early learning skills”.  I tend to skip all that, because it is obvious what the child needs to learn, and what is more, the child is already deeply engrossed in the study of the subject.

Of course, sometimes you simply don’t have time. A thunderstorm may be approaching, or some such thing. In that case I just pluck the child up and put her on my shoulders and tell her we’ll resume the study at a later date, and we are on our way, even if she objects and rips out tufts of my dwindling supply of hair. But the thing of it is, often there is time to study what the child is studying, and what is more, joining them in the study can be fun.

Once your bag of tricks is exhausted you need to trust nonacademic things such as intuition. The answers come out of the blue, but you need to get the wax out of your ears. You need to tell yourself that, for thousands of years, uneducated, sixteen-year-old mothers have faced tantrums, and handled them, and therefore, because you are older, you should be wiser.

In this case it came to me that the problem and the goal should be stated, so I simply nudged the girl and muttered, “This doesn’t seem to be working. She’s not sitting next to you. Maybe you should try a tantrum like this.” With a creak and a groan I got down onto the pine-needled forest floor, lay on my back, and thinking back to primal-scream therapy of the early 1970’s, kicked my legs and thrashed my arms and shrieked. Then I sat up and said, “There. Why don’t you give that a try?”

Not only did the small girl look interested (though she refused to copy me) but all the other children were interested as well. They wanted to know what we were doing, and I explained we were trying to get what we wanted by throwing a fit. I was asked what I wanted. I thought for a moment, and then asked them for suggestions. What should I throw a fit about? After a pause (for they apparently couldn’t think of what old fossils want), I raised an index finger and said, “I’ve got it! I forgot my snack. I’ll get it by throwing a fit!”

Apparently it worked, for several kids offered me food from their lunches even before I began. Perhaps the various lessons on “sharing” from other members of my staff had sunk in, but I didn’t want them to share, so I said my snack was a whistle-burger, and nothing else would do. The kids wanted to know what a whistle-burger was, and I said it was really, really good, and that I wanted one really, really badly, and asked for suggestions of what sort of tantrum I ought to throw.

We then did a scientific experiment, as I acted out various tantrums, thrashing on my back, and on my stomach, and by hopping up and down, or by holding my breath until I turned blue, and so on and so forth. The children thought it was hilarious. After each effort I’d look around and ask, “Did it work?  Is my whistle-burger here?” and they’d look around and shake their heads and then cry, “Do it again!” I got tired pretty quickly, so eventually I had to end the fun by stating my conclusion, “I guess sometimes throwing a fit just doesn’t work.”

The sad little girl who had started the entire experiment was by this point finishing her snack, and apparently was no longer concerned about the second and third girl sitting next to each other, because by then they were standing up. The back packs were zipped up and we continued our hike, with no further mention of the incident, but I like to think the first girl’s psyche was impressed. It doesn’t seem to matter all that much if you punctuate your experiment with a conclusion like a lecturing professor, because learning coordination is more of a process than a single point, whether the coordination be physical or social, but I’m straying a little off the point. The point I am trying to make to the reader is that I didn’t just nag the girl, “Throwing a fit doesn’t work.”  Instead we discovered it, and did so with laughter.

It pays to strike up such conversations. A lot of small kids seem to have hardly ever been talked to. We are into a second and even third generation of people raised by screens: Where parents were once plunked in front of a TV their children are now plunked in front of a video game, and, while the coordination of thumbs and of texting skills is now impressive, talking seems a lost art, and eye contact really surprises some. Even the bureaucrats have become vaguely alarmed, and we get decrees from on high that extol the benefits of sitting around a table and talking during meals (which we have always done) plus explanations of how video time needs to be shortened (when we have never had any video time whatsoever.)

I find it is important to get down to the person’s level, and that crouching is essential, as is eye contact. And that is with the parents. With the kids I sprawl.

One little boy was unusual, for he was an extrovert although both his parents were introverts. They were very kind and dreamy individuals, but not very verbal at all, seeming to nod and shake their heads rather than wasting their effort with long words such as “yes” and “no”, though they did say “mmm” a lot. They tended to look at their exuberant only child as if from afar, with obvious affection, and I noticed that when they did talk it was often about video games. The result was a small boy full of good cheer, who bounded about saying things like “Hey!” and “Ha-ha!”, and appeared to be completely oblivious of the fact he upset the little girl’s tea tables as he passed, or knocked over the boy’s towers of blocks. He was in essence completely out of control, but not with any sort of hostility, and in fact he seemed surprised at the wrath of other children when he walked through their board games.  It was very hard to get his attention, and when you talked to him he would look across the room at something far more interesting. At “circle time” he could sit still for five seconds, on a good day, before leaping to his feet and rushing away. Obviously he was going to be a handful.

When faced with a lack-of-control people seem to feel a need to name it. It is as if that creates some sort of control. I think it only controls their insecurity about lacking control. I heard the word “autism” bandied about, as people watched this small fellow bounce about shouting “Ha-ha!”. That always makes me cringe a little, as “Autism” seems to be the new catch-all phrase, as “Attention Deficit Disorder”  slips out of style.  I’ve seen this before: “Manic-depressive behavior” was everyone’s ailment in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, but fell out of favor, only to be replaced by “Bipolar-ism”. What troubles me is a sense I have that the people popping these little, judgmental hats on both adults and children never seem to go any further. They seemed to feel they have earned their pay by dubbing activity a “syndrome”,  and need not crouch down and get their knees dirty by actually relating.

This uneasiness was furthered when I heard an old friend had become well known because she was able to “reach” autistic children, (sort of like a dog-whisperer, but with humans).  She was in great demand and making good money, and I had the advantage of being a friend, so I went and asked her how the heck she did it. She rolled her eyes and said there was nothing to it; she simply made the effort, which apparently others didn’t feel qualified to make. Where others didn’t try to reach, she reached.

In any case I’ll only get myself in trouble if I put myself forward as some sort of authority on autism. But I will say I’ve been introduced to small children who have been described as having “tendencies” that”might” indicate they’re “slightly” autistic, who then quite quickly learn to relate to other children, and this was the case with the small boy who bounded about like a kangaroo exclaiming “Hey! Ha-ha!”

Just as it only took a month for the small ballet dancer to stop falling flat in the woods, it only took around a month for this young boy to learn social coordination. The most fun, for me, was gaining eye contact, for at first I needed to gently grasp his shoulders and quietly say, “Look at me. Hey! Look at me when I have something to say.” His lively eyes bounced back and forth from my  right ear to my left ear like a ping-pong ball, before abruptly stopping between, as our eyes met. He looked cautious but interested, and I definitely had the feeling the experience was new to him. He rather enjoyed it, and it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. It was also very unlike autism, as I understand it. Rather than  incapable of relating he merely had very little experience of being related to.

Within a month he was doing as well as bouncing boys ever do at circle time, and apologizing to other kids when he inadvertently knocked over their blocks. As I watched I could see that a lot of the teaching of social coordination skills does not come from teachers, but rather from the kids; they teach each other. The adult is only there to avoid the “lesson” being a swift uppercut to the jaw (though I did see a two-year-old teach a eight-year-old in that manner, once.)

One four-year-old girl had completely given up on the bounding boy, and was done with attempting to teach him manners. She suffered from NTOS, (IE: Neat, Tidy and Organized Syndrome), and you could always tell where she had played in the woods, for all the pine-cones were neatly lined in rows, and the acorns in careful piles according to whether they were green or brown, and the forest floor was swept and all twigs lain in a neat line around the periphery of her territory, until the bounding boy passed through like a jovial tornado. Then she was reduced to rage and tears.

After the bounding boy had been with us a month, and was showing some signs of improvement (although he definitely wasn’t a Marine yet), the tidy girl had spent a morning constructing a tea parlor at the edge of the pasture, complete with small, plastic cups filled with dirt, and, (because I will sometimes pretend to sip at such dirt and say it is most delicious tea I have ever tasted), she shouted across a patch of lawn to me, “Come and have some tea!”

Unfortunately she shouted this just as the bounding boy was passing in front of her and, though he looked a little surprised at the invitation, he ricocheted right to the door of her tea parlor, saying “Tea? Ha-ha!”

You could see the small girl immediately appreciated the magnitude of her mistake, for her face filled with dismay and she wildly waved her arms, shouting “No! No! Nooooo!” But so speedy was the bouncing boy that he’d not only brushed by her and popped into her shop, but popped out again and brushed by her a second time, by the time she finished her third, prolonged, “Nooooo!” He remarked (concerning her shop, I assume), “Ha-ha! Nice!” and was going to bound away, completely oblivious to the fact the girl was collapsing to the ground and clutching her arm where he had barely brushed against it. But I caught his shirttail, as I arrived just then.

“Hey!” I said, “She’s crying. I think you bumped her.” He looked astonished. A wrinkle of concern creased his brow, and he leaped to her side, crouched down, lifted her hand, and patted it briskly, saying, “Sorry”.  Then he sprang to his feet and looked me in the eye with a confident smile. What could I do?  It was a sign of amazing progress. I said, “That was very nice,” and then watched him go skipping away.

Then I attended to the girl. “Well how about that!?” I exclaimed. “He didn’t wreck anything, and said he was sorry; doesn’t that make you feel better?”  She pouted and shook her head, still clutching the hand he had barely brushed against. (It was obvious she wasn’t actually hurt, but rather was suffering shock. It is traumatic to have a bull pass through your china shop, even if nothing gets broken, even for an adult, and she was only four.)

After a pause I asked her, “Does your hand still hurt?” and she nodded. After a second pause I said, “He must have patted it wrong”. After a third reflective pause I suggested, “Mom’s kiss boo-boos to make them better. Should I try that?”  Without a word she presented me her hand, and I attempted to muster the grace of French courtier as I bowed my head to gently kiss the back of it. Then I asked, “How’s that? Better now?”

It worked, for she nodded and smiled, wiggling her fingers, but then this little innocent one completely floored me, for her face softened as she looked up at me and she inquired, “Mr Shaw, Are you married?”

“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depths of the sea.”  Matthew 18:6

 

LOCAL VIEW -Thanksgiving Misgivings: Pilgrims and Syrians—

The president, among other things, stated in his Thanksgiving Message,

“Nearly four centuries after the Mayflower set sail, the world is still full of pilgrims – men and women who want nothing more than the chance for a safer, better future for themselves and their families,” Obama said in his weekly address Thursday. “What makes America America is that we offer that chance.”

As is usual, the president is generalizing in a manner that so occludes the facts that they become nearly meaningless.  History, when merely massaged into a form that is most convenient to promoting excuses for grabbing what you lust for, fails to teach the Truth, and one is then doomed to repeat the sad past. Even more sadly, the president is seemingly intent on not only doing this ignorant thing to himself, but intent upon dragging an entire nation down with himself,  in the process.

It is unusual for the president to say much good about America’s history. Usually his narrative views our ancestors, including the Pilgrims, as bad guys who exploited the Natives, even utilizing genocide, and then exploited the rest of the world, whereas the alternative, (IE: his new and improved ideas), are proof of his wonderful something-or-another, which he hasn’t been too clear about defining.

The actual facts concerning New England’s early history are far more tragic than most understand, and do not involve the Pilgrims, for they were not there yet.  When Squanto returned to his home village in 1619, after a fourteen year odyssey through England, Newfoundland, and Spain, he did not find a village decimated by a Pandemic. He found no village at all.

The New England Pandemic was worse than the Black Death in Europe, or, for that matter, any other pandemic I’m aware of, (though Influenza in 1918 killed 80% of the people on some Pacific atolls). The New England Pandemic of 1618-1619 may have killed 98% of the population of the Massachusetts and Waupanog tribes. No one can be sure of the numbers, but I have read the population of southeast New England may have been reduced from roughly 30,000 to roughly 1000. Most histories I’ve read use words like “wiped out”, which indicates the horrible thoroughness of the disease.

The glimpses we have of the civilizations that existed before the pandemic are intriguing, and a tale for some other evening. They indicate there was contact with Europeans for a century (perhaps longer) before the pandemic hit, which makes the actual nature of the illness a mystery. I’ve read all sorts of interesting guesses. The latest I read suggests this was the demise of a civilization:Leptospira 220px-Leptospira_scanning_micrograph

Above is a picture of the Leptospira bacteria, which is now world-wide, and still has a few strains that can overwhelm the human immune system  In the worst cases it can cause some of the symptoms (yellow skin, bleeding lungs), of the horrible New England Pandemic. However many other bacteria and viruses have “strains” that, when introduced into the unsuspecting immune system of an unexposed population, cause disaster.

My personal favorite, (if you can use such a word for such a tragic topic), is some sort of “swine flu”. Native Americans apparently very much liked the flavor of pork, (as I do,) and in some cases preferred it to native game. However neither French fur trappers nor British cod fishermen nor Dutch traders carried pigs with them, (though they may have had some salt pork). It wasn’t until native populations were exposed to living pigs that the tragedy occurred. Interestingly, the early Spanish explorers seeking gold and the Fountain of Youth traveled with a herd of pigs, and reported “kingdoms” in areas where, a quarter century later, following explorers found “no kingdoms”.

However these are all guesses. Until science can examine 400-year-old bones and determine what the person died of, all guesses will remain guesses. At the moment our science is too backwards to display such skill, and if our science is backwards now, it was even more backwards 400-years-ago, and the suggestion that any intentional germ warfare was going on is preposterous, especially because people hadn’t discovered “germs” and their ideas of the causes of contagion waxed upon witch-doctoring.

Therefore I was a bit dismayed to learn a teacher was misinforming her students, and suggesting the Pilgrims infected the Massachusetts and Waupanog tribes by giving them blankets from people sick with smallpox. (This “germ warfare” incident did occur, but 140 years later, in a war with Chief Pontiac, and its effectiveness is disputed). I did my best to educate that teacher, but the incident struck me as significant, for it showed me how people who obviously haven’t made much of an effort to study history will make outrageous accusations, under the guise “it is history”. In my opinion such smearing is more indicative of their personality, and of the possibility they are “projecting” from some personal sense of weakness and guilt.

The actual factual history is that, when Squanto got home, before the Pilgrims,  no one was alive. It is painful for me to imagine being in his shoes, for I imagine he was thinking he’d enjoy a reunion, and that he had long dreamed he would sit by a fire and tell tales of his adventures, but instead he likely found the ruins of wigwams, and perhaps bones and skulls, (for when so many die so swiftly there is not the dignity of funerals). Then he would have set out to find someone, anyone. Apparently he found a group of survivors in Rhode Island. But think, if you will, what sort of state of mind those survivors would have had.

To even function, after seeing just about everyone you have ever known die, seems an achievement to me. (I have a hard time when only one person I care for dies.) If the survivors were a bit weirded-out I wouldn’t blame them a bit, and I did read that the leader of the survivors kept on his person, as a sort of keep-sake, a mummified hand. I doubt that was ordinary behavior, in that civilization, before the pandemic.

After spending time with this traumatized bunch Squanto may (or may not) have wished he could talk with people who were not so weirded-out. I’ve never seen this suggested in any history book, but I think I’d feel that way. Even talking my native tongue wouldn’t feel like something I was completely at home with, as there likely would be variations between the dialect, slang and pronunciation of the survivors of many different villages. It was a situation straight from a science-fiction movie, where a nuclear blast has hit a modern city, and you have two survivors from a ghetto living with two survivors from a high class neighborhood. In other cases you might have had a Hatfield survivor meeting a McCoy survivor. Last but not least, Squanto himself hadn’t talked his native tongue much in over a decade, and it may have seemed oddly unfamiliar to do so. Therefore, hearing that a group of English people had arrived might have seemed, as weird as it may sound, more like going home than his actual home was.

Meanwhile the Pilgrims had landed some seven hundred miles off course, on the wrong side of Cape Cod, and were running out of food. They tried to contact some natives, whom they glimpsed from afar, on the shore, but the natives did the wise thing, which was to run like hell. (This was wise because European sailors were always tempted to kidnap people, as kidnap was acceptable in those days, and there was a fine market for kidnapped people in Europe, where over a million white people were slaves in the Mediterranean), (some glad to be servants in warm villas, and others chained to the oars of galleys).

Considering no natives would even talk to them, the Pilgrim men were forced to forage for food, and somewhat amazingly chanced upon a huge storage pit of corn. (It has been suggested there was a corn-surplus, as there was corn harvested to feed 30,000,  but only 1,000 left eating.) Hopefully they left some sort of payment or IOU before they headed back to the Mayflower, though I myself have not yet seen a record of it. It was snowy and bitterly cold, and, if they failed to leave an IOU, it likely was because their toes hurt really bad.

Arriving back at the boat there was apparently some agonizing about whether they should be happy or not for getting food, if it wasn’t in a Biblical manner, and also about whether the exhilaration of their adventure ashore, after so long at sea, might not be a sign that they were too far from the authorities in Virginia, and were becoming anarchists, though the word hadn’t been invented yet. Therefore the following scene took place:

The_Mayflower_Compact_1620_cph.3g07155

The above painting is a romanticized view of what was likely a far more bedraggled-looking group of people signing “The Mayflower Compact”, which was basically an agreement not to become anarchists. The Pilgrim men vowed to work together for God and, amazingly, the King, (though they were trying to get away from his persecution of non-Catholics). Below is a modernized version of the text:

In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, defender of the Faith, etc.

Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic; for our better ordering, and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.

In witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth, 1620.

This document is a sort of embryo of people working with each other, respecting each other, and respecting the order they inherit, which eventually gave birth to the the American Constitution. It took a gestation of 150 years of Town Meetings on American soil, and likely the umbilical cord pumped in some ideas from Iroquois governance, as well as other American ideas,  to merge with European ideas such as the Magna Carta,  and produced our Constitution, which our president now so blithely disregards. However the Pilgrims could not see so far ahead (or they might have quit then and there.)

Instead they forged west along the north coast of Cape Cod until they ran into the mainland, and could go west no further, and landed at a place that by sheer coincidence happened to very near the spot of Squanto’s home village. And there they found themselves in a dreadful fix. A winter colder by far than any they had ever experienced was coming on,  and they had to build housing and chop firewood. Food? I suppose they could dig clams, but by all accounts it was one of those winters when sea-ice makes even clamming impossible. Many died, including some of my ancestors.

(I confess my personal involvement in order to admit a certain bias I have. Four of the men, (and by inference, four of the woman), on that ship appear in my family tree, (although one was a member of the crew and not an actual Pilgrim.) Of course, once you go back that far on a family tree you own literally thousands of great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents all working hard to produce only one of you, but perhaps eight of mine were on the Mayflower, so…….if you badmouth Pilgrims you are badmouthing my family, so you’d better watch it, buster.)

However against all odds the Pilgrims survived. When I sit back and contemplate the possibilities, it seems fairly obvious that, if you do not believe in the Grace of God, then you must concede that the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune were aimed just over their heads. They very well could have perished, and been like other “failed colonies”, were it not for some odd flukes of fate.

Consider first the odds of a bungling shore-party chancing upon a storehouse of native corn. Pretty slim.

 Next consider what would have happened if they arrived two years earlier, and were met by a population of 30,000 rather than 1000.  They arrived at just the right time, when there was no one to object to them moving in. What are the odds of that? And did it enter anyone’s pragmatic calculations? The answers are “slimmer” and “no”.

The Pilgrims were not pioneers. They didn’t have to clear fields, for the fields were already clear and ready to plant, but the former farmers had vanished. However the dopes arrived in November when it was too late to plant anything. What good did cleared fields do for them?

Finally, consider the probability of this fellow named Squanto walking out of the springtime woods, talking to the Pilgrims in their own language, as perhaps the only man alive who not only knew how to utilize and harvest the resources of that particular neighborhood, but also was willing to share the information with “foreigners”,  (though he may have felt more “at home” with Pilgrims than with the native fellow who carried about the mummified hand.)

I would say that the probability of a blessing like Squanto occurring is so slim it needs to be considered, if not actually defined, as being miraculous. I certainly would never count on such good fortune occurring to me, if I ventured to a foreign place.

Then what happened? Squanto died only a year later, not on American soil but aboard a ship several miles off shore, of a fever. The first generation of Pilgrims lived at peace with the natives, despite squabbles, likely because they were too busy simply surviving to do anything else.

Also word got back to England that there were farms without farmers in southern New England, and boat after boat loaded with Puritans set sail. I’ve read over a hundred ships disgorged their passengers in a single year, at Boston, (my family name arrived in 1628), and an amazing 20,000 had settled in short order, but the troubles this influx brewed with the Dutch to the south, and the schism that occurred in a single tribe that broke into the Mohegan and Pequot, and how the prosperity brought about by the fur trade led to greed and war, is a story for another night. Tonight I’m talking turkey, which involves Pilgrims. What happened to them?

Roughly a hundred survived the first winter, and a second ship arrived the next year with roughly a hundred more, and now, when you look around the United States, how many can claim to trace their roots to the Mayflower? At the very lowest, I’ve read ten million, and I’ve heard as high as thirty million. 10% of the American population. To have an ancestor from the Mayflower is not all that uncommon.

I was once working for a wealthy woman, snipping the grass at the edge of her stone patio as she sat sipping iced-tea, chatting politely with her. I was dirty and sweaty and she was elderly but beautifully dressed and clean, and as we discussed the world’s problems and solved them, the subject of the past and Pilgrims came up, and she stated, with obvious pride, that she had an ancestor on the Mayflower. I detected a whiff of snobbery, but resisted my impulse to say I had eight. Instead I simply said, “Oh really?  Which one?”

When she replied, “William Brewster”.  I laughed, arose, spread my arms, and exclaimed, “Cousin!”

She looked taken aback, and even a little alarmed, but, once she understood I wasn’t going to actually hug her, she was old and wise enough to catch my drift, and perhaps even to see that the Mayflower Covenant is still in effect, and we are all on the same boat, even as some are old and sit on a patio and some are young and clip at the edges. I thought I detected a twinkle in her eye as I got back to work, and, in the end, she didn’t fire me.

In fact if our president, (who is about as Unamerican as you can get, in my humble opinion), carefully examined his mother’s family tree, he might discover he had William Brewster as an ancestor. Likely it would trouble him, and even seem a political liability. However it might wake him up, and he might avoid the stupidity of comparing the poor Syrians (fleeing the mess his policies have bred in Syria) with Pilgrims.

First of all, the Pilgrims had time to think about what they were doing.  They had time to deliberate. When they decided to oppose the king and move to the Netherlands, it was their decision, and planned out.

Second of all, the Pilgrims arrived on a coast where 98% of the population had died. The Syrians are not arriving in a similar situation. This amounts to an enormous difference.

Lastly, the Pilgrims wrote the “Mayflower Compact”,  which expressed a willingness to seek unity and avoid anarchy, even if it involved associating with a King who did not much like them. Our President seems to feel it is offensive to ask Syrian refugees to make any similar statement, even if it involves obeying the laws of the land which is offering them refuge and succor.

If the president really cared for the land whose laws he has sworn before God to uphold, he would make sure the refugees promised to obey the laws he has sworn before God to uphold. Furthermore, as some refugees interpret Islamic Law as “allowing lying”, he should state that rather than placing their hand upon a Bible to pledge allegiance,  they should thrust their arm into the sleeve of a lie-detector.

However our president  will never do that, because if he asked that of others then others might demand he do the same, with his own arm, in the same lie-detector.

THREE THANKSGIVING SONNETS

I’ve been sick as a dog, and am thankful I’m better.  Besides mucus, I produced three sonnets, (which some critics, undoubtedly, will suggest are just another form of mucus I cough up.) (And I must admit is sure feels good to get them out of my system.)

THREE THANKSGIVING SONNETS

If you’re not thankful perhaps you’ve not been
Sick enough, needed another’s plasma
Because you’re short of your own, or got in
Love with breath while suffering asthma.

We shouldn’t need to spend midnight strangled
By our own mucus, gasping for our breath,
To thank air, but we can’t see air. So mangled
Are our minds that we need shoulder taps from death.

When you can’t cough out the crud, can’t breath in
Without whooping, no longer do you care
For promotion’s new hat, but believe in
Santa, and gasp, “All I want is some air!”

Hold your breath two minutes. See what I mean?
Things we should thank are too often unseen.

*******

Too often we only thank Beauty when it is gone.
The Sophists lure us with bright city lights
And we forget starry nights, roosters at dawn,
And scoff at the rural, and at youth’s delights.

We think we’re so smart, when in fact we’re senile.
What else can you call forgetting where home is?
When in Rome we act Roman. See how we smile
Even while learning what sheer hell Rome is.

“You can’t go home again”, the Sophists say
To the prodigal poet asleep in his car
As he longs for dawn’s warmth long before day
And through the smog sees a bright morning star.

Yankee, go home, after prodigal sonning,
For soon as you start a Father comes running.

*******

I was a mighty hunter, or so I thought,
And left home heading west, as advised,
And after my safari I had caught
A mighty sense of humor. Don’t be surprised
To see the head mounted there, in my study,
Up on the wall. The trophy, after tramping murky
and trudging muddy, often hurting, even bloody,
Is, midst a vast plaque, the wee head of a turkey.

The best part of a hunt is to be home
And laughing about the wild turkey hunt,
But don’t tell millionaires, for they still roam.
Don’t tell them they hunt turkey; it’s too blunt;
They miss the joke, the point, the joy. They’re unable
To sit in thanks, with turkey on the table.

ARCTIC SEA ICE —CROSS POLAR ROAR—

I apologize for being slow to update the sea-ice posts. The sun has set up there until March, and I suppose I’m a very visual  person, (whatever that means), and when there is nothing to see there is no way for my lying eyes to inform my lips to blow the whistle on people who depend on models and never use their eyes or even step outside. This time of year I tend to drift away from drifting sea-ice, which is sort of an avocation, and to move more in the direction of my vocation, which is basically to survive. Survival is no easy thing this far north, which is why many pan handlers and bums head south this time of year, and why Syrian refugees are in grave danger when they head north.

One reason I work so tirelessly and unstintingly to recreate myself as a cantankerous anachronism is because modern people tend to be complete fools, when it comes to natural things such as winter. I push myself to be old-fashioned, and to have a pig in the freezer and firewood on the porch (and gas for the generator, for old-timers didn’t have freezers),  because those old timers had common sense about things like winter. Also they had common sense about natural things like sex, and rearing children, which is what I’m attempting to write about on a “local view” post, but I’m not sure I’ll dare publish.

Common sense isn’t politically correct, you see. You need to make a sort of modern-day version of Archie Bunker out of yourself. If figure that if I walk on eggs, and accept the roll of fool, maybe I can write in a manner so droll and humorous people won’t tar and feather me. After all, in long ago times, who was it who dared tell the king the truth, when truth was difficult to swallow? Often it was the court jester.

In any case, that is what I’m busy with, when there are no sea-ice posts. My vocation, with which I eek out a minimalist existence, happens to be Childcare on a farm, and that involves all sorts of government red-tape that is basically nonsense, and far more like a wrench-in-the-works of caring for children than it is helpful, but government meddling always os phrased in a manner that twangs heart strings as it is “For the Children.”  So that is what the Local View post will be called, “For the Children.”

Even when busy with my vocation, perhaps my vocation can leave me annoyed at times, and in need of distraction, so I do indulge my avocation and sneak peeks at the sea-ice situation, and it has raised my eyebrows a bit the past week, even though I didn’t write about it. Though it was pitch dark, a roar could be heard from the Pole.

Basically a long trough of low pressure developed, wider at the Atlantic side and dwindling to a peak short of the Bearing Strait on the Pacific side,  and this trough created a two-lane-highway of opposing winds, although I suppose you could argue the winds both traveled west-to-east. The more impressive fetch was on the Eurasian side, as strong high pressure developed over central Siberia, but strong winds were on the Canadian side as well. On the Eurasian side west-to-east winds roared from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and on the Canadian side west-to-east winds roared from the Pacific to the Atlantic. On the Eurasian side the winds had more mild air, and on the Canadian side the winds were bitterly cold.

Here are the DMI maps of the situation developing and then starting to fade.

DMI3 1117 mslp_latest.big DMI3 1117 temp_latest.bigDMI3 1117B mslp_latest.big DMI3 1117B temp_latest.bigDMI3 1118B mslp_latest.big DMI3 1118B temp_latest.big DMI3 1119 mslp_latest.big DMI3 1119 temp_latest.big DMI3 1119B mslp_latest.big DMI3 1119B temp_latest.bigDMI3 1120B mslp_latest.big DMI3 1120B temp_latest.bigDMI3 1121B mslp_latest.bigDMI3 1121B temp_latest.big DMI3 1122 mslp_latest.big DMI3 1122 temp_latest.bigDMI3 1122B mslp_latest.bigDMI3 1122B temp_latest.big                            These maps do not show the cold air in Siberia, beneath the huge high pressure and south of the long west-to-east fetch along the Siberian Arctic coast. I thought the high pressure might press that cold air west towards Europe, but it never did.

The flow broke down when continental air was sucked up into the flow, breaking the long trough into two distinct systems, with the Pacific-side system now wrapping up its inflow of milder air, but cut off and likely to weaken, as the Atlantic-side system is likely to linger longer and attract more storms from the north Atlantic.

So what was the effect of the flood of warm Atlantic air? It pushed the edge of the sea-ice north in Barents Sea, and at the very edge of the snow in western Siberia, caused the snow-cover to retreat east to a degree where the edge of the snow is now “below normal.” But a glance at Dr. Ryan Maue’s map of arctic temperatures at the Weatherbell site shows that, first, the warming missed the core of the bitter cold in Siberia, and also rapidly cooled as it moved into the arctic darkness and left open waters for ice-covered waters.

DMI3 1122B cmc_t2m_arctic_1

These maps are in Fahrenheit, and the dramatic shift from Navy Blue to light grey represents the zero line. (-17° Celsius.) Two areas of extreme cold are in Siberia, (where the sky-blue turns to sky-blue-pink temperatures are below -40°, which is the only temperature fahrenheit and celsius agree about.)  Between them is a “warm” sector with temperatures below -20° Celsius. In that area the snow is deeper than normal, and extends further south than normal, which can be seen looking at the same scene sideways, with an Asian perspective:DMI3 1122B cmc_t2m_asia_1

I tend to see the surge of warmth into the Arctic as a loss of heat. It shows up in the temperature graph:DMI3 1122B meanT_2015 However “above normal” is temperatures that are down around -20°C, and well below the freezing point of salt water. Even with the roaring wind shoving the ice north in Barents Sea, the growth of the sea-ice doesn’t slow noticeably (which I actually expected.)DMI3 1122B icecover_current_new

One reason the ice extent graph still shows growth is because, while winds roared north in Barent’s Sea, they roared south in Fram Strait. The sea-ice, which had been dawdling to the north and often manifesting “wrong way” flows, surged south. Far faster than the ice were the cold winds, which don’t show up well on the two meter maps, as the open waters warm the air close to the sea, while only ten or twenty feet up the air may be much colder. For example the above maps don’t show much cold air reaching Iceland, but not far inland temperatures there dropped to -20° C:

http://iceagenow.info/2015/11/bitter-cold-in-iceland/

Then this cold blast curved east towards Great Britain, and Europe, blocking the milder Atlantic air south of the Azores, and keeping it from reaching the arctic unless it took a convoluted route through the Mediterranean,  and even that route was blocked when the cold front from this blast reached the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. (I always like to bring Africa into a discussion of arctic sea-ice, if only because it so obviously annoys certain Alarmists.) Lastly, the cold air from this blast meant the air curving around and back up to Barents Sea was not as mild as one might expect a south wind to be. (It always pays to pay attention to an air mass’s source region, even though it may seem a bit old fashioned to label them on maps, as the old-time weathermen once did.)

In the end we have sea-ice much below normal in Barents Sea, and the western reaches of Kara Sea, and surprisingly close to normal in Fram Strait and down the east coast of Greenland.Extent 1122 N_bm_extent_hires

The above map also shows the refreeze starting in Northern Hudson Bay, behind schedule to the west and ahead of schedule to the north.  Once it gets going it usually proceeds pretty swiftly.Hudson Bay 20151122 CMMBCTCAReturning to Fram Strait, it is hard to find a map that gives a true picture of the situation, which involved multi-year ice only now starting south from the north, and much of the ice to the south home-grown “baby ice”, grown over the past few months by very cold north winds, and then crunched up against the coast, in places becoming a jumble that is far thicker than most think of baby ice being.Fram Ice 1122 general_20151120

I sometimes think  the only way to truly know the makeup of Fram Strait ice is to pay close attention on a day-by-day basis. We know the multi-year ice dawdled to the north because we watched it do so. We know the ice to the south is home-grown because we watched it grow.

Currently the O-buoy site is down, but we can watch Faboo (my name for the North Pole Camera) to see how that ice handled the blast.

FABOO UPDATES

On November 17 Faboo began to feel the roar, as winds remained between 20 and 26 mph all day, pushing the ice 17.14 miles nearly due south to 82.786°N, 6.041°W. Temperatures ranged from a high of -17.6°C at 0300Z to a low of -22.7°C at the end of the period (2100Z).

On November 18 the roaring lasted all day, with winds between 26 and 38 mph, peaking at 1500Z. The ice was barged 23.51 miles SSE. Temperatures in these gales ranged from a low of -23.8°C at 0300Z to a high of -20.9°C at noon.

On November 19 the roaring slowly faded away, as winds slowed from 26 mph down to 9 mph, and temperatures fell from -21.2°C at the start of the period to -26.4°C at the end. We traversed 14.51 miles SSE, finishing at 82.247°N, 5.149°W.

On November 20 calm descended, and the buoy only moved 6.76 miles, finishing at 82.153°N, 4.945°W. Temperatures remained very cold, -26.4°C for a low at midnight, up to only -25.5°C for a high at noon.

Though the buoy slowed, the 6.76 miles it moved on November 20 is still what we would have called a large amount, in September. In the five days of the roaring we moved further south than we did the entire month of September. And we are not a lone berg in open water, but a vast, flat area of ice with next to no open water beyond a few leads, which are likely freezing over swiftly, in this cold.

Faboo has now likely missed its very remote chance to be peeled off to the west and wind up in the Beaufort Gyre, and is now doomed to float south along the east coast of Greenland, and eventually melt. But remember the doom was not caused by “Global Warming” but by bitter blasts up to gale force that could freeze exposed skin in thirty seconds.

 

 

 

 

 

LOCAL VIEW —BURNING WEEDS—

BURNING WEEDS 1 IMG_1171

The goats busted out and ate the tattered Brussels sprouts and kale, as they have keen eyes and go for the last green things in sight, but that is fairly normal for my farm. It is so normal that my wife made sure to pick all the kale except for tufts at the tops, and my middle son and his girlfriend stripped all the sprouts larger than a pea from the Brussels sprouts, which is one reason they looked so tattered. I myself like to leave the sprouts and kale out a bit longer, as frost improves the flavor, but the family knows my goats. The goats are a reason the family doesn’t know how much frost improves the flavor. It is a flavor that I alone know about, and never have been able to share.

There’s still around 25 pounds of potatoes to dig, still in the earth, saved underground because the children at the Childcare get such obvious joy from digging them up, plus there’s also perhaps ten pounds of parsnips underground, which the goats can’t get to because they haven’t learned how to dig…yet. (I once had a dog who would sneak into the garden to dig up a carrot, and then trot off to surreptitiously eat it.)   (The pigs are off being smoked, or they’d be out there digging them up.) For the most part the garden is finished for another year, and its weedy earth stretches out as a forlorn mockery of my aspirations, and of a dream I wanted to share.

The dead weeds, which are plentiful and in some places tower six feet tall, are especially galling, as they remind me I’m older and couldn’t work, last summer, the way I once delighted in. (I was a strange young man, I suppose, because I got pleasure from toil. I suppose toil was for me something like jogging is for other folk, though jogging was an activity that almost always seemed a complete waste of time, to me. Why jog when you could get as much exercise and more from hoeing? Why work out in a gym when you could toil in a garden, producing stuff you could eat,  which tasted better than anything from any grocery store? If you toil, you should reap a benefit, either a crop, if the garden is your own, or a paycheck, if you garden for another. I can’t imagine paying a gym. It makes no sense to toil, and then pay others for the honor of doing so.)

Even more galling is the fact it is November, and I’m suppose to be counting my blessings and be brimming with Thanksgiving spirit. It is the time of harvest, and we should be grateful no hailstorms hit, nor clouds of locusts, and there is something to harvest. Not much, in the case of my garden, but a little is better than nothing. Instead I seem be harvesting a strong sense of irony.

I know I’m older and should cut back, and last spring I really meant to only have a little, modest garden, that a doddering old guy could easily manage, but the enthusiasm of others tricked me into the usual insanity of spring. There is a reason for April Fool’s Day.

The days were getting longer so fast everyone went nuts. They were filled with wild-eyed aspirations and a manic nature that convinced me that they meant what they said, and would help with the weeding and more. So I went and rototilled the usual quarter acre, and planted like crazy, and then, around the end of May when the weather got hot, I looked around and wondered, “What happened to the weeders?” After spring fever ebbs people come to their senses and go home, but someone must face the consequences. In my case the consequences happened to be one mother of a garden I couldn’t possibly keep up with.

My harvest is towering weeds, and I am suppose to be thankful? Unlikely. There is a reason for Halloween’s morbid ghosts and goblins. The days are getting shorter so fast that everyone goes nuts. Gloom and doom invade and infect the psyche, and thankfulness is work, and an exercise of vigorous spirituality. I’m not there yet. (This may explain why Thanksgiving occurs weeks after Halloween. It takes time to muster thankfulness)

At this time I am in the autumn of my life, and am reaping what I sowed, and, to be frank, on some rainy mornings it looks like towering weeds. I gripe to my Creator for making me the way he made me. Why did he make me the sort of guy who stands up to a corrupted boss and tells him to go to hell? That is no way to last the decades it takes to collect a pension. In my experience, it was a way to be immediately fired.

I really do marvel at my peers who managed to put up with abysmal jobs for atrociously long periods of time, and now can sit back and collect pensions as I work.   Of course, some died before they collected, and some died amazingly quickly after they retired, and some seem…and I do not know how to put this politely…stunted.

For example, imagine being a schoolmarm over the past thirty years. It just seems to me that there have been numerous things, which honorable people would object to, that they have meekly turned a blind eye to, because making waves might threaten their pension. Drugging small children might be one example, and teaching the scientific falsehood of Global Warming might be another. Now they get their pension, which is a god they have worshiped more than standing up for the Truth. They fully expect to benefit for behavior I find revolting. They expect taxpayers like myself to make their old age cushy. They will be extremely upset if they reap what they sow in another manner, and the economy collapses, and hyperinflation means their pension check supplies them with enough money to buy only a single biscuit,  even as the students they drugged at age six threaten them, as drugged adults aged thirty-six. Schoolmarms would call such a fate utterly unjust, which to me suggests that they lived intellectual lives that never looked too deeply into the long-term consequences of their actions, which just might indicate that, for the sake of a pension, they allowed their psyches to become stunted.

Of course, they are the ones now getting pensions as I work my fingers to the bone and likely will die with my boots on, so perhaps all my talk is just a bad case of sour grapes.

So what have I got to be thankful for? Over forty-five years ago my generation set out to radically improve the world, to make it a planet of “Truth, Love and Understanding”, but the way things have turned out it has seemed those who worship filthy lucre (and that includes pensions) have done far better than those who have been willing to sacrifice prosperity, promotions, and even pensions, for Truth.

In a symbolic sense it is as if back in 1969, during the so-called “summer of love”, I set out to make a fabulous garden of social reform, and now I am confronted by towering weeds, dead and brittle in the November winds. So what does a farmer do?  He adds fertilizing ash to the soil of his garden, by burning the weeds.BURNING WEEDS 2 IMG_1169

In the above example the weeds grew over six feet tall after the six foot tall edible podded peas were for the most part harvested. My excuse for not weeding was that peas have shallow roots, and weeding harms the pea’s roots more than it helps them (but the truth is I am old, tire quickly, and when tired I gain strength by writing about arctic sea ice, rather than weeding.) We got a fine harvest of peas in June and July, but the weeds had all August to climb the chicken wire and at their highest towered seven feet tall. They looked big and tough, but a single match swiftly reduced them to ash, which is better for next year’s crop than their seeds. It was a heck of a lot easier than pulling all those weeds up, and disentangling them from the chicken-wire, and lugging all the dead stuff to a compost pile. The flash-fire even sterilized the chicken-wire.

However, outside of my little garden, in the larger, symbolic example I have highlighted above, it is frightening to think of supplying such a match. This world has already seen such conflagrations. Anger towards schoolmarms manifested during China’s “Cultural Revolution”, when China got rid if all its teachers. They destroyed to such a degree that, once they got over their madness, no teachers could be found to teach the next generation. They had to seek out the undergrads who had managed to survive the madness, (perhaps by being part of the madness), and promote them to the position of professors in colleges. And in Cambodia under Pol Pat the madness was even worse, for it was not only the schoolmarms who were eradicated, but the students like myself who butted heads with schoolmarms. All you needed, to deserve death, was to have a writer’s callous on the middle finger of your writing hand. That would have included me.

Obviously I don’t want to promote any madness that kills me. I don’t want to wind up like Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, who opposed the death penalty, yet got his head chopped off by the devise he promoted as a more humane form of execution, during the time madness overtook France.

Therefore the match that burns weeds should be simple Truth.

Back in 1965 I was the youngest and smallest boy in my eighth grade class, yet had to confront a towering, grey-haired schoolmarm with her incorrectness. The “correct” answer in our textbooks and in her tests, concerning what built mountain ranges, was that the Earth was cooling, and cooling caused contraction, and therefore the skin of the earth buckled like the skin of a withering apple. However my older brother had given me a book about a new idea called “continental drift”. I had neither the power of Mao nor Pol Pot. All I could do was speak the Truth to an elderly woman who taught by the book. I still can recall the lost look in her eyes, when a little punk like me asked her to rethink the curriculum she’d been teaching for years.

Now, somewhat amazingly, fifty years have passed, and I still don’t have the power of Mao or Pol Pot, and yet still speak the Truth to schoolmarms who do things by the politically correct book. Or, at least, I think I do. From time to time I have to stop and take a hard look at myself.  Perhaps I am now the old, tradition-bound elder resisting new ideas. Perhaps the new ideas are to drug small boys and promote Global Warming, and I am just an old dog who can’t learn new tricks. But I always conclude that the very fact I am taking a hard look at myself is proof I am not hidebound, and am not stuck in some out-of-date textbook.

For Truth itself never gets old and never changes. It is a lodestone with which you test your ideas for their iron. It is only when your ideas become a curriculum you do by rote, year after year, never testing it, that we drift from truth into sterile traditions.

The politically-correct tend to sneer at scriptures as being merely musty traditions, and to feel they are following some sort of new and improved version of Truth, a sort of newer New Testament and glossier gospel. However if they actually opened their dusty,old Bibles and examined the ancient scriptures they might see their behavior described.  They might read the suggestion that bad things happen to those who focus more on smart-sounding, politically-correct political alliances than on being honest to Truth. The prophet Isaiah warned the Northern Kingdom not count on crafty alliances, but they didn’t listen, and the Assyrians led them off to captivity, and in the same manner Isaiah warned the Southern Kingdom, and they didn’t listen, and wound up led to captivity to Babylon.  In those cases political correctness and smart-seeming alliances didn’t pay off. However King David was utterly different, and likely looked nuts to those who promoted sacrificing Truth for political purposes and crafty alliances, for he put Truth first. In Psalm 118 the poet David states, (and I substitute the word “Truth” for the word “Lord”):

It is better to trust in the Truth
Than to trust in man.
It is better to trust in Truth
Than to trust in princes.

All the nations surrounded me
But in the name of the Truth I cut them off.
They surrounded me on every side
But in the name of the Truth I cut them off.
They swarmed about me like bees
But died as quickly as burning thorns;
In the name of the Truth I cut them off.

I was pushed back and about to fall
But the Truth helped me.
The Truth is my strength and my song;
He has become my salvation.

It is likely that David would appear to be a complete whack-job to today’s politically correct elite: A man prone to lust, rage, self-pity and black depressions. However David was a poet who was a king, and led his small nation to greatness against all odds. In like manner America’s founding fathers likely appeared to be whack-jobs to the politically correct royalty of Europe, for rather than accepting the Byzantine corruption of how things were done, they attempted to construct a constitution more closely allied with Truth, and in doing so they led a little string of colonies along a coastline to greatness, against all odds.

Truth seems to have the power to defy all odds, and to completely ignore political correctness. The next, great world power always seems to spring up from the most unlikely places. In 1480 Spain was two obscure kingdoms at the very edge of Europe. Great Britain was some offshore islands. If anyone had suggested, back then, that a pope would give Spain legal rights to half the planet, or the sun would never set on a future British Empire, the political experts would have scoffed. It would have been tantamount to telling modern experts that the Navajo Reservation would be a future world power.

Truth doesn’t care about the opinions of experts. Truth sees the truth, and if your establishment has become a field of dead weeds rattling in November’s wind, Truth supplies the match. There is no need for us mortals to raise the blood-stained hands of Pol Pot or Mao, for Truth can take care of itself. There is no need to plot the death of billions in the name of population control. Truth can take care of itself. Where mortals make a mess and a field of weeds, Truth enriches the soil with ashes.

And this applies to me as well. Should I become an old weed, I accept the match Truth shall light. I actually rather like the image of going out in a blaze of glory, and dying with my boots on rather than collecting a pension, and thinking how Dylan Thomas wrote,

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

BURNING WEEDS 1 IMG_1171

ARCTIC SEA ICE –CROSS POLAR WHIRLS–(Updated Tuesday Evening)

The DMI maps below show a little low I dubbed “Malga” crossing over the Pole and wandering to the coast of East Siberia. Meanwhile a huge area of low pressure I generalized as “Crawl” is unable to follow, as high pressure builds behind Malga and pushes the Atlantic low pressure southeast towards Europe. On the Pacific Side the gale “Crept”can’t push north either, and slides into Alaska and weakens.

DMI3 1109 mslp_latest.big DMI3 1109 temp_latest.big DMI3 1109B mslp_latest.big DMI3 1109B temp_latest.big DMI3 1110B mslp_latest.big DMI3 1110B temp_latest.big (1) DMI3 1111 mslp_latest.big DMI3 1111 temp_latest.big DMI3 1111B mslp_latest.big DMI3 1111B temp_latest.big

What is interesting to me in these maps is the feeder-band of mild air that keeps Malga alive. In the end it flows from the Atlantic along the Siberian coast nearly to the Pacific before curling up into Malga. It shows up very clearly in this GFS temperature map produced by Dr. Ryan Maue at the Weatherbell site.  (Map is flipped from DMI maps, with Greenland at the top right)Malga 1 gfs_t2m_arctic_3Not only does this map show the neat little curl of Atlantic moisture still feeding into Malga along the East Siberian coast, but it also shows a peak of mildness starting to poke north of Greenland, which may be the start of the next cross-polar-whirler.

I’m wondering about these cross-polar storms. It seems the storm track I’m more used to, which goes across Scandinavia and along the Siberian coast, has been displace far to the north.  To some degree it is still governed by the boundary between cold sea-ice and milder open water, but gets as far north as it can, along that boundary.

These storms seem to have a genesis separate from the North Atlantic storms, even when they are fed by the southerly flow on the east side of Atlantic storms. If you watch the evolution of “Crawl” in the above DMI maps you can see it kicks a secondary alive to its southeast, but that secondary loop-de-loops and stalls, perhaps kicking a tertiary south into the Baltic. The Atlantic storms have no identity you can follow north of Norway and along the Siberian coast, though there are impulses of a vauge nature that continue east.  As identities, the North Atlantic storms have demonstrated a proclivity to stall, to fail to progress, and to get poor grades on their report cards.

Of course, way down south in Europe they may be wondering what I am talking about, as they have this silly way of looking at weather sideways, rather than utilizing our superior top-down view. They can’t see how stunted north Atlantic storms are, for they are getting the defeated remnants of once-proud gales shunted their way. They fail to see the power of the Pole has pushed things south, and dented the high pressure protecting them and giving them some fine fall weather south, so dismal failures of Atlantic storms can leak east, like defeated troops marching east. All Europe sees is the once-proud Hurricane Kate will make a swift transit of the Atlantic and be breezing through the shores of Scotland on Sunday and into the Baltic on Monday.Kate 1 29093708Kate 2 29094707  Kate 3 29094712 Kate 4 29101001 Kate 5 29101427

Considering ex-hurricane Kate makes such a swift transit of the Atlantic, those poor Europeans can’t understand what I am taking about when I speak of bogged-down North Atlantic storms. They are not paying attention to the morass up at the top of their maps, because one problem with these archaic sideways views of the planet is your attention is riveted west, and not north, even though we all know where winter weather comes from.

We’ll just have to roll our eyes, sigh deeply, and forgive them. Someday all weather maps will have the Pole at the center, but we are still living in the stone ages. In the future people will laugh at sideways maps, and be amazed at the nonsense we incredibly smart people had to deal with, but for the time being I guess we just have grin and bear it, and get on with the business of viewing planet earth in the only sane and correct manner there is.

FABOO REPORTS

Despite the huge rush of milder air northward on the Eurasian side of the Arctic, Faboo (my name for the North Pole Camera) is just far enough west to be outside that force, and drifts in a sort of counter-current slowly southeast.

On November 8 Faboo accellerated, but veered from southeast to southwest. It made it as far east as 4.575°W at 0600Z, but when our 24-hour period ended at 2100Z we were at 83.713°N, 5.117°W, west of where we began, and 7.24 miles SSW closer to Fram Strait.  Temperatures moderated slightly, from -30.0°C at midnight to -22.4°C at the period’s end.

On November 9 winds must have whistled, for Faboo continued to accelerate SSW 14.33 miles to 83.526°N, 5.933°W. As Malga passed temperatures rose from a low of -22.9°C at 0900Z to -20.5°C at the period’s end.

On November 10 we really covered some ground, arriving at 83.425°N, 5.921°W, which is 20.8 miles south towards Fram Strait. Temperatures continued up, from -20.3°C at midnight to -17.1°C at the period’s end.

The winds were so strong that our hoarfrost-encrusted wind-vane and anemometer began to feebly function. Winds were reported at 2 mph. FAIL. You do not move 20 miles with winds that light.  What likely was happening was that strong breezes were forcing a protesting mechanism to budge. Also, perhaps, some of the hoarfrost was sublimating away, though more must vanish before we get accurate readings of how the wind howls.

AN ACTUAL PICTURE

O-buoy 14 is the last camera far enough south to give us daylight (or bright twilight) pictures worth looking at, however what is most noticeable is the hoarfrost growing on everything. Obuoy 14 1111 webcam

FRAM STRAIT REPORT

For nearly a full day south winds brought the entire southward flow of a huge amount of ice to a standstill, and temperatures soared to thawing, but then north winds resumed, temperatures plunged, and O-buoy 9 continued south towards 77° S latitude, while crunching west towards 14° W longitude. Obuoy 9 1111 temperature-1weekI was hoping the brief thaw might bring the camera to life. The fellows behind the scenes have demonstrated an amazing ability to regain contact with lost cameras, and I was hoping the thaw might melt hoarfrost from a radar dish, but there was no such luck. However the anemometer did thaw enough to again spin, and reported winds up to gale force at 34 mph, only slowly subsiding to 20 mph.Obuoy 9 1111 windspeed-1week

One thing important to note is that when O-buoy nine moves west it is upon an area of 100% ice coverage moving into an area of 100% ice coverage. It is upon older ice, some of which sticks up as big bergs like clippership sails,  and plowing into flat “baby ice” which is one to two feet thick. There are no open spaces between bergs to fill in, and therefore there must be a crumpling occurring. Ice is buckling and pressure-ridges are rising. However this building will not show up on graphs that measure ice by the square footage when viewed from above. In fact, when ice is shoved against the coast of Greenland, both the extent and area graphs may show there is less ice, even as jumbles of bergs grow into looming piles, like snowbanks beside a plowed road.

FRIDAY EVENING UPDATE

Sorry to be slow to update, but every dog has his day, and mine happened to be yesterday, because I got the prior post “Micro-critters Rule!” published on “Watts Up With That”. I spent a bit of time gloating. But that was yesterday, and yesterday’s gone.

It’s funny how fleeting the pleasures of this world are. Every dog has his day, but it isn’t enough, and I want to amend it and say, “Every dog has his days.” It isn’t enough to be a one hit wonder; one wants to be a two hit wonder. Even minor fame is one of those cravings that tends to become insatiable, and therefore it is best to skip the whole addiction, and simply write because it is fun to write. So…I’m back to work.

I missed some morning maps, but here are the past two days DMI afternoon maps, showing some interesting stuff going on over the Pole and Fram Strait.

DMI3 1112B mslp_latest.big DMI3 1112B temp_latest.big DMI3 1113B mslp_latest.big DMI3 1113B temp_latest.big

The storm I called “Malga” swiftly faded away on the East Siberian coast. I suppose the pipeline of Atlantic air simply became far too long to sustain it, and once it was cut off it immediately filled in, replaced by an area of colder air. Meanwhile a second weak storm I’ll call Malga2 went through a similar genesis north of Greenland, independant of the North Atlantic gales except for a new feeder band that shows up quite clearly on the temperature maps. And now it looks like a third feeder band may be pushing north through Fram Strait, perhaps to assist in the genesis of a third storm that might take this odd, cross-polar route, seemingly ignoring both the Pacific and Atlantic storm tracks.

The North Atlantic is plugged up, and storms are being squeezed south through the Baltic for the time being. Storms that try to come north become a tangle of occlusions, and haven’t come north. That may change, as the huge high over and north of central Siberia  may slam the door on sneaking south through the Baltic, and force the North Atlantic storms to bleed north across the Pole. The way may be cleared as the Malga storms seem to be crossing closer to Canada, in a sense clearing the way.  For the time being that solution hasn’t happened yet, and I’m just going to call the storms milling around east of Iceland “Crawl”, even though Crawl faded and some three generations of secondary and tertiary descendants have gotten mixed up in the tangle.

On the Pacific side some descendant of “Crept” is moving weakly east along the Alaskan and Canadian coast, even as Malga2 passes going the other way, far out over the Arctic Ocean.

FABOO REPORTS

On November 11 Faboo slowed, but still moved 10.15 miles SSE to 83.278°N, 5.840°W. Temperatures remained flat, with a high of -17.2°C at midnight and a low of -18.0°C at noon.

On November 12 we slowed further, progressing 3.66 miles SSE to 83.225°N, 5.814°W, but seeing eastward progress halt at 5.780°W at noon. A change in the weather is hinted at by the slow rise of temperatures from -17.5°C at the start to -11.3°C at the end.

Some “wrong way” drift is likely over the week-end.

TWILIGHT PICTURE FROM O-BUOY 14

Obuoy 14 1113 webcam

You have to be fast to catch the time it is bright enough for a good picture. (3:00 in my busy afternoon.) Today I wasn’t fast enough.

FRAM STRAIT UPDATE

The weather station associated with O-buoy 9 continues to crunch west, but the southward grinding has halted and even nudged a little north. A southeast wind from warmer waters is hinted at by the temperature arising to a thaw. Likely it is very foggy.

Obuoy 9 1113 temperature-1week

MONDAY UPDATES

DMI MAPS

This is interesting. The cross polar swirls look like they are turning into a cross polar flood. This will have possible implications of a counter-flow across Asia into Europe. I’ll study it a bit more later. They are having those climate talks in Paris soon, and those things always seem to attract blasts of arctic air.

******

For the record, Malga2 drifted over to East Siberia and faded, as Malga3 formed north of Greenland, incorporating some of the faded remnants of the Pacific impulse “Crept”, and then stalling north of the Beaufort Sea, and now is starting to link up with “Crawl”, which has moved slowly north-northeast from the top of Norway to Svalbard. Besides returning Fram Strait to a typical north flow, that Malga3-Crawl connection is creating a long fetch of west winds north of Siberia, which holds a little Atlantic air, but it must be modified by continental European air, coming north through western Scandinavia and Eastern-Russia. The long fetch is associated with a rather massive high pressure in central Siberia, which is sneaking cold air east under its belly.

FABOO REPORTS

On November 13 Faboo’s southward progress halted at midnight at  83.224°N, and then we drifted slowly northwest to 83.283°N   5.884°W, veering slightly northeast at the final report. This was a total “wrong way” drift of 4.04 miles to the north-northwest. Temperatures were the mildest we’ve seen in a long time, with a high of -3.2°C at 0600Z and staying fairly “mild”, and ending at -5.0°C.

On November 14 we edged northeast as far as 5.825°W at 0600Z before backing northwest as far as 83.310°N at 1800Z, where our “wrong way” flow halted, and we floated slightly southwest, ending the period at  83.309°N, 5.858°W. This left us 1.8 miles north-northwest of where we began. Temperatures fell from a high of -4.3°C at midnight to a low of -13.5°C at 0900Z, and ended the period at -9.9°C.

On November 15 Faboo drifted southwest to 83.245°N, 6.055°W, for a day’s progress of 4.69 miles. It was a loopy weekend, winding Faboo up further west. Temperatures remained fairly mild, with a high of  -7.1°C at noon, and a low of -9.6°C at the end of the period.

I imagine the cross-polar flood on the Siberian side will create a counter-current on the Canadian side, and we will see Faboo resume its drift towards Fram Strait.

FRAM STRAIT REPORT

The weather station belonging to O-buoy 9 has seen winds swing around to the cold north, and has resumed its southerly flow past 77° south. It’s crunching progress west towards the coast of Greenland seems to have halted at 15° west. Temperatures are back down towards -20°.

Obuoy 9 1116 temperature-1week

DMI TUESDAY MAPS

The maps show the cross-polar-flood increasing. “Malga3” forms the tip of the trough, and has weakened, and once again its weakening is associated with the appearance of some very cold air. At the risk of appearing to belabor a point, I would like to point out how unlike a Chinook this is. In a Chinook you lift air, release snow (and also heat held as latent heat), and when the air comes back down it is warm and dry. At the Pole the air get raised by low pressure, is robbed of moisture, but when it descends it is darn cold.  This does not compute, but no has offered a way to reprogram.

“Crawl” continues to hang north of Svalbard, connected to a decent storm to its south off the coast of Norway I’ll call “Crawlson.”  To their east an impressive flow comes up from the south and along the coast of Siberia, but is very different from last year’s. Last year it was straight up from the Azores and loaded with tropical juice. This year it may be from roughly the same area, but the air masses are different; they are hugely modified by north Atlantic air or by hugely modified Siberian air, so the flow from the south is drier and cooler, even when the air is from the Mediterranean. (Don’t forget the early snows they had down that way, for example, in Turkey.)

Lets look at one of those sideways maps that other folk look at, and see what is going on in the North Atlantic.  Here is the UK Met map. UK Met 20151117 29268943You can see the North Atlantic is untidy. Let’s be honest. It is a complete mess. All the warm air is aloft in occlusions, and the storm track, if it exists, is well to the south. They have no lush, tropical warm sectors from the Azores, and behind their cold fronts is modified Arctic air from the coasts of Greenland and inland Canada. The air over Europe is well above normal, but it is mild in a way that makes it like a contract written by a con artist. It is full of clauses and exceptions-to-the-rule, for even when it is mixed with a blurb of juicy Azores air, there’s other blurbs from the icecap if Greenland.

That is why, when you go back to the DMI maps, the mild temperatures on the Siberian side of the Pole are perhaps not so mild as I might expect.

To continue our examination of sideways maps, lets look at a cool map Dr. Ryan Maue offers at the Weatherbell site. The map does not show if temperatures are warm or cold, but rather shows if they are above or below normal. (Therefore red doesn’t necessarily mean warm, but rather means above the normal for that particular location. Often, on such maps, -20° will appear red as +20° appears blue, because locations to the north are above normal as locations to the south are below normal.)Surge 1 gfs_t2m_anom_natl_1What is most interesting to me is that band of blue feeding in over Scotland.  Also the cold off Cape Cod (where the water is actually warmer than normal). This hints that the air feeding into warm sectors isn’t all that warm.

However, if we are going to take this sideways view, we might as well look at poor Paris, which is currently nice and mild. So lets look  at Dr. Ryan Maue’s temperature-anomaly-maps for Europe for now, 48 hours from now, and 96 hours from now. Surge 2 gfs_t2m_anom_eur_1Surge 3 gfs_t2m_anom_eur_9Surge 4 gfs_t2m_anom_eur_17

What these maps show is a big glob of cold air coming from the upper right corner of the sideways maps, and flipping Paris from warm to cold. Considering everything has been coming at them from the west, they will not know what hit them. However we, who have been viewing things from the proper and sane polar view,  will be aware a cross-polar-flood has been stealing all their nice, mild air and squandering it to outer space, even as a cross-polar-counter-flood brings south some nasty arctic cold down the east coast of Greenland, that can’t be warmed by its transit of a colder-than-normal North Atlantic.

What no maps or models are showing is a second counter flow coming towards Paris like a pincer, from Siberia. My intuition says this should happen, but my honesty sees no sign of it. The warmth moving into Europe seems to keep the Siberian cold bottled up to the east. (The Dr. Ryan Maue temperature-anomaly map of Asia below shows the cross-polar-flood moving east at the top, but the Siberian cold failing to become a westward counter-flow in the center.) (It can’t move west past the Ural Mountains.)Surge 5 gfs_t2m_anom_asia_16

FABOO REPORT

Yesterday, (November 16) Faboo felt the Cross-Polar-Counter-Flood, and made good time south-southwest to 83.034°N, 6.180°W, which was 14.48 miles closer to Fram Strait. As the winds became north temperatures fell, from a high of -9.6°C at the start to -19.5°C at the end. Even our hoarfrost and rime encrusted anemometer seemed to break free of the crust, (perhaps due to the expansion and contraction of temperature changes of over thirty degrees we’ve seen), and at the end began reporting winds of 22 mph.

FRAM STRAIT REPORT

The old O-buoy 9 Weather Station reports temperatures slightly moderating up from -20°, as winds slackened to 7 mph. The buoy continued south, and again began crunching west towards the coast of Greenland.

The Norwegian Meteorological Institute maps shows the current cold north winds have made the ice moving down into Fram Strait a solid mass. To the east in Barents Sea the waters remain open,  as the Cross-Polar-Flood heads north there.Fram Ice 1117 general_20151117

 

MICRO-CRITTERS RULE!

Sometimes, as my mind’s eye wanders over the Arctic Ocean, I am drawn ashore to contemplate wonders of the Tundra. I try to avoid politics, as the wonders are more wonderful when simply appreciated in the light of Truth, but Climate Alarmism is a sort of whirlpool that sucks you in, even when it is basically a comical shtick.

For example, along the coast of the Northwest Territories are the “Smoking Hills” of Franklin Bay, which appear over and over in Facebook images sent by sailors attempting the Northwest Passage. The sailors always seem jarred by the sight (and scent). Often they have been cluttering their log with editorial comments about how beautiful the arctic is, and what cads humans are to destroy the pristine beauty of nature with Global Warming caused by burning coal. Then they come across a stretch of coast that is in essence Mother Nature’s Strip Mine, miles and miles of exposed lignite, black stripes in the sedimentary layers of seaside cliffs. In places the lignite has spontaneously ignited and has been burning for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, without the slightest effort on the part of Mother Nature to install smokestacks or put scrubbers in those stacks. smokinghills 2Photo Credit: http://northwestpassage2014.blogspot.com/2014_06_01_archive.html

In the above picture the red areas are stone after the coal has been burned out, and the black is unburned lignite. Besides the current fires there is evidence of fires that burned long ago and went out. (The oldest fires are not a geologically recent occurrence; so don’t try to blame Eskimos who were careless with campfires).

In any case, even if you went to the arctic to get away from ever having to even think about the issue of coal fired power plants, the issue gets shoved in your face, and you find yourself forced to rethink some of the ideas doled out like pabulum in the Alarmist shtick. In this case it is the simplistic idea that man burns fossil fuels and nature doesn’t.

In another case one might think man leaks oil and nature doesn’t, and then see natural slicks in the Gulf of Mexico, or tars oozing up from earthquake faults off the California coast.

Even as I type my daughter has bought home a new “pink” salt, which is supposedly healthier, as it is from high up in the Himalayas. A mere saltshaker fills me with wonder about how that salt got way up there, and also about what happened to all the fossil fuels when the subcontinent of India was sent smashing into Asia by continental drift.

The problem with some people is they don’t think very deeply about the lollipop shticks they get handed and are asked to suck upon. It doesn’t take much thought to realize Nature is the original recycler, plowing the ocean floor down in geological subduction zones, and creating huge mountain ranges with fossil seashells at the tops.

Over at “Watts Up With That” there was a guest essay by Larry Kummer about the Alarmist shtick involving Methane. Initially I wasn’t interested because the Alarmism involved is so soundly refuted that not even the IPCC thinks it is worth freaking out about, (and the IPCC freaks out about stuff grandmothers laugh at). (I myself couldn’t even start to take the Methane Fear seriously, because I have seen plenty of evidence it was much warmer in the arctic in the relatively recent past, and if there weren’t uncontrollable methane releases back then I don’t see why they should occur now.)
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/08/24/the-easy-solution-to-the-looming-monster-methane-apocalypse/

Ordinarily I would have skipped the post, as the issue usually bores me, however the Alarmist cartoon at the start intrigued me, for it suggested that some Alarmists are so sold on the idea of a “Methane Monster” that they even see the pro-Global-Warming IPCC as “deniers.” 
I fully intended to only skim the article, but in it discovered a portal to another tundra wonder, found in this paper:
http://www.nature.com/ismej/journal/v9/n8/abs/ismej201513a.html

In a nutshell the paper states there are two sorts of arctic soil, one which is frozen ooze that is rich in carbon and might be expected to burp up some methane if warmed, but also a second which is a more-common-soil which holds little carbon, as it is the sort of till one associates with glaciers and glacier-scraped landscapes. (Glaciers largely transport topsoil far away to terminal moraines and out-wash streams. After a glacier departs the landscape is usually denuded of topsoil. It is clay, sand and gravel that holds no organic carbon and can brew no methane. It also is devoid of compost, and can’t feed plants. It is basically sterile, however a bacterium inhabits the surface of such soil that can snatch methane from the air, and enrich its own habitat.)

That was what grabbed my mind’s eye. Perhaps it was because as a farmer I’m interested in enriching soils, but my mind highlighted the paper’s suggestion that, where the soil lacks carbon, nature has found a way to enrich the soil, using bacteria that gobbles methane. The paper went on to state that the warmer it gets, the livelier that bacterium gets, and the more methane it gobbles. (IE: warmer temperatures mean less methane is left in the air; the exact opposite of what Methane-hysteria predicts.)

This shows how little we understand the Earth we claim to be the protectors of. If we’d all gone rushing off half-cocked on a crusade against methane, we might be dooming the arctic topsoil to sterility. Just imagine our guilt!

The old time farmers knew of two basic ways to enrich soil. The first involved sweat and toil, and lugging manure from the stables and spreading it in the fields. The second was a heck of a lot easier, because all you needed to do was give the field a rest. It was called a “fallow” field.

A fallow field shows nature’s ability to enrich a landscape without any help from humans. You’d think Alarmists would get this concept, considering they portray man as the raping, robbing bad-guy, and nature as the loving, giving good-gal. However some don’t seem to see nature will not allow a natural thing like methane to go to waste. Neither will nature allow a natural thing like crude oil seeping up from earthquake faults in California to go to waste. Nature gobbles the substances up, and they becomes part of the food chain, which involves all sorts of stuff eating, being eaten, and, in the end, turning to manure which enriches the soil.

Nature can take a most sterile landscape and make it verdant. The second a glacier recedes nature gets busy on the barren landscape, starting with lichen and progressing through tundra to taiga to the rich farmlands of Ohio.

In essence nature is guilty of altering its environment even more than man. Nature does not care a hoot about the current ecosystem. It improves upon it. However many fail to understand this natural progression, (and yet some call themselves “progressives”).

The arctic landscape is extra amazing, for it shows nature tested to its limits, and how nature will not stand for the status quo of a sterile ecosystem, but enriches it. Besides the micro-critter in sterile arctic soil that craves methane, there are some amazing micro-critters that live out on the even more hostile environment of the sea-ice.

The first was brought into the focus of my mind’s eye by the amazing pictures made public by the exploits of O-buoy 9, during its two-year-journey from the Asian side of the Pole to a pile-up on the north coast of Greenland, and then east to a grand exit south into Fram Strait. The time-lapse movie made of the pictures taken during this journey makes better watching than most sea-ice documentaries, (and contains more pure Truth). This is especially true of the final eight minutes, which shows the coast of Greenland come looming up, the ice piling up, and then the ice going through a sort of swirling blender in Fram Strait.

http://obuoy.datatransport.org/monitor#buoy9/movie

For most of the journey the sea-ice is either a pristine white or a gorgeous turquoise. It is only when the ice gets to Fram Strait that the overlays of fresh snows are melted away, and one is confronted by the phenomenon of filthy ice. Obuoy 9 0823B webcam
Of course, the very sight of dirty ice can get the usual suspects raving about coal-fired power plants, and the audacity Asian nations have, daring to develop their economies. There tends to be some pushback from others who suggest soot from volcanoes might contribute to the ice’s dingy hue, but this pushback isn’t great. It is generally accepted humans must get the blame, until something odd is noticed. A lot of the ice in Fram Strait has been flipped like a pancake, and it is not the top of the ice that is dirty, but rather the bottom. Like the hull of a ship that has spent long months at sea, the underside of the ice is coated with a slime. Micro-critters have been at it once again, and humans get no credit.

This actually hugely changed a preconception that I was taught, which stated that the Arctic Ocean was like other Seas, and that once you got away from the Continental Shelf the waters tended to become increasingly sterile. Without reefs, shallow waters, and the upwelling of nutrients that occur near shores, there could be no plankton, no arctic cod, no seals, and last but not least, no icons of Global Warming Worry, polar bears. In fact it was stated that, as the sea-ice shrank in the arctic, bears and seals would be forced away from the shores into waters that were basically a desert, and they would starve.

Usually I avoid the topic of polar bears, because the shtick is so maudlin it makes me want to go outside and bang my head against a tree. Fortunately I discovered the site http://polarbearscience.com/ , which contains less emotion and more science. There I discovered that, away from the coasts of the Arctic Ocean, there was no sign of emaciated seals or bears, and in fact the animals looked, if anything, obese. What happened to the desert? Once again humans get no credit, for micro-critters saved the day.

Apparently the slime on the underside of sea-ice utterly changes the equation, and makes the Arctic Ocean unique among oceans, because even far from shore the nutrients may exist that feed plankton that feed cod that feed seals that feed bears. Nothing eats bears, so there actually were some very old bears that could qualify as being skinny. (Of course, using senile bears to judge the physical status of all bears would be like using a ninety-year-old man to judge the strength of all humans…so that is exactly what the media went and did, on occasion, which explains my going outside to bang my head on trees.)

I prefer avoiding the entire topic of bears, and instead like to contemplate the true boss and controller of the arctic ecosystem, which is that amazing micro-critter, which exists as slime on the underside of ice.

Talk about a hostile environment! The underside of ice might seem a quiet and calm place to abide, and you might imagine a 24-hour-daylight of a deep, undersea turquoise and emerald would be appealing to algae, however consider, if you will, the surface the critters are growing upon. They are attempting to root upon a surface that is constantly melting away beneath their feet. In fact the bottom of the sea ice melts upwards an average of three to four feet, each summer. Talk about climbing a slippery slope! How the heck do the critters hang on? Then the sunlight vanishes and the ice grows downwards three to four feet, engulfing them deeply in bitter cold ice. How the heck do they get started the following spring?

However that hostile environment is nothing, compared to another niche another micro-critter has carved out.

When the arctic water freezes in the fall, salt is exuded from the ice and coexists with solid ice as liquid brine. This brine forms in all directions, and the surface of the ice can be wet with brine at first, however with time gravity takes charge and the brine starts melting its way down through the ice. In extreme situations, for example when polynyas of open water form as gales blow ice offshore along the coast of Antarctica, the brine can actually form trickling channels and then, when the brine reaches the seawater beneath the new ice, be so cold that the brine freezes the seawater on contact, and form pipelines of ice downwards called “brinicles”. So cold is the brine flowing down these tubes that when they reach the sea-bottom they can freeze passing starfish in their tracks


Ordinarily temperatures around the North Pole are not so extremely cold, and the amount of brine is more limited, and the brine sinks down through the ice as little teardrops of very salty water, boring downwards even while freezing over from above. They become self contained units, like little down-elevators. You might think absolutely nothing could live in these bitter cold, inky dark, and extremely salty descending elevators. However apparently some bacterium was looking for a place to rent with no competitors, no predators, and no salesmen, and decided these elevators looked like a perfect niche to make their own. So what if the niche was extremely cold, extremely salty, and extremely dark? (Sounds like some places I myself rented, when young.)

Then this little tenacious tenant apparently becomes dissatisfied with the brine. There must be some bacterial equivalent of a wife who wants to hang drapes and pictures, for this micro-critter apparently adjusts the brine to its liking. It does not want to make a Natural Park of the status quo, but rather fundamentally alters the microenvironment, so it is chemically different when it exits the ice at the bottom of the sea-ice. Among other things, the micro-critter concentrates the element bromine.

Most of the time this makes little difference to the greater environment. Some bromine is removed from the seawater as the elevator starts down, and returned to the seawater when the elevator reaches the ground floor, which occurs when the droplet of brine exits the ice at the bottom of the sea-ice. But not all the micro-critters make this journey. Some get left behind. The elevator door slams in their face, back up at the top of the ice.

This brings up the mystery of how these critters got up there in the first place. If they are so superbly adapted to darkness and bitter cold and high salinity, how the heck do they survive in the summer’s sunlit seas? Don’t ask me; they just do it. Maybe they are dormant, but they are laying in wait for the first appearance of the next winter’s brine, and immediately thriving in the brine when it appears, which can be when the ice is a tenth of an inch thick and the brine is a thin layer of wetness atop that thin ice. These conditions also happen to be the same conditions needed for the formation of a beautiful arctic creation called “ice flowers”.

The creation of ice flowers has nothing to do with life, and rather has to do with a cardboard-thin layer of supersaturated air, just above the ice, which stimulates frost formations. This frost, it just so happens, is a perfect wick and sponge for brine, and sucks the brine up. You might wonder why the salt in the brine doesn’t immediately melt the ice crystals, and perhaps it does in some circumstances, but in other circumstances even being slightly higher off the ice, a hair’s breadth, plunges the brine into cold so frigid that it freezes. Salt has lost its capacity to melt ice. The micro-critters in the brine are frozen in place as well, along with their baggage of bromine. And I wish we could end the tale here, for the ice-flowers in the breathless quiet of arctic twilight are a beautiful sight. Ice flowers IMG_1496Photo Credit: Matthias Wietz. From: http://www.polarmicrobes.org/?p=106  (Ice in this picture is only 1/16th of an inch thick)

However Nature, on this planet at least, is not frozen solid, and soon the winds rise, and it turns out the ice-flowers are fragile things. They are shattered by gusts, and turned into dust in the wind, but even the dust does not remain static, for the part of the frost that is water sublimates away, until the dust is mostly powdered salt, with, of course, trace amounts of micro-critters and their bromine. So fine and light is this dust that it hangs in the darkened air as haze, kept aloft by the lightest wafting, and when winds howl the haze can be lifted to the very top of the troposphere, and at the tropopause the micro-critters and their suitcases of Bromine get introduced this stuff called Ozone.

Now at this point your antennae should be waving wildly and you should be saying, “Danger! Danger! Danger, Will Robertson! Ozone Hole imminent!” But the real danger, if you are a Climate Scientist, is that the hole is not caused by man, but by micro-critters.

Therefore your job as a Climate Scientist, if you chose to accept it (and expect a grant), is to somehow demonstrate that man is responsible for those micro-critters being up there. Man has created a terrible increase of ice-flowers in the arctic, or some such thing. Man is master. Man is in control.

But those arctic micro-critters just laugh at us. They know who the real Boss is. They disobey one of the most fundamental scientific laws, by living their entire lives without ever needing a grant. They utterly ignore the dictates of the EPA. How dare they!

Where ordinary folk look upwards into dark winter skies and see the wonder and beauty of a star strewn infinitude, or the abrupt curtains of shimmering northern lights, and are glad, Climate Scientists skulk in dread. For they know that, for every micro-critter we know about, there are a thousand undiscovered, and all of them are laughing. When a Climate Scientist looks up, (which is seldom if he’s shackled by shame), he hears no music of angels, but rather the derision of countless criminal micro-critters, all imitating James Cagney (albeit in chipmunk voices), “Made it Ma! Top of the World”, before blowing up the fossil-fuel masquerade.

However I very much doubt micro-critters actually behave in Cagney’s unseemly manner. Rather I deem them wonderful, and part of a greater wonder, called Truth, which created all things, including us, (and even including poor, hapless Climate Scientists).