As a man who never married until he was certain he was too old for marriage, (age thirty-seven), I know the bliss of a joy deferred. So, I am happy for my eldest daughter, who is getting married this June. However, there are times it seems to me girls get too giddy about marriage.
In my own case I really didn’t see why marriage was anyone else’s business. I was planning on a quiet ceremony at some Justice-Of-The-Peace’s, but a wonderful old woman (who had been something of a matchmaker) would have none of that and vetoed my practicality. She insisted my future wife have all the frills of a bachelorette party, and a shower, and a big, church wedding.
Now thirty-two years later I’m going through the same process with my daughter. Once again, I am the drab, practical party-pooper. Of course, I’m a little older and wiser. I may still try to fight City Hall, but I don’t fight girls when they get giddy. Let them pick flowers if they insist; I will plant the beans.
At times I confess to feeling a little sorry for myself. After all, I see myself as a poet, and that is supposed to mean I get to be impractical: I am the grasshopper fiddling as the ants all toil. But somehow my study of Truth flipped things around, and rather than spending other people’s money I’m the one making the money others spend.
A wedding is a short celebration, compared to the non-stop party going on in the Swamp. They are spending money they didn’t make, though they think they can make money by printing it, but that makes inflation (which is a sneaky way of taking the value of my money and making it less without an official tax). This makes me feel even more sorry for myself.
The sheer stupidity of the Swamp’s behavior wears me down. While women get giddy about marriage, which is a very real thing, they deny marriage is a real thing, but insist Global Warming, which is not what they say it is, must be attended to.
His Fraudulency, Biden, while visiting Japan, actually was honest, and admitted the increase in fuel prices is not due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but was an intentional policy intended to make fossil fuels so expensive that we stop using them, and therefore, (theoretically) stop warming the world. But guess what? The world looks like it is cooling all by itself. The La Nina has come roaring back for a third straight year, chilling the Pacific.
And computer models are showing a cool June world-wide.
So basically, the Swamp is making fuel too expensive to use, in order to halt warming that isn’t happening. This deeply concerns me. I wasn’t going to have a garden this year, but now am worried shelves may be empty in the fall. So, I’m out toiling in my potato patch, even as all my help vanishes for a bachelorette party. Seems a good reason to tune up the violins of self-pity and be a poet.
Look what they've done to your poet, Lord.
I came with skipping glee, lacking the guile
They employed, innocently looking toward
My triumph, explaining with a bright smile
How all should honor my sparkling wit,
But they did not concur: "Who gave this brat
The right to rule? The loud fool does not fit
Our ugliness, and we must teach him that
The beauty that he sees is not allowed."
Why do they rule that You must not be seen?
Why be blind to silver in a cruising cloud?
You're so generous, while they are so mean.
I've been singing to the deaf, but now long
To return where men don't say right is wrong.
Where can one retreat to? I sort of like the simplicity of Psalm 123. One is just a child going to their Dad after enduring the contempt and ridicule of an arrogant bully. There is no belaboring justification, no analysis of whether one deserved to be bullied, no stressing of what one might have done better. One just brings a hurt heart, seeking healing.
Even after amazing victories it seems that King David, as a “man of the blood”, suffered some sort of Post-Traumatic Stress, and rather than victorious felt a need to retreat to a hiding place and basically adopt a fetal position and suck his thumb. All arrogance and egotism was put aside.
Lord, may I pay a visit? Hide in folds
Of fabric in the skirtings of Your throne?
Be hid in your brilliance? No despot holds
Power in such presence. No children groan
Bathed by such light, swaddled by fabric
So ornate. I need to find a safe retreat
For I have no excuse. I'm not sick
Nor poor, but suffer some strange defeat
I do not understand, and want to hide
Someplace safe and beyond all banal thought;
Someplace tucked in close to your warm side
Where David retreated after he'd fought
When his bones and heart ached. To You he turned
For You alone hold the peace we have spurned.
I have to confess there is healing in such retreat, even though I can roll my eyes at the “Safe Spaces” set up in colleges for the exceedingly tenderhearted, and the “mental health days” such tenderhearted people expect for the most commonplace trials. There is a difference between simpering retreat and King David’s retreat, revolving around how spattered by blood you are.
A sort of insult was added to injury, as I tottered about my potato patch, and the insult was a drought. The weather swung from bone-chilling east winds off the cold Atlantic to sweltering heat up from Georgia, and then back, and then forth, so it was seldom comfortable, yet I had to water my seedlings. When seeds first sprout and have a single root like a thread, a dry day can kill them. Usually, my complaint in New Hampshire springs is too much rain, and mud, and seeds rotting, but this year I’ve had to haul about kinking hoses and an old watering can. This gives me one more reason for violins, but I was very glad to see rain in our forecast after a long, hard workweek. The air had shifted back to muggy heat from Georgia, and the sunset was obscured by gray, so I trusted the forecast and skipped the final watering at sunset, muttering TGIF and heading home.
The next morning I awoke before the sun, and, looking outside, saw the driveway was still bone dry. It was warm enough to walk outside barefoot and feel the dust between my toes, yet so humid my hair was lank, but there was no mist and no heat lightning flashing from afar. I sighed and knew my weekend must start with watering, which was an extra chore on my list. But first I’d sip a coffee and attempt a sonnet:
Early summer heat sneaks into mild May
And the night strangely swelters without crickets.
Drought makes the frogs sparce. I want skies of gray
And raindrops, not crisp leaves in the thickets.
My seedlings yearn for drenching thunder-rain;
They feel my watering can is too meager.
The humid night only hears an upstairs fan
Drone electrically, when trees seem eager
For flashes of lightning drawing nearer.
All is awaiting relief, wet winds that croon
Rain's drumming; rainbows when skies get clearer,
Like India before the yearned monsoon,
Yet I am not only awaiting the rain.
A Savior is coming to heal our great pain.
Just as I finished the sonnet, I heard a wonderful noise outside. After a long winter of leafless trees, there is no sound quite so sweet as the first platting of raindrops in young leaves, growing as a sigh from a sweetened darkness before dawn, and surrounding you with mercy.
I called it “a sign” and crossed out “water seedlings” from my Saturday-list.
I tend to garden in a somewhat primitive manner, ignoring all the gifts of modern science. Some people call this “organic”, but in my case I think it may be that science involves math, and math was never a favorite subject of mine in school. In any case I’d rather spend hours killing bugs by hand than use insecticides, and I prefer compost to chemical fertilizers. However, I have noticed the results of my efforts are not always good. My crops often can be quite pathetic, yet occasionally are strangely fabulous, and I have had no clue why what happened occurred. Sometimes I’d just shrug, but other times I’d do what one does when one doesn’t understand mathematical equations: I’d search the web, and find videos created by other non-mathematical gardeners.
I tended to skim through a large number, because gardeners do not always agree with each other even about the simplest subject, such as, “how deep should I plant my potatoes?” Sifting through all the answers, I have learned some odd things which may only be true for the soil of one garden on earth. But the sheer variety of experience is far more wholesome (in my eyes) than the sort of one-size-fits-all rigidity the government tends to fasten upon.
You can learn the most amazing things, if only you listen to the little people who politicians only pretend to listen to, and I’d like to share a couple of revelations I gained by listening. The funny thing is that in both cases I began by following advice which poisoned my garden, and only later followed advice which provided an antidote.
The first example involved hearing that adding coffee grounds to soil was a good thing. One of my sons worked in a coffee shop, so I was able to cover a section of my garden with copious layers of grounds. I was dismayed at the miserable growth I saw the first year. I am partial to cauliflower, but my cauliflower were stunted and produced pathetic heads not much bigger than a silver dollar. I cursed the bleeping bleepity-bleep New Age bleep who said coffee grounds were good. I swore the traces of caffeine had practically killed my cauliflower, and vowed never to allow coffee grounds within a mile of my garden ever again. But…the next year…that particular part of my garden produced the most amazing cauliflower I have ever grown, with heads bigger than dinner plates. What the heck?
I had no one to ask questions to, but by searching through a slew of websites of other gardeners I chanced upon the answer. Which was?
Coffee grounds are loaded with good stuff, but before they can release the good stuff they first must break down. The process of breaking down requires certain ingredients. This includes some nutrients which cauliflower require. So, at first, as the coffee grounds break down, they rob the cauliflower of the food it needs. But later, once the grounds are broken down, they supply everything a cauliflower needs to puff out to county-fair award-winning size.
It turns out this this true of all sorts of things people use to mulch between the rows in their garden. For example, if you use grass-clippings, you are using a mulch that eats nitrogen like crazy as it rots, and the nearby vegetables will be deprived of a vital fertilizer.
Heck with that. There is no way I’m going to quit my clippings, for the alternative is weeding between the rows. But I will provide my mulch, both the grass clippings and the oak leaves, with nitrogen. I will water between the rows with “manure tea”. That way they won’t need to rob my plants, and will decompose more swiftly.
The second example involved the fact I heard potatoes liked the nutrients in wood ashes, but the crop didn’t look like it liked it. The potatoes were smaller, and tended to have “scabby” skin. By searching the web I learned that potatoes like slightly “sour” (acidic) soil, but wood ashes “sweeten” (make alkaline) the soil. In other words, I was giving the potatoes the right nutriants but the wrong environment. In fact I was in a way poisoning the very plants I was attempting to help. But what was the antidote?
Vinegar. Ordinary household vinegar. When it is strong it can be used as a weed killer, as the acid kills plants, but if you water it down greatly it doesn’t bother the plants it touches, and sweetens the soil.
I spent this afternoon watering the hundred potato plants I have planted to feed my family next winter with very-watered-down vinegar, to make the soil more hospitable. If my plants all fall over dead tomorrow you will read a funny blog post tomorrow, but I doubt a cup of 5% vinegar for every gallon of water is caustic enough to do more than alter soil chemistry. I have high hopes I have improved things.
But I give these two examples to demonstrate a subtle power small people have, though they do not feel powerful. The rich and powerful may deride the small as “bitter clingers”, but the little people have the ability to derail the plans of the mighty.
The intent of the “Swamp” does not seem to bode well for ordinary Americans, as mothers who can’t breast-feed now can’t get baby formula, and energy prices rise so high it seems the public must freeze next winter. If I was all alone, even the success of my potato patch could only feed a few besides myself. But I am not alone. I may be just one old man pushing seventy, perhaps over producing (if I don’t kill my crop), with (God willing) a few extra potatoes to share with neighbors, but there are millions of others, male and female, old and young, also over-producing in their own small ways. We do not need to know each other’s names. We just do our best, and exchange our abundance when we can, (not merely our potatoes but what we’ve learned about potatoes) when we can, and all the tiny drops creates flood, a Power the “Swamp” never admitted existed as it craved power, but a Power invisible and indivisible that now causes the Swamp to shrink in dread.
The Swamp thinks it holds the keys to power, but there are powers and principalities that make Washington DC look small.
For example, it is supposedly possible for a mere mortal, like you and I, to dethrone the entity called “Zeus” by the Greeks, and “Indra” by the Hindu. You don’t need to have anyone vote for you. You simply need to endure an extreme penance. (It would kill me after four days.) If you can endure forty days, you dethrone the prior Zeus and become the new boss, able to hurl thunderbolts.
Yet there is a very cool story in Hindu tradition about how this mighty figure in the spiritual hierarchy got his come-uppance.
The story begins with this Zeus/Indra power being very loving and throwing no thunderbolts, and giving a village next to a mountain perfect rains and ample crops. The Zeus/Indra expected the villagers to thank him with songs and praises and worship, but a little boy in the village said, “We shouldn’t worship him; we should worship the mountain.”
The villagers were astounded and asked why they should worship an inanimate mountain when they could worship an animate dude with amazing power. And then the little boy produces a wonderful stream of logic, (which amazes me for it is so like the logic of my boyhood’s boring Unitarian Church, which only cared for scientific fact, and couldn’t believe men could do cool stuff like walk on water or part the Red Sea) (unless it could be scientifically replicated.)
But, three to five thousand years before Unitarians existed, this little villager named Krishna materially and scientifically described how the mountain uplifted the air, which created rains, which washed minerals from the soil to feed the grasses, which fed the cows, which made the milk which fed the village. The Zeus/Indra didn’t create any of that. The Zeus/Indra just oversaw what already was there, created by the Creater, and therefore what already was there should be worshipped. In other words, the mountain is more worthy of worship than the fellow able to throw lightning bolts.
The Zeus/Indra character lost it, when he saw the little boy had persuaded the entire village to worship the mountain and not him. How could they not thank him for all his hard work? He should teach them a lesson! Therefore he used his power to hurl down thunderbolts and torrential rain.
The villagers were of course terrified, and afraid they had made a big mistake, but the little boy said, “Don’t be afraid.” Then, not with his index finger but his little finger, he lifted the entire mountain and used it as an umbrella to shelter the villagers from the lightning bolts and downpours of the offended Zeus/Indra.
At that point it seemed to occur to the Zeus/Indra that maybe he was not so big after all, and perhaps he wasn’t so worthy of worship. He recognized the little boy was a child of the True Creator, (Brahma, God the Father), the Only One Worthy of Worship, and that he’d had a lot of nerve to demand he himself recieve worship. Then, though he had vastly more power than any in the current-day “Swamp” have, Zeus/Indra bowed down to the Creator.
I suspect it will be a while before we see the those in the current-day “Swamp” bow down to what Rules the ordinary villagers they sneer-at and call, “bitter clingers.” But that is because they don’t understand power, though they imagine they are experts. They have risen too far, and have forgotten the soil that feeds us all. They dream they control who will eat and who will starve, without ever dirtying their fingertips by planting a seed. But the bumpkins they distain are miles above their heads, when it comes to dirt knowledge (such as simple soil chemistry.) Bumpkins do plant seeds, and therefore have more first-hand control over who will eat and who will starve, even though they never desire such power. In actual fact they are just molecules, and the true Power is what controls them. To God goes the glory.
In a strange sense those who think they have power don’t, while those who think they don’t, do.
The tale of Gideon in the Old Testament seems a good example of great power unexpectly appearing through the actions of the smallest and weakest, who seem most inconsequential.
Gideon was the weakest member of the weakest family of the weakest clan yet was fated to have the power to crush a huge invading army.
Gideon is first seen behaving in a way that seems to demonstrate fear of the invading Midianites, (who arrive at harvest and steal everyone’s food). He is threshing his wheat in a wine press, (which is not where an invader would ordinarily look for grain.) An angel appears and calls him a Great Warrior. I imagine Gideon looked over his shoulder, for he could not think of himself in that manner. In fact, he is so doubtful he is up to the task of saving his nation that, even though scripture specifically forbids “putting God to the test”, he demands proof, in a sense proving how faithless he is by three times “putting God to the test”. God passes the test three times, and then promptly stresses the newfound faith created in Gideon, putting Gideon to the test three times. Three times he asks Gideon to diminish his army until Gideon faces thousands of Midianites with a paltry 300 men. Yet his tiny force routs the enemy. Those who think they have power don’t, while those who doubt they have power, do.
The puffed-up people of the Swamp think they have power, but they don’t. They strut like peacocks, but they are like peacocks getting smaller and smaller, like a deflating balloon. Where once they began as bigshot peacocks, looming above the common man, they have gotten smaller and smaller until now they barely measure up to a common man’s ankle bone. The public stands aghast at the smallness of their behavior, and the public is amazed by how they seem determined to overachieve smallness by becoming microscopic. Already they are looking silly as they strut and fan their tiny tails, for they are smaller than gerbils. They think they are mighty but, if they get any smaller, they soon shrink past a certain point and suffer the indignity of becoming invisible.
Who would wish that on anyone? I would like to advise them in ways which might prevent their shrinkage. But they censor me and make it difficult to find me on search engines. They don’t want to hear what a bumpkin has to say. They say, “La-la-la. I’m not listening” and think that demonstrates power.
Therefore, I must do what a bumpkin has to do. Just be a tiny individual among millions. The Swamp can refuse to count our votes, but they can’t deny our power. It is millions of tiny people doing millions of tiny deeds, but it is controlled by What may be invisible yet is mighty, and What makes little specks of dust add up to a power which I think can not only produce lots of potatoes, but also can drain the Swamp.
Spring is like Lucy holding the football, and I am like Charlie Brown attempting to kick it.
Over and over, I seem to be tricked. I always say I won’t be fooled again, but something about Spring makes me want to grasp a sunbeam, which we all know is impossible.
It might be easier if Spring would obey a schedule, but it never does. It’s either early or late, but never on time. If you’re prepared it doesn’t come, because it has to sneak up on you, for it always surprises.
I must have been prepared this year, for the spring was especially delayed. Or perhaps I should say the busting-out part of Spring was delayed. We did get the early misting of twigs with color, especially the raspberry hues on the earliest swamp maples. But then everything was refrigerated like blooms at a florist’s shop by cold east winds off the Gulf of Maine. This was fine if you liked daffodils. They stayed fresh and yellow for two weeks. But the sugar maples held back, and didn’t mist their twigs with green gold, which inspired Robert Frost to begin a poem,
Spring's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold...
Besides hinting that Robert Frost also was trying to grasp a sunbeam, because he used the word “hold”, the poem’s beginning describes the golden green which is a sure sign, in New England, that spring is at long last busting out. But it was delayed. Usually it happens around May first, but we reached the fifteenth and the fuse still had not reached the firecracker. It was especially tantalizing because simply driving to church dropped us a couple hundred feet in altitude and about twenty miles of latitude, and there spring was busting out, but after church we’d drive back to what was in a way still winter.
The delay, besides exasperating believers in Global Warming, also exasperated nature, for nature runs a tight ship which involves narrow windows-of-opportunity. So tight is the timing that a fair number of insects hatch out without any ability to eat. Their sole purpose as flying adults is to mate, and they have no time to eat. They will not stand for a two-week delay, and appeared despite the chill, which was a good thing, for numerous migrating birds also appeared, governed by the length of the day and the height of the sun, and they needed bugs to eat.
Even the swamp maples seemed to have committed to some sort of window-of-opportunity, and, having bloomed, they set about making seeds even as the cold repressed the expansion of their leaves. I noticed the raspberry mists had become maroon on the branches.
And when I looked more closely I noticed the seeds were nearly fully developed though the leaves were barely unfurled.
But besides the golden green of sugar maples the real sign of spring busting out was lilacs, and they stubbornly refused to bloom.
After a certain point the delay became much too tantalizing. After all, foreplay gets old if there’s never an orgasm. And it seemed obvious that when spring finally came it would be in such a rush you’d miss it, if you were cleaning your cellar.
And in a sense that is what happened. Our winds shifted to the southwest, and we were delivered a “hot shot” with temperatures soaring over ninety (+32 Clesius), and everything sped up to a ridiculous degree which should have had us all talking like chipmunks. You could hardly appreciate the blooming for the withering.
Flowers are a bit more substantial than a sunbeam, but they too cannot be gripped, for flowers fade. So, what we are trying to come to grips with in the spring is a Power which changes the entire world we live in, in a matter of hours.
Don't blink or you'll miss it: The swift shifting; The bowing of boughs under emerald. Do not let your attention go drifting And miss the sweet sniff. Know how lilac smelled The lone hour it's at its absolute peak; The lone minute of perfection, soon goneAstride a warm breeze. Don't scribble. Don't speak. Don't think you can write poems upon Such a brevity of blue-skied beauty. It was not made to ever be captured. Change cannot stand still, although you may see You are stilled, as it leaves you enraptured By a passing glance your grins cannot grip As God lifts a mountain with a lone finger tip.
This is just a quick post to note some stuff. First, the “extent” is not going the right way, if you are rooting for an ice-free Arctic Ocean this summer. In fact, it is at the highest level seen in recent years.
Now before we make much of the “extent”, pray pay attention to the antics of the light lime-green line, which represents 2021. Note that last year it too was highest-in-recent-years up until around June first (the dashed vertical line), yet by around June 12 it was lowest-in-recent-years. Let this be a warning to all who root for sea-ice, one way or another. If you are too deeply invested in the short-term phenomenon, you may well wind up with egg on your face.
Having wound up with egg-on-my-face on numerous occasions in the past, I would use the old adage, “Once burnt; twice shy”, but that doesn’t fit sea-ice very well. Let us just say I’ve learned my lesson, and tend to observe far more than I predict, these days. But I will admit it is good fun to watch others, who haven’t learned their lesson yet. This is especially true of Alarmists who always begin the “melt season” absolutely convinced “This the year!” Then they follow ever twitch of the “extent” graph, enacting extremely bipolar (get it?) behavior. They go through the agony and the ecstasy, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, and in the end the sea-ice doesn’t melt. And then, like a follower of a losing team, they state, “Wait until next year!”
I will freely admit Skeptic have been guilty of similar behavior, directed the other way. They are ever hopeful the sea-ice will rebound to 1979 levels, and at the end of the summer are equally jaded, for sea-ice doesn’t “rebound”, either. However, where there once was a lot of hooting and hollering from both sides, the Skeptics have been censored and shadow-banned, and now the game isn’t as much fun. It is as if half of the stands in a stadium have been removed.
But, if you don’t mind only hearing one side, a lot can be learned by visiting Nevin’s “Sea Ice Forum” discussions. It is interesting to see how they are handling the current highest-in-recent-years “extent” graph, and fun as well, if you go back to the start of the discussion in March.
The site is also highly instructive because, if you ignore the obvious bias, they look at a wealth of information. I often visit the site because, even though I know better than to ever venture an opinion, I am always discovering things I didn’t know.
It is interesting to see how they are handling a period of chilly weather over the arctic. They are completely convinced the warm anomalies over the arctic are cause by Global Warming, and I’d be ill-advised to venture my own view the anomalies are caused by a “cycle” of the AMO. The North Atlantic is quite warm
The warmth in the Atlantic forms a backwards letter “C”, which is typical of the “warm” phase of the AMO, though there are a few signs (I won’t go into) that we may be at the end of the “warm” phase. But one thing the warm water does is to usher milder and moister air into the arctic. This disproportionally warms the arctic temperatures in the dead of winter, as a very small amount of moisture makes a big difference in temperatures, especially at temperatures below zero (minus 17 Celsius.) Much of the “above-normal” in world temperatures is due to gushes of moist air from the Atlantic penetrating the arctic circle in the dead of winter, showing up as spikes in the DMI temperatures-north-of-80-degrees -latitude graph.
It should be noted that the freezing point of fresh water is represented by the blue line at the very top of the above graph. In other words, these “warm” spikes are not warm at all, and, when they are accompanied by gale-force-winds, may actually create more sea-ice that a cold calm would. However, that is a topic open for discussion. The main point is that it is warmer than normal in the arctic, until the sun rises, and…
It can be seen that temperatures are failing to rise as swiftly as would be “normal.” (Green line.) Why not? Is the “Quiet Sun” failing to provide sunlight? Is the sunlight dimmed by ash from the Tonga volcano? Or is the chill in the Pacific (also likely influenced by the Tonga volcano) somehow affecting the arctic? The Pacific is stuck in a La Nina for a third year:
The blue below-normal SST curving up the coast of California and back west under Alaska is the backwards “C” of the “cold” phase of the PDO, and one thing about that “cold” phase is that often it seems to go hand in hand with increases in sea-ice north of Bering Strait.
Why? Good question. And something which requires further funding and research. The pity is that the researchers are not allowed to just do their stuff but need to jump through political hoops. Anyway, to dare a simplistic answer to the question, my guess is that a cold PDO reduces the inflow of warm water through Bering Strait. These inflows form a warm layer under the cold “freshwater lens”, and sometimes become whorls or gyres of milder water, roaming around beneath the freshwater lens. But to call them “milder gyres” wouldn’t attract funding, so the term “heat bombs” was invented. Here’s an Alarmist synopsis:
It seems obvious to me research is needed to see what influence a “cold” PDO has on the generation of these “heat bombs”. In any case, it will be interesting to be observers, and just watch the sea-ice this summer, to see if it melts less north of Bering Strait than usual.
Lastly, I’m still wondering about the after-effects of volcanoes. The Tonga eruption definitely cooled a patch of the \Pacific, which may have had an effect on the mechanism that ordinarily turns a La Nina to an El Nino, in some way delaying that process. Also, I theorize there may have been an outflow of lava over Gakkel Ridge last spring, causing a derangement of more normal currents, and the after-effects of that event may still be in effect, although the lava has likely cooled.
However, I should note that a decent 5.9 earthquake occurred a few days ago north of Svalbard.
Although this is not associated with any volcano I know about, you can bet I’m watching the sea-ice over that area like a hawk. I’ll bet some researchers, far more scientifically qualified than I am, are doing the same. They just can’t admit it.
Why not? Well, they just haven’t figured out how to make the study of volcanoes fit the political narrative. If there was some way to blame the volcano on fracking, the researcher might get some funds. But earthquakes are far too frequent, as the mid-Atlantic ridge enters the arctic:
It’s hard to blame the earthquakes on fracking because they don’t frack up there. So how the heck can we ever get any funding?
If I seem to be verging on absurdity, it is because the situation is absurd. I have great respect and feel great pity for scientists who study the artic. They have to put up with so much sheer balderdash, before anyone helps them out with so much as a dime. They are on tenterhooks, walking on eggs, when they should be free to just study. For example, watch this researcher handle (IE justify) questions about research on the aforementioned “Heat Bombs”, and tell me you don’t both admire and pity her.
In the end, the sea-ice doesn’t care a hoot about the “narrative” or require a penny of funding. The sea-ice is free. It will do what it is going to do. So, to some degree we too should be free of the narrative and of funding, and just watch.
While being rolled down a hospital corridor in a gurney on a Thursday evening early last February, it occurred to me that sometimes avoiding stress can be a stress in and of itself.
It reminded me of when I was a kid and would try not to think of my tongue. The more I tried not to think of my tongue, the more I noticed it. The more I tried to position my tongue in a place where I wouldn’t feel it, the more I felt it. It would just about drive me mad, and it took a supreme act of distraction to break my mind free.
The same sort of thing can happen at my Childcare, when I get some children’s-song stuck in my head: “Good morning! Good morning! And how do you do? Good morning! Good morning! I’m fine. How are you?” To an advanced poet of vast learning like myself, having such drivel repeating over and over and over again in my brain blotched my sense of dignity. It required a serious antidote. Whisky got expensive, so I tended to resort to a sort of spider-solitaire on my computer that allowed one to reverse moves when losing became apparent, and to attempt a different course of action, and to eventually “win” the game, though on a few occasions I’d have to back up and try over again a hundred times, and “winning” took over a week. The intense concentration involved got my mind off everything. I called it “zoning out” and it had its benefits, but my wife could become exasperated when I “zoned out” too much. Eventually I decided “zoning out” had the traits of an addiction, and was as bad as whisky, and I erased the game from my computer.
Ever since I’ve been in a sort of withdrawal. I work too much. I can’t get my mind off what needs to be done next, and on a farm, especially an old rundown farm, the work is endless. A thing I call “the list” gets stuck in my head, like a song. The struggle then becomes to avoid burnout.
That is the point when “relax” starts to appear on “the list”. However, it is like writing down, “Don’t think of your tongue.” You can’t relax when you are uptight about relaxing.
This issue gets exacerbated by aging. On one hand you can’t work as fast, while on the other you are running out of time. When younger, “running out of time” meant I’d work faster, but when you get older there is no such thing as “faster”. When younger I would drive myself and chain smoke, but now I’m paying the price for all the smoking I did when younger. Due to compromised lungs, it takes little to make me huff-and-puff, and I’m forced to pause. I don’t want to sit down though. Another attribute of aging is that limbs stiffen up swiftly, and if you sit down, you may find it hard to get up again. Therefore, the trick is to “pace yourself”, and to simply stand and wait until you catch your breath, and then work until the huffing-and-puffing begins again. In other words, it is still possible to drive yourself. You’re just a lot slower about it. What this means is that, even when it looks like you are relaxing, you are not.
The thing you have to do, as you reach-your-limit at a point where less work is accomplished, is to do a wonderful thing called “delegate”. I always found delegating hard to do, as I am a do-it-yourself type of person. I found it hard to ask for help, (or even to ask girls to dance, many years ago.) (The only “asking” I managed when young was the now nearly-forgotten art of hitchhiking.) However, over the years I slowly learned how to ask for help, and to reward the good people who helped me, until (with much help from my wife) I became a small businessman with an actual “staff” of helpers.
But then a madness hit our nation, which is in some ways a fierce war everyone is pretending isn’t happening. I see it as a war between Globalists and those who believe in what the United States stands for.
If one bothers to read the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the United States is very clear about what it stands for. Globalists, not so much. But, as best as I can tell, Globalists feel there would be no war if there was only a single government, and even that there would be no disagreement, if there was only a single government. Preposterous, I think. It is like saying marriage wouldn’t have any arguments if there was only a single spouse. It might be intellectually true, but it is stupid all the same.
The stupidity of Globalism strikes me as similar to the stupidity of communism, which has brought great misery to beautiful people and beautiful lands, wherever it has been tried. I’ve studied those disasters, and I notice a great difference between the way the Founding Fathers of the United States and Communists regarded small businessmen like myself. Thomas Jefferson stressed the importance of what he called “independent small farmers and artisans”, while communists loathe such people and deem them a “counter-revolutionary petite bourgeoise” which must be purged to make society healthy.
To me it has seemed that the ridiculous pandemonium called the “coronavirus” has in some ways been aimed at ruining small businesses (as well as small churches and small schools). Nothing about the “lock-downs” made the virus less lethal, but it did bankrupt many businesses (and prevent worship and learning.) The intent of the “lock-downs” increasingly seems malevolent, and people who say so out loud no longer sound so much like crazy people lost in conspiracy theories, (which may be why the censorship of such voices is increasingly desperate).
I like to think I am one of the “small, independent farmers and artisans” that Thomas Jefferson liked, and also one of the “Kulaks” whom Stalin despised. This blog describes one man’s view of enduring (and hopefully surviving) what seems like an effort to irradicate individual effort and replace it with a sort of “collective” mentality. One element of this attack seems to be aimed at making it harder for small businesses to find help.
One frightening attack on the supply of labor is the problem of Fentanyl. Even when the Coronavirus closed churches I was part of a small group which went right on meeting, (sort of under the radar), and the purpose of this group was to be a sort of AA for the addicted, and at one these meetings a young man told me a story that shocked me. He said he had to comfort his mother, because she was upset when she had to attend her first funeral of a classmate, and she, in the blindness of her grief, had moaned, “You don’t know what it is like when the person who has died is not an old-timer but instead is your own age.” He responded, “Mom, I do know what it feels like, for I’ve been to thirty-two funerals for people my age.” This opened my eyes to the fact we are midst an actual war, with our youth actually dying.
Another attack on the supply of labor was to offer coronavirus “benefits” which made it more lucrative to be unemployed than to work. I’m glad such seductions weren’t around when I was young and loved leisure, for I found it hard enough to push myself to work as it was; (asking for a job was as hard as asking a girl to dance.) I don’t blame any young person for taking the higher-paying “job”. Why should a young person work a job that pays $300/week when the government pays $600/week for sloth? In a sense the young were being bribed from the world of “small farmers and artisans” to join the “collective”, and the Swamp could afford such a non-productive strategy by simply printing money, with all the inflationary dangers that entailed.
In any case, right when I needed help, help was harder to find. Right when aging increased my limitations, and I could do less, I had to do more myself. My wife and I, on a regular basis, talked about simply closing our Childcare, but we couldn’t really afford to. Also, I felt like I was in a war, and closing my small business would be letting the bad guys win. I had the desire to go down fighting. And so, during the two years we’ve been fighting the coronavirus war, this blog has inadvertently been a recorded history of how free people respond to tyranny.
For me the response of free people has been to find a way to keep right on doing what free people do, in a way under the radar (and under the table) of new rules and regulations. If school is outlawed, homeschool. If church is outlawed, hold many “small groups”. If church suppers are outlawed, hold smaller suppers. If restaurants are closed, find a way to order special food and tip highly. If choir practice is banned, record an online choir of a hundred, separate, “socially distanced” voices, and use virtual technology to combine all the voices and blast a mighty chorus, bigger and better than before. (Some of these “virtual choirs” are utterly amazing, and also represent a spiritual form of counterattack.)
The war we are within is a bizzarre war. It is an invisible war. It is a war that small businesses like my own may be winning. The communist mentality never expected such a pushback. They expected that when they shut schools, I would close my Childcare. My militant counterattack was to tell them “Go f— yourself” and remain open, without masks or vaccination mandates. I was very warlike, but why? Because I was and am kind to small children. (And they are not.)
However, some do die in a war. It is what makes war be war. Though people sung “When Johnnie comes marching home again” as soldiers marched off to our last Civil War, every graveyard in New England attests to the fact many Johnnies never came marching home. Their bodies are not in the graveyard. Their bodies are buried far away. But monuments covered in lichen attest to their sacrifices. Not only the bad guys die, in a war.
Usually, it is the young who are the cannon fodder, but in this bizarre Civil War it may also be the old. I thought of this when, rather than protecting the elderly, New York’s Governor Cuomo imported coronavirus patients into elderly housing, even when Trump made hospital ships available. The infected victims did not need to enter assisted-living facilities. The elderly should have been protected, but Swamp did the exact opposite of what should have been done.
This stupid choice shortened the lives of tens of thousands of senior citizens who deserved better. Some of these elders may have been senile and might have had little wisdom left to offer, but even these deserved better than they got. Other elders had many years left to live and were as sharp as tacks yet were banned from even seeing their own family. Meanwhile the Swamp saved a lot of money, because treating such goodly elders in the kindly manner (which elders had worked long and hard to pay for [and had in fact earned]) cost the Swamp at least $100,000/year. If you have 10,000 elders die of the coronavirus you therefore have saved the Swamp a billion dollars. When money talks, compassion walks.
Money has never been able to talk to me in that manner. I grew up in a wealthy town and know how hollow the core of wealth can be, and how marrowless is the bone. Not that money is evil, but love of money is evil. It takes the “love of money” to think that killing 10,000 of our smartest citizens (and depriving them contact with their loved ones even as they die), results in any societal “good”. It only “makes” a billion dollars from murder. What could be eviler? What could be more an “act of war”?
It wasn’t merely New York that “accidentally” imported coronavirus into the very places which should have been most protected. Massachusetts made a billion, New Jersy made a billion, and you could go on from there. Call it genocide or senior-ocide, I call it disgusting and an act of war.
What a joke it is that, in such cases, rather than the young being cannon fodder, it is the old geezers like myself who may go down, in this idiotic war. But there have been days I confess I don’t get the joke anymore and fear I myself may become a casualty. I’ll be just one more closed small-business. Just like the little, nearby restaurant run by a grandmother. Another empty store-front, killed by the Swamp. I’ve read that 40% of all restaurants in New England have closed, to prevent the spread of a virus by using a strategy which scientists knew from the start wouldn’t work, as the virus kept right on spreading.
My hope is that, with so many restaurants closing, there must be a lot of waitresses who might be inclined to work at a place like mine. I’ve always liked waitresses because they work for less than minimum wage, with the expectation “tips” will make up the difference. They believe if they are kind others will be kind in return. That is so much nicer than communism, and indeed is more Christian than some Christians I know, though many waitresses profess to being Atheists or at least Agnostics. In any case, I do have hope.
But in the meantime, I have to work with a depleted staff though I’m getting too old to be working so hard. And I confess I may not have what it takes. I do like the idea of dying with my boots on, and if it happens, I figure I’ll just be a battlefield casualty. Just a statistic in this invisible war.
Winters are hard this far north, and the past one tested me a lot with frozen pipes and failing heating systems and gloppy, heavy snows I had to remove from driveways and fire-entrances. With January past and the maples feeling the first stirrings of sap, I felt I’d done a decent job, for an old geezer, and gave myself a pat on the back. As February began, I thought I had, at long last, arrived at a morning where I could sit back and write poetry. All was ordinary at first, until I went to use the toilet and noticed the water in the bowl was not clear, but gray. I questioned my wife, “Why is the water gray?” She said, “I don’t know, but the toilet made a funny sound.”
I was very annoyed, and griped, “What the heck did you do?” As if it was her fault. When I turned on the bathroom sink faucet the water shot out like a firehose and shifted from clear to jet black to clear to jet black again. Foolishly I repeated, “What did you do?”
As I headed to the cellar she got in my way, inquiring “Why must you always blame me?”
I gently removed her from my path, apologizing, and saying “Something’s gone wrong.”
In the basement I brushed the spiderwebs from the pressure dial, and saw it pegged out at 120 psi, when the system is supposed to run between 40 and 60 psi. I hurried to the circuit breaker and shut off the well-pump. Then I went upstairs and ran the faucets until the pressure resumed normal levels. I decided the black water was because the extreme pressure cleaned the inside of the pipes, for it stopped happening when the pressure dropped. Then I went down to the cellar to look at the pressure switch, and saw it was burned out. Fried. Lucky the house didn’t burn down. It had melted into an “open” position, so the well pump didn’t stop pumping, and the pressure kept rising and rising.
Fortunately, pressure switches are easy to replace. You basically disconnect a couple wires, screw out the old switch from the pipe, screw in a new switch, and reconnect the wires. You can call a plumber, who will charge you $360.00 to do a ten-minute job, replacing a $20.00 part. Or you can do it yourself. As much as I would have liked to “delegate” the job to a plumber, it seemed once again I should “do it myself.”
This was not the stress-free morning composing-a-sonnet I had planned, However, as “relax” was on “the list”, I relaxed driving twenty minutes to the hardware store to buy the $20.00-part, relaxed chatting with an old friend at the store, and then relaxed driving twenty minutes back.
There are worse things to be stuck with doing than driving through snowy New England woods. I kept the car radio off, to avoid disturbing news, and instead had a private talk with God, involving some intimate things which are nobody’s business, but some things I feel free to make public. Namely, “Why, Lord, do you make Your creation so beautiful, and winter woods so full of poetic images, and yet never give me time to write poems?”
Back in the cellar, though the PSI gauge read zero, I shut the valve on the pipe leading upstairs to keep water in the pipes from flowing down to the cellar. Only then did I remove the pressure gauge. The instant it was removed a jet of water spurted into my face, and I struggled to screw it back in, which stopped the spurting. Then I had to think how there could be pressure when the well was shut off and no water could flow from upstairs. Coffee time.
My wife looked at me hopefully as I emerged from the dirty old cellar, and her face registered the fact I looked a little like a drowned rat. She wisely said nothing, and I didn’t look at her, because even a hint of a smile at the corner of her lips might have set me off. (Not that I failed to see the humor in the situation. I just wasn’t ready to laugh.)
I slumped morosely by the woodstove and sadly glanced at my open notebook. Not so long ago I’d been starting a sonnet, and at that time could see the entire thing even as I began. It was loaded with internal rhymes, and I had all the rhymes at my fingertips, as well as the rhythm. It began:
Lord, put Your foot down. But just not on me.
I think it is best that You manifest
And halt this world's insanity. Set free
You’ll have to trust me. There was more. However, the sonnet now was like Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan”. Coleridge saw the entire poem in a dream and arose to write it, but some bothersome interruption knocked at his front door, and when he extracted himself from the chitchat and returned to his writing, the vision was gone. Utterly. He couldn’t even pretend he could write another line. All we have is the fragment; a great start to a poem which is but a might-have-been. And the above is the start to a great sonnet which is but a might-have-been. Only in my case it was not an unwelcome visitor knocking at my door. It was a malfunctioning pressure valve, and water spurting in my face.
It is hard to concentrate on poetry when you get hit in the face by a jet of water. It is even harder when your wife can’t even use her kitchen sink. It should be obvious why I forgot the rhyme to “manifest.”
In any case, I did enjoy licking the wounds of irony. I’d asked the Almighty to put His foot down. I did request “not on me” but scripture states, “Those God loveth, He abuseth.” Therefore the foot apparently came down on me. Ha ha.
Irony didn’t solve anything. I took a deep breath and focused my mind onto the mundane. How could water spurt from pipes with no pressure? The pressure must come from uphill, where the well was. There was no way to stop water from running downhill, so I would have to devise some plug for the pipe when I removed the pressure switch. After considering how to make a quick plug, (whittling wood seemed like it would take too long), I asked my wife if she had a stub of a used candle. She provided one in a twinkling. I carved a plug of wax, and I headed downstairs to face getting water shot in my face a second time. Lots of water shot in my face, but the plug worked. Then I could work in leisure, but I knew that one final episode of getting water shot into my face lay ahead, when I removed the wax plug and put in the new pressure switch. Sobeit. I put in the new switch and my wife had a kitchen sink again. I was a wet rat crawling ashore, bedraggled and yet victorious.
However, I was seriously behind schedule. Not only did I have to rush off to work a shift at the Childcare, (because the staff has problems of their own, which I won’t go into), but also the forecast was for yet another storm of glop and freezing slush. I had to stock up the woodboxes at home, and also deal with my wife’s anti-Swamp activities.
Where the Swamp seems to want to ban people from visiting elders in old-age-homes, and to ban people from the schooling of their own children, my wife insists on “staying involved”. She is a grandmother who reads stories to grandchildren in Brazil, via computer magic, and who refuses to allow the family’s matriarch (her mother) to enter the hellish “retirement communities” the Swamp offers. And in this particular situation she didn’t want to face the fact the coming storm made travel seem inadvisable. By hook or krook, we were going drive to Maine for a flash-visit of three granddaughters. (A two-year-old and twins-aged-six-months.) But we couldn’t leave until after attending a middle-school-aged grandchild’s quarter-finals basketball game.
At the risk of sounding like a heartless cynic, at times it occurs to me that all this family-stuff does not help me write sonnets. Perhaps that is why many poets live alone. But I have to admit warm and fuzzy family-stuff is a counterattack, in the weird war we are midst. Therefore, I sometimes go along with her sentimental nonsense, figuring her feminine intuition is smarter than my masculine willpower. That is why I might be seen at a grandchild’s basketball game which barely resembles basketball, when I’d much rather be writing a sonnet which does resemble a sonnet.
However, there are times I must draw the line. Driving to Maine is a bad idea if you never arrive. I needed to heed the fine details of the forecast, even while preparing for the storm. But I had no time to sit at my computer to look at the details.
For an old geezer, driving to Maine or even attending a basketball game is stress. It was one more stressful thing on “the list” even though “avoid stress” was on the list. I found myself thinking it might be too much. I might fail to be as tough as I want to be. I might be a battlefield casualty.
My mind slumped into morbidity: Just as the above sonnet is unfinished, much that I have wanted to do in my life will never be done. Life is too short. But this is no different from what happened to my peers in the 1960’s and 1970’s when they became cannon fodder. In the Vietnam war, each young person who died sacrificed their “promise”. Each death was a promise unfulfilled. What might have been would never be. In like manner, the death of every old geezer in the current war is a half-century of wisdom lost, and its promise unfulfilled. War is hell.
As I had these morbid thoughts, I had no time to play my violins of self-pity and compose sorrowful sonnets. I had to gulp down some chili and hurry up and down the front steps, filling the wood boxes. Then I felt a burning in my chest.
I figured it was just heartburn, because I’d hurried to work after gulping chili. I think your suppose to siesta after chili. However, I was pushing myself, carrying a few more logs than was wise, and pulled an obscure muscle I’d never pulled before which must string between the chest and the middle of the back, and likely has to do with lifting shoulders to gasp for breath when the diaphragm isn’t enough. Yet it occurred to me it might be something other than heartburn and a pulled muscle. My heart might be quitting. And as I thought this I was bathed with sweat, which was likely due to collapsing in an armchair by a hot stove to catch my breath, yet such sweating also may be a symptom of a heart attack. Stress.
The stress-relieving thing to do in such a situation is to do what I did in California thirty-eight years ago: Drive to a hospital, explain that you are having chest pains, and have them run a quick ECG. (ElectroCardioGraph). Back in 1984 they’d tell you your heart was fine, and that the chest-pain was due to a binge, you moron, and your stomach was protesting the fact you had drunk something like two cases of beer in two days. In 1984 the diagnosis took thirty minutes and cost $110.00. But hospitals are different now, during this invisible war.
I have a unique perspective, when it comes to hospitals, for my father was a surgeon at the MGH (Massachusetts General Hospital) in Boston back in the 1940’s, 1950’s and early 1960’s, back when doctors actually ran the hospitals, and before lawyers and insurance companies ruined everything. Those were glory days, as antibiotics had just been discovered, people stopped dying of staff infections after operations, and people dying of things like syphilis and tuberculosis were learning they wouldn’t die after all. Doctors and nurses walked with a real spring in their step. (How far we have fallen.)
I figured I was probably being a hypochondriac, but I’ve known good fellows who died because they didn’t want to make a big fuss about why their chest hurt. So I figured I should make sure it wasn’t anything serious. I was 95% sure it was nothing, but 5% is stress, and I wanted to avoid stress. Of course there would be some stress because of the coronavirus nonsense. They might object to the fact I was not vaccinated. But what happened might be interesting. It might make a good blog post.
I put off deciding, choosing to instead go close down the Childcare, thinking maybe the chest pains would ebb and I could forget my worry, but, if anything, they grew sharper. I still was thinking it was a pulled muscle, but the worry was there. I then had to face the stress of telling my wife.
She wanted to call an ambulance and I said by the time an ambulance arrived we could already be at the hospital. She said she couldn’t do CPR while driving and I said she could do CPR on me as I drove. She said she’d drive. As she drove, she called ahead to the emergency entrance using her voice-activated car phone, and she answered a slew of questions including my date-of-birth, and then we continued our discussion alone as we drove through the darkness of late twilight.
I was attempting to remain calm and stress-free, saying I was 95% sure I was just being a worry wart, but, if the 5% was true, then, if I was about to die, a good wife would not want to have the last thing her husband heard be criticism. Criticism could exacerbate stress, which contributed to heart attacks, so likely the best thing was praise. I should be praised for remaining so calm when there was a 5% chance I was about to croak. And then we laughed, which is about the most stress-free thing there is.
We arrived at the emergency entrance, which seemed an unnaturally bright pool of yellow light in the darkness of evening, and I hopped out as my wife drove off to park the car. I walked in and introduced myself as the man who had called ahead with chest pains. The lady told me to put on a mask and asked me my date-of-birth and whether I’d been vaccinated. Obviously, the woman did not deserve to be called a nurse.
I have a unique perspective towards nursing, as my mother was a registered nurse at Children’s Hospital in Boston in the 1940’s, and at Brandais College in the mid-1960’s, and as a hospice nurse in the late-1960’s, and then an EMT in Maine in the late 1970’s, through the 1980’s, into the early 1990’s. My mom could remain cool in the face of blood, and boys in my boyhood neighborhood would go to her with a gory cut, because they knew their own mothers would freak-out and perhaps faint. My mom knew freaking and fainting wasn’t any good, so she would tend to the gore. (If I had a complaint as a child, it was that my mother was too cool and too detached and that she didn’t gush enough.)
The woman I was dealing with was not tending to me, the patient, but rather tending to the paperwork. It was likely a good thing I put on a mask, for it hid my expression, which was likely an odd mix between pity and sheer contempt.
For one thing, it took me about two hours of on-line research right at the start of the coronavirus pandemic to understand cheap masks were a dumb idea. As I recall, there were at least three peer-reviewed studies in the “New England Journal of Medicine”, and two more in the English journal “Lancet”, which stated ordinary masks were more or less useless when it came to preventing the spread of virus. At least one study ventured masks were harmful, because of problems other than the transmission of virus. In other words, “science”, as it was defined before the coronavirus, stated masks (other than expensive ones), were useless. However, “science” acquired a bizarre, new definition, once the war on Truth was declared.
In its new incarnation, “science” became whatever furthers a political goal. It doesn’t matter if the goal is low lusts, greed, and desires for power. Science must bow, must disregard its former affinity to Truth, and must be “politically correct”. In essence, science must agree to be false. It is for some “higher good.”
To me this claptrap is such a complete denial of the original definition of “science” that it cannot be borne. Science is supposed to be a study of Truth, just as poetry is a study of Truth. And, when I have studied history to seek examples of at least a single occasion when lies led to some “higher good”, what I see are examples of times such lies led to societal disasters. The ultimate lies were Lysenko’s, who had the distinction of precipitating terrible famines in both Russia and China, “for their own good.”
To put it mildly, I have thought using masks is a deed of rank stupidity for over two years now. Therefore, when I enter a hospital’s emergency entrance and a lady asks me to put a mask on it strikes me as a sure sign that she is ignorant. I pity her, because I know she is just doing her job, but her job is not a nurse’s, and she cannot claim to be one. She is in fact a bureaucrat in a white uniform.
I have an unspiritual inclination to rear back and give such people an uppercut to the snoot, but that would hardly help matters, even in an invisible war. Pity is better. And, as a man who runs a Childcare, I often watch small children struggle to put together simple puzzles, and know it is often better to allow them to figure things out for themselves. To be simply given an answer often involves no true learning, which may be why God, in His compassion, allows people to bungle along learning things. If people prefer falsehood to Truth for some queer reason, well, they will learn the hard way. Only if one, with all their might and main, seeks Truth midst all the fluff and balderdash, is one likely to see the Light.
I looked away from the bureaucrat clicking away at her keyboard to see if there was anyone else around. The news always makes it sound like hospitals are overcrowded with wheezing and gasping coronavirus patients, but this particular emergency entrance seemed downright serene, and understaffed. Even as I thought this a strong, young man dressed in white walked briskly around a corner and approached me. “Hi!” he said, “Are you the fellow with chest pains?” He held out a palm and we shook hands as I nodded, and then he continued, “My name is Zack and I’m your nurse. Follow me.”
As we walked further into the bright depths of the emergency entrance, I explained I was 95% sure I just pulled a muscle in my chest, and that I was just playing it safe, and Zack agreed it was better to be safe than sorry. I like agreeable people, and I took an immediate liking to him. We chattered away as if it was an everyday thing for me to strip down bare-chested and for him to start sticking small plastic sensors to various parts of my chest. For example, I stated there were a lot more sensors than there were in 1984, and he asked what happened in 1984, and I gave him the short version. When I mentioned the two cases of beer he laughed and stated that he had also learned two cases of beer in two days was not a wise idea, when he was younger.
My cellphone beeped and it was my wife texting. She said the hospital wouldn’t let her wait inside. She wondered if she should wait in the parking lot. I asked Zack how long the ECG would take, and he said besides the EKG there would be blood tests, and it would take at least an hour for the results to come in. I texted my wife it was going to take longer than I thought; over an hour; she texted back she’d wait in the parking lot until I had more news.
Zack clipped a thing onto my finger to measure my oxygen levels, and then stood back and regarded a computer display above the bed in satisfaction. It made efficient-sounding beeping noises, and besides a graph of my ECG had around ten other numbers. Then Zack hurried off, and swiftly returned, telling me the doctor said the EKG looked good, but that the doctor wanted to do other tests, including a cat scan. I asked how long it would take, and he said likely at least two hours, and maybe five. I texted my wife my ECG looked good, but there would be other tests, and she probably should wait at home. She sent an emoji of a relieved face.
Zack was swabbing the inside of my elbow, but rather than just drawing blood samples he was inserting an IV with a Y junction to allow saline in as well as to draw blood out. I asked why they had to do other tests if the ECG looked good, and Zack said an EKG wasn’t enough to prevent malpractice suits; if I had a heart attack in the next month the doctor could expect to have his socks sued off. Therefore, insurance companies required a whole slew of tests, to cover the doctor’s butts. I said it was all about money, and that lawyers and insurance companies were driving up prices, and Zack diplomatically shrugged.
From there we moved on and had a chat about why I said ECG and he said EKG. They mean the same thing, and I told him that as a writer I preferred English, and “cardio” began with a “C”. I wondered if EKG meant the machine was made in Germany, and Zack laughed. Then I asked him how long he’d been a nurse.
It turned out he’d worked eight years for a crew laying concrete foundations. The money was better than he made nursing, especially with all the cement-work overtime, but he was getting worn down. I told him cement work was rough on backs, and that I knew cement-workers who’d turned to Fentanyl to escape the pain. He adroitly avoided the subject of Fentanyl, but stated he indeed had worried about his back. I said nurses had to be careful not to hurt their backs as well; some patients could be pretty fat. Zack laughed and said this was true, but cement was heavier.
By this time I was all wired and tubed-up like a person at death’s door, and Zack hurried off to bring a couple blood samples to a lab, and a very tired-looking doctor came trudging in.
I’ll call him Dr. Robe because he struck me as being like a robot. He asked a long string of questions in a monotone yet hurried voice, as if he was asking them by rote and wasn’t interested in many of the answers. The questions seemed very much like the checklist of questions you have to answer on forms as you enter a doctor’s office, questions more aimed at malpractice lawyers than your health, questions that hold the echoes of some past court proceedings: “But did you inquire as to whether the patient was a pathological liar?”
Right off the bat Dr. Robe struck me as the sort of doctor my father would have railed should be disqualified. Doctors were not supposed to look so tired and bored and discouraged; they were supposed to radiate faith and hope and to activate the placebo-effect with their complete confidence. Their confidence was supposed to be reassuring and infectious; Dr. Robe looked infected by gloom; he had no spring in his step; he trudged.
I resisted the urge to rail at him as my father might have done, and instead prodded my slouching sense of pity. (Patients aren’t supposed to pity the doctors; it is supposed to be the other way around; but the weird war we’re within has things upside-down and backwards.)
It occurred to me it must be humiliating to be a doctor these days. Gone is the respect people once had. Where once doctors gave their opinions from a sort of pedestal, now they are told to keep their opinions to themselves. They receive orders from the Swamp, and if they beg to differ, they could lose their jobs. Rather than being treated like professionals they are treated like lackeys and flunkies. All their experience, all that they have learned over the years through actual contact with the hurting, all their success and failure, is disregarded, in favor of some Swamp commandment. Worst is the fact that the Swamp’s new definition of “science” is looking increasingly stupid, as it is confronted by its failures to be like true “science”, and to honor true Truth.
The Swamp is confronted by the failures of its “promises” to come true. Masks were supposed to stop-the-spread but failed. Social distancing was supposed to stop-the-spread but failed. Vaccines were supposed to stop-the-spread but failed. Those who trusted the Swamp, and complied, now can’t help but to increasingly feel disappointed and even betrayed. Me? My faith was trampled very early on, and I’ve been a Skeptic for nearly two years now.
I think what originally set off alarms in my head was my perception the Swamp did not like second opinions. My father was very big on getting second opinions. I could recall that, back in the glory days when doctors ran their own hospitals, doctors were always sharing what they had discovered, or asking if the other doctors had ever come across an unexpected complication they were confronted by. They were well aware every patient is different, “what is good for the goose may be bad for the gander”, and they had open minds that sought the insights of others. As a small boy I liked to hang about the periphery as they talked over drinks after work, for they all seemed excited to hear each other’s latest discovery.
The Swamp now seems utterly different. They seemed to epitomize the Globalist view that there should only be one view. And this sense was verified when the first news about hydroxychloroquine surfaced. To me it seemed very good news, and I was appalled when the doctors who sought to publicize the beneficial possibilities were censored on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. At that time there was no vaccine, so why repress a potentially good treatment?
And so it has continued, through numerous other helpful treatments including ivermectin. Second opinions are not allowed. Only vaccines and masks are allowed, even though they aren’t working. (Who doesn’t know at least one person who wore masks religiously and had both the vaccination and the booster yet still got the coronavirus?)
Despite the censorship of Free Speech, (and even of the last president of the United States), people still do communicate, and the second opinions of those doctors who dare speak out are disseminated from obscure websites across the globe. And sick people always have a propensity to try even the most crackpot cures, when their first doctor fails. And, when the supposedly crackpot cure works, though the Globalists scoff, the word spreads despite Globalists best efforts to quash the word. People simply want to be better, and no amount of malarky can deny that the impulse to be better is a truly good impulse in the mortal soul. If you repress the urge to get better, you are basically a complete jerk.
This returns me to my earlier point that Globalists feel this world would be a better place if there was only one view allowed. I asserted their idea is like saying marriage would involve less disagreement if there was only one spouse. True, but then it wouldn’t be marriage. And the fact of the matter is that the Creator created us different. We share our fingerprints with no other soul among the nearly eight billion currently alive on earth. This might make us feel alone, if it were not for the wonder of understanding.
That is what I remember most from the glory days of medicine. Doctors had no fear of second opinions, because their interest was understanding. They did not see a second opinion as a threatening disagreement, but rather as the wonder of another view. As impossible as it may seem to some, disagreement wasn’t disagreeable. It was the opening of a window to a new sky.
How far we have fallen. When I looked at Dr. Robe I did not see a brave doctor of the sort who would be banned from YouTube and Twitter, but rather a compliant yes-man, subservient to the Swamp. He feared losing his job, craving dollars. Yet as much as he makes, it is never enough. He must pay back three times what I make in a year just to pay for the “insurance”.
Back in the glory days, when doctors ran hospitals, my Dad didn’t worry about being sued. When he saved a fellow’s life, we’d get a “grateful patient” gift from where the fellow reclined in Florida, a big cardboard box filled with oranges, tangerines, and juicy grapefruit. Now? Now doctors spend $150,000 a year for malpractice insurance. You have pay for the “privilege” of saving some goofball’s life. How far we have fallen.
Actually, it isn’t so hard to pity Dr. Robe. For a third of what he pays just to avoid the vengeance of ungrateful patients, I happily subsist. I pay my bills and live a good life with children and grandchildren. I am not rich but feel blessed in many other ways. But maybe I too will face the vengeance. I may face the vengeance of a sort of Stalin, who loathed the Kulak, who I am sort of like.
To be blunt, I feel the Globalists are narrow-minded, and that they find it offensive that so many live outside their myopia. Where they are consumed by a lust for power, the powerless simply get by. The Globalists ask, “What right have the powerless to be happier?” (For indeed we are.)
The answer, (which they don’t want to hear), is that we simple bumpkins deal with Truth, which is Beauty, yet which they seek to deny. They think they have their reasons to deny the Truth about cures for the coronavirus other than their vaccine, but when their vaccine fails and other cures work, the “cure” is something called the Truth. At this point, they can either confess their error, or they can deny Truth.
At which point one wonders what low craving they are blinded by. They must know on some level that their so-called “science” has been made to look foolish. Why do they insist on stating they are not fools when, it is increasingly obvious, they are fools?
There are various theories about what motivates them, ranging from the simple pride of a person who doesn’t want to admit a mistake, to more elaborate conspiracy theories.
One theory states that the profits from vaccines are gigantic, as much as twenty dollars back for each dollar put in, and Globalists are deeply invested, and don’t want to face a crash. Another theory states all sorts of wicked results are the real intent of jabbing every person on earth. Some even state they want to reduce the world population to half a billion.
All I know is that vaccines don’t work. People get vaccinated and still get the corona virus. Back in the old days, this disqualified the jab from being even called a “vaccine.” But the new “science” decrees that the jab results in “milder cases”. How can they compare a case with what never happened? The question should be, “Have vaccinated people died?” Because some have, the vaccination failed to vaccinate. So why push it? And why push it on small children, who almost never suffer complications from the coronavirus? Especially as the vaccination has some side effects which have killed some people. This may be a “small” risk, but why expose a child to such risk at all? Simple question. Just answer the blasted question! Instead, they change the subject. For example, am I a racist?
The effectiveness of various cures are topics which, back in the glory days when doctors ruled their own hospitals, would have been freely and openly discussed after work while sipping an Old-Fashioned. Now you hear cures discussed behind the magazine rack at the local market, or on obscure uncensored sites on the internet. However, as I looked at Dr. Robe, it did not even occur to me to bring up the topic of alternative cures. He was not a brave doctor. He was just a poor man, poorer than me, striving to pay off fabulous college loans and incredible insurance costs, cursing whoever told him that being a doctor would make him respected and rich. Increasingly he is neither. Rather than respected, doctors are increasingly a laughingstock. Surely this must eat away at them. Some pity must be felt, (unless, of course, doctors seek revenge on the public.)
These may seem like odd thoughts to be drifting about my head when I had a 5% chance of meeting my Maker. But they say your whole life flashes before you, as you die, and the downfall of hospitals has been a part of my life. Also, I must say this about Dr. Robe: He did reduce my 5% worry I was dying to around 0.1%, simply by stating my ECG looked normal. This relaxed me greatly, and from then on, I was just going along for the ride, enjoying the views of how hospitals look now, compared to how they looked when I ran about the MGH in Boston as a little boy.
After asking me a robotic checklist of questions Dr. Robe droned that he wanted to be absolutely sure enzymes in my blood didn’t change in three hours, and also to make sure I didn’t have a blood clot in my lungs, by having me go through a cat scan.
I hadn’t seen the bill. ($6,402.77). I hoped insurance covered a lot, but knew somebody somewhere was making money from the nonsense. Should it cost so much to learn nothing is wrong?
In any case, Dr. Robe vanished, and I never saw him again. It was the end of his shift, and hopefully he went home to a nice wife and good backrub. But I could not go home, and texted my wife that things still looked good, but I couldn’t go to the basketball game or Bible study, because it would be at least three hours before they were done checking me over from top to bottom.
Right at this point a tiny, masked woman dressed as a nurse came to roll me off for a cat scan. This struck me as a little absurd, for it seemed a big, strong nurse like Zack should have done the rolling. But back in my boyhood men weren’t nurses. Zack would have been called an “orderly”, which may now be a sexist term. Who knows? All I knew was a tiny woman began detaching plasma bottles and saline bottles I didn’t need from a height she could barely reach on tiptoes and putting the bottles above my head on another rack she also could barely reach, attached to a bed she barely looked strong enough to roll.
Above her mask she looked a little stressed to me, and in a hurry, so I tried to think of some way to relax her. After all, as one approaches age seventy, scrawny young women one wouldn’t have looked twice at, when aged twenty, have a surprising beauty, even when you can only see their eyes and foreheads. And I know life is hard at hospitals, midst this invisible war. I evaluated her.
The little nurse seemed disinterested in conversation, only stating, “I’m taking you for your cat scan” before becoming very efficient, so it was up to me to break the ice. Something impish in me had me state, “I think I am going to like this. Will you mind it much if I squeal, ‘wheeee!’ as you roll me?”
She looked at me with severe surprise above her mask, and said, “Please don’t.”
I laughed and said, “OK I won’t, but, you see, I run a Childcare, and I am forever pulling wagons or dragging sleds full of children, and they say, “wheeee!” as I pull them, but they never pull me. So, this is a new experience for me. I think I will enjoy it very much.”
She met my eye, and the severity of the young face above the mask went through a lovely transformation. She laughed, and said, “I push strollers at home and gurneys at work.”
I replied, “Gosh! You never get a break! Well, I suppose my old age does have its advantages…” Her forehead vanished as she lowered her shoulders to push me, but I did hear a chuckle.
I must admit she pushed well, achieving speeds faster than I thought wise, and she also had an amazing ability to navigate through automatically opening doors even when she had to show some sort of badge to make them open. I didn’t say “wheeee” even once, but did at one point inquire, “National Guard?”
This was because, down from the emergency entrance, we passed the non-emergency entrance, which is not the “main entrance”, (which has been closed a long time due to the coronavirus). The non-emergency entrance is where they take your temperature and ask a slew of questions and make you put on a mask before you go to an appointment about a hangnail. And as we passed through a crossroads and I looked down towards that entrance, I saw not the usual nurses but big men in combat boots and camouflaged uniforms.
The nurse pushing me simply explained, “Yes. We’re understaffed.”
I said, “Those big fellows should be pushing the gurneys. You should be swiping the foreheads.”
“Maybe, but they can’t run the cat scan.”
“You do that too?”
“You must have to do a lot when you’re understaffed.”
“I know some nurses who quit.”
“So do I.”
“Strange times.” There seemed little else to say about the nurses who quit when ordered to have the vaccine or the booster, (or even other vaccinated nurses, who quit when ordered to order the unvaccinated to vaccinate). It was just part of the war. I suppose, given more time, we might have discussed the various reasons which the media never talks about, but we had arrived at the cat scan, and she had a job to do.
The cat scan was a futurist looking plastic donut covered with green lights and digital readouts, and a few red lights, with a table that shifted in and out of the donut. I had to shift my old carcass to the table, which involved rearranging various wires and tubes, and also the nurse had to add a “tracer” in my blood, which involved my answering a whole slew of questions, including my date-of-birth again. (I was patient with this stuff because both my mother and father had told me of outrageous mistakes made by hospitals that weren’t careful, such as amputating the wrong leg, or the right leg from the wrong person.) I did wonder a bit what the “tracer” was, and what side-effects it might have, and why they asked so many questions about allergies. The nurse mentioned I should tell her of various side effects, including heat in my crotch or anus. I was about to ask further questions, in a hopefully disarming voice, but just then I was hit in the face by a jet of water.
In order to inject the tracer, the nurse had to loosen the saline drip, and the little tube had jumped from her fingers. “Oh! I’m so, so sorry!” she exclaimed.
“Don’t worry. I’m getting used to it. It’s the fourth time today I’ve been squirted in the face.”
Her eyebrows raised above her mask as she dabbed my face with a white towel, which I found enjoyable. When was the last time a young woman dabbed my face with a towel? My mother? Sixty years ago? She brought me back to earth by asking, “What squirted you the other times?”
I gave her the short version of replacing the pressure switch in the cellar, and by the time I was done the “tracer” was in me, so I dismissed asking about side effects. Whatever will be will be. The ‘tracer” might cause cancer (or even have been the vaccine), but there are only so many conspiracy theories a man can handle at once, and these days I’m overwhelmed.
The nurse was shifting all the tubes and wires so they wouldn’t get hung up in the donut, and we were ready to roll. I rolled in, and the machine’s robotic voice (feminine) told me to hold a deep breath, and I did, and things clicked and whirred, and the machine said “exhale”, and things whirred and clicked, and then I rolled back, and there were more clicks and whirrs and a beep, without me needing to hold my breath, but then I rolled in again and had to hold my breath again.
As I rolled in and out of this “hole” I chuckled. It occurred to me the situation could have Freudian implications. It had some similarity to sex, or perhaps birth. But that idea was so utterly absurd that it made me think that all the time I spent fifty years ago, studying thought and psychology based on Freud, and even the thought and philosophy of those who rejected Freud by fighting Freud, such as Yung and Pearls (gestalt) and Lang, was a complete waste of my time. Fifty years ago, I thought I was seeking Truth, peering deep into the subconscious, but the fact of the matter is that, when you are rolling in and out of a hole, the Truth is that you are rolling and out of a hole. Psychologists make Truth complex when it is in fact simple.
The way this idea crossed my mind made me chuckle to myself, which made the masked face of the tiny nurse pop up and regard me studiously, even as the cat scan was completed. I’m glad she didn’t ask why I chuckled. It would have taken several hours to explain Freud, Jung, Pearls and Lang, (let alone Timothy Leary). Rather than asking me any questions she (I suppose) looked for “symptoms” and became satisfied my chuckle wasn’t a symptom. After this swift appraisal of my mental state, (especially swift when compared to Freud), the little nurse vanished as she bowed her shoulders and trundled me at great speed back to where I began by the emergency entrance. When we got there, I thanked her for the ride, just as I always thanked drivers who gave me rides when I hitchhiked fifty years ago, and, just as drivers then vanished and I never saw them again, she vanished.
So there I was, back where I started, when I arrived with the simple question, “Am I having a heart attack?” Maybe now they would let me go home? Not so fast.
No sooner had the little nurse completed the task of shifting various tubes and wires from my mobile and rolling situation to my static situation, when the new Doctor came ambling in. In fact, I’ll call him Doctor Amble, because he had the ease of a refreshed man just starting his shift, which was different from Dr. Robe, at the end of his shift. This difference alone should highlight the importance of second opinions. After all, our own opinions shift, from first thing in the morning to when we go to bed weary. However, the difference in opinion between Dr. Robe and Dr. Amble was more than that, and I found it interesting to see it manifest.
Not that Dr. Amble actually said Dr. Robe was wrong. He was in fact just telling me what Dr. Robe had prescribed. Much that was prescribed I already knew, (such as the cat scan), for I had already endured it. Yet, as Dr. Amble spoke of Dr. Robe’s prescriptions, he made telling noises. He never actually said, “Pshaw”, like an old time Yankee, but made odd noises that meant the same thing. For example, he seemed to feel the cat scan was a waste of time, for he made the slightest “puh” noise as he read that prescription. He also seemed to feel a sort of scorn for the first blood test and the second one three hours later. He had a better test. Not that he said a thing to me, but I am a surgeon’s son who grew up in a hospital, and I know a second opinion when I see one. I wondered what his second opinion was, but he just told me I seemed well, but they’d need to make sure with a few more tests. Then Dr. Amble ambled off, likely unaware I was scrutinizing him more carefully than he scrutinized me, and coming up with diagnoses all my own.
For one thing, I sensed his relaxed attitude was an act. An emergency ward is a stressful place to work even during peacetime, and he was working midst an invisible war, where political pressures had doctors forced to bite their tongues and keep their second opinions to themselves. Once again, I felt I, as a patient, should pity the doctor more than the doctor pitied me, especially as I’d already learned I was well.
Apparently Dr. Amble’s second opinion involved his own way of finding out if a chest pain was due to the heart. His way was to have the patient put a tiny pellet of nitroglycerine under their tongue. If the pain vanished, there might be a problem with the heart. If the pain failed to vanish, the problem might be a pulled muscle, or heartburn due to the sort of diet which invites an ulcer.
A nitroglycerine tablet costs less than a dollar, so you can see Dr. Amble’s approach might get him in trouble with those who see medicine as a way to make big money. For example, suppose Dr. Amble’s approach was more effective than a cat scan, which involves a machine which costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and an entire staff of technicians. It might seem obvious a diagnostic tool that cost a dollar would be more attractive than a tool that cost a million, but that is not how the Swamp works.
The male nurse Zack came hurrying back to where I lay, holding a tiny paper cup and a tiny bottle of tiny nitroglycerine tablets. After asking me a few questions including my date-of-birth he very carefully shook a single pill from the bottle to the paper cup and told me to put it under my tongue and allow it to dissolve, and to quickly tell him if I felt any dizziness. I did put the pill under my tongue, and then asked him if it might cause a migraine headache.
Zack looked surprised asked me why I asked that, and I told him I once was watching a crew blast granite in Maine and they told me not to stand downwind of the blast, because even a whiff of nitroglycerine might cause an instant migraine headache. He said he had never seen that, but my blood pressure had already fallen ten points. Then he asked me if my chest still hurt. I shifted about and said, yes, it still hurt the same. He shook out a second tiny pill into the cup, and after I dissolved that one under my tongue, he shook out a third.
I noticed Zack was taking great care not to touch a pill, and asked him why, and he laughed. Still keeping his eyes on the electronic display above my bed, he told me that even without touching the pills his body was absorbing enough nitroglycerine to, if he went to the airport the next day, set off alarms. He would be pulled aside as a suspected terrorist. I said it was amazing airport sensors were that sensitive and Zack agreed. Then he asked me again if the pills lessened my levels of pain, and I said not a jot, and he nodded, and left.
Soon Dr. Amble came sauntering back into the room, shuffling through a sheaf of papers in a scornful sort of way, and he said I was likely fit as a fiddle and right as rain, and that my blood tests showed no unusual enzymes, but they’d have to give me another test in an hour to see if there were any changes, and then he heaved a sigh, as if he himself thought it was a big waste of time. Then he turned and ambled out, but I thought I detected a slight slouching, as if he was under a burden.
Then I had to sit for about for an hour, which can be a little stressful for a person like me. I entertained myself by holding my breath and seeing if I could make my O2 levels drop to where it made a little light blink, but that got old, and then I drummed my fingers and fidgeted. Even though I don’t smoke any more, I’m still addicted to an occasional nicotine lozenge, but they were in my shirt on a chair six feet from the bed. Reaching that chair without unplugging various tubes and wires became an interesting challenge. I thought I had succeeded and was sucking a lozenge and back to making my O2 levels drop, when Zack came hurrying in. I asked him if he came because my O2 levels had dropped, he replied no, he came because I was dead. Apparently, I had disconnected some wire that measured my pulse. After he reconnected me, he stated it was time to take my second blood sample. As he took the tubes of blood, I asked him how long it would take the results to come in, because I wanted to tell my wife when she could pick me up. He said around an hour, so that is what I texted my wife.
Then I had to endure one of those slow hours which remind me of math class in high school. (Math was my last class of the day. Waiting for the minute hand to reach twelve was like seeing time come to a complete halt.)
Actually, it is not a bad thing to have time slow down, at this stage of my life. Usually, it feels like things happen too fast and I can’t keep up with the craziness, and I’m left gasping for time to collect my thoughts. Now I had time. Strange that the place for such peace was an emergency ward.
I made good use of the time, thinking deeply about hospitals, doctors and nurses, and what I’ve seen in sixty years. For some reason my mind kept returning to Dr. Amble, and what I might say to him to uplift him. I had a clever insight I thought I might share, a witty and pithy statement which might be short, like a sonnet, but which he might find worth mulling over afterwards. Sadly, like Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan”, it was not completely delivered.
Not that I didn’t try. The moment Dr. Amble reappeared I lifted an index finger and flashed a witty smile, but he never looked up from the papers he shuffled. He came in one door and ambled in a seemingly relaxed way through the room, and out the other door, shuffling papers all the way and never looking up once. I followed him the entire way with index finger raised and witty smile, but he never noticed.
In conclusion, I heard his conclusions, but he never heard mine. He said I was fine and could go home.
A young woman I’d never seen before entered after him and detached me from all the tubes and wires, I put my shirt back on, and then she looked scandalized when I put on my jacket and was about to leave. “Where is your mask? You can’t leave without your mask!”
I had forgotten all about masks. After searching we found it, crushed on the sheets I’d spent hours laying upon. Once it was back on my face, the nurse seemed very relieved, and I was allowed to walk out to the emergency entrance.
I was uncertain which door to exit by. The same woman who was there when I entered was still there, clicking at the same keyboard, and she was able to tell me what door was acceptable. Then, five hours after I entered, I walked back out into a pattering of raindrops, and towards my wife’s car I could see idling out in the parking lot.
Did this experience lower my level of stress? Yes, in terms of worry about my chest pains. But in terms of my levels of worry about hospitals? I’m not so sure. It’s not that the people who actually work there are bad, but rather that the absentee landlords who oversee hospitals are…. Deranged?
As my wife drove me home though the inky dark, I apologized for the fact my hypochondria had cost us five hours. I said my chest still hurt, and, if I hadn’t been reassured, I likely would have worried all night and all the next day, but at least now I knew I was OK. But it should have taken 45 minutes, like it did in California in 1984. She was very nice about it, simply saying her prayers had been answered. Then she promptly discussed driving to Maine.
This had the potential to immediately increase my level of stress, partially because it involved forecasting New England weather, which is inherently stressful if the outcome matters to you. The potential for being wrong is likely greater in New England than it is for most of the rest of the world. I avoided stress by exhaling slowly and deeply, and also by avoiding making a forecast. Often it is best to simply say, “We will see in the morning.”
The trip to Maine is another story, and this one has gone on long enough. Hopefully the trip to Maine will be “Part Two” of this description of how stressful it can be to avoid stress. However, I think it is good to stop “Part One”, at this point, for it is a sort of happy ending, and I do like happy endings. What can be happier, and more stress-relieving, than to find out your chest pains do not mean you are about to die?
But gosh! It sure can be hard getting that answer! Downright stressful!
I’m afraid I’m going to be a complete failure, when it comes to aging gracefully. I never seem to learn. Even when I creak out of bed crippled from some foolishness I enacted the day before, and tell myself it serves me right, and that from now on I will act my age, before you know it, I’m tempted into the next foolishness.
I blame it on the kids. They don’t respect the fact I’m an elder and am supposed to be doddering, and instead say, “Let’s go!”
The winter seemed too long. There is no spring
In my step this spring. I'm feeble and frail
As the bluebirds return. I spread a wing
That seems molted. It seems I can't set sail
And yet...See how I'm sailing! A man's heart
Can't abide quailing. Though his legs and lungs
May not set him dancing, his heart will start
Romancing and singing. Though what is sung's
In a reedy voice, the listeners weep
For they hear a warm heart that will persist
Though flesh stops thumping. No sky is too steep
Nor wings too molted to ever resist
The uplift of God's reverse-gravity
Where lead's left behind and the light's set free.
Other old-timers, even older than I am, are also doing a poor job of retiring, and instead seem determined to change the world in their decrepitude with some strange idea called “The Great Reset”. They used to smile teeth and bat eyes and sweet talk about how what they did was “for the children”, but lately they have stopped even pretending. They talk about a mother’s “right to abort”, even after the child is born, which seems like murder to me, and they’ve created a baby-food shortage by closing a major plant over a technicality and dragging their feet about reopening it. They are creating other shortages as well, such as a shortage of heating oil which may chill children next winter, and even shortages of food. None of this seems good “for the children”, but these senile old fossils in Washington never come to me for advice. All I can do is fight in a farmer’s way, which is to fight a food shortage.
You can't have summer's long days without winter's
Long nights, yet when my wall's calendar strays
From April to May I wish the splinters
Of ice to never return. Gone are grays
And only green is seen. I would hit the brakes;
Stop the calendar if I could. I see
Why some flee to Florida, but that makes
The long days shorter. Hot tropic's country
Has twelve-hour days. They can never know
Our glut of sunshine; our wild overdose
Of glee, nor how swiftly gardens will grow
Given such kindness. I pull the time close
And beg compassion forever to stay.
Healing is sweet after overmuch gray.
Something about an old fossil like me taking on the fossils of the Deep State does seem absurd. It is like a very old David with a cane taking on a gigantic, hobbling Goliath. But May is a month of miracles.
I heard the catbird singing and stumbled
From bed to the coffee pot with my eyes
Still shut, then glanced at the clock and grumbled.
It was long before dawn. That bird's sweet cries
Were to the sinking moon. The other way
Saw planets rising like a string of pearls.
First Saturn, then Mars, then, with hints of day,
Jupiter and Venus. Without gray curls
Of cirrus or purple scud, the sky was pure
As was the chorus of fluting thrushes,
Yet the light brought the catbird a cure
And it sung its plain "meow." Sky blushes
But none now hear what my sleepwalking heard:
A catbird as sweet as a sweet mockingbird.
It is hard to find farmhands in the demented economy the Deep State has established. Every shop has a “help wanted” sign. What is an old fossil like me to do? I simply ask, and much to my surprise I got an answer. Namely a daughter and daughter in law.
If one is going to refuse to age gracefully, it sure is nice to get a little help! But then, May is a month of miracles.
What could be more Benign than soft white clouds
In May's first relenting of cold east winds,
When leaves peek from buds, and decide not to drowse
Any longer, but set sails of green goldened
That turn the twiggy woods to clouds shadeless:
Canopies of light, as if it was they
And not the sun that shone...and all distress
Is melted, or else fades so far away
It's forgotten, which strangely reminds
Of what this lost poem began about:
The soft white clouds, or was it what's Benign's?
How can mere kindness make men want to shout?
How can an ounce outweigh so many tons?
That mystery's answer is surely the sun's.
Sea-ice debate has lost much of its appeal. The Alarmist spreaders of the false sea-ice narrative have pretty much admitted they can’t debate. How so? By silencing the voices who would debate with them.
This childish, “la-la-la I’m not listening” attitude was always there, in the debates between sea-ice Skeptics and Alarmists, especially on Alarmist platforms and within Alarmist websites, but on some non-Alarmist sites an Alarmist once could be lured into an old-fashioned, all-American debate.
I use the word “all-American” because lively debate has been one, major reason the United States rose to prominence in the way it did. Prominence was a direct consequence of Freedom of Speech. Debate is the anvil on which great ideas are hammered out. Whether the debate occurs in the Ivory Towers of academia, (through the process of truthful peer review), or in the down and dirty Corridors of Power (among pugnacious politicians), or even in a fair marketplace where shoppers can prefer a small company’s product over a large company’s, the clash of debate is a good thing, as long as both sides honor and respect each other.
“Honor and respect” suggests both sides have allegiance to a common ideal. In England the ideal was symbolized by the king, and those who opposed the party which held power were referred to as, “the loyal opposition”, because they remained loyal to the king, (even while not exactly loyal to those in power.)
In my America we replaced loyalty to a mortal king with loyalty to immortal God, or at least to that which our “Creator” had “endowed” to us as “certain inalienable Rights” (with “Rights” capitalized). This loyalty to a higher ideal infers respect towards those with whom you debate. You allow them Freedom of Speech as they allow you the same.
Unfortunately, at first in the obscure world of Arctic Sea-ice, and later spreading like cancer throughout American society, I’ve seen some felt they didn’t need to respect the Freedom of Speech which allows healthy debate.
I think this occurred, in the world of sea-ice, because Alarmists lost the debate about sea-ice with Skeptics. This did not occur because the Skeptics persuaded the Alarmists. (Even when Skeptics won specific arguments, Alarmists refused to concede.) What really defeated Alarmists was the sea-ice itself, which obstinately refused to behave in the manner Alarmists foretold, and instead made them look like flaming morons.
You think I exaggerate? Please consider how foolish the Alarmists must now feel, after having bought into the idea that the North Pole would be ice-free by the summer of 2008.
Or by 2010:
It becomes obvious, after nearly two decades of failed forecasts, that the Alarmists are full of -bleep-. This year is no different. The extent of sea-ice, though low, is not as low as other recent years, and shows no signs of vanishing completely.
In a saner world Alarmists would admit their forecasts were wrong. We all are humbled in such a manner as we bungle through life. We all make mistakes, and hopefully learn from our mistakes. (The world’s best weathermen became the best from being mistaken, to some degree, every day for decades. Weather forecasting defies perfection.)
However, if you refuse to be humbled, you do not admit your forecasts are wrong. Instead, you hide the evidence you were in error, and that sometimes includes attempting to hide, erace or “disappear” the very people who, often very gently and kindly, attempted to point out that you were mistaken. You hide them by censoring them. You ban them. You muffle their voices, deny their funding, isolate and marginalize them. Once the informed are “disappeared” you attempt to make the uninformed continue to believe your “side of the argument”, (which isn’t reality), is reality.
Sorry, but reality is reality. Truth remains true even if not a single mortal has the guts to say so. Sea-ice does not obey politicians, but the Almighty. And it just, plain ain’t melting away. And eventually even the uninformed notice.
Outside of the world of sea-ice the uninformed are noticing other narratives are failing to be confirmed, especially regarding the coronavirus, and this is making the censorship of skeptical voices increasingly look foolish. Polls have shown an alarming lack of trust, on the part of the general public, towards what the news reports. In some circles it has even reached a point where whatever is reported on the news is instantly regarded as being some form of disinformation, and the opposite is taken to be the actual fact.
This is of course very frustrating, to the honest, who like to be objectively informed. Some of us like to bring actual facts to the table and to share them with others who bring other actual facts showing other things, and then to attempt to make heads or tails of any variance that becomes apparent. There is much about the expansion and contraction of sea-ice which is worthy of wonder, and deserves further research, but censorship prevents it.
Currently there is a narrative being bleated which perpetuates the tired, dogeared fear that the sea-ice is going to melt away this summer, (with dreadful, doom-and-gloom consequences), despite decades of evidence to the contrary. This blather is allowed and even encouraged on certain platforms, while even attempting to counter such blather, (blather which at this point has so lost scientific credibility that it has gained the status of being pure propaganda,) will get you promptly censored or at least shadow-banned from those same social platforms.
In like manner, regarding the coronavirus, it was scientifically known right from the start that masks would do little to halt the spread. Anthony Fauci himself quoted the peer-reviewed papers which established this truth. But somehow a political narrative made masks far more advisable than they ever actually, scientifically were, and Anthony Fauci flip-flopped to support this political narrative, and anyone who stated masks were basically useless was banned from social media. As with sea-ice, even the uninformed eventually became leery of the “official” line, but the “official” line remained the accepted propaganda.
All of this nonsense has made a mess of the natural process enacted by healthy debate. We should be able to talk to each other about what we have observed in a manner which combines our observations into a sum far greater than our individual efforts. Indeed, that is what Freedom of Speech is all about. Censorship denies us the Liberty of speaking our minds, substituting the slavery of propaganda.
What foments the nonsense? I suppose it is that when we “speak our minds” we have minds which are imperfect, and which to some degree are selfish. And it is the nature of selfishness to want its own way, even at the expense of others. In other words, our minds do not merely contain the altruistic concept of Freedom of Speech, but also a less patient side which just wants to tell others to “shut the f— up”.
There are those who believe that the “shut-the f— up” impatience is good governance. It is foundational to the ideas behind any dictatorship. It sees opposition as a wrench-in-the-works of progress. Dictators are certain that the way to progress is to remove the wrench. And so it is that dictators tend to remove even their closest comrades from the picture.
While such an approach may lead to great power, it tends to leave one very alone and without advisors, and a lack of advisors is bound to leave one ill-advised.
The United States embarked on a different policy, which accepted differing opinions, and allowed people to be a wrench-in-the-works. (This is drifting far from the topic of sea-ice), but it is interesting to go back to the early days of the United States, when the idea of Free Speech was still in its infancy. People were aware how novel the idea of Free Speech was, and relished it, and even small towns had gatherings where people vented their views, and eventually this became the local event called a “Lyceum”. (Abraham Lincoln’s first public speech was at a Lyceum in 1838.)
Lyceums were the internet of those pre-electricity times, and some individuals made a good living just traveling town to town and speaking. Of course, certain subjects were taboo, and even back then there were some who wished to censor certain speakers, but they lacked the ability of modern censorship. If banned, even outlandish speakers (or snake oil salesmen) could just move on to the next town. For the most part the public displayed a thirst to hear new ideas of all sorts, and illiteracy greatly declined. Back then I might have traveled from town to town, speaking all I know about sea-ice, without fear of being “shadow-banned”, (IE: seeing all my writing, even my posts which have nothing to do with sea-ice, [such as my most-popular “Why We Don’t Domesticate Deer”] sink from view on search engines.) Lyceums occurred during an age which was innocent, in some ways, though back then Americans were also well aware the idea of Free Speech tread upon new and dangerous ground, full of patches of thin ice and slippery-slope pitfalls.
The danger became almost immediately apparent when France attempted to copy us, replacing its King with a republic, and saw things spiral into The Terror. Their guillotine made it apparent American Liberty and Freedom required guidance. What had lead France astray?
This brings me back to the selfishness I spoke of earlier; a selfishness we all own. A guillotine is just a way of saying “shut the f— up.” Even in our homes, any time we are tempted to say that, whether it be to a parent, a spouse, or a child, we’re in a sense anti-American, for we’re denying Free Speech.
Considering I myself have been told to “shut the f—up” for stating obvious truths about sea-ice, I hope you will forgive me if my interest strays, (away from the sea-ice maximum), to the despotic maximum we are now experiencing. I will return to the actual subject of sea-ice before the end of this post, but I digress into the subject of Free Speech because I am confronted by it’s destruction. We are all confronted by it. Cancel Culture is in-your-face censorship, basically saying “shut the f— up” to us all, and we need to deal with it.
At this point it is interesting and perhaps instructive to look back to at the lyceums at the beginnings of the United States, and see what was the motivation behind many of the ideas.
After much thought I decided the motivation boiled down to putting food on the table. It may sound a bit lowering to state so much depends on a man’s stomach, but the gut is a great motivator of both hard work and revolution, and thrones become hot seats when the commoners go hungry. Therefore, it follows that much that Free Speech debates about, concerning the high-sounding word “economy”, involves how a society keeps its people fed. The basis of all high principles and lofty ideals is basically dirt, and also the brine fish are netted from. This low-seeming fact is an inescapable truth people in Ivory Towers can become blind to. In a computer age a majority of society can live in Ivory Towers, seemingly divorced from dirt and salty spray, but in truth still trapped by the simple realities of Earth.
When I state putting-food-on-the-table is man’s motivation, it sounds as if man would be easy to manipulate, like a donkey tricked into plodding forward by dangling an apple on a string just in front of its nose. In actual fact putting-food-on-the-table has always involved a thing called “risk”. The risk might be a swarm of grasshoppers eating your entire garden in a couple of hours, or a storm sinking your fishing boat, or, (if you were a caveman), the woolly mammoth you just hurled your spear into turning around and stamping you flat.
Once you add “risk” into the equation you create a sort of schizophrenia. How so? Because putting-food-on-the-table is “security”, and “risk” is the opposite of “security”. This creates a tension between two sides, and a reason to debate. One needs to weigh the “risk” involved in achieving “security.” Is the safety worth the danger? Is the danger worth the safety?
In the eyes of academics in Ivory Towers, the people who created the United States were very unsafe people. Academics have tenure and can’t be fired even if they are obnoxious, possess plump pensions, and have health insurance which allows them to be sicker than dogs and never lose a cent. They are exceedingly safe, and therefore must be forgiven if they cannot comprehend the unsafe people who created America, people who hoed their corn with a flintlock nearby in case war whoops sang from the woods, or sailed ships without engines or GPS’s through dangerous seas to net or long-line codfish.
Going to sea was, with 20-20 hindsight, a high-risk activity, considering the nature of the flimsy ships, but involved a thing called “trade”. Trade could put food on the table without one needing to grow food or net food. Therefore, one might, from an Ivory Tower, think man had escaped the power of the stomach, but it is interesting to note the trade-items most desired by Native Americans were copper cooking pots, (preferable to birch-bark stewpots and more durable than pottery), for cooking, and iron axes for cutting the wood people used to fuel cooking fires with. The gut still ruled.
So important did “trade” become that three of the ten largest cities in the future United States were crammed together on the coast of Massachusetts: Boston, Gloucester, and Newburyport. Their affair with the ocean involved a great deal of “risk”, and many died at sea, but the gamble was obviously worth it to those who survived, which caused those three cities to prosper and be among the largest. New Englanders become skilled traders, and Cod was king, and a wooden codfish was hung as a sort of false god in the city hall of Boston.
Meanwhile, in the South, Cotton became king. This involved the small farms moving from hiring farmhands to buying farmhands from Africa. This involved all sorts of risks, but they seemed worthwhile, even before the cotton gin was invented in 1797 and made cotton so profitable other crops were abandoned.
Thirdly, to the west, were lands the indigenous population seemed to use unwisely. Where they used a thousand acres in a manner which could feed few, settlers could use the same thousand acres in a manner that would feed many. The settlers therefore could outnumber the original inhabitants, and overran them, resulting in wars, which the indigenous and outnumbered natives lost. However, risks remained. Out of every ten farms started by homesteaders, five failed, resulting in bankruptcy for people who had gambled all, and lost all. Risk.
All three developments, North, South and West, involved problematic situations, with inherent frailties. Debate was needed. But in those days not that much breathing space was allowed for American people to discuss the spirituality of their behavior in a leisurely manner. Fights were breaking out on all sides, involving Indians to the west and Europeans to the east, and Barbary Pirates. Therefore, the three regional developments accepted risks and developed responses without much thought beyond survival, as the United States staggered through a precarious period when even the White House was burned, and the United States faced, with a Navy of only six big ships, a British Empire with six hundred.
Those odds have always astounded me. How was it the United States wasn’t crushed? The odds were a hundred to one.
The answer seems to have been that the ordinary risk-taking nature of American seaports produced sleek, swift merchant ships which, with a few added cannon, became “privateers”. Privateers are basically pirates with a license for piracy given by a government. American privateers gave the six-hundred-ship British navy fits. In my view privateers saved the United States from being reabsorbed, as a mere formerly-rebellious colony, back into the British empire.
Not that piracy is spiritual, or anything a society ought to encourage. But in a warring world full of risk, it was a necessary evil. And one redeeming element of America’s piracy is that its pirates desisted from piracy the moment the war ended. (The same cannot be said of other privateers in other places, for when their governments revoked their licenses to steal, they were too addicted to theft to stop.) (See John Ward, [who inspired the Disney pirate “Jack Swallow” in “Pirates of the Carribean”].)
As a child of the North, I was brought up to understand the North had little to gain from the War of 1812 and was reluctant to face the ruination of its trade. The main gripe of the North was that its sailors were impressed by the English navy to crew its six hundred ships to fight Napoleon, but Napolean had done the same thing to crew his French ships, and war with France had been avoided by Jefferson. Negotiation was preferable with the French, (especially when the Louisiana Purchase was thrown into the bargain,) and therefore it seemed negotiation should be preferable with the British. It was the South and West that blustered most loudly against the British and dragged the nation into a war that ruined the economy of the North. By 1814 there was even talk of the North quitting the United States, but in the end the North remained loyal to the Union and fought the British to a draw at sea. The British blockades were eluded by swift American privateers who brought home loot seized from British ships bound for Canada, (and often the ships themselves,) and these swashbuckling privateers even made it unsafe for traders to sail from port to port on the coast of England. At that point sane economic policy in England made it seem wiser to avoid risk and to call the stupid war off. The war was, if not won, most definitely not lost, and the United States had defended its right to exist among nations, when the peace treaty was signed.
News traveled slowly, and it was after peace had been officially declared (but not ratified) that the South and West fought a battle which may have had no significance in terms of written treaties, but had huge significance in gray areas outside of treaties.
Because Napolean had been defeated, the treaties he had made while in power were to some degree vetoed, and this included the Lousiana Purchase. Napolean had won this vast area from Spain and then sold it to the United States. There was some thought among thinkers in Ivory Towers that this land should be returned to Spain. Of course, such thinking was countered by realities on the ground, and the reality was that the United States occupied New Orleans, but England had sent 8000 of its best soldiers to retake it. An English occupation would basically create a situation where it would be hard for the United States to prove its claim that it “owned” the Louisiana Purchase. New Orleans itself was in a panic, for the soldiers advancing on their city were the same men who had defeated Napolean, and the city only had roughly 1000 official soldiers to defend it, and these soldiers knew little of fighting as Europeans fought.
It turned out to be a good thing they didn’t fight as Europeans fought, though it made a mess of the calculations made in Ivory Towers.
What happened was a thing called a “militia” appeared, coming down the Mississippi by the thousands, from as far away as Kentucky. Also nearly 500 freed slaves, as well as fierce warriors from Native American tribes, swelled the ranks. There were even some Cajun-French pirates from the delta rushing in. Soon the English were facing a substantial army, led by a very hard-nosed commander, Andrew Jackson. The British were demoralized by the fierceness of the resistance, as they had been led to believe the attack would be a cakewalk.
It might have actually been a cakewalk, as the British came precariously close to penetrating the American lines in the skirmishes leading up to the battle, but they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by safely retreating from those skirmishes. Then, in the actual battle, the British suffered a terrible trouncing. Facts and figures vary, but British casualties were around two thousand, while the Americans lost nineteen dead.
This seems so much like American propaganda that even as a schoolboy I scratched my head and wondered if it was true. Such staggered odds demanded an explanation. The explanation is that the European battlefield tactics were basically neutered by the American defenses.
The Europeans relied on a barrage of bullets delivered by Brown Bess muskets, which was followed, if necessary, by a charge with fixed bayonets, but the Americans had erected breastworks, in some places made of bales of cotton, behind a canal they had deepened, and this kept the American’s safe from both a barrage of bullets and a bayonet charge. In actual fact the British milled about awaiting their lousy logistics to catch up to the troops with ladders to cross the canals with, as the American artillery lobbed grapeshot into their ranks. (Grapeshot was horrible stuff, because it threw shrapnel, including lengths of chain, when it landed and exploded.) The British were suffering terribly even before the battle officially began. Then, when they finally drew close enough to the Americans to actually shoot at them, the Americans, who had been waiting, got their barrage off first, and it was far more effective than Napolean ever managed against the same troops.
Why? This is actually a footnote, for only around five minutes of the actual battle involved soldiers actually shooting at each other, but a British sergeant noted that an amazing number of his men fell with bullet holes in the center of their foreheads. Americans did not merely shoot “towards” the foe, in the European manner. Americans actually aimed their guns, because the American militia included marksmen from the frontier who had to hit a squirrel, if they shot at it. This was no big deal in the American west, but to the British sergeant it was astounding to see a single barrage mow down so many of his men.
In any case, in barely more than a half hour the history of North America was utterly changed, for the English understood winning New Orleans was not a cakewalk. They headed back to their ships and sailed off to safer ports in the Caribbean. This meant the Western border of the United States did not halt at the Mississippi, and that the Sioux were not ruled by England or Spain. The Louisiana Purchase, for better or worse, was America’s problem.
What were the problems? The problems were, if you are sitting in an Ivory Tower as safe as can be, fairly obvious: IE: If you truly believe all men are created equal, you should not buy farmhands from Africa as the South did, nor should you believe you have more right to lands than Indians do, as the West did. However, if you live in an Ivory Tower, and believe all men are created equal, you should believe all men deserve Ivory Towers. All men deserve tenure, even if their ideas are stupid. Fishermen deserve codfish, even if they sail smack dab into a reef. Farmers deserve bountiful crops even if they sow in September. Right? No, wrong, and in the cutthroat reality of the time people did not live in an Ivory Tower. They lived a tough reality where existence, even the existence of the United States itself, was day to day.
Just consider this factoid: At that time a man could work all day and be paid ten cents. At the same time a strong, young African slave cost $2000.00. Therefore, if you were an employer who needed some strong man to do a risky job, (for example, dig a New Orleans canal where the mucky walls might collapse and drown the diggers in ooze), who would you rather risk? Your slave who cost $2000.00? Or some immigrant who cost ten cents? Obviously, you would not expose your slave to such risks, but would expose the immigrant. Take this one step further and you can argue the slave-holder-south treated enslaved-workers better than the anti-slavery-north treated its freedmen. But that assumes Freedom of Speech allows such topics to be discussed. During the desperation of those times there was little time to sit in Ivory Towers and hold such discussions.
Yet I believe there was some spiritual ideal whispering in the ears of Americans at that time, despite all the chaos people were amidst. Not that they could not be savage in battle, but within the risk-taking they took, they risked being idealistic. This idealism’s hard to describe, but it is very different from what is described by Critical Race Theory, which denies the idealism.
It is quite easy to sit in an Ivory Tower, taking no risks, and sneer at the risk-taking of others. But those who stay safe on shore eating sardines should not sneer at those at sea netting the herring. Those who currently desire seafront cottages cannot imagine a world where entire coastal communities were abandoned, because Barbary Pirates might swoop in to grab people to sell to the Ottoman Empire as slaves. Estimates of how many Europeans were enslaved by the Barbary Pirates can surpass a million, and this factoid is a handy tool when debating Critical Race Theory. Just mention that in the year 1619 there were far more white people enslaved in Africa than there were Africans enslaved in Europe. But that is assuming people who dislike debate would dare debate.
Don’t get me wrong. I believe all men are created equal and am dead set against slavery of any and all sorts. I have a high (and some would say naive) idealism which envisions bosses caring for employees who care for bosses. But I have worked for some tough bosses and have a hard-nosed acceptance of how brutal making a dollar can be. There is a tension between reality and idealism verging upon hypocrisy, involving the clash between security and risk. This friction is necessary for traction necessary for progress, but it needs to be exposed and talked about, It should be discussed and debated. There needs to be lyceums, and censorship is a bad thing.
One theme which appears in truthful debate is that to make an endeavor successful one wants to pay as little as possible while charging as much as the market will bear. A boss would actually prefer having devotees to having employees, because devotees are cheaper. A boss would also like to have customers dependent on him, and have competition banned, (and, if at all possible, to have his product be addictive). However, such selfishness would likely be bad for society as a whole. How so? Well, an honest debate would bring up historical examples of times bosses got what they wanted, and what became of the societies they ruled. Some came to a bad end. The Terror in France was an example much discussed in the lyceums during the childhood of my nation. But there were other dangers to avoid, amidst all the risk-taking.
Critical Race Theory seems to be based on the idea that people of that time sat around in Ivory Towers like modern Critical Race professors do, planning how to be exploitive. In actual fact society was reeling from calamity to calamity, fighting for its very existence, and what is amazing is not that they were in some ways savage, but that they so often were noble savages. You may say there was merely honor among thieves, but there was definite decency even among the pirates. In fact, “honor” was a very big word back then, even among slaveholders, even among factory owners who employed little children, even among those who stole Indian’s land, and, if you offended a gentleman, you might be challenged to a duel. (I suppose a pistol was the Cancel Culture of that time.) The point that I am driving is that despite all the brutality of that time, idealism persisted. Likely it was what saved my homeland from extinction when it was young, though Karma could be a bitch: (The very people who built mansions on the land grabbed from Cherokee in 1835 saw Sherman’s troops burn down those mansions, only thirty years later…….so there is no need for restitution now, when Karma has already been so vicious.)
Idealism seemed to manifest, even as the burned White House smoldered, with the appearance of three gifted individuals who personified the South, the North and the West, and who for four decades glorified Congress with the brilliance of Free Speech. They represented very different parts of the growing nation, and agreed about very little, except the value of Free Speech (and perhaps, for a time, about the fact President Andrew Jackson needed to be restrained.)
(Judging from their faces, I wouldn’t pick a fight with them, even regarding something as nonconsequential as Arctic Sea Ice.)
These three men, Calhoun, Webster and Clay, began representing the South, North, and Frontier at a time that the experiment called the United States was less than forty years old. The concept of Freedom of Speech and “lyceums” achieved a high point as they debated, usually disagreeing. Hushed crowds swarmed the galleries of Congress just to listen to them. They debated from the War of 1812 to their final compromise in 1850, which they hoped would prevent the nation from fracturing into Civil War. If truth be known, they prevented the Civil War, but only for a decade, by which point they were long gone, as all three perished by the end of 1852, before that national catastrophe occurred.
Their departure left a void none stepped forward to fill. People seemingly became afraid. The nation walked on eggs, and leaders adopted a go-along-to-get-along policy of refusing to deal with the issues, (Northern, Western and Southern), that loomed, blacker and taller, like approaching thunder. America elected weak, go-along-to-get-along presidents who quailed from leading, from grabbing the bull by the horns, preferring men who petted the hamster of the status quo. As Freedom of Speech withered due to gutless politicians, censorship entered government, and it was actually forbidden at that time to bring up the subject of slavery (or its abolition) in the halls of congress, because it was too contentious. They feared they might start a war. They may have caused it.
How so? Because, as a child of New England, I know how badly the war of 1812 hurt my ancestors, and how close the North came to seceding from the union at that time. However Freedom of Speech and fiece debate (and God’s grace) preserved the union in 1815, and the North did not have to fight the South at that time. In like manner, if people had the balls to actually talk, and penetrate the clouds of selfishness to the illuminated facts of how-to-treat-employees, a series of step-by-step compromises might have been arrived at between the Missouri Compromise and the national meltdown in 1860. (I confess my idealism, but nearly anything seems better than the fate the nation actually chose.)
It is interesting to study this period of history because we are in strangely similar shoes, with our nation again heading towards an apparent catastrophe, and people again rendered mute by Cancel Culture and by the sheer ugliness of the discussions which do occur, when debate is allowed.
One thing apparent, looking back to the past catastrophe, is that people were given time to face their problems, between the Missouri Compromise of 1850 and the outbreak of war in 1860, but they frittered away that time in a strange state of paralysis wherein no one wanted to rock the boat. They were years “eaten by locusts.” People clung to the security of the status quo even as the risks involved ripened like an abscess swelling with pus. Each area, the North, the South, and the Frontier, was on some level aware their successes involved exploitations which eventually would have to be paid for, through some sort of reform, but… But reform is like a New Year’s Resolution, easy to speak of in an Ivory Tower, but hard to bring into the harsh daylight of January Second. It was easy for the North to say the South should renounce slavery, and it was easy for the South to say the North should renounce child labor and sweatshops, and it was easy for people with property to say homeless settlers shouldn’t settle. Morality is easy from afar.
However, when some outsider came in and told people to give up their way of making a good living, people tended to become as angry as the original natives were, when settlers came in and told them to give up their way of making a good living. It was not enough to merely have a vote, for the settlers outnumbered natives and could outvote the natives, and the Northerners could outnumber and could outvote the Southerners.
Had the Northerners been outvoted, (perhaps with an allied combination of Southerners, Settlers and Native Tribes), and had outsiders told the Northern factories they had to shut down because child labor and sweat shops were immoral, it would have been the Northern states which would have talked about “nullification”.
“Nullification” was the idea that no outsider (IE: The Federal Government) should be able to cancel the “States Rights” of local people. However, because the Northern states were not the minority and could outvote the south, it was the South that brought up the idea of “nullification”, which, in a sense, every single Native American tribe agreed with. Indeed, the issues involved in “nullification” were deeply discussed and debated while Calhoun, Webster, and Clay were alive. Upon their demise, a silence descended, and the abscess swelled until it erupted as war.
My homeland’s first Civil War was terrible. More Americans died in it than in all other wars the United States has been involved in combined. 620,000 soldiers died in a nation with a population of 31 million. In modern terms, it would be as if we had a war where seven million men died. (And, because modern war involves women and children, the numbers would be far higher.)
No American escaped unscathed. A few profiteered, but it was at a terrible cost. Intellectuals in Ivory Towers can speak of the high-sounding “principles” involved, (such as the preservation of a union and of liberty for all), but that involves a complete blindness to the actual slaughter, mayhem and heartache of war. Every small town in New England, far from the battlefields, contains a monument to young men who never “came marching home again”, and who are buried far away. And why? Because Freedom of Speech failed, and “Shut the f— up” won.
Now we are facing a second catastrophe, involving subjects such as how we should heat our homes, whether fossil fuels are bad, whether we should eat meat or not, whether we should have old fashioned families and marriages or be freed from such disciplines, and similar debates about similar constraints, and people have no idea of the danger they face when they abandon civil procedure and resort to “shut the f— up”.
Particularly repulsive is the strategy of simply talking-over the person you are debating with, which seems to inevitably force the person being talked-over to reply in kind, and to talk-over the talk-overer. (sic). I never thought I’d see the day when an interview of a point-counterpoint nature would devolve into two people simultaneously talking as loudly and as rapidly as possible, yet now it has become painfully common on news broadcasts. It solves nothing.
Such behavior is not civil. It is incivility. It is an abandonment of the idea we all are created equal, because it dismisses the idea the opinions of others have value.
(It is absurd to make this point, but I’ll make it because some novice might need it.) The opinions of others have value because others are positioned differently, and they have views we are not privy to. For example, if the lights went out in a dark cave, and we had to find our way out, and only one person was positioned where he could see a glimmer of daylight in the distance, that lone person would be the minority whom the majority should heed. Conclusion? Love your neighbor. Listen to the minority.
Unfortunately, dictators always assume that they themselves are that one person in the cave who sees the daylight no other can see, and that this justifies their ignoring the views of everyone else. This may indeed be true, for a short while in a cave, but do we want to live forever in a cave? Eventually we emerge into daylight, and at that point the dictator should be humble and revalue the views of others.
But what is the solution?
The solution, as always, is Truth, and the golden Liberty to seek Truth with Free Speech. The concept of propaganda needs to be repudiated in all its guises. The idea that any good can come from intentional falsehood needs to be soundly rebuked. Those who lie for a living need to be made ashamed. “Fake News” must be abolished, not by censorship, but by a rising-up of masses who are utterly sick of it.
On our smallest coin it states, “In God We Trust.” And what is God, but Truth? Truth should be what we honor, even to a degree where dishonest advertisements are altered towards honesty, and even to a degree where politicians avoid hyperbole. This should be done because we are witnessing the alternative, and it is utterly repulsive.
Why is it repulsive? Because it is in some ways itching to start a Second Civil War. The erection of razor wire around the Capital shows how certain some individuals were that Second Civil War was upon us. The exaggeration which described an extremely peaceful post-election protest as an “insurrection” once again shows that some feel so guilty that they expect the backlash of war. Much to their amazement, (and I admit also my own), the public refused and refuses to act as the paranoid expect. Apparently, the public prefers peace to a Second Civil War.
I find this very inspiring and beautiful. It seems to indicate the uneducated public, which largely knows little of the history I’ve taken pains to share with you (in a Reader’s Digest way), nor which cares a whit about sea-ice (which I’ve taken pains to describe in past posts), has an ability, free of all intellectual garbage, to recognize crap is crap, and to prefer Truth.
I sometimes think there are other, contrary people who do desire the death of millions in a Second Civil War, because they live in an Ivory Tower so detached from reality that they can believe the death of billions would be a good thing, as they believe the current population of earth is too many. What gives them such authority I cannot say.
Obviously, they don’t believe, as I believe, “the more the merrier.” They see no value in others. They think countless throbbing hearts are just an excess the world would be better off without. They speak of risk with an icy detachment born of their Ivory Tower’s divorce from what risk actually entails, and they like to smugly say things such as, “You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.”
Actually, that saying is French and had to do with making pancakes, not revolutions. It apparently first entered the English language (in its revolutionary sense) via François de Charette in 1786, and he was a Royalist talking back to revolutionaries when the French revolution was merely murmurs in the wings, as France faced financial ruin and its king considered calling an Estates General. (1788) When Charette spoke of “breaking a few eggs” he did not dream of what The Terror unleashed. (1793)
People in Ivory Towers always seem to take being respected for granted. They are aghast when one of the first things dismantled by revolution is Ivory Towers. How surprised the leftist college professors of China were when Mao sent the Red Guard marching into their classrooms, and nearly every teacher China had was sent off to be “reeducated” in the rice paddies. Likewise, the intellectuals of Cambodia were shocked when Pol Pot decreed literacy was “counterrevolutionary”, and consequently having a writer’s callus on your middle finger became a crime that carried a death sentence. But, until the storm breaks upon them, inhabitants of Ivory Towers feel wonderfully immune, and think, “It can’t happen here.”
There is something downright flippant about the heartlessness of people who deem the death of millions “a statistic”. Considering how horrible such concepts are, you might expect an equal and opposite backlash. Some Elitists in Washington DC apparently did, erecting the aforementioned razor wire after a questionable election. They apparently expected a Second Civil War, and perhaps even the death of millions. But the American public refused to be so stupid.
How did the American public remain calm and sane? I don’t know. They just did it. Whatever the opposite of stupid is, that was what they were, and I think their sanity has made a mess of the plans of some who thought the public was boorish and predictable. All attempts to control the public like sheep went astray, because people are not sheep. Powerful people discovered they are not the only power, and that apparently some other Power is in control.
What Power might this be? Truth. It stands on Its own, and no amount of propaganda can alter It. The powerful fear It, and can attempt to quell It with things such as a “Disinformation Governance Board”, but such efforts are like shouting at the wind. Truth cannot help but be true, and facing this almighty Truth is part of the “risk” we need to face if we are to achieve “security.”
And with that I return with a thump to the truth about sea-ice.
I’ll begin by discussing the increase in sea-ice volume, which has been impressive. Here is a chart from my Post of sixteen months ago, showing that at the start of 2021 the sea-ice volume was at the very bottom of recent years, at roughly 17,000 cubic kilometers on January 1.
Now compare that with the same chart from this year, which shows that….hey! Wait a cotton-picking minute! What did they do to the 2021 figures? Rather than showing 2021 began with a volume of 17 cubic kilometers they are now showing it as 14.8! (Turquoise line.)
Now how do you suppose they misplaced 2.2 thousand square kilometers of sea-ice like that? Even a single square kilometer is no small thing, and nothing you’d ever be likely to see slip away behind your living room couch cushions. Yet the Danish meteorological service managed to lose 2,200 of them? Amazing.
The “adjustment” obviously came after the fact, because, if the volume had been reported at 14.8 thousand km3 in January of 2021, you can bet there would have been a wild uproar among Alarmists, as it would have verified their dire predictions that sea-ice was dwindling away. As it was, even at 17.0 thousand km3 the total was close enough to “lowest ever” to generate some interest among Alarmists, but, as the year progressed, interest faded, for the 2021 volume climbed with remarkable rapidity, rising through the ranks until it was above all recent years and even approaching the gray line which represents the mean, and then, just before that 2021 volume became “above normal” for the first time in a long time, the “adjustment” was mysteriously made, and 2.2 thousand km3 of sea-ice mysteriously vanished, not merely at that time (which might have produced a suspicious down-jag on the graph) but including the past as well.
I have never heard any explanation of how this “adjustment” came to pass. Perhaps there is an explanation based on some error made in the observations, starting back in 2019. But the real explanation may sadly be that having sea-ice be “above normal” simply didn’t fit the political narrative. Then maybe, just maybe, the scientists at DMI faced an angry bureaucrat who stormed in and demanded they “fix” their graph. I know such a response sounds absurd (to some), but such things can happen when socialism goes awry.
When I was a boy, my father was a surgeon at the Massachusetts General Hospital, which at that time led the world in terms of many medical advancements. The hospital freely shared its advancements with doctors from other lands, even (because science was supposedly above politics) with our political foes behind the Iron Curtain. Due to this generous policy a doctor from communist Poland visited at some point, and one evening he came to our house in the suburbs for dinner. After dinner he sipped an Old Fashioned or three with my father in our comfortable Library. He mentioned he found America’s generosity and openness remarkable, and said he was not able to be so open in Poland.
Because my Dad had a insatiable curiosity, which at times approached rudeness, and because the Polish doctor had been plied with liquor, the Polish doctor eventually did open up and did confess what it was like to be a scientist in a nation where the bureaucrats held the power in hospitals.
He said the bureaucrats would bully and bluster about the most absurd and unscientific things, and he had to simply nod and smile. For example, he should not call a red corpuscle “diseased” because that made red, the color of communism, look bad, and therefore he must change the wording of his report and state the red corpuscle was exposed to “counterrevolutionary factors”. And that was on the better days, when the bureaucrats were at least making a pathetic attempt to look like reason prompted them; on the worst days they were just throwing their weight around.
At times the poor Polish doctor found it very hard to smile and nod. He felt like either bursting into crazed laughter, or else strangling the bureaucrat on the spot, but, for his wife and children’s sake, and for the preservation of his job and life, he smiled and nodded, and looked up towards a cleft in the molding which ran about the edge of the ceiling in his office. Unbeknownst to the bureaucrat, the doctor had placed a tiny crucifix up there, and it calmed him to think Christ was looking down at him, and also down at the bureaucrat, as he suffered.
As he heard this tale my Dad looked baffled. It made no sense to him. How could people who knew nothing about medicine walk into hospitals and boss doctors around? The Polish doctor looked at him and smiled a gentle smile, and simply said that’s how it was in Poland: The communists ruled, and you had better obey, or else.
It sad to think of the same dynamic appearing in the Danish Meteorological Institute, and of science being vetoed by politics. Science always gets the short end of the stick, in such situations. In fact, science can even cease to be science, as was the case in Russia with Lysenko.
Of course, just because you disappear 2,200 km3 of sea-ice on a graph, it doesn’t disappear in reality, in the Arctic Ocean. Or…well…perhaps a few square inches are melted by the heated balderdash of political hot air…but satellite views didn’t show the abrupt disappearance of 2,200 km3. Nor did the NRL (Naval Research Lab) thickness map. There did seem to be a thinning of sea-ice in the modeled DMI map, on the Russian side of the Pole, which would make sense, for if your model disappears so much ice the tweaking of data should also appear in the model’s thickness maps. However, the steady growth of the sea-ice’s volume couldn’t be entirely denied, and continued, and a comparison with the 2021 line with the 2022 line shows a current increase of what appears to be more than the 2,200 km3 that was subtracted, (which suggests the bureaucrats might have to again beat down the data).
This divergence between what it politically correct and what is scientifically correct is bound to lead to embarrassments. Increased volume of sea-ice may not be politically correct, but, should the Danish fishing fleet run into some of that thicker sea-ice, survival is at stake, and reality throws political correctness right out the window. Should calamity ensue, then there is a mad scramble among bureaucrats to find a scapegoat, and sadly they all too often do not face the Truth and blame themselves, but rather find some poor professor or scientist to serve as their scapegoat.
This only makes the divergence worse, and the calamities worse, until it becomes impossible to avoid the facts. (For example, though Lysenko’s bizarre genetics were politically correct, and pleased Stalin, Russia’s wheat crops suffered, and people went hungry. This was embarrassing because the United States held genetic theories which were shamefully incorrect, in Russia’s view, but America produced bumper crops. Eventually pragmatic bureaucrats in Russia decided they’d like to have bumper crops too, and suddenly Lysenko slipped from favor.)
One of the oddest aspects of the divergence between political correctness and scientific correctness is how the politically correct insist they are avoiding calamity when they cause it. After all, the very label “Alarmist” indicates people are alarmed about a catastrophe they imagine they foresee and seek to avoid. However, their way of avoiding the catastrophe is to often to leap to a conclusion, and then ban all further discussion.
The sort of erroneous conclusions one can leap to can be found in Paul Ehrlich’s book “The Population Bomb”, which was a best-seller in 1970, when I was a senior in high school, and which influenced the way many of my generation thought. It contained the idea that the planet’s resources were limited, and once the world’s population passed three billion there would not be enough food (and other resources) to go around. He predicted terrible famines. He most definitely did not predict that a major problem, as the world’s population passed seven billion, would be obesity.
Ehrlich’s attitudes are basically Malthusian, and doubt the ability man has to solve problems, when man simply faces the Truth and studies Truth. In a sense it belittles Truth and mocks all who get down on their knees before Truth, seeking an answer, and indeed such pessimism is automatically a sort of Atheism even if you attend Mass. It assumes Creation is cruel, and Truth is cruel, and there are no answers. However, the Truth is benevolent and does supply humble seekers with answers, which people tend to call “ingenuity”.
For example, thousands of years ago it was seeming like the Bronze Age was going to have to end, because in order to harden copper and create bronze you needed to add tin, but the tin mines were running out of tin. According to Mathus and Ehrlich, progress had reached a high point and the only course of action was retreat. However, some scientist back then went forward, not backward, and an entirely new metallurgy, a new process of turning iron ore into iron, began, and stunned the status quo and began the Iron Age. IE: “Ingenuity” manifested.
There is an interesting incident in the Bible from around this time, where the Jews had gotten lazy and forgotten to pursue the Truth, while the Philistines, in a less devout way, had pursued the Truth. The result was that the Hebrews got their butts kicked in battle after battle. The deciding factor seemed to be that the Israelites had swords of soft metal while the Philistines fought with new-fangled iron. (I imagine it can be discouraging in a swordfight to have your foe cut your sword’s end off, as if you fought with a stalk of celery.) But what gave the Philistines this advantage? Was it not because they had pursued Truth, albeit secular and scientific Truth, with a zeal that brought them into the Iron Age whilst that lazy generation of Jews dawdled back in the Bronze Age? (Spoiler Alert: After getting their butts kicked clear up into the hills, the Jews got down on their knees and apologized to Truth for skipping church for…um…well… decades, and Truth then enabled them (in a way I can’t explain in a secular, scientific manner), to create a “thundering sound” which so demoralized the Philistines that they turned tail and ran clear back to the sea, when the Israelites came charging down from the hills.)
To me it seems history shows us adversity is not a problem which cannot be solved, and in fact Truth enables us to overcome adversity. It is therefore wrong to see adversity as an iron-clad fact which cannot be opposed. It is not wrong to see adversity, and to face adversity, nor is it wrong to be alarmed about adversity, but it is wrong to call adversity almighty.
In like manner, when Ehrlich wrote “The Population Bomb” he gloomily foresaw the world running out of farmland. He could see only famine lay ahead. He didn’t foresee the ingenuity of “Green Revolution” scientists, such as Norman Borlaug. Simply by developing a semi-dwarf, high-yield, disease-resistant variety of wheat, it is estimated Norman Borlaug saved a billion people from starvation.
It is interesting to compare the two men. In “The Population Bomb” Ehrlich proposed castrating the men of India and Pakistan, to lower populations. Meanwhile Borlaug enabled the men of India and Pakistan to double their wheat production. Basically, it is the difference between a can’t-do and a can-do attitude.
I assert Truth is a can-do reality. If you don’t repress Free Speech, and embrace civil debate, answers can always be found to impossible-seeming problems.
For example, once upon a time lamps were lit by whale oil, but the supply of whales was running low. What to do? Return to smokey, tallow candles made of lamb’s fat? Or dig wells and look for what made the dirt of Pennsylvania so oily? Or, for another example, when I was a teenager Ehrlich stated it was a scientific fact we would reach “peak oil” by 1980. What to do? Return to “sustainable” wood? (Which is what I did.) Or use ingenuity? (“Fracking” had already been invented, but few dreamed of its potential.) Lastly, as a final example, if we actually did run out of fossil fuels, technology has produced small nuclear reactors for ships, and technology could further this science and create thorium reactors so small (and incapable of meltdowns) that every town and indeed even every neighborhood might have one, which would greatly reduce the need for power lines, as well as the ugly and environmentally-damaging eyesores created by solar and wind “farms.”
After fifty years of doom and gloom it has occurred to me that nothing in Creation is truly “sustainable”, because Creation always changes; Creation is more like a kaleidoscope than like a stagnation. The very concept of “sustainability” is a mentality like treading water; it goes nowhere. “Sustainability” seeks to find a sort of equipoise which avoids the challenges of life; it quails from change and flinches from Free Speech; it clings to tenure, to the status quo of an Ivory Tower, and dislikes the pitching decks and salty spray of “risk”.
It seems to me the only truly sustainable thing seen over the past fifty years has been Ehrlich himself. On the half-century anniversary of Earth Day (Lenin’s Birthday) he still insisted, at age 87, that his forecasts were correct, (only just delayed a little-bitty bit). The Green Revolution was not sustainable, and we still are going to all starve. (And if people insisted upon being too ingenious and resourceful and refused to starve, President Biden would have to step in and legislate the starvation.) (No; that’s sarcasm; Ehrlich didn’t say that.)
Perhaps the saddest part of the divergence between political correctness and scientific correctness is the beauty which is not seen, when Truth is censored. As John Keats concluded 200 years ago:
‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.’
Keats, who himself would die at age 26, was well aware much in life is unsustainable and perishable, but while looking at an artifact two-thousand-years old, a Grecian vase created by a forgotten potter, he glimpsed something lasting. He called it Beauty and Truth.
That beauty is not merely in poetry, which some hard-nosed people call prissy, but also in the cold science of sea-ice. There is much to learn, but political correctness is so defensive, and so protective of its narrative, that anything outside of its preconceptions is seen as a wrench-in-the-works of progressive thought, an obstacle which must be removed.
Therefore, not only must be the increase in the volume of sea-ice be subtracted from volume graphs, but anything other than atmospheric CO2, which adds or subtracts from that volume of sea-ice, must also be denied attention. This includes some very cool stuff. For example, it includes amazing volcanoes two miles down on the Gakkel Ridge, on the floor of the Arctic Sea.
These volcanoes are fascinating because they are able to explosively erupt, leaving large craters, (including one of the largest super-volcano craters on earth), down so deep in the ocean that pressures are extreme. Indeed pressures are so extreme two miles down that CO2 exists in a liquid form, and the boiling point of water is increased by 350 degrees Celsius. There was some debate as to whether lava could do more than ooze from fissures, under such extreme pressure, for it seemed difficult to generate the gasses needed for explosive eruptions, but the curiosity of scientists in 1999, concerning a swarm of earthquakes in the Gakkel Ridge area, led to research which ended that particular debate around 2007.
Modern, submersible vessels were able to descend to great depth and investigate the area of 1999 earthquakes, and they discovered shards of pyroclastic deposits spread out over nearly four square miles. For an eruption to spread fragments, when the fragments must travel through dense water and not thin air, filled the scientists with awe. Various theories about the gases involved in such a blast were proposed, and one scientist (WHOI geophysicist Rob Reves-Sohn, chief scientist of the 2007 expedition) ventured, “This means that a tremendous blast of carbon dioxide was released into the water column during the explosive eruption.”
And then? And then, in my imagination, a bureaucrat came rushing into the room shaking his finger and scolding, “You are spoiling the narrative! Don’t go there!” I imagine this because, after a flurry of articles in 2008, a dead silence fell. Why? Well, I suppose it can be imagined that the volcanoes would be a sort of wrench-in-the-works, because they both created CO2 in a way that did not involve fossil fuels, but also melted sea-ice in a manner that did not involve fossil fuels. So, we were left with a nearly forgotten map of three undersea volcanoes named Odin, Thor and Loke, and a dearth of follow-up research.
The lack of follow-up was noticable to me because my curiosity had been piqued by the original event, and the flurry of debate it sponsored. For example, here is a blog-posting from 2008 where a gentleman states a volcano the size of Mount Saint Helens would only melt 300 km3 of ice, and make little difference to the big picture:
Back in those good, old days there were of course many counter arguments, and Free Speech sponsored lots of healthy debate which included observations and insights which intrigued me. I was alerted to other earthquake swarms in the area, and occasional holes that appeared in the sea-ice over Gakkel Ridge for a day or two, over the ensuing fourteen years, but there was never any further follow-up by the scientific community. Discussion only occurred in the comments-sections of websites, and the websites which encouraged such exchanges tended to suffer from shadow-banning and fade towards obscurity. However, the arctic does what the arctic will do regardless of censorship, and last summer a hole appeared over Gammel Ridge and lasted a lot longer than a few days. It lasted weeks, and didn’t move as the ice moved, but rather seemed to be bored, as if from a laser beam of heat, from somewhere beneath
This phenomenon was particularly interesting to me because it didn’t facilitate a decrease in the volume of the sea-ice, but rather seemed to be conjunct with an increase. This forced me to put my thinking-cap on.
One hypothesis I arrived at was that such an upwelling of water would completely derange the currents of that area. This is especially true when you consider it is an area where water ordinarily is cooling and sinking. Because the water sinks it must be replaced by water moving in from the side, at the surface, and one main supplier of surface water in that area is a northernmost tendril of the Gulf Stream called the WSC (West Spitsbergen Current), which flows north through the east side of Fram Strait. Interestingly, the WSC seemed to lose a lot of its impetus last spring, as the hole appeared above Gakkel Ridge. It only returned to its ordinary flow when the evidence of a warm upwelling faded away. I hypothesized the ordinary themohaline circulation had been deranged by the volcanic upwelling.
Another derangement would involve the freshwater lens, which ordinarily protects the sea-ice from below. This protection is provided because the water, though colder than the water beneath, is more buoyant, partly because fresh water is more buoyant than salt water, and also because, (if the fresh water is truly fresh and not merely brackish), it has a quality which saltwater lacks: Namely, very cold fresh water, close to freezing, adopts the ice-like quality of floating above less-cold water. These two qualities allow the sea-ice to avoid both warmth and salt which otherwise would melt it. However a plume of saltier and slightly warmer brine rising from beneath would hit the bottom of the sea-ice and flatten out like the top of a thunderhead, effective sweeping the protective freshwater-lens from a large area. And indeed, to my eyes, the sea-ice to the south and east of the Gakkel Ridge hole did seem to thin and melt away with unusual abruptness last summer.
So far my ideas seem to only decrease the volume of the sea-ice, but now comes the counter-intuitive ideas, which lead to increased volume.
The simplistic view is that there are two routes sea-ice can take. It can either stay up at the Pole by remaining in the Beaufort Gyre, or exit the Arctic by riding the Transpolar Drift down through Fram Strait.
The above mapping of currents seemed to fit the “narrative” back in 2007, (when there were actual scientists writing the narrative, and, if bureaucrats were involved, they largely stayed in the background). The Transpolar Drift flushed an extraordinary amount of sea-ice south in 2007, setting a modern-time record for low extent (though I would argue a greater flushing led to sea-ice beaching in Ireland in 1817, and whalers reporting waters were open north of Greenland). (There may not be satellite records for 1817 but there are plenty of written records.)
The Beaufort Gyre was said to hold, spiraled-in and mounded-up at its center, something like 10% of the arctic’s freshwater, injected by rivers and creating a vast Freshwater lens to protect the sea-ice. However, to perpetuate the gyre a clockwise high pressure was required above it, and some Alarmists theorized Global Warming would position a low pressure over the area, reversing the spin, and consequently allowing the Freshwater Lens to slosh outwards and perhaps even gush south into the Atlantic, creating theoretical disasters by halting the Gulf Stream, among other things. This was all very interesting stuff, in terms of Freedom of Speech and honest debate, and so everyone chimed in with what we should expect to see, to prove the theory, and what might disprove the theory.
For whatever reason, (not necessarily Global Warming) there did seem to be an increase in gales over high latitudes, and in August of 2012 a monster gale seemed to affirm many Alarmist ideas, for it so churned the sea-ice that it mixed the cold Freshwater Lens in the Beaufort Gyre with warmer and saltier water beneath, resulting in an amazing melt of the sea-ice above, and even less sea-ice in the arctic as a whole in 2012 than in 2007. A new record low extent was set.
At this point things began to go awry, in terms of the Alarmist narrative, because rather than continuing to shrink, sea-ice levels bounded back unexpectedly. Personally, I think it was because the 2012 storm not only wiped out the Beaufort Gyre Freshwater Lens, but it also wiped out the layer of warmer and saltier water under that lens. With that layer of warmer and saltier water erased, when another huge gale formed over the same spot in 2013, the sea-ice was tossed to and fro but hardly melted at all. I personally was astounded. The lack of melting was in some ways as astounding as the increased melting had been the year before.
I think it was at this point, nearly a decade ago, that I first started to see the bureaucrats get impatient with the science. There were some goodly scientists who had a certain bias towards the Alarmist beliefs who had no concept of an Alarmist agenda. They just loved the subject and were as astounded as I was by the amazing variability which Truth was showing us, and who were as eager as I was to debate what the Truth might be showing us. But these scientists became strangely absent in press releases. Increasingly the “authorities” dismissed the really cool and astounding stuff. They preferred to stick to the stuffy subject which was their narrative.
The narrative liked the simplistic Wikipedia presentation of a complex situation.
In actual fact Truth is not so simple. The Russians, (who had far more experience, when it came to the movement of sea-ice, for they had actually built floating bases on the ice for decades before the satellite era), had noticed drifts other than the Transpolar Drift. While usually their bases took the route of Nansen’s Fram, basically from the New Siberian Islands to Fram Strait, occasionally their bases would head straight for Canada, which Russia found uncomfortable and embarrassing, for reasons pertaining to the Cold War. In essence, during those unusual circumstances, the Beaufort Gyre expanded right to the New Siberian Islands, temporarily erasing the Transpolar Drift, and sucked all sea-ice towards Canada. (Here is my simplified map of such an event:)
Of course, sea-ice does not move in a straight (or curved) line like this. The above just shows the sum total of a great deal of erratically shifting sea-ice. I highly recommend the NRL 365-day-animation of sea-ice-thickness, if you want to gain a true idea of how sea-ice pulsates like an ameba, with surges like a heartbeat’s. But the sum total showed a sort of opposite to 2007. Where in 2007 a lot of sea-ice was flushed from the Arctic down into the Atlantic, in 2021 a lot of sea-ice was kept in the arctic, as it was shoved across the Pole towards a collision with sea-ice already in place towards Canada. The net result was that the sea-ice in the Central Arctic thickened and the Volume Graph showed an increase, when compared to prior years.
The question then becomes, could this shift in the movement of sea-ice have anything to do with the derangement of currents caused by the apparent eruption on the Gakkel Ridge?
I confess my bias, which thinks there is some linkage. But I also sorely miss the good old days, when I could confess my bias with people who were as interested as I was (and am), but who were biased differently. They always came armed with insights and observations which added to my knowledge, and often supplied me with links to papers and articles I’d never before read. Just as two eyes possess a depth perception which a myopic cyclops can’t even imagine, I always found the views of others deepened my understanding in a way the shallow cannot concieve.
For a final example, one beauty of those days was that the people handing out the money were apparently convinced Global Warming was established fact and that the scientists they sponsored would only verify what was a foregone conclusion. Many scientists tried very hard to please their patrons and developed a refined and, in some ways, laughable skill at making the final paragraphs of their papers make it sound like what they had discovered verified Global Warming, even when in fact their discoveries were a wrench-in-the-works.
A lot of their work was dangerous and grueling, for it involved working on shifting, grinding sea-ice in the general vicinity of 1500 pound man-eating bears. In the glaring sunlight of summer, they could suffer sunburn and frostbite on the same day, with some snow-blindness thrown in on the side. But, due to the flood of money supplied, they were able to bore holes in the ice and take measurements at various depths under the water and to travel in icebreakers to put in place entire arrays of buoys, all of which gathered wonderful data never before seen by man.
One fabulous amount of work traced the movement of Atlantic water into the Arctic Sea through Fram Strait, and followed it through various branchings, and shifts in depth, all around the Arctic Sea until it exited, on the far side of Fram Strait. This beautiful work was briefly accepted as if currents were riven on stone, but the next summer, to the dismay of some, the hard-working scientists discovered currents wander and meander. In fact maps of such currents may be much like a map of upper air jet streams: As honest and truthful as they may be on a Monday, things may be very different by Friday.
Such variances and subtleties are par for the course for an honest student of Truth, who is accustomed to facing wonder, but for a patron expecting proof of a foregone conclusion such honesty is annoying, and a good reason to invest money elsewhere. (Where there was the money for something like eight buoys-with-cameras bobbing about the Pole in 2012, now there are none.)
At this point it is helpful to look back in history (for the last time, I promice you.)
The ground-level meteorologists had to struggle even to create ground-level maps, back when they first formed into a weather bureau at the time of the Civil War. However even in the 1860’s, when only connected with telegraph, they were well aware a whole world of weather lay above them. They could see what sea-captains saw: That the high clouds moved differently from the low scud. They longed for inventions such as weather balloons, perhaps thinking they might achieve perfection in their forecasts with more data. Rather than perfection they tended to discover greater complexity, and increasing numbers of variables, which either depressed them deeply, or else filled them with wonder. Even the relatively recent adoption of Doppler Radar failed to live up to its promise, for rather than seeing thunderstorms as simple entities which it was easy to track, it reveled complex combinations of updrafts and downdrafts which could allow intense areas of storminess pop up and then swiftly vanish, making forecasting like the game of “whack-a-mole”.
In a sense sea-ice scientists area going through a similar period as upper-air meteorologists went through in the 1860’s, only they are looking down towards the depths rather than up to the firmament. Just as it must have been hard for scientists in the 1860’s to find people to fund research of the upper atmosphere, it is hard for sea-ice scientists to find people who will fund research of the deeps. For example, brilliant scientists like William Gray spent decades attempting to get the government of the United States to research thermohaline circulation, but was stonewalled by politicians like Al Gore, who deemed William Gray a wrench-in-the-works.
I think one thing that has recently made actual research look bad was the simple fact research made models look bad. After all, models are based on the hard facts produced by prior research, and when actual research amends prior research, then the models are based on bunkum. There is no evil intent in this ruination. It simply shows a weakness in the models. After all, if the models are based on Monday’s jet-stream, and are not tweaked to understand the jet-stream will be different by Friday (as atmospheric models actually are) then the model will be doomed to failure.
The fact of the matter is that the makers-of-models should welcome actual research, for it offers them an opportunity to tweak their models and make them better. Sadly, some makers-of-models failed to see things in this manner. They were as eager for funding as actual researchers were, and I fear at times they resented any who made their models look imperfect and threatened their funding, which made them see the Truth gleaned by actual research as a critic and as a threat. Because these computer geeks apparently had more political clout, a situation arose where computer models created by geeks (who had never stepped onto sea-ice in their life) got more funding than the actual researchers (who had). In cases where the computers were gigantic and even more expensive than actual arctic expeditions, the millions spent learned more about computers than about sea-ice.
Perhaps the last hurrah of actual research was the MOSAiC expedition, which parked Northstern in the Sea-ice in September of 2019 to drift roughly the same route Nansen did in the Fram. The leader was full of political savvy, and did a fine job of making the show politically correct, even as his underlings discovered wonder after wonder which were not.
For example, the Northstern in 2019 drifted faster than the Fram did in 1893, and this enabled the leader to announce that this proved Global Warming had made the sea-ice thinner and “more fluid and therefore faster”. I think this definately scored him points in the political circus, (which is too dense to see that, if the Northstern had set sail in September of 2020, it would have realized Nansen’s dream by drifting right across the Pole, but by now might be in serious trouble, jammed in thick ice somewhere north of the Canadian Archipelago.) But I admire the MOSAiC leader for he allowed his scurvy crew to gather all sorts of actual data, much of which was beautiful and wonderful and so unexpected it not only upset the conventions computer models are based upon, but the preconceptions my own ideas are based upon.
Coolest was the appearance of a seal chasing arctic cod in a deep camera’s video, in the dead of winter. It is theoretically impossible for a seal to even be there, for seals need to breath air, and theoretically the sea in January is lidded by thick ice. Of course, it is also was recently theoretically impossible for the cod to be there, as only twenty years ago it was a “scientific fact” that the Arctic Ocean was a sterile and basically lifeless desert, away from its shores. The MOSAiC expedition proved the underside of ice, like the underside of a ship far at sea, attracts all sorts of life, including long festoons of algae, and this under-ice ecology makes the Arctic Sea the richest and most-alive ocean, (away from shorelines), on earth.
Also very cool was their discovery of turbulence in the supposedly calm waters under the sea-ice. This likely wrecked some computer models by wrecking the assumptions of calm plugged into such models. Yet what they saw was so obvious I slapped my own forehead for not seeing it myself, earlier.
The turbulence was based upon the simple fact that nine tenth of an iceberg is underwater, and therefore where a satellite shows a fifty-mile-long pressure ridge, ten feet tall, there must be a fifty-mile-long keel to that pressure ridge, sticking ninety feet down. And when winter gales hit that fifty-mile-long sail sticking up at a perpendicular angle, the area of ice is pushed by that gigantic sail, and the ninety-foot-deep keel of that gigantic ship moves sideways. The keel becomes like the blade of an unimaginably big spoon, stirring the water it moves through. This reality made utter mincemeat of the idea I held, which was that the waters under the ice were quiet and calm, because the ice protected those waters from the wind.
Formerly I imagined the only source for turbulence would involve waters becoming open, or at least open enough to allow the wind to create waves. But this created a problem at times, for a wave on the surface doesn’t stir water below it all that deeply. I noted submarines could avoid the waves of a gale by traveling only a hundred feet below the surface. The energy of waves twenty feet tall diminishes rapidly beneath the churned surface, and the “wavebase”, (which is a point where waves do not even stir the sediment on the sea bottom beneath) is roughly half the distance between two waves.
This caused me troubles in my back-of-an-envelope calculations regarding the 2012 gale, because the sea-ice melt seemed to require more turbulence than waves could generate. This trouble occurred because that melt truly did employ more turbulence than waves could generate, in and of themselves.
What a dope I was. I should have remembered the “keels”, for the submarine skippers I liked to refer to often mentioned keels of surprising size below the largest pressure ridges, and how American and Russian submarines would use such down-thrusting keels to hide behind, when playing Cold War games of hide and seek.
Now it is blindingly obvious such keels, thrusting down sometimes over a hundred feet, are able to stir waters surface waves can’t even touch. This explains a lot about the 2012 gale, especially the early stages where there was still a lot of sea-ice. It was not the waves of open water which so stirred the undersea that the Beaufort Gyre Freshwater Lens was basically destroyed due to being turbulently mixed with warmer and salter water beneath. Rather it was giant “spoons” stirring the sea. Considering the blades of these spoons were at least at a depth of ninety feet, one concludes the agitation was starting there and extending some distance below.
Besides exposing sea-ice to salt and warmth in the 2012 gale, and leading to that summer’s astonishingly swift melt, it also can be seen such “big spoons” would disturb the carefully calculated and painstakingly measured currents under the sea-ice. Nature seemingly has no regard for the hard work of scientists. Scientists can risk the wrath of 1500 pound bears researching and mapping currents in 2011, and with the whim of a single storm all that research is rendered obsolete, and further research is needed.
It also can be seen that when computer models depend on hard data, they can, and in fact must, become unreliable when the hard data gets mushy. This is not a disgrace for either the researchers gathering the hard data, nor the computer modelers utilizing the hard data, for neither has been dishonest. They have merely assumed things were less variable than things are. Corrections are needed and further funding is needed for further research.
In terms of the jet streams of the upper atmosphere, and the research done since the first attempts to map the weather after the Civil War, there have been many advancements, and each advancement involved the abandonment of prior assumptions. This is no disgrace upon the early meteorologists. The upper air maps created in the 1880’s are amazing, when you consider the fact the first weather balloon never set sail until 1892 in France, and the earlier meteorologists had to depend on kites which couldn’t fly when winds were too weak (or too strong) and couldn’t ascend above roughly a mile and a half (3 km). Much was assessed by men with craggy eyebrows simply squinting heavenwards and gauging the speed and movement of the highest cirrus, in the manner of sea-captains and shepherds millennium into the past. Yet there was always the desire to get better data, and somehow the meteorologists eager to learn were always able to scrounge up funding and find patrons.
Apparently, the patrons of yore didn’t mind when new discoveries made shambles of old ideas. Perhaps they were warmed by the glow of being part of a discovery, or perhaps they were more demanding and wanted a better product, a better forecast, and, as imperfect as forecasts always are (and likely always will be), there can be no doubt that (in my lifetime) they are improved.
I am often amazed when the vast learning of decades of research is compressed into a computer model, and that model sees a storm five days in the future I cannot see in the current maps. However, the same computer will over and over create a hurricane in the fifteen-day-maps, and, when that hurricane over and over never appears, it is called a “glitch” of that particular model. It is a “bug” that needs to be worked out, and a reason for further funding. There remains plenty of room for wonder, and for admission of error.
However, for the patron who expected proof of a foregone conclusion, the only wonder felt is a wonder whether he is wasting his money. He doesn’t like “admission of error” nor feel the new data is “cool”, in the manner I do. He only feels it is cool because his approval cools. When he spends his money he expects results, and he does not approve of Truth when it counters what he wants.
How sad. Such a person cannot see Truth is Beauty, and only desires the verification of a preconception. It is particularly pitiful when the preconception was incorrect. Yet some believe what is incorrect is to their advantage, and feel untruthfulness is “politically correct”, and even desire to cancel any who threaten their preconception, even if their preconception is a baseless infatuation. For this reason they threaten scientists who depend on them for funding with an end to funding, demanding those scientists abandon Truth to arrive at the “foregone conclusion”. Even those scientists who secretly believe Truth is cool can understand it is not so cool to say so. They must nod and smile, like the doctor from communist Poland I met in my boyhood.
How am I able to call such discoveries “cool”? I suppose it is because I have a fairly good relationship with Truth. You may say this is only possible because I am not a scientist, and my livelihood isn’t threatened. I beg to differ.
I can call Truth a “wonder” when it counters what I formerly believed, (my “foregone conclusion”), because I have had to see my ideas were wrong over and over in my life. It has always been for the best, though in the short term it could get me fired. For example, I’ve learned bosses do not appreciate truthfulness when you confess you were wrong in your estimation of their integrity. They would prefer you to kiss their ass.
To some degree I must have taken this ability to confess that I’d made a mistake too far, for I managed to offend so many people I wound up sleeping in my car. Few people like being called a mistake. I would have been wiser to call them human, for no mortal is perfect unless they have achieved the level of the Christ, and few will claim they’re Christ, if you corner them. They just don’t like being called a mistake.
Having confessed that mistake I made, I should also confess a pride I felt to be sleeping in my car. You may wonder how I could feel it was “for the best”, but I truly did feel there was no other way to go. Not that I didn’t wrestle with bitterness, but it was a proud bitterness, like the bitterness of Bob Dylen’s song, “Like A Rolling Stone,” which has the strangely sane diatribe:
Ah, princess on the steeple and all the Pretty people they’re all drinkin’, thinkin’ that they Got it made
Exchanging all precious gifts But you’d better take your diamond ring You’d better pawn it, babe
You used to be so amused At Napoleon in rags And the language that he used Go to him now, he calls you You can’t refuse
When you ain’t got nothin’ You got nothin’ to lose You’re invisible now, you got no secrets To conceal
Actually, to comprehend the pride in the bitterness its likely best to hear the then-young man singing.
Of course, Bob Dylan’s honesty made him millions, (which likely exposed him to a whole slew of troubles only he can talk about). For most of us honesty tends to get us fired. We tend to “kiss ass” only up to a certain point, after which job-security can’t outweigh “risk”, and we stand by Truth. We are not honored with millions of dollars, but I do assert we are honored.
Why? Because if we Stand by the Truth, then Truth will stand by us. Not that we achieve some sort of euphoric nirvana, but rather we feel decent. There is a certain well-being involved in decency many wealthy, famous and powerful people know very little about.
I could go (and have gone) on at great length about my life as an artist, and how, despite short-term poverty, standing up for Truth was always for the best. But such digressions involve seeking Truth as an artist, which is a different path from seeking Truth as a scientist. In some ways I think it is easier for an artist to be a dishwasher, after telling a prior boss he will not kiss that boss’s ass. It’s not so easy for a scientist. A scientist needs his microscope in the same way the Polish doctor needed his hospital. Despite the insultingly stupid bureaucrats, they have to kiss ass longer than artists do. If they really love Truth, they suffer more than poets suffer.
Just as doctors, who love the beauty of healing, suffer when some bureaucrat makes healing harder, sea-ice scientists must suffer when some bureaucrat makes study of the variables involved in the growth and melting of sea-ice harder. The study of sea-ice is far behind the study of the upper atmosphere, and in some ways its progress and development is analogous to where the study of the upper atmosphere was when the first weather balloons were launched in 1892. It’s far harder to take soundings downward in the frigid Arctic Sea than upwards among the lovely cumulous of sunny France. But the discoveries are of Truth, and of a beauty that is never-ending.
Who in their right mind would renounce such never-ending beauty for the sallow corruption of politics? Apparently, some do, but it is only because they are ignorant and do not know what they do. They think they gain when they are missing so much that is beautiful.
The Coronavirus hysteria hit even as the Polarstern drifted, and I must admit the MOSAiC expedition did a fine job of remaining scientific under extreme pressure, but since they made it back to their home port I have seen little in the ways of true science from the arctic. Blame the conflict between Russia and Ukraine if you will, but people have greater concerns than sea-ice. (Personally, I am concerned about food prices, and despite my vow to retire from farming, have felt compelled to plant enough potatoes to keep me fed next winter.) With such concerns at the forefront, what does sea-ice matter?
And my answer is? It never mattered, in terms of daily bread. If you look back to my first sea-ice post, you will see it confesses I was avoiding the harsh reality of my life, like a schoolboy looking out the window of an Algebra Class at the beauty of clouds. Back then, in the 1960’s, that now-long-dead teacher clashed the venetian blinds closed and shook her finger at me, warning me if I didn’t attend to Algebra I would wind up as a dishwasher and sleeping in my car. And she was correct. But it was worth it.
To me, sea-ice has never been about money, but rather about beauty. The more I study the Truth involved the more beauty I see. Yet it seems the most amazing thing to me that my admiration of something so divorced from my humdrum life should matter at all to anyone but me. Why should anyone care? It is as if I was a schoolboy gazing out the window at a thunderhead as it billowed in the sky. Why should anyone else care for that cloud?
I suppose people simply like beauty. I’m not the only person who saw better things out the window than on the blackboard, in school. I’m not the only one who watched clouds in wonder. And therefore, a young punk like Bob Dylan can utter a diatribe of brutal honesty, and much to his own astonishment find himself amazingly popular. Why? Because Truth is Beauty, and in his brutal honesty there was something people found beautiful. In like manner, in my early sea-ice posts, back when I was just learning about the subject, my simple honesty abruptly gained me hundreds and sometimes thousands of “views”. But this in turn led to censorship and shadow-banning, so now I’m lucky to get fifty “views.”
It doesn’t matter much to me. I’ve never had a “tip jar” on this site and do not write for money. I write to think deeper and see deeper and, by tracing beauty, to understand beauty better. And I must admit that my study of sea-ice has allowed me to see Truth better. Not only truths about sea-ice but truths about people. I also must say that having a website is superior to writing in a diary, because feedback stimulates thought, and even the most troll-like comments have led me to treasures.
However, the censorship and shadow-banning does make me sad, for obviously some are missing the beauty I see, and the beauty that true scientists see. It forces me to contemplate what gain they imagine they could get from so much loss. It is an oxymoron. How can they gain from loss?
They can’t. And midst the current collapse of decency, which we are all experiencing, I think there may be a sort of final admission we cannot gain from loss. The bully thinks he may gain the respect he desires from bullying, but in the end always learns all he gets is disrespect, when he behaves that way. The rapist thinks he or she will draw closer to the man, woman or child he or she abuses, but ends up far from humanity. The bureaucrat thinks….(oh, who the hell knows what nonsense they think)…but they think those who don’t work should be paid by those who do. It can’t continue. We’ve been given a long rope to hang ourselves with, but even a long rope is too short when the hanging draws nigh.
What has this to do with sea-ice? Very little, and that is what it so interesting about the times we are in. In some ways there is no escape:
When I was younger, to talk about religion or politics was dangerous, but to talk about weather was safe. To talk about the weather at the North Pole was doubly safe by being far away. But little did I know, back when I first posted about using sea-ice as a personal escape in 2013, that I was not going to escape. I could not have chosen less wisely. I chose about the most dangerous topic I could have chosen.
In some ways I wish I had chosen a better escapism: Perhaps the subject of the way frogs sing in the spring, and how their populations fluctuate, and how some springs are louder as populations surge, and then how the music changes as there are variations in which populations are surging, so sometimes the shrill frogs outnumber the low strummers. Maybe that would have only gotten me ten “views”, but at least I would not be shadow banned.
In other ways I’m glad I chose the escapism I chose, despite the furor it involved me with. Why? Because it taught me how much better it is to seek Truth than to obey propaganda. The propaganda in 2022 is the same boring stuff I heard in 2008, “Sea-ice may melt this summer and woe to all of us,” but actual study has taught me so much more.
In actual fact we are infants, and our study of sea-ice is in its infancy. We fans of sea-ice are like atmospheric scientists were in the 1880s, with primitive kites measuring the upper atmosphere. But we are learning. We see more and more. Much is astounding. Much is amazing. Much is stuff we have never seen before.
For example, one way of looking at things sees only a very slow and gradual decent of warm and salty water, after it is pulled to the north. Call this the “slowly-slanting” path. But other ways of looking at things see waters dive more directly, for example when sub-zero brine is created by freezing. And waters may also arise in a “non-slowly-slanting” manner, above volcanoes in Gakkel Ridge. In other words, you must devise a computer model that has both “slowly-slanting” and also “non-slowly-slanting” currents, and the model must allow for the fact such currents are not steady, but turn on and off with seasons, and also abruptly appear due to the whims of volcanoes.
This could verge us on despair, for there are too many variables, and how the heck can one forecast volcanoes? However, another discipline of science is doing exactly this.
Initially I thought such people were whack-jobs, especially when they talked about “solar cycles”. How could anything as gentle as a sunbeam effect anything so gigantic as a Krakatoa? However, because debate was allowed, and Freedom of Speech was allowed, I was alerted to certain correlations. And yes, “correlations are not causations”, but saying, “correlation is not causation”, is no reason to ignore correlations. In fact, it gives one an area to focus upon.
One thing much debated was the effect of the “Quiet Sun”, and one thing noted about past “Quiet Suns” was that they coincided, between 10 and 20 years after their onset, with massive volcanic eruptions. For example, the ice-cores from both Greenland and Antarctica show two layers of volcanic ash, over a decade after the start of the Dalton Minimum. One is associated with the massive Tambora eruption of 1815, but geologists are uncertain where on earth the earlier, equally massive eruption occurred, around 1810. I’ll leave that wonder to the geologists, and instead attend to wondering if the Modern Minimum will have two massive eruptions. It seems a good test of the correlation but leads us to yet more wonder.
More? Yes, for there may have been two massive eruptions already, only they didn’t show their stuff where the news media could see, but two miles down in the sea. One may (or may not) have made waters unexpectedly warm east of New Zeeland in 2020, and the second may have occurred on Gakkel Ridge last spring.
Is there even more? Yes, for the sheer number of wonders steers us to another wonder, which is that, when variables are so numerous, digital computers have a weakness. They can handle “either, or” but have a harder time with the “either, or, or, or, or, or,” of many variables. This may explain why they work so well in the five-day-forecasts, but so poorly in the fifteen-day-forecasts. And this leads us to consider whether we need to invest in analog computers, which are in a way much better with variables. How so?
Well, consider this: The injection systems in our vehicles are of a digital nature, while the old-fashioned carburetors they replaced worked in a more analog manner. We may prefer the exact nature of digital devices, and prefer injection to carburetors, but a carburetor only costs a hundred dollars while an injection system costs thousands. Hmm. One might be tempted to reconsider carburetors, when dealing with “security” and “risk,” while designing a better engine. At the very least it should be debated under the auspice of Freedom of Speech.
Much of this technical stuff is above my head, (especially stuff concerning computers), and I leave such stuff for younger minds to debate. I urge them to do so, even without my attendance, and even if such debate is deemed “politically incorrect” by the internet gangsters. Form a secret underground society which allows Freedom of Speech, for all the reasons I outline in this essay. I strongly believe that, if you do so, the thing called “ingenuity” will manifest. If you seek Truth it does not matter how far apart your fields of study may seem to be: It does not matter if one has walked the sea-ice and another has never left his computer; it does not matter if one studies sea-ice and another studies lava; varied views, when they kneel before Truth, wind up spliced into a beautiful braid, and “ingenuity” manifests.
But such debate requires Freedom of Speech. The only thing worthy of censorship is censorship itself.
This well may be my last sea-ice post, but, if I am bidding adieu, I must offer a final observation of the wonders of the actual ice.
(This is just an example of me sharing an observation I find “cool.” I am not saying I am any sort of authority, but I am a viewer, and while we may not be in a cave and I may not be the only person seeing daylight, I think even trivial views matter. That has a ring to it: “Trivial Views Matter.” (TVM) (Send funds.))
The wonder I’ll share has to do with a quirk in the “extent” graph which occurred at the end of January.
Back around 2005 such quirks were great fun, for back then Skeptic and Alarmists were like cheerleaders rooting their team, and when a graph quirked up like this the Skeptics would cheer wildly, but when it plunged the Skeptics would chew garlic as the Alarmists all went crazy with elation. Everyone was so wet-behind-the-ears back then that the line on the graph was all they attended to, but Freedom of Speech and debate made both Skeptics and Alarmists wiser, as they eventually sought the reason for the quirk.
Yowza! what a storm! Check out the central pressure. It’s below 940 mb, or 27.70 inches of mercury. Few hurricanes or typhoons ever get so low. When they do, (for example the Labor Day hurricane of 1935 dropped at least to 26.34) they have unbelievable power, (the 1935 hurricane blew locomotives off the rails.) It is fortunate the super-storms of the arctic effect so few people, but they do effect sea-ice.
The initial advancement in the intelligence of both Alarmists and Skeptics involved the birth of an awareness that sea-ice “extent” was at times like an accordion. The accordion can stretch out or squeeze shut, but it is the same accordion. “Extent” can rise and fall utilizing the exact same amount of ice. This prompted increased interest in both “area” graphs and “volume” graphs, which are far harder to create and involve guesswork that has difficulties withstanding harsh criticism. However, the advancement continued.
One thing apparent was that when the “accordian” of sea-ice spread out, it created areas of open water (visible even in winter darkness with infrared satellite imaging.) Open water in the dead of win ter initially produced wild cheering from the Alarmist cheerleaders. Further cheering was heard because open water immediately spiked surface temperatures. However, debate followed and both Alarmists and Skeptics learned more and more.
For one thing, the infrared imaging showed the open water nearly instantly froze over. Within hours there was sea-ice thick enough for 1500 pound bears to gingerly walk across, but such ice could not withstand the pressures created when gales shifted winds and the “accordion” squeezed shut. Then rather than a wide area of open water turning into smooth “baby ice” there was a narrow pressure ridge of crushed, mangled and jumbled sea-ice. (In fact the NRL animation shows even the area of thin ice created over Gakkel Ridge last spring became an area of thick, jumbled sea-ice, thiker than other nearby ice, only a few months later.) This awareness produced a wonderful contradiction leading to wonderful debates between Alarmists and Skeptics. Contradiction? Yes, for open water had led to thicker ice.
A final topic for debate was the fact that open water was not always a sign of warmer water, but sometimes a sign of chilling water. In fact, polynyas of open water, when blasted by midwinter cold, disturbed “slowly slanting” currents with downward-moving spikes of brine extracted from the swiftly freezing salt water, creating what some droll person in Antarctica dubbed “brinicles.”
Cool, aye? But the point is that, if there is no sea-bottom to halt the “brinicle”, it jabs straight down as a “non-slowly-slanting” current and makes modelling all the more challenging.
But my point is not that the challenge may make one want to fling their hands up in despair. My point is what fun it was back in the day when Alarmists and Skeptics had the Liberty of Freedom of Speech. Even when on opposing sides of a debate we in a sense were all on the same team, for we were all engrossed in the same Truth. In a sense there was the eagerness of children without the childishness of children. There was an eagerness to see the next discovery, without the childish demand that one get-the-credit for making the discovery. Getting-the-credit was in some ways out of the question, like taking-the-credit for a sunrise.
Of course, such fun had to be paid for, which introduced the topic of funding, which was quite a different matter. It was then people had to adopt attitudes and take credit for sunrises they didn’t create, and wear white lab coats, and make authorative statements about unproven hypotheses with a raised index finger, because some bureaucrat wanted that hypothesis stated as an established fact. In other words, the rot set in.
My point is that, once you abandon the joy of Liberty, it is as if one denies themselves the vast scope of thought which accepts wonder, and for what? For a mere myopia. One becomes like a cart horse wearing blinders, only able to see a narrow lane ahead. Not only does this pinch a person’s horizon down to a dot, but it denies the process that occurs when many views are involved, which results in “ingenuity”, and in solutions to problems which seemed insolvable.
Such a grievous loss is worthy of our grief. It should be nothing anyone desires. Any who see differing views as merely a wrench-in-the-works, worth the harsh treatment of Cancel Culture, needs to be gently reminded what they are in fact losing when they resort to such behavior. (People think differently if they see they lose more than they gain.) Even though the actual wrench-in-the-works of free discourse may be the Cancellers themselves, their view needs to be respected and they need to be gently persuaded to step from greater ignorance to lesser ignorance. For all are ignorant in some way. What matters is how civil we are about it.
Perhaps the best response is to simply defy censorship and form groups of thinkers who understand the joy of free thought, and to have a good time enjoying the Liberty of Freedom of Speech. Onlookers cannot help but notice the aura of light, and be drawn in. Furthermore, Truth benefits those who bow before It and honor It. And if you haven’t seen this for yourself yet, you’ll just have to take my word for it: If you stand by the Truth then Truth will stand by you.
The excuse given for the ruinous energy policies which were adopted by President Biden immediately, within minutes of stepping into the White House, is that Global Warming is an “existential” threat.
Actually, it isn’t.
Those three words I just typed could get me banned from many social platforms.
However, in a good-hearted debate, simply looking at the historical facts we have, I might demonstrate that warmer times have been better than colder times, in human history. In fact, up until around thirty years ago, climatologists spoke of the warmer periods as “optimums.” It is the cold times we need to be most wary of.
UAH data suggests that we have used up the lovely warmth the Pacific gave us with the 2015 El Nino. By April 2021 the temperatures dipped below recent normals, due in part to the chilling effect of a La Nina.
However by this April temperatures had bounced back, and perhaps we needn’t fear coming cold.
Even as I pat my own back for being “fair and balanced” by showing you evidence of warming, as well as evidence of an earlier “big chill”, I have to confess that this bounce-back of temperatures lacks what we used to expect. We used to expect a cold La Nina would bounce back to a warm El Nino, usually by the next year, though sometimes the cold La Nina could persist two years, like this last one did. But, after two years, the current La Nina would certainly fade and melt into the next La Nina. But…has it?
No, it hasn’t. The La Nina is persisting. I’ve never noticed this before, but I won’t use the word “unpresented” because I haven’t studied the past, when it comes to this. However, I will suggest that the bounce-back in the UAH temperature graph lacks support from the Pacific ocean, and “the big chill” could resume.
If this is true, then the smart thing to do would be to gather heating oil, which is exactly what Europe is doing. They are buying up all the available heating oil, as the idiots led by President Biden do what they can to produce less and less. This has already led to a swift increase in the price of such oil. We see this in the spike in the cost of diesel fuel, for such fuel is nearly identical to home heating oil.
Such a spike would be bad enough if it was merely a spike. By next winter elderly people on fixed incomes would find they could not afford to heat their homes. But we could drain their water pipes and invite them into our homes. But President Biden’s insane policies could create a situation even more dire.
The simple fact of the matter is that, while Europe has the brains to hoard home heating oil, President Biden is making no such effort, and when the next winter rolls around we could face a situation almost impossible to comprehend. The United States would be so short on heating oil that oil would have to be rationed. In essence we would have run out, though there would be some clumsy effort on the part of the government to parcel out dribs and drabs to keep some pipes from freezing.
This is incredible, because only sixteen months ago the United States was exporting oil. The destruction of our ability to stay warm has been purposeful, and theoretically “to save the planet.”
This insanity needs to be talked about, but so insane are the insane that they seek to prevent debate. They dislike the very first Amendment to the United State’s Constitution, which allows Free Speech. These very words I type are a threat to them.
It is time to recognize these people are, to put it mildly, off their rockers. You can either get hot under your collar now or sit back and freeze later.