The media, in its never-ending search for hype, has taken to naming winter storms as if they are hurricanes, which I disapprove of. The business of naming storms belongs to the people afflicted. Why not allow the locals to name the storms? I suppose some local names lack the things Madison Avenue deems important (and even requires), but, when old-timers spoke of “The ‘Thirty-eight Hurricane,” all the people who lived through it knew what they were talking about, though back then not even Hurricanes had names. Now even winter storms have names, but not everyone watches TV any more, so if you talk about “Rondell” coming to town, you may get an odd look, if not a “Who the -bleep- is Rondell?”

I don’t even know what the media-name for the last storm was. For me it was Storm-Number-Three, because a fortnight ago the computer models were showing us hit by three snowstorms, and I got a little excited at the prospect. We did get three storms, but they tracked well north of what was predicted, so much of what fell did not need to be shoveled, especially at the coast, which got nothing but rain. But I give the models credit. The storms were three in number.

My name for the third storm would be “The Grinch”, because it did all it could to rob Christmas of all “I’m Dreaming Of A White Christmas” sentimentality. But it couldn’t stop Christmas from coming; it came.

The combination of Storm-Number-Two and Storm-Number-Three produced what the old-timers called a “Freshet”. Basically the first storm draped trees and broke boughs with especially wet, heavy snow, which held the rough equivalent of two inches of water. Then the second storm produced another two and a half inches of water, warmed to fifty-two degrees, which poured down very quickly, melting a lot of the snow as it landed. I think we may have seen two inches of rain in as little as three hours, and it melted roughly seven-eighth of the snow cover. This produced torrents which could not go down storm drains, for they (at first) were clotted with the prior storm’s snow. Suddenly there was a great deal of water with no place to go. Water refuses to stand still and wait its turn, so we suddenly had rushing streams digging gullies in unlikely places, and ponds where we’d never seen ponds, and lots and lots of flooded cellars.

This is not what you need two days before Christmas, when people tend to make the celebration of peace be most hectic. In my case I discovered a waterfall entering the cellar of the building that houses the electrical supply for my Childcare, and also that I’m a generous fool. During the kindly days of summer I’d loaned the sump pump which belongs in that building to a person afflicted by a summer thunderstorm. Then I totally forgot about it. I can’t even remember who I loaned it to.

In any case I went rushing off on a fifteen mile drive to buy a new sump pump. At the hardware store I met old friends, also buying sump pumps, but none of us had time to chat. I made it back to the Childcare in the nick of time, for the water had risen to within an inch of an important electrical junction box. In any case, such frantic activity in the bowls of a cobwebby basement was not in my to-do list for December 23.

I then had an hour off to gobble some delayed breakfast before starting my shift at the Childcare.

As I rushed home I wanted to take a few pictures of an amazing gully the freshet had gouged across my son’s driveway. Rather than rushing through a large culvert under the drive, the freshet had brought an amazing pile of autumn leaves down the hill all at once, effectively plugged the culvert, and then the torrents proceeded to actually rip up pavement digging a new channel. The street and State Highway were covered in sand and cobbles, with some cobbles as big as a grapefruit. The waters were roaring across the street into a poor fellow’s cellar windows. What a mess! What a great picture for this blog!

Much to my disappointment, pictures were impossible. I was too late. The mess was gone, and the water was rushing through the oversized culvert in the correct manner. Between my son’s landscaping equipment and a town road-crew’s backhoe, they had unplugged the masses of leaves and scraped up all the sand and cobbles from the pavement.

There is a story here I want to hear. My son has been telling the Town over and over and over that there would be trouble if they didn’t clean the leaves from the ditch uphill from his driveway, and now the trouble had happened. My eldest son does not suffer fools gladly. (I’ve seen his neck get bright red when a waitress is too slow at a restaurant.) Actually, come to think of it, maybe I don’t want to hear the story. But the job got done. The Town was even laying a patch of hot-top asphalt where his driveway reached the road.

And so we survived the worst the Grinch had to throw at us. By noon the downpours had turned to showers of drenching drizzle or spotted, splatting drops, but the worst was over. The amazing freshet was ebbing. And people got back to their frenetic preparations for Christmas as if nothing had happened.

Of course, everyone had a tale or two to tell, about how the freshet effected them, and of course among the best tale-tellers some knew how to employ certain embellishments of hyperbole, but what struck me most was the nonchalance. Between Storm Number Two and Storm Number Three the Grinch had delivered a pretty good left-right combination, and yet, rather than whining, the local folk were behaving as if the experience was exhilarating, and just gave them an opportunity to….well…brag? Or perhaps gloat? In any case, like the Who’s down in Who-ville singing, it was not what the Grinch desired or expected.

As Storm Number Three exited, temperatures plunged from 53 to 8, (12 to -13 Celsius), and the rain changed to pompoms of graupel and then snow, amounting to nearly an inch. The waterlogged world turned white. At dawn the next day, as family arrived from the snow-less coast, one looked around as we removed bags from their car and sighed, “You’re so lucky to get snow!”

The morning wind was blasting so cold I had forgotten to look up, but now I remembered, and you want to know something? Snow is really beautiful, sparkling in the sunshine.


You are gifted, and though all the long year
You give, and need no ribbons nor bows,
So, when Christmas comes, should you feel a fear
You are in any way lacking? God knows
Who the true givers are, but exploiters
Want to make you feel guilty if you don't buy
Their trinkets. Just as bad salt grows goiters
They smog up the clean, sweet, holiday sky
Until stars aren't seen, but you're just such a star.
When winter stunts daylight, and darkness looms, 
Some people glimmer. They catch from afar
The Light Who long ago defeated cruel gloom's
Attempt to slaughter all innocents. Light shifted
The minds of men from theft, to being gifted.


The entire “cancel culture” sidetrack society has slumped into is dismaying to me, for it is the exact opposite of the “Everyone Is Beautiful” optimism prevalent during the heady “Summer of Love” in 1969.

It has been a long and in some ways losing battle, and the young and hopeful Ray Stevens in the above video now is reduced to a wry old man singing, “When Bubba Changed His Name To Charlene”.

Of course, the repressiveness of “cancel culture” flies in the face of the wish to “come out of the closet.” Confession is good for the soul, but repression is not.

After more than a half century of this quibbling, (which in some ways reminds me of when I smoked cigarettes, and would alternate between gratifying my desire and repressing my desire, never quitting the desire itself), I have woken to a delightful conclusion:

Truth remains true, whether it is repressed or not. Truth cannot be canceled. To attempt to do so is an exercise in futility.

The beauty is always there, and cannot be killed. It can’t be crucified, because it has the audacity to rise from the grave. The slaughter of the innocents cannot stop it. In the darkest night it rises like a morning star.

Once you understand this, the prime frustration is due to the failure to share. One attempts to share, but gets a rejection slip. One gets cancelled. This may hurt our feelings, but it is not Truth that gets cancelled. What gets cancelled is the other person’s vision; there is none so blind as one who will not see.

The person doing the cancelling is the pitiable loser. The rejected person speaking Truth in fact loses nothing for, in the end, the Truth they stood by is with them, very beautifully.

ARCTIC SEA-ICE —Intoduction to Arctic Sea Volcanism’s Possible Effects

I’m less prone to erupting like a volcano at Alarmists than I used to be. Instead I’m feeling a bit sorry for the falsifiers, who think they have won. They are in their glory, able to spew whatever poppycock they want without fearing rebuttal, for they are on the side of the Fake News, and those who speak against them are censored or shadow-banned. Therefore they imagine they are fearless, for they imagine they can make things up with impunity, and no one can rebuke them. However Truth needs no voice. It simply stands there, awesome and beautiful, as they scuttle about like cockroaches in the dark, delighting in their forgeries.

However it doesn’t take much to reveal how fearful the falsifiers actually are. Throw a loose cannon like Elon Musk into the mix, and even a drab of free speech sends the cockroaches scuttling like a light-bulb clicking on in the kitchen.

They are, midst their glut, a bit like the Amalekites 3000 years ago, rejoicing after their successful raids of both Philistine and Judaic lands, and their burning of Ziklag. They must have been very pleased with themselves, for they took advantage of the fact the Philistines and Israelites were midst a war to raid both. And they succeeded and were far from the scene of their crime. The ancient Biblical tale states: “(The Amalekites) were spread abroad over all the land, eating and drinking and dancing, because of all the great spoil they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah.” What the Amalekites failed to recognize was that their “great spoil” included two of the wives of soon-to-be-King David, and he was royally pissed off. His arrival at their celebration was the kitchen light bulb clicking on for those cockroaches, but most failed to scuttle fast enough. “And David struck them down from twilight until the evening of the next day, and not a man of them escaped, except four hundred young men, who mounted camels and fled.”

There are certain climate scientists I’ve wanted to send fleeing on camels, ever since the Climate Audit site caught James Hansen fudging his numbers back in August, 2007.

And then the Climate-gate fiasco in 2009 just affirmed my suspicion that some, and indeed many, of the climate scientists were not the slightest bit interested in Truth. They only pretended to be scientists. Their real interest was in promoting an agenda in order to earn filthy lucre provided by bigwigs, who were the ones who truly wanted the agenda promoted. And the agenda? It was an effort to create an imaginary calamity, and use the “crisis” to waylay public expenditures, and to plunder trillions of dollars which could have been far more wisely spent. And they have gotten away with it. 2007 is a long time ago, and I have now been watching them for a decade and a half.

Because they have been so deceitful and crooked it is inevitable that Karma will get them in the end. It may not manifest as a King David crashing their party, but a Sword of Damocles hangs over their heads. But I’m not sorry for them because of that.

I’m sorry for them because they miss so much that is awesome and beautiful, by preferring their fraud. All the time they spend censoring Skeptics, all the attention they devote to seeking threats to their scam, all the imagination they squander inventing fabricated poppycock for an ever-gullible media, is time wasted for a nothing. If they had spent time contemplating Truth, what wonders they might have witnessed.

However the same decade and a half I’ve been amazed at their audacity, and the fact they never get properly rebuked for what is fraud, (and for at times even lying under oath), is the same decade and a half they have stunted their minds. They think they have gained money, and prestige, and positions at public institutions, but money cannot be more than a Midas curse, without Truth, and pretentiously puffing about public institutions can be as whacko as a man strutting about a mental institution claiming he is Napoleon, if divorced from Truth. What might they have been, had they spent the decade and a half more wisely? What might they have discovered? Maybe, just maybe, they might have even been a true scientist. But now the years are wasted, and they shall never know.

I do know, for I have been under no compunction to insist everything that happens is due to CO2 (caused by evil fossil fuels). What a strain and burden shouldering that presumption must be! The list of things blamed on Global Warming is completely ridiculous, ever increasing, and amazing.

For a time a certain website kept a list, but after several hundred articles blamed several hundred events on Global Warming, the website apparently gave it up. The fact was that the media suggested everything was Global Warming’s fault. This was handy for mindless people, for they never needed to think.

However it did and does present a problem: If everything is caused by Global Warming, then even good things are caused by Global Warming, and then one is then cornered, and must say good things are bad. Good things must be bad because they are caused by Global Warming. And once you say good is bad your moral compass is shot; it is like having a compass at the North Pole, where every direction is south. You have lost your ability to discern good from evil, or even up from down. All the measuring sticks scientists have painstaking designed to study Truth with cease to function; you lose the power to discern; you are lost. The professorship at a bigwig University you sold your soul for turned out to be a lobotomy. Science is a study of Truth, but you can’t even spell the word.

But the Truth stands unmoved by the idiocy of mortals. “But what is Truth?” then ask the ones who do not want to know.

In terms of mundane reality, Truth is a kalidoscope of variables, an interplay of countless possibilities too huge for even the most enormous computer to calculate, a system called Chaos by some and The Universe by others, which requires omniscience to fathom, which, because we lack omniscience, is either annoying, if you don’t like to think, or a wonder, if you do.

I like to think. I like to wonder. I don’t need to understand a sunrise to feel moved. Yet I am moved to greater understanding. This is the power of Truth, and is how it is that both impractical poets and practical scientists study the identical thing: Truth.

That being said, I’d like to move on to the very little I understand, and the enormous amount I wonder about, concerning volcanoes on the floor of the arctic sea.


What a difference a day makes. First, here is my woodpile before the snow.

And here is the same woodpile this morning:

This is the sort of heavy, wet snow that causes weathermen to have fits, because it’s flakes are right on the verge of melting into rain, and in fact, if they fall a couple hundred more feet through above freezing air, then they are rain. For example Wilton, roughly eleven miles to our north, only had a couple inches of snow mixed with rain, and they are only a couple hundred feet lower. Meanwhile due south eleven miles, down much lower (where the “Flatlanders” live) in Townsend, Massachusetts, they saw no snow at all until at the very end. But we got a foot and a half (46 cm).

The snow was so sticky it took down branches and even entire trees, and as I start this post we have no power and my laptop is down to 20% power. I have no connection to the web, though my phone can still deliver texts, albeit very, very slowly. My oldest son, who snowplows in the winter, said Peterborough is a shambles, and he was one of the last trucks to weave through the fallen limbs and arcing electrical lines before route 124 was shut down. He had to travel to Jaffrey, which wasn’t much better, to come home. In essence the communities on the shoulders of Mount Monadnock were just high enough to get snow rather than rain, and got clobbered.

It might not seem fair that we get clobbered while people ten miles away get off Scot free, but it goes with the territory. People who live here long enough adapt. For example, as I began this post I was warm by my man-cave wood-stove, with my coffee cup atop the stove (rather than in the microwave) to rewarm my brew. My wife had pots of snow melting on both wood-stoves to flush the toilet with, plus a pot melting beside the wood-stove to wash dishes with. She could cook because, even though the electric “sparker” doesn’t light the burners of our propane stove, we can use a match to light them. We have candles for light. So having no power doesn’t slow us down much.

What slows me down is the thought of shoveling the front walk. Such snow is like wet cement. I’m pushing seventy and smoked too much when younger, so my armchair has its charms.

I did eventually push myself to dodder outside and shovel a pathetic path down the very center of the steps, and then walk through the deep snow to my jeep. It’s embarrassing to admit, but even walking through deep snow gets me huffing and puffing. I shoveled the plow-created snowbanks in front of my Jeep a minimum amount, and then clambered in. A good thing about a Jeep is that you don’t have to shovel much; you just put the vehical in four-wheel-drive, and go!

I drove to the nearby town center to see if they had power, and if I could make my weekly deposit at the bank. It’s not much of a center. It doesn’t even have a traffic light. But it does have a blinking orange light, and it was dark. I knew that meant the power was off and the bank would be closed. Oddly, there was a line of cars going through its ATM machine; I suppose the automatic teller runs by a battery.

Both the local market and local gas stations knew better than to be closed at a time when business was bound to be especially good, (for no one wanted to drive far). Both had generators humming. The market was doing a brisk business in “breakfast sandwiches” for the people who couldn’t cook at home, and the gas station was doing a brisk business in gasoline for those who did have generators. There are plenty of people who are prepared for power outages, but even those who lack generators need gasoline for their snow blowers. Driving further I saw snow blowers in action, and have to admit they looked sad. Rather than shooting powdery snow thirty feet away they were barely able to curve a limp arc of white molasses five feet.

Plows weren’t doing much better. They would get halfway down a drive and the weight of the snow would be so great the truck couldn’t budge it. My son said the trick was to angle the plow and swerve to the side halfway down the drive, and then back up, and then proceed straight ahead until you needed to angle the plow again. Plowing took much longer.

As the snow came down heavily yesterday it became obvious the plow wasn’t going to make it to my Childcare in time to clear the entry and drive for the parents who would soon arrive to pick up their children. When younger I might have gone out and shoveled like a madman, but now I’m too old for such heroics. What I did instead was drive to and fro and back and forth and in and out until the tires of the Jeep had packed all the snow down. The lot was a bit slippery, but nobody got stuck.

I bring up all these anecdotes just to demonstrate how people can respond to calamity, especially if they have seen the calamities before. But as I brag a bit about how self-sufficient the local people are, I do notice when fossil fuel is involved. If the Green New Deal fanatics have their way, there will be no gas for the plows or for the generators, and the testing will become far more rigorous.

For this reason I was hoping for a mild winter. The milder the better. (If you don’t use much oil or propane or electricity, there is less of a chance you will run out.)

One of the mildest winters I personally recall was 1975-1976, when it seemed all the storms headed north to the west of New England and we were always in the warm sector, on the warm side of storms. I think there were records set for snowfall in Minnesota that year, for they were on the wrong side of all the storms, but that was their problem. Here, even up in Maine, where I lived back then, it was relatively snow free. Because, this year, all the storms were going up to our west at the start of this winter, I hoped we were in a pattern similar to what we saw back then.

This is mere memory on my part, and one problem with personal recall is that it tends to be a general impression, without much foundation on fact. When one recalls one must confess they neglected to save weather maps from the papers, or record temperatures day by day. And what I actually recall about 1975-1976 was how disappointed I was. I was young and wanted a wild and crazy winter, and thought such a winter would be more likely up north in Maine, but instead I labored through a winter which would have seemed mild even down in Massachusetts. So that is what I remember. However I do like those meteorologists who are far more specific, and have past maps on their fingertips.

One such weatherman is Joe Bastardi, who was forecasting a cold December, and, midst the slew of examples he gave, he happened to mention a cold December in 1975-1976.

Cold December? I prodded my memory, and realized there was evidence I wasn’t paying attention. Why? Likely I was writing the Great American Novel or some such thing. I was only jarred from my inward contemplation by the arrival of my nemesis for Christmas. (At that time my nemesis was a big brother.) As my brother and I practiced the high art of dysfunction I awoke to the fact early December had been so cold even the salt water had frozen. There was a big slab of sea-ice in the Harraseeket River in front of my parent’s abode.

The following will show you how different my memory is from that of a tried and true meteorologist:

I only recall that slab of sea-ice because my older brother was too lazy to row a rowboat around it. It was only fifty feet across but perhaps three football fields long. Therefore, after testing the ice with an oar, he got onto the ice, pulled the boat onto the ice, and then pushed the boat across. The ice was so thin, and so rotted by thaw, that it cracked under his feet, but he didn’t fall through because he supported his weight on the stern of the rowboat. As he reached the far side of the floe the ice completely disintegrated beneath his feet, and the boat wallowed down through the slushy ice, but he did a sort of push-up on the stern, with his feet above the water, and then swung his feet around and into the boat. A local lobster man, who had watched the spectacle, commented, “That fellow is off his f—– rocker,” likely because the lobster man knew the water was so cold it could all but paralyze a person plunging into it, and kill a man in five minutes.

I liked hearing my brother was “off his f—— rocker”, because we were intensely competitive at that point in our lives, and he often expressed the opinion that I was the one who was “off his f—— rocker.” I liked hearing the lobster man suggest it might not be me who was the nut. What does this have to do with meteorology? Absolutely nothing. But it does suggest December 1975 was cold.

Joe Bastardi had been going on about the cold December for a long time, literally since August, and I was amazed to see things develop in a way very much like what he had predicted. While the cold might be bad for the energy situation in the short term, I still had hopes it would give way to a warmer winter in the long run.

How can cold lead to warmth? Well, sometimes the stormy spell will climax with a gigantic outpouring of arctic air that leaves the arctic so depleted that no cold can follow, so what follows is a lovely winter thaw. But I was also aware there are different, particularly nasty patterns, which do manage to swiftly reload, and to hit southern lands with successive arctic blasts. I was aware of this because 1976-1977 was so unlike 1975-1976. What caused the difference?

Usually any southward movement of arctic air involves a dip in the jet-stream. (Back when I was young, meteorologists called this dip a “low pressure trof”. The fact meteorologists spelled “trough” incorrectly was proof they were practical Science majors, and not nit-wit English majors like myself. They would spell a word like it sounded, and dictionaries could be damned. Out of great respect for those vanished scientists I will spell trough, “trof”, for the rest of this post.)

Ordinarily low pressure is centered at at the Pole in the upper atmosphere, with higher pressures to the south. Winds swing around and around the Pole, west to east, and if those winds remain west to east the flow is called “zonal”. A zonal flow tends to trap the cold at high latitudes. However sometimes the west to east flow gets perturbed and wavy, and when a wave pokes north it is called a high pressure ridge and when it pokes south it called a low-pressure trof. But sometimes the trof gets so huge it actually moves the the center of the polar rotation south along with it. That is when newspapers scream about the “Polar Vortex” coming south, (without a clue what they are screaming about.)

These super-sized trofs involve storms and cold outbreaks which often are remembered in the record books, but involve such a derangement from the normal state of affairs that they are often followed by a period of dull weather. The polar vortex has to regrow back up where it belongs, and before it is regrown the jet stream circling the Pole lacks its ordinary vigor. The arctic has “shot its wad”, and has nothing left to send south. The south takes advantage, sending thaws north. Occasionally this can brew up a decent storm, when a vast area of snow-cover creates enough “home grown” cold, and that cold needs no reinforcements from the Pole, and is able to clash with the thaw in a wintry way. However such storms don’t tend to stress people as much; temperatures are just below freezing, and often they are bracketed by thaws. For the most part a mind numbing arctic outbreak involving the Polar Vortex is a reason to hope. One hopes that, if you just hang in there, you’ll see a prolonged thaw, and can eventually stand in the sun, and even stick your neck up from your scarf a little.

However the most severe winters don’t involve the Polar Vortex being uprooted and coming south. It may wobble, or drift to one side of the Pole, but it stays home. And from its home it directs successive pulses of arctic air down one channel, created by a trof which somehow gets locked in place, or else wobbles to and fro at roughly the same longitude. Down at the bottom of such trofs people at lower latitudes experience the worst winters of their lifetimes. The hoped-for thaw never comes. The cold never quits.

I found myself remembering such a winter when I chanced across a Seth Borenstein article titled, “December Serving Up Baked Alaska…”

I have been rolling my eyes over Seth’s Alarmist take on weather for over a decade. (Heck, it might even be two decades by now.) But, even though he tends to use information to leap to preposterous conclusions, he does tend to use actual facts as his springboard. In fact I tend to like his writing the way I once liked Robert Felix’s site Ice Age Now. At Robert’s site I could learn of cold waves and snowstorms no one else reported about, and in Seth’s articles I read about warm spells and thaws every Alarmist wants to report, but often Seth is the first.

However as he talked about warmth in Alaska it triggered my Way-back Machine.

The winter of 1976-77 was one of the coldest I can remember, on the east coast of the USA. That was back during the “Ice Age Scare”. And one thing I remember was that it was hot and very dry in California, and mild in western and central Alaska, because the jet stream looped far to the north, off the west coast. But then it turned sharply south, drawing a cross-polar-flow of bitter cold air from Siberia to Eastern Alaska and the Yukon, and then down the east side of the Canadians Rockies and southeast, spreading out across the USA clear down to Florida.

I remember Pacific storms would head north, missing drought-afflicted California, and then crash into the wall of arctic air, dwindling into a little ripple of low pressure that came down the boundary between Pacific and Arctic air formed by the Rockies. I’d watch these “Alberta Clippers” carefully, because usually they just delivered the next installment of arctic air, but some hooked north on the east coast of the USA and became gales and gave us snowstorms.

I was young and hot blooded and cold didn’t bother me, and the winter had all the misery I wanted (and had been so disappointed about not seeing the winter before). I had a wonderful time that winter because, despite twelve foot tides twice a day, Casco Bay froze so solidly that you could walk for miles and visit islands. I think the start of my interest in sea-ice was simply due to spending so much time upon it. Here is a picture of me upon the salt water in January 1977, writing on sea-ice (with my dog Zeus.) (Picture taken by my friend Joe Nichols.):

One lesson I learned from that winter was that warmth in western Alaska is by no means a sign of a warm winter overall. In fact it may be a sign that we in eastern USA need to be on guard. Hold onto your hats, and pile your firewood near the door. Have a back-up plan for when the power goes out, or the oil and/or propane isn’t delivered.

In actual fact our government’s hate of fossil fuels made me heap firewood even though I am reaching a point in my life when lugging firewood has lost its appeal. I’d much rather just sit back and turn up a thermostat. But without fossil fuels a thermostat will not work. And even during a mild winter, this far north, you either want the thermostat to work, or want to have a heap of firewood.

The question I have is whether this winter will be cold or not. I’d like a mild winter, for then I’d have firewood left over and wouldn’t have to buy as much next year. But a mild winter like 1975-1976 would put me on guard for a monster winter like 1976-1977.

But I just don’t see a sign the arctic will send the “Arctic Vortex” south and “shoot its wad.” Even the December chill seems very balanced with the Polar Vortex remaining at the Pole and having trofs rotate around it. Look at the map I’ve used in prior posts of what computer models see for the situation round Christmas.

Despite how deep the trofs are, the situation looks very balanced. If you include the cold in the mid Atlantic and mid Pacific, the trofs look like the five arms of a starfish. There is no sign (yet) that the Polar Vortex prefers one trof to another, and is going to surge down on one side of the Pole and “shoot its wad”. Rather the pattern looks sustainable. It looks able to reload and repeat. In which case the thaw I hope for would be less likely, and the worst-case-scenareo (for a world which foolishly has fossil fuels in short supply) seems more possible.

I confess my inability to state which option will come to pass. All I want to do is point out what we might look for. If the worst-case-scenario develops, knowing it is about to happen might be helpful and allow one to make preparations which seem appropriate, “in time” and not “too late”.

What I am going to be looking for is the “reload”, and a map that looks like the above map again in January, and again in February, and again in March, and even in April. That is a development I very much hope NOT to see.

Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

P.S. The power is back on and I again can link to the web. One of the first things I did was to peruse the long term forecasts, and immediately noticed the snow forecast for Christmas weekend has been changed to rain. The storm looks likely to go west of us, which gets me remembering 1975-1976 again. This is good news if you like low energy bills in New England. The news is not so good in Minnesota, or even down in Texas. I can see temperatures as much as twenty degrees below normal forecast for Christmas, to our west.

It doesn’t seem fair that we get off Scot free, but the weather plays by its own set of rules.

ARCTIC SEA-ICE — Warm Pole Snowy South

I nabbed the picture below from Joseph D’Aleo’s excellent blog on the Weatherbell website. He was describing a triple-arctic-outbreak hitting China, Europe, and the USA, which some models suggest will climax around Christmas. (A kindly Christmas present may be to invite an elderly person on a fixed income into your house, if you can afford warmth.) But what I noticed was how warm the arctic was.

It might seem like common sense that, if the cold air comes charging south from the Pole, some warm air must be sucked up behind it to replace it. I suppose you could say it is a “chicken-or-the-egg thing”, and argue that the warm air pushing north is what caused the cold air to come charging south. But, if you are going to use old sayings, you might as well say it is “six of one or a half dozen of another.” Cold air and warm air are what they are, and add up to the same total, no matter where they are placed.

However the placement of the cold air does make a difference in terms of our heating bills. A “zonal flow” keeps the cold air up at the Pole and keeps our heating bills low, whereas a “meridienal flow” allows arctic outbreaks (such as the above modeled temperatures illustrate), and high heating bills.

Heating bills, (and whether one can get fuel at all), matters to people. Arctic sea-ice does not. However it long had been the policy to attempt to scare the public with the prospect of an ice-free arctic, as if that was a bad thing. (I have argued it is not, but let’s skip that for now.) So let us scrutinize the arctic briefly and determine whether all the red on the above map is causing the Arctic Sea to have open water.

First, the DMI temperature map shows spikes, as the warm air comes north.

Remember that the freezing point of water is shown by the blue line on the above graph. (273.15 degrees Kelvin = 0 degrees Celsius). The peaks in the temperature spikes are at roughly -17 degrees Celsius, or zero Fahrenheit. You are not going to see much melting at such temperatures.

However, the above graph is a “mean” of all the high arctic, a sort of blend and average, and if you cherry pick you surely can find places where the warm air coming north was above freezing. So I conducted a search for articles emphasizing such cherry picked warmth. They are not as easy to find as they used to be, but here is one from the Associated Press:

To find counter cherry picking one once could go to the Ice Age Now site, which sadly is no more. However here is a counter from No Tricks Zone, which was reprinted on Watts Up With That:

So which is it? Is it very warm or very cold?

Well, it is the North Pole and close to the winter solstice. The sun don’t shine. So mostly it is cold. And incursions of warm air getting that far north don’t stay warm long. Look how swiftly the spikes in the DMI graph plunge back down to levels closer to “normal”. So where does the warmth go? It doesn’t melt any sea-ice. Largely it is lost to outer space. Not only is the warmth of the air lost, but further heat is lost as the southern moisture in that air goes through two phase changes, first to liquid and then to ice, and the potential energy (“latent heat”) in vapor is freed, and then lost.

I would argue this is a bad deal for the energy budget of the planet. We’d be better off if that heat stayed south and was retained here on earth. Instead it comes north and is lost to outer space, as the cold heads south and spreads snow further south than normal. This snow falls where there actually is sunshine, and nothing reflects sunshine back to outer space (“albedo”) quite as well as freshly fallen snow. So this is bad for the planet’s energy budget as well. And here is a graph from a prior post showing the snow-cover at record levels.


Lastly, when we check the DMI “extent” graph to see how low the sea-ice level is, we notice it is higher than other recent years.

Now, for the fun of it, let us return to the Associated Press article, and laugh at some of the language they used.

‘“The entire Arctic is hot except for small portions of the central and eastern Canadian Arctic and a very small portion of Siberia,” Thoman said from a warmer than normal Fairbanks.’

I love the use of the word “hot”. DMI says the mean temperature up there is -17 Celsius, (zero Fahrenheit) and the Associated Press uses the word “hot”.

‘Sea ice matters because in areas of the Arctic there’s no sun in the winter and the atmosphere is cold. But if there’s open water, that’s usually warmer than the atmosphere.

“Think of that as a heating pad and it’s just emitting heat into the atmosphere,” Thoman said.’

Open water? The Arctic Sea froze over a couple weeks ago, and now increases in the extent graph involve waters outside the Arctic. Hudson Bay is just completing its yearly flash freeze, and the Sea of Oshkosh is starting, and soon places as far south as the northern Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Saint Lawrence will be included in the “extent” graph. But open water in the arctic? Did the Associated Press bother to look at the Naval Research Lab graph of the Arctic Sea’s ice-thickness?

I could go on, but I think my point has been made. The Associated Press is propaganda, which I think people are getting tired of. More and more roll their eyes. Furthermore, the unclear funding of such balderdash seems to be shifting away from arctic sea-ice, which no one really cares about (except oddballs like me), to other subjects which are the “front line” of current politics. The poor scientists who have been susceptible to a sort of bribery, and produced malarkey to gain grants, are seeing their funding dry up.

Some sort of problem is occurring far away, due to the fact the money used to bribe people is basically created out of thin air. Either it is printed with nothing to back it, by irresponsible governments, or it is virtual money on the internet, which is currently creating the fiasco called “The FTX crisis”. Money which people thought was so very important is simply vanishing into thin air. That is because it was created out of thin air.

I prefer Truth. When you study nature you are dealing with something solid. Meteorology is a study of thin air which is more solid than the money some slaver over and are bribed by.

I’m going to keep my sea-ice posts shorter than they used to be. Hopefully I’ll make them more frequent. The next I hope to write will be about the yearly Hudson Bay refreeze.

Stay tuned.


Withdrawal and escapism isn’t always a bad thing. I’ve noticed quite a number of people mentioning, recently, that the network news seems bad for their mental health. Though ordinarily they are people who like to stay up-to-date on current affairs, they simply find the news too aggravating.

One person stated that nowadays the news seems carefully crafted to offend. For example, a recent prisoner-exchange with Russia involved an offensive (to patriots) celebrity who had been convicted of possessing illegal drugs being rescued, as a decorated marine was left behind. News such as this seems designed to infuriate. (One bitter person suggested that the only good that could come from such an exchange was that perhaps many more celebrities would be kidnapped and incarcerated in foreign jails, held hostage forever, because we’ve nothing left to exchange.) In any case, rather than walking about infuriated, some people simply have cut back on their consumption of news. They state their health has greatly improved.

My personal escape is to go back in time. I was reading that even Winston Churchill was forced to do this, even on the cusp of World War Two. He didn’t actually want to escape, but he had to earn a living, and therefore he had to crank out a history book he was contracted to write. He’d already received (and spent) the advance he negotiated. Even as Hitler marched into Poland Churchill had to write about Joan of Arc in 1430. He stated it took a supreme act of concentration to rip his mind from politics and do his writing. It is far easier for me.

My recent escapism has involved reading about Henry the Navigator during that same time period, because I love reading how the Portuguese sailors learned to stop hugging the coasts, and became men who could spend days and even weeks out of sight of land. The records of where those sailors went were very well kept, and the libraries in Lisbon were some of the world’s greatest. Apparently several contained over 20,000 books by the 1700’s, but all was reduced to ashes by a terrible earthquake in 1755. The earthquake occurred on All Saints Day, when it was a tradition to have lit candles in houses, and this caused so many house fires to break out that the inferno turned into a terrible firestorm. For that reason much that the Portuguese sailors did vanished from the world of verifiable history, fading into the mists of wonderful lore.

As I sat by my wood stove, contemplating things that occurred hundreds of years ago, so far from reality I was like a sailor out of sight of land, I heard an ominous siren in the distance, starting at the fire station and slowly crossing the unseen horizon. I wryly thought to myself someone else’s wood stove wasn’t as well behaved as mine, and had gotten out of hand. Our local fire department tends to see a cluster of chimney fires every autumn, when the weather first gets cold, because people neglected to get their chimney’s swept over the summer.

I did better than that. I replaced my entire stovepipe. The old pipe was a top-of-the-line, double-layered, insulated pipe, but thirty-five years had beaten the bleep out of it. Falling branches in a terrible ice-storm dented it, and at the dents corrosion had set in, and also, despite sweeping, a gradual growth of creosote harder than coal, (which a sweep’s bristles couldn’t budge), were clotting it like a fat man’s arteries. It had to go.

Wincing slightly I paid $1500.00 for the sections of new pipe, and then, huffing and puffing more than slightly, I clambered up my ladder and replaced the entire thing. Now the stove has a wonderful draught. When the stove is open full-bore it practically sucks in the furniture, and the stove glows wonderful warmth.

Despite all precautions there’s inherent dangers in burning wood, and insurance agents can get downright nasty about wood-stoves, referring to books of carefully calculated “risk”. They tire me. “Risk” is all over the place, and even if you bundle everything in bubble-wrap, a Lisbon-Earthquake-of-1755 is liable to befall you. Then, if falling walls don’t crush you, and the huge tsunami doesn’t drown you, and the firestorm doesn’t cook you, and the lack of oxygen near the fire doesn’t asphyxiate you, the crazed populace is liable to blame the entire event on you, and burn you as a witch. Risk is always around us, and sometimes the obsession on “risk” makes me wish insurance agents would all trip on little children’s runaway marbles and….. and…. have a sense of humor.

In actual fact I think the real reason people moved away from wood fires is all the work involved, not the danger. There is the hauling the wood in, and the hauling the ashes away, and the sweeping up afterwards. All this effort is avoided with gas heat. Of course, gas causes incredible explosions, which is why oil heat was originally advertised as being “safest.” But, of course, now people get all bent out of shape about fossil fuels, and say oil heat causes the oceans to rise, icecaps to melt, and songbirds to sing out of tune. They insist that, to be safe, we all need to freeze. To be safe fuel prices need to soar through the roof. The ironic mantra I now hear a lot is, “Heating or Eating; you can’t have both.”

With the focus on fretting so much, I can see why people turn off the news. We have a need to sometimes sail out of sight of land. If you are not told over and over and over again how dreadful and awful and terrible fire is, maybe then you can see it as a friend.

I'm up when all is hushed to feed the fires
But don't go back to bed. Something about
The quiet quells my sluggish, yawned desires.
I sip coffee and help the fire not go out.
Or, to confess, I'm playing with my old friend
And memory looks back sixty-five long years
To when I got scolded. It doesn't end:
This long relationship with what dries tears
And has warmed me when I had no lover.
It puts up with a poking scientist
And allows my balked mind to discover
Unknown avenues. My warmed cheek is kissed. 
In deserts, by oceans, through hot spells and snows
I feed and am fed and companionship grows.


Before fossil fuels, mankind lived very close to the edge. This was especially true of people who lived in the north and faced winters that could kill. Of course, southern peoples faced their own dangers, which could also kill. In fact, saying “especially northern peoples” likely makes me a sort of racist. So be it. I am of the north, and have a sort of grandfatherly fondness towards anyone so foolish as to live up at latitudes where you can freeze your tush off for a quarter, and sometimes half, of every year. What knuckleheads we are! But one can’t help but be fond of their own family, even if it makes one prone to nepotism.

Anyone stupid enough to live in the north must be smart in other respects, because cold does kill. Also famine kills, and famine, (brought on because one has been a “grasshopper” and not an “ant”), is closely associated with fever. Cold and hungry people have little resistance to disease. During the various Irish famines, statistics show few died from starvation itself, but rather from a whole slew of associated illnesses. In like manner, when a Native American prophet (called different names by different tribes) went to visit the North Wind, Fever and Famine were a couple of ugly attendants (witches?) of the North Wind, sitting and cackling outside the doorway to the North Wind’s wigwam.

When the climate shifts dramatically colder, as it has been prone to do, northern people have seen terrible decreases in their populations. Events such as the Little Ice Age resulted in crop failures, in which case even those who worked like “ants” had as little as “grasshoppers” when the weather got abruptly cold earlier than usual in the fall. Then as much as 20%, or even 50%, of a local population could die. This caused desperation, but also an ingenuity appeared in terms of trying new foods. A couple of common “famine foods” it is good to know about are the inner bark of trees (especially elms and pines) and lichens.

Ordinarily such foods were abandoned as soon as times improved, but sometimes people remembered odd benefits such foods had, and continued using them, (albeit on a limited basis.) For example, powdered slippery-elm bark turns out to be a good food for those with delicate stomachs. Pine bark is a good wintertime source of vitamin C, if you live far from orange groves. And willow bark contains what pharmacists call “aspirin”. In fact the value of bark was so recognized that some Finns carefully saved the bark of trees they cut, even if current situations didn’t warrant it. They fed the preserved bark to livestock if the future held a good harvest. However the Finns had experienced some awful famines, and saved bark on general principles, to “play it safe.” If the harvest failed, they had the bark to fall back on.

Such foods require skill, to be edible. There is a certain local lichen in New England which can kill you if you eat it raw, for it will cause diarrhea nearly as bad as cholera’s. However if you “toast” the same lichen by a fire (it is the lichen which is like big, flat, rubbery, dark-green scales on the sides of rocks, looking more like some sort of seaweed than like ordinary lichen,) then you will wind up with green, crispy stuff you can crumble into a flour that keeps you alive.

In like manner, pine bark must be properly prepared. I lack such skill. My attempt to make pine-bread produced a horrible poison which tasted like gasoline. However Native American women were much smarter than me and made a bread that was apparently quite tasty. In certain high-altitude parts of New England growing corn became impossible for the Algonquin, because the Little Ice Age shortened the growing season, and whole tribes became so focused on gathering bark that the first Europeans described entire groves of white pines standing stripped of their bark. The rivals to these Algonquin were Iroquois who could just barely manage to grow corn, most years, because they lived at a lower altitude, and they were scornful of people who ate bark. They called them “tree eaters”, from which we get the noble and respected word, “Adirondack.”

The Iroquois may have had a point, in mocking people who live where you can’t grow corn, but I am from the north, and my nepotism causes me to admire people like myself, who live where you can freeze your tush off. Why? Because we figure out how to live where others can’t.

The current policy of “green” energy-thinkers seems to want to kill a lot of people. By snatching away fossil fuels, they are removing the benefits fossil fuels made possible. But they do not provide a way to go back to the way it was before.

For example, before there were mills there were woman working at home at spinning wheels. But now, if we close down the mills, women can’t go back to spinning wheels. Heck, if you handed many a woman a needle nowadays she’d be in danger of poking her eye out.

In like manner, before there were huge combines harvesting vast acreages there were men walking over single acres wielding scythes, cutting grain by hand. Any chance of modern computer geeks doing that? I don’t think so. Most haven’t a clue where food comes from, and gag a little when you show them bright orange carrots come from filthy, wormy dirt, and practically upchuck if they see smooth, white eggs come from a chicken’s filthier butt. Any chance such uneducated “educated” men can swiftly get back to the manly art of providing for the family by providing the food? Forgive me, but I have my doubts.

Basically we live in a society where most can’t grow their own food, build their own shelters, spin their own clothing, or even raise their own children. This has created a blissfully ignorant intelligentsia which can come up with socially suicidal ideas like “The Green New Deal”. And now they are about to see just how idiotic their idealism is. They have created a situation where many could freeze and starve.

My only hope is that there are some who, like me, saw the idiocy of the intelligentsia fifty years ago. I was partially seduced by smooth talkers twice my age, (“LSD will expand your mind”), but when push came to shove I rejected the seductions of spiritual con-artists, and preferred a more Truth-based, (and therefore in some ways archaic), vision of what Truth was.

And what was that Truth? It was respect for the food I ate, the clothing I wore, the roof that sheltered me, and the warmth that allowed me to avoid freezing.

It’s amazing how forgetful people can be, and how they forget to count their blessings. When they put on a cotton shirt, do they thank the one who grew the cotton, or the person who spun the fabric? Usually not. When they eat a ham sandwich do they thank the one who grew the bread, or raised the pig, or smoked the ham, or baked the bread (not to mention all those we should be thanking for mayonnaise)? Usually not. And when they walk to a wall and twirl a little dial and expect to be warm?

Sadly, that little dial has no power to warm you. You can click it five, ten, fifty, five hundred times, and your house may just get colder.

So who has the power?

Currently those who have power are idealistic idiots. I very much fear we are about to see them learn the hard way that they are idiots. The sad thing is that it is we too will suffer, if we rely on idiots.

Me? I don’t. Not that I didn’t rely on idiots when young, but they betrayed my trust. But….not that I could trust myself, either. I saw I was an idiot as well. I was especially an idiot to trust idiots. So who could I trust? Basically it came down to “In God We Trust”, but as a teenager I couldn’t honestly say I believed in God. Therefore it was distilled into, “In Truth I Trust.”

Truth is not all that highly regarded, currently, which is why mainstream media and quasi-mainstream-media make millions with “Fake News”. They pretend to be “both sides” of an issue but actually represent one side of a propaganda that is false. They have been false about Global Warming, false about corona virus vaccines, false about Trump, false about Biden, and in fact there is very little they have been truthful about. In fact, if God is Truth, and the mainstream media is not truth, then in some ways that makes the media the “Antichrist”.

There is a section of the Bible where a seer named Daniel got to peek into the future, and saw stuff so upsetting that he wound up sick in bed for around a week. Not that Daniel didn’t see that God and the good guys won in the end, but there was a time (or times) before the end when evil had great power. Perhaps Daniel got glimpses of Hitler, and Stalin, or other despots who despised the godly, such as Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who made it politically correct to slaughter pigs on the alter of the holy temple in Jerusalem. And of course (then as now) there are those who “go along to get along”. There were Jewish priests who basically were saying slaughtering pigs on the alter respected cultural diversity. Of course, they used different words back then, but they were amenable to evil, even when a Jew named Jesus appeared. There are always people who behave like complete morons in the name of “political correctness”, and who are responsible for giving correctness a bad name. They are why people detest priests and religion. It’s not God’s fault. Don’t blame Truth for the chicanery of liars.

If you are a stickler for Truth you can find yourself in positions where you are not “politically correct”, and frustrate friends by “failing to take advantage of opportunities offered.” As a young poet I perhaps could have made good money by writing rhymes that sold Chocolate Sugar Bombs breakfast cereal, but I simply couldn’t join an industry that rotted children’s teeth and caused their metabolisms to go haywire. I also could have been successful if I slept with a creepy old publisher. But I was virtuous and my reward was to sleep in my car. (Look back to old posts on this site for the tales of my trials.) But my point is that, if you are a stickler for Truth, you can wind up sleeping in a car in a campground in the autumn, and you then need to face the fact the weather is getting darn cold. You would resort to using your car’s heater if you could, but that involves gasoline, and your car’s tank is near empty and you haven’t got a job. How, then, do you stay warm?

You do what even Neanderthal knew how to do. You build a fire. But this involves gathering fuel. Where does one find fuel in a campground? Well, the first place to look is in the campfire-hearths of other sites, after other campers have departed. Every morning sees a great exodus of campers from campgrounds, and after such people left, and before newcomers arrived, a great poet (yours truly) once could be seen wandering about the campground gathering unused and half-burned logs.

And when there was no such fuel available? Then one must be a true Neanderthal, and go into the sagebrush, or wander the dry gulches and gullies of desert waterways, and collect what the Great Spirit has provided. Then, when the twilight fades and the desert heat switches so dramatically to cold, you warm in the orange light of a crackling fire. And then you notice something odd. The light does not attract moths. It attracts tourists, who gather by your fire and are delighted to share a beer with a genuine starving artist, and to talk with someone who knows how to talk. Some evenings I had the sense that I, little old me, a broke bum sleeping in his car, was a high point of other’s dreary vacations. Why? Because, after dreary tourist trap after dreary tourist trap, they stumbled upon a garrulous fellow who yammered away about what was beautiful and rich, with delight and humor. And why was it as warming as the fire? Because it was Truth.

Not that those trials were not trials, at the time, but now I can look back and call them the best of times. I was a bachelor. I was free of a wife, free of kids and, (eventually), grand-kids. I was free! Free! Free! But God knows the Truth about such freedom. I was haunted by a thing called “Lonely.”

Then I married a woman with three small kids, and sure didn’t need to worry about the thing called “Lonely” any more. But I did need to worry about keeping the bunch of us warm. I had my doubts about the ability of a mad poet like myself to be a good father and keep children warm. Temperatures can get very cold in New Hampshire. You can expect below zero spells every winter (minus seventeen Celsius) and I have seen numerous day-breaks below minus twenty (minus twenty-nine Celsius).

To make matters worse, the woman I married insisted we move into an abode with “charm”. She did not want to move into a tight, modern place with insulation so complete that it pops your ears when you slam the front door. Instead she desired one of the oldest cottages in town, built when insulation was unheard of. As we went upstairs I saw the nails sticking down from the ceiling, and knew darn well they got frosty in December. I tried to talk my wife out of bringing children into such a place, but she could only see the “charm” of antiquity. For a mad poet I became surprisingly practical, and pointed out “charm” can mean “drafty”, but I was romantic enough to believe women know more about “home” than men, and therefore, if she wanted to live in a 250-year-old place which should be condemned, so be it. But I, as the man, should keep the place warm, despite the fact the place was as drafty as…as…the army in Vietnam.

It seemed impossible. The place once was heated by coal, but the coal furnace in the basement had been replaced by a roaring, rattling propane furnace. It was only an “improvement” because propane made no ashes and didn’t require shoveling and was incredibly cheap. But the furnace had an efficiency rating of less than 50%. It wasted so much heat it required a chimney to vent all the wasted heat through the roof. Yet the place also had three wood stoves, to “supplement” the furnace.

The first thing I became aware of was that I couldn’t afford the propane. I might set the heat at fifty and leave home with my three new children left behind bundled in wool, but they knew how to adjust the thermostat, and when I returned the kids would be running about in their underwear and the heat would be set at eighty. When I checked the propane tank I saw this single, innocent transgression had used up half the tank. Besides the house we likely were warming half the neighborhood. As my lawn-mowing business made no money when grass stopped growing, I was hard pressed to even make enough money for food, let alone filling a propane tank once a week, even back when prices were low.

At this point I was told I might qualify for government “heating assistance”. It sounded like free heat, so I went to the office. The visit was a bit embarrassing, because the other people in the waiting room were elderly and frail, or else gaunt mothers with clinging kids. The mothers were, if not widows, abandoned by their men. And there I was, a musclebound poet, glowing with health. What the heck was I doing there?

I did qualify, because I had three kids and my income was low and my wife was pregnant. But filling out the forms became absolutely absurd. I had to provide paper proof my income was low. For most this involves getting a single form from a single minimum-wage-paying boss, stating they had laid the person off, but I worked no such minimum-wage job. I was instead a local handyman, hustling about town mowing lawns, but also doing a slew of other little jobs.To feed three kids, I had to work for roughly seventeen bosses. What the bureaucrats demanded was that I go to all seventeen and get them to sign statements that they had laid me off.

The amazing thing was that I actually complied with the demands of the bureaucrats. I went to all seventeen people and confronted them with the fact that they had “laid me off.” It was in some ways fun. (I prefer sipping a coffee with people and chatting, to actually working.) But it did occur to me that the “heating assistance” I was going to get would only buy enough propane to last about three weeks in January. (In fact it lasted less, because the kids kept cranking up the thermostat when I wasn’t home.)

Then it occurred to me that all the time I was spending getting “heating assistance” was time I could have been spending doing what I had once done, staying warm in a campground. I could have spent the time gathering firewood. So I began gathering firewood. At times, I blush to confess, I took advantage of ignorant people, and charged them for gathering firewood from their property, calling it “a clean up” or “landscaping.” And then?

And then…year after year passed, and we never used that propane furnace again. It broke, and I never fixed it. I planned to update, and get a better furnace, but was so busy with three, and then four, and then five children, that I never got around to it. It was easier to burn wood, which was all about and often free. Only when I hit age sixty did I get around to pausing, and concluding wood involved work, and I was getting old, and it might be nice to just twirl a dial if I wanted the house warmer in a blizzard, rather than going out into the swirling snow for an armload of wood.

And so it was we at long last purchased a wonderful new furnace that hardly made any noise, and rather than working at 50% efficiency worked at nearly 90% efficiency, so it didn’t need a brick chimney, but rather a slender, plastic “waste gas” pipe.

I thought my wife would approve of this concession to old age, because firewood involves a lot of dirt and dead leaves coming into the house along with the firewood, with even bugs and spiders hitching a ride. Then there are ashes which must come out. She’d put up with a quarter century of my messiness. Propane avoids that. However propane heat also involves a faceless register on the floor exhaling heat, which has no “charm”. And my wife likes to charm and gather people, for reasons which don’t make a lick of sense to a banker, but make sense if you care about a thing called, “home.” Despite the fact she could just turn up the propane heat, she preferred the wood stove. It had “ambience”, which is another word for “charm”. (If you want the honest truth, I think the source of “ambience” was actually her fresh baked cookies, and one must concede an overworked oven does make a chilly, winter house warmer.)

In any case, what this all means is that I am a man pushing seventy, yet still dealing with firewood. I huff and puff over single logs which I once could have flipped with my little finger. I am not aging gracefully, resent my own weakness, embarrass myself when no one witnesses, and my ego is constantly punctured, but…I keep the home fires burning.

One gratifying thing about being an old anachronism is that I am able to scoff at others for caring about oil, propane, wind-power or solar heat. I don’t let people forget the one time we had a terrible ice-storm and went ten days without power. We, in our drafty old house, were warm with our wood-stoves, which also provided us with hot water and cooked stews and even melted pails of snow to flush the toilets with. We didn’t have leave town and move in with relatives like some more “modern” people did, nor did we experience water damage from frozen pipes.

When I belabor this topic, ranting about how helpless “modern” people are, listeners tend to roll their eyes, or they did so until Fraudulent Biden set out to destroy all domestic production of fossil fuels. People up north tried not to panic, but there seemed a chance, just a chance, that the Green New Deal would be like an ice storm, and there might again be frozen pipes and water damage in modern houses.

Even before last winter was over I was taking steps to make sure we were ready to use wood, if there was no propane, this winter. I wanted to buy the wood before the prices went through the roof. The prior winter I sawed and split my own wood, and had arrived at the conclusion that I’m getting too old and slow. I managed to save a lot of money, but only just barely. So this year, older and weaker, I couldn’t be such a tightwad and had to spend actual money on wood.

I went to an old-timer who sells wood. His family has been around town for centuries, and he is the last of them. Hills and brooks and a road is named after his family, but he has no son. He is a vast repository of knowledge that soon will be lost, so I always try to make purchasing wood an occasion to gab with him. On this occasion he invited me to see his new gizmo.

Unlike me, he does not cut wood and split it the way we did it back in 1988. He has, over the years, had all sorts of machinery built to simplify the process, and to reduce the manpower involved. His latest contraption cost a pretty penny (and definitely utilized the power of fossil fuels), but it could easily cut and split a cord of wood in half an hour. (A “cord” is a woodpile four feet wide, four feet tall, and eight feet long.)

Proudly he showed me how the gizmo worked. He drove his lumber truck up to the gizmo and used the truck’s “arm” (a sort of small crane) to pinch, lift, and swing thirty-foot-long logs from the truck to the gizmo and lay them in a enormous tray. Once he had ten logs in the tray he clambered down from the truck and into a cozy, climate-controlled cabin with big windows, and turned his gizmo on. A huge circular blade hummed, and could cut through a log eighteen inches across in two seconds. (It would take me at least a minute with my sharpest chainsaw.) Then that log, precisely measured, fell into a holder and a wedge shaped like the symbol for number (or tic-tack-toe) crunched into the log and split it into nine pieces of firewood. (It would take me eight swings of a spitting maul to reduce the same log to nine pieces, and every swing would need to be perfect.) The nine pieces of wood then plopped down onto a conveyor belt which lifted them up and dumped them into a dump truck. It was amazing: Zip, crunch, nine pieces of wood; zip, crunch, nine pieces of wood; zip, crunch, nine pieces of wood. And the fellow doing all this work wasn’t even breaking a sweat. He just sat in a cabin and worked levers. I decided the old fellow was aging a lot more gracefully than I was.

Because I’d ordered early and the wood was green I got a decent deal. Six cord for $2000.00. Basically I paid this winter’s heating bills all at once, last summer. It took two dump-truck deliveries, which annoyed me slightly, for I wanted four cord at my house and only two at my Childcare, but his driver delivered three and three. That meant I’d have to transport a cord from the Childcare to my house in my jeep. That sounded like a lot of huffing and puffing to me. But I loaded the jeep (roughly eight Jeep-loads make a cord.)

And drove to my house and lugged wood up the steps to stack it on the front porch. Where once I’d dashed up and down those steps, I now paused at the top after each load, serenely gazing over the landscape (to hide the fact I was huffing and puffing). (Note teal propane tank by steps, full of propane, and yellow snow shovel next to it; I’m ready for the hounds of winter.)

I did my best to pace myself. Though I placed my order in April the wood hadn’t arrived until August. One load a day seemed about right. A load lasts only a couple of days when the weather is fiercely cold, but it was far from cold in August. At first we used no wood at all, and then a Jeep-load lasted a week when the mornings first grew nippy. The porch was soon full and I didn’t need to lug wood every day. But there still was the stacking of the rest of the woodpiles, and there were two whole dump-truck loads to stack. (I had to stack it because wood doesn’t dry well if left in the heap the dump-truck deposits, especially when the trees cover the pile with fallen leaves which then are drenched by rain.) I needed to get cracking, but procrastinated due to other chores, until winter did what it always does: Freaks me out with a dusting of early snow. Snow before Thanksgiving always melts away, but it never fails to jolt me into motion.

It was at this time I began to feel I had bitten off more than I could chew. The incremental weakening caused by aging sneaks up on you. It made me angry in a way. A man likes to be able to respond to an emergency, but I was getting so slow I felt like an obstacle, an old geezer just getting in the way. Not that anyone was so rude as to say such a thing; I just muttered it to myself. I wasn’t keeping up with a schedule I had in my head.

Then Thanksgiving came, and a sudden small swarm of children and grandchildren appeared and in an amazing 90 minutes stacked the entire three cords of wood.

I was out there helping, constructing the cribbed lower corner near the steps, but I didn’t even need to lean over for logs. They were handed to me. Meanwhile everyone else rushed about, throwing logs into the front bucket of a small (fossil fueled) front-end-loader, driving them down to the woodpile, and stacking them up. (The measured pile actually added up to 3 and a half cords; my old friend had given me a good deal).

As I watched all the man-power (and woman power) in action I found myself thinking back 34 years, to a day in 1988 when my stepmother had rubbed my fur the wrong way, by asking me to bring wood upstairs to her stove in a way I found bossy and presumptuous. (I was busy writing a poem at the time.) I put my ire to good use, dashing up and down the stairs and bringing up three times the wood she needed, stamping and clunking wood down loudly and concluding with a curt, “There! Happy now?” She pouted back at me, (as we were involved in a war wherein we each tried to make the other feel more guilty), but we were distracted by my father, who wore a look of real appreciation and simply exclaimed, “Isn’t strength a most wonderful thing!?”

I felt a little sheepish, for I was 35 and strong as a horse, and when he was 35 he lost his strength all at once due to polio. But he wasn’t trying to “out-guilt” me. He really did appreciate what he had lost.

And now its 34 years later all of a sudden, and my turn to really appreciate what I have lost. But I have a feeling other people are going to really appreciate fossil fuels, once they’re lost, as well.

And so….the invisible war proceeds.


The Rutgers graph, which goes back 56 years, shows a disconcerting amount of snow is building in the north, for this early in the season.


Snow-cover enhances the amount of heat lost to outer space. Locally, after fresh snow, our temperatures can be a good ten degrees colder than just before the snow, when the ground was bare. Currently, where I live just south of 43 degrees north latitude, the ground is bare and we are being lulled by a somewhat easy-going and snow-free December. To our north, however, Hudson Bay is rapidly freezing over, and the vast snow-covered areas of Tundra and Taiga is creating the “Hounds of Winter”, which I expect to soon come howling south. WUWT reported parts of Siberia are already experiencing record cold.

So much of the Northern Hemisphere is land that an expanded, early snow-cover creates cold high pressure, while the North Atlantic and North Pacific are relatively warm. This clash creates amazing gales, bigger and more energetic than most hurricanes. In fact the deepest Aleutian and North Atlantic storms rival great typhoons, and the area covered by high winds is greater. It a good thing these monster storms stay away from inhabited areas (with the exception of Iceland, where the people have to be especially tough.)

The clash between cold land and warm oceans tends to perturb the jet stream. Rather than remaining zonal, (which I prefer because it traps the coldest air to the north), the jet is prone to loop south over land and north over the seas, and be “meridienal”, which creates the greatest arctic outbreaks, and snowstorms in the southern cities. This makes children happy and the adults, (who must face the heating bills and the snow shoveling), a bit grouchy.

The fact the snow cover is at record levels does not bode well for a foolish world which has adopted a “green” policy and now faces a shortage of fossil fuels. I have done my small bit, collecting and purchasing eight cords of firewood to keep those near and dear to me warm, even if there are no deliveries of oil and propane. However I do waste my brain-cells worrying about others, though worry does no good.

I found myself looking back over the years, and recalled that in 2019 my little town went from a brown, leafy, rustling December to 36 inches of snow, in the space of three days. When I looked back at my old posts from that time I rediscovered two sonnets I liked, because they defeated worry. The first was from before the snow fell, and the second was from just after.

With holidays I nearly missed the last,
Brown day. It wasn’t on my Christmas list:
“The last, brown day.” Snow will make it be the past;
The white comes fast; the landscape’s kissed
By wool on trees and roads, but if a drift
Must block my path I wish a pile of leaves
To rustle through. The way sounds shift
From crisp to sift, from leaves to snow, just grieves
My heart, for I know snow is here to stay,
And therefore isn’t like the last, brown day.
Seize the moment, before it slips away.
Seize upon the last, brown day; in a kicking way
Rustle through leaves. Make life be play.
Rejoice all through the last, brown day.

With night’s snow fell a silence. It was deep
As the snow was deep; grew deeper as snow
Grew deeper. The world did not go to sleep
But was wary, waiting. I do not know
What it awaited. Anticipation,
Like a small boy restless in a cold bed,
Impatient for Christmas, breathed steam that hung
In the dark stillness. No blue, green or red
Christmas lights blinked. The power was out.
No furnace rumbled and no fridge hummed.
No sledding-hill’s child freed a far-off shout.
What broke silence was me. My fingers drummed
As I awaited the soft light of dawn
And the Power we need to turn back on.


It seems like Donald Trump has finally cracked up, after six years of unrelenting attack of the most foul and dishonest sort. My reaction is basically, “What took him so long?”

On “Truth Social” Trump stated, regarding the 2020 election, “A massive fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations and articles, even those found in the Constitution. Our great “Founders” did not want, and would not condone, False and Fraudulent Elections”.

Trump stated the only two responses possible were to throw out the 2020 election results and declare him president, or to have a new election. Such drastic action is a step farther than Abraham Lincoln’s suspension of Habeas Corpus during the Civil War or Harry Truman’s seizure of Steel Mills in the Korean War.

I actually felt such personal outrage (about what seemed to me like obvious fraud) after the 2020 election that I expected action of this sort back then, while Trump still had the power of the presidency. So did the Democrats and Rinos, I think, which was why razor wire was erected around the Capital, and why the peaceful protests of the time of Biden’s inauguration have been misrepresented by the media as an “insurrection.”

Now it (Trump’s declaration of a veritable insurrection) seems like it is too little too late. For Trump to now say the 2020 election should be invalidated and he should be proclaimed president seems a bit like Napoleon crowning himself emperor, only Napoleon had the power to enact such an audacity. What power does Trump now have?

If the FBI felt they could raid Trump’s home three month’s ago, with no evidence of any real wrong doing, what will they do now? The media has gone silent after the initial flurry of indignation, and I fully expect Trump will soon be arrested.

Of course, there may be much going on we don’t know about. Nothing reported in the media has made much sense for years, whether it is the absurd meteorological “science” about Global Warming, or the absurd medical “science” surrounding the vaccine, or just about anything having to do with politics. Therefore it should come as no surprise when the actions of Trump make no sense.

I am reminded of a “prophecy” made by Kim Clement back in 2008 which stated that the United States would be “ruled by two presidents”. It drew some attention right after the election in 2020, when some felt it was being fulfilled, but then was largely ignored when it seemed it was discredited.

In any case, we seem to be experiencing the old Chinese curse, “May you live in Interesting Times.”