LOCAL VIEW –Sunny Gales–

The map shows the storm blowing up just after it passed us, to the right edge of the map.

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We got a drenching as the storm passed over New England in a weaker state, but today was dryer, and the wind hurried the drying, and the sky was soon filled with hurrying clouds. In fact there was something hurried in the air, though it wasn’t exactly hectic. At first the buffeting wind made you flinch, due to the winter-like cold, but the sun was soon high and the cold relented.

The children at the Farm-childcare are basically nuts. They have spring in their veins. As a so-called “Child Care Professional” (IE Babysitter) I attend state-ordained classes and learn a fair amount about how X, Y and Z make children hyper, but few remember the effect of spring. It is definitely a power all its own, and felt by the elders as well.

A few days ago a small boy happened to have an odometer attached to his belt as he got off the school-bus. Or, to be more scientific and precise, it is wrong to state he “got” off the bus. It is more accurate to say he “exploded” off the bus. I wouldn’t even let him indoors, except to use the bathroom, (and even that involved a brief time of pillaging and havoc amidst the smaller children). He is just the sort of a boy who should not be asked to sit at a desk for more than a half hour, and after six hours of first grade he needed to explode. He went racing about the playground, and the odometer measured his racing.  As a scientist I am sure I have whetted your interest. The boy covered 3.1 miles, in a fenced area about a third the size of a football field, in the 90 minutes he was with us before his parents arrived. (The widget on my cellphone (attached to my belt) tells me that today I walked 4,888 steps, or 2.38 miles.  And I’m expected to keep up with that boy!?)

He wasn’t the only one. He was one of eight who got off that bus, and all were equally berserk. I don’t pretend I have the ability to control that energy. Instead I dart about breaking up potential fights, a bit like a flea amidst a stampede of elephants. I happen to  be a very adept flea, but for the most part I set the children free, cursing beneath my breath about the school system that constrains them all day. I am of the opinion that six-year-old first-graders learn more running free than they do sitting constrained.

In a day at school a kid likely learns some six or seven one-word answers to questions. That doesn’t add up to a single conversation.

When they are all running about berserk I have to monitor their wild conversations. I don’t think there is any odometer that measures the mileage their conversations cross, but it is huge. Stick an elder in that mix, and maybe they can learn a bit more than that Concord is the capital of New Hampshire.  One rowdy boy, who was incapable of learning even that tedious fact in school, learned Concord is the capital of New Hampshire from me, for it somehow came up in the zany conversations.

Another boy, who back in politically incorrect times we would have called a “cry-baby”, surprised me by  laughing for an hour straight. He ran about with the others laughing in a way he couldn’t control, which was nearly sobbing at times, but never involved tears. I thought to myself that I could not think of a better example of spring in a child’s veins. (I will admit that laughing so much utterly exhausted him, and he eventually began sniveling, but even then laughter kept intruding. He just seemed tired.)

And that is on a dull day. On a day like today, when the wind is roaring and the sun is flashing in and out of purple clouds,  and the entire trunks of the pines are swaying, the berserk become berserker.  Nothing is stable, when the spots of sun slide over the earth with cloud-shadows at their heels, until you feel you are standing atop the energy of a Star Trek “transporter beam.”

Today’s spring gales mixed sunshine with purple
And entire trees swayed. Winter was mixed
With Spring, and yet dancing Spring had her full
Battle dress on. Her roving eyes were fixed
On you only a moment, yet white heat
Blushed like a boy. Then cloud-shadows hurtled
The sliding distance and purple gloaming beat
Against dented eyes. Exposed, then turtled
With armor of wool, and then again lured
Out, the roaring sunshine’s buffeting
Confused the staid, and yet completely cured
The dullard; and the mute learned how to sing,
And the sane saw it’s not bad being mad,
And grouches bit lips, to avoid looking glad.



Because I raised five children, and coached teams, and now run a Childcare, I have great sympathy for anyone who has had to deal with children. There is nothing sillier, in my opinion, than a person who has never raised a child, or experienced a classroom full of unruly children, who writes a book advising people how we should deal with our youth, (for example, certain economists.).

Despite my sympathy, I do have a bone to pick with many schoolmarms, for I was once a boy, and feel some schoolmarm’s understanding of masculinity can, at times, resemble a fish’s understanding of what it is like to walk and breath air. Some schoolmarms have even less understanding of what it is like to be a man than most men have of what it is like to be a woman. Where a man can at least see physical evidence of a woman going through menstruation, schoolmarms can see no physical evidence of what makes a man a man, and in their ignorance they often attempt to nip the very buds of masculinity. So awful and blind is their ignorance that, in my exasperation, I have even suggested that certain schoolmarms are living proof that it was wrong to ever give women the vote.

Perhaps the most damning evidence has been the way schoolmarms have allowed perfectly normal and healthy young men to be drugged with Ritalin. Some day these schoolmarms will die and stand before God, and have to answer the question, “How could you allow this to happen?” They will spread their palms and whimper, “What could I do?” And then they will be asked, “What alternative did you seek?”

I am not God, but I have asked schoolmarms these same questions. It is not an answer to simply whimper and spread your palms, but many do it. Years ago it became apparent to me that few tried hard to do anything but walk on eggs and never make waves, and to merely serve their time and retire and collect their teacher’s pension, (a pension which I note is, in part, funded by the Pharmaceutical companies that drug children). In my humble, anti-schoolmarm, school-boyish opinion even the teachers that claim to be Christian have in fact worshiped Molech, and participated in the sacrifice of our children.

Now the young boys they once couldn’t bother to truly help, and instead only drugged, have grown up. They are a very real social problem. The army, which is where troubled young men traditionally went in order to be slapped into shape, absolutely refuses to accept young men who spent their youth on Ritalin. Why? Because such men never learned even the rudimentary basics of a certain disciplines, because schoolmarms were too lazy to do anything more than drug, drug, drug them. Now such men are damaged goods.

If the boys were such a problem in classrooms, then teachers should have gone on strike, and demanded society deal with the problem. Teachers didn’t. Instead they meekly went along with the poisoning of bright young men, and now their retirement is not as serene as they hoped it would be. Bitter, snarling, surly, thirty-year-old men lurk about the edges of gated retirement communities, and retired teachers might get mugged. Is this any way for our elders to be treated? Yes. What goes around comes around, and if you treat helpless children badly you may expect to be treated badly when you are a helpless elder.

My rural town is facing a heroin epidemic. Enough heroin to get high all weekend currently costs less than a six-pack of beer. Young men do “sow wild oats”, but where drinking whisky once left youth horribly hung-over, playing with heroin now leaves youth horribly addicted. Therefore we warn our youth against heroin, but some don’t listen. I can’t help but notice that the youth who are deafest to good advice are the same ones who spent their entire boyhoods drugged on Ritalin. Obviously Ritalin didn’t make them smarter. In fact it seems to engender an attitude wherein the use of drugs is acceptable. And the use of drugs is acceptable, to schoolmarms, is it not? In fact some schoolmarms demand little boys be drugged, do they not?

The exception to this rule is tobacco. Since before the time of Tom Sawyer schoolmarms have been dead set against the small Winston Churchhills of the world smoking fat cigars. But make a fiery, defiant young Winston complacent with Ritalin? Oh, that is fine and dandy.

Now we are facing the consequences of our worship of Molech. Some schoolmarms feel it is horrible to send our youth off to war, and that sacrificing our youth in battle is a worship of Molech. However when danger invades our land it might be nice if elderly, retired teachers had a few healthy young men around to defend them. Are there many such young men left? Or have the schoolmarms crucified them all?

Some schoolmarms say it isn’t Ritalin that maims our young men, but rather the maiming is caused by a social problem that Ritalin was attempting to deal with. This is a lame excuse, and fails to recognize the damage such drugs do. It accepts the propaganda spewed out by the pharmaceutical companies, which suggest such drugs are not addictive and have no side effects, and which make the old Tobacco Lobby’s evil antics look minor, in comparison. Even if there was and is a social problem, the problem is not solved by drugging perfectly healthy little boys. In fact that ignores the problem, and the problem gets worse, like a cancer growing but hidden by painkillers.

In my opinion nothing is more degrading to manhood than addiction. The addicted cannot stand up and be a man, because they cannot worship anything high, (such as God if you are religious, or Truth if you are an atheist), and instead they are tortured and physically driven to worship their next fix. It is a “monkey” that rules them, and for their next fix they will sell their grandmother’s teeth. No promise they make can be trusted, for they will break it if it gets in the way of their next fix. They are reduced to being liars, for their next fix. It could happen to anyone, including people put on heroin against their will: Once addicted nobody can trust you. Your word is worthless. You are not a man; you are a junkie.

I’ve seen some young men pull out of this downward spiral, but they are a minority. They somehow have the guts to go through the nightmare of going “cold turkey”, (which few schoolmarms can even imagine), and then have the will to resist the attractive beckoning of friends who want them back, even though going back is death. However I’ve also seen pink-cheeked young men die of overdoses, even early on in their addiction.

In my Childcare I sometimes deal with the children of such addicts. Usually the grandparents have stepped in, because the parents are so focused on their next fix that they worship Moloch, and sacrifice their own children. The children have a certain air of sadness. They cannot understand why their parents care more for heroin than for them.

Schoolmarms need to be asked the same question. Why did you care more for Ritalin than six-year-old boys?

High up in skyscrapers the sleek executives of pharmaceutical companies preen and chortle and send out the blood money to the Teacher’s Union, so old teachers can receive pensions. They think they are above it all, but outdoorsmen built the very box they gloat in. Once their high-rise office was merely I-beams, high above city streets, with a cold wind whistling through, and the only people able to work in such scary circumstances were stoic Navajo and Sioux. In other words, the sort of outdoorsman their drugs destroy built the very perch such executives prattle upon.

The simple fact of the matter is that many boys are not born to be indoors. It is unnatural to ask them to sit for long hours at desks or in cubicles. It is even crueler to drug them for complaining about being cramped, especially when they are small and helpless, only five or six years old.

What I say is, “Lets go outside!” It is not merely the little boys that then jump for glee. Lots of the little girls don’t want to sit indoors at rows of desks either. Nor do they learn less by being outside. Can you tell the difference between checkerberries and partridgeberries? Between yellow vetch and crown vetch? Kids only four year old at my Childcare love to tell their parents about such distinctions. Furthermore children who may be the worst learners at rows of desks are sometimes the best students, when romping through the fields.

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Is it so hard to do what I do? Obviously not, if a bumpkin like me can do it. So why didn’t schoolmarms do it thirty years ago, when they first became aware boys were a worsening problem in their classrooms?

Either they didn’t respond to the problem because they lacked the brains to see a solution, or they were too damn lazy, or perhaps too scared. None of these excuses justifies drugging small and helpless children. Rather than seeking the solution they complied with the problem, and became part of the problem, and included the problem in their retirement portfolios.

How strange it seems to me that these same schoolmarms now think their retirement should be free of the problem, which is looming like a thunderhead in our social skies. Did they really believe they could destroy our future, and then somehow retire into a future that wasn’t a wasteland?

Do schoolmarms deserve the fat pensions we pay them? That is not for me to decide. I suppose we each earn our respective rewards and punishments, whether they be in this world or the next, however I fear schoolmarms  will soon see a different sort of pension, when hyperinflation renders their fat checks too small to buy a loaf of bread, and they face streets full of the thugs they unwittingly created.

Old men and small children don’t do well
In wars, for in such madness a crazed greed
Casts songs of innocence into a hell
With songs of experience. War’s sick need
Is to mutilate both Truth and Beauty,
So old men and small children best lay low
And have nothing to do with loot or booty,
And own nothing worth taking, and never show
The true treasures that Truth and Beauty are.
Keep those secrets private, as the kings rave
And shake their fists at the evening’s first star
Because it dares shine and fears no brute’s knave.
That star glimmers Truth unseen by madmen
But seen by the old men walking with children.


LOCAL VIEW –Suffocating Pollen–UPDATED

A back door cold front pushed cool Atlantic air over us, and shunted summer away to our southwest, where it gathered its forces and prepared to come back as a warm front.  Once again the backdoor front didn’t even bring us a sprinkle, though we did get a light, chilly fog, to make a Monday especially gray.

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As the day passed the chilled east wind faded, and swung around to the slightest southwest airs. It was not a wind that you noticed, but you did notice the mellowing of the temperature and the difference in humidity. The cold Atlantic air, warmed over land, seemed especially dry, while the land breezes held a hint of tropics. It seems a bit backwards to have land air moister than sea air, but that’s how it was. I was watching the fronts to the west, hoping for rain.

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This morning’s map shows the fronts upon us, but as usual the showers have died down over night, and also dried coming east.  20150519 satsfc20150518B rad_ec_640x48020150519 rad_ne_640x480

We had a single shower pass through in the dark before dawn. Rain makes a totally different sound once the leaves are out, and its been so dry I haven’t heard it. At first it sounded like all the trees were sighing, and then applauding.

However most noticeable was the immediate clarity of the air. It has been a great year for pollen. Not only are all the plants pollinated, but people have been pollinated as well. Even people who aren’t officially allergic have suffered from itchy eyes and runny noses, and even indoors a yellow dust collects on furniture.  A single showers halts that suffocation, for an hour at least.

I feel a sonnet brewing, about how one should never complain about sunshine, but…

Hopefully I’ll have time to update later.


As has been the norm this spring, most of the heavier showers passed south of us. It looks like we have one more chance, in the rain just west of Massachusetts, but even that will not do much to reverse the drought. The sun is so high and the days are so long that the rate of evaporation is elevated, and it is difficult to stay ahead of the drying.

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The showers were just enough to wet the playground grass and convince me to keep the older children in, before the bus came, because they can get amazingly wet in thirty seconds, and I don’t want them damp all day in school. They then basically bounce off the walls, for an hour, as I try to “redirect”. (That is the current politically-correct word.) They are always inventing various types of warfare, (even the girls seem to desire to get a girls vs. boys battle of some sort going), and what I do is “redirect” them from actual battles to more constructive activities, such as building forts out of furniture. Then they have to put everything back where it belongs before the bus comes. Between the putting-up and taking-down they burn off a lot of energy with very little actual bloodshed.

I’ve gotten pretty good at keeping a semblance of order among fifteen rowdy children in two 20 foot by 20 foot rooms, and this morning I was sketching out a complex sonnet on a piece of scrap paper even as I “redirected”. Then I herded four out to the bus and my gang-of-six into the van to drive them to kindergarten, leaving a member of my staff with the four younger preschoolers, as another arriving member of the staff dealt with other arriving preschoolers.

Five out of six of my gang wanted to listen to “circus music” on the radio, which is their term for classical music. (The sixth child prefers “country”, and made gagging noises, until I told her Beethoven liked the country.)  As we waited to unload in a line of cars at the kindergarten the children had to sit as we crept forward, but were allowed to dance when we stood still. (Half of the fun is in the standing and then sitting, standing and then sitting).

I wonder if Beethoven ever dreamed he’d have such an audience, while he wrote, “Overture to King Stephen”.

I also wonder if parents, when they enlist their kids in a Farm-childcare with an orientation towards the outdoors, ever imagined their kids would be learning about sonnets and Beethoven.  (I’m also teaching them to speak with English Accents like the announcers on the car radio, so that when they grow up they can get a job at PBS.)

“Keep ’em guessing”, is my attitude, and parents soon learn our Childcare is seldom boring.

In any case, I now have a few hours off before I have to do some chores, and then attend a 4 hour State-mandated class about Childcare, and lastly lead a meeting of my Church’s deaconate.  I’m sitting here looking at a scrap of paper, trying to figure out if it is a poem hidden in a formal sonnet, or a formal sonnet hidden in a poem. As a formal sonnet it looks like this:

Like a bumblebee that’s crawling through
Some suffocating pollen, you need rain
To make your flowers grow. The morning dew
Won’t do, although it won’t do to complain.
Like Dust-Bowl Okie eyes that yearn for wet
In skies that only burn, you bet your hopes
On roulette weather-vanes, but don’t forget
It won’t do to complain. That’s how one copes
When the proportions in the recipe
For lemonade are far too lemony
Or else too sugary, or too watery.
Go ask a farmer’s daughter. She
Has heard her Hero makes and breaks with rain
And so she prays. It won’t do to complain.

As a poem it goes:

Like a bumblebee that’s crawling through
Some suffocating pollen, you
Need rain To make your flowers grow.
The morning dew won’t do, although
It won’t do to complain.

Like Dust-Bowl Okie eyes that yearn
for wet in skies that only burn,
You bet
Your hopes on roulette
Weather-vanes, but don’t forget
It won’t do to complain.

That’s how one copes
When the proportions in the recipe
For lemonade are far too lemony
Or else too sugary, or too watery.
Go ask a farmer’s daughter. She
Has heard her Hero makes
And breaks
With rain
And so she prays.
It won’t do to complain.

Neither really works, but it kept me busy in the monotony of morning madness, and also simply gives me a hard-to-describe delight.  I figure that, if it is OK to whistle while you work, it’s also OK to play with poetry.

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LOCAL VIEW —An Igloo’s Demise—

I haven’t had to document “The worst winter ever” for the past few days, as we’ve had a wonderful spell of spring-like weather. I know better than to be fooled by it, for we get snows into April this far north, and only in May do we call snows (which do occasionally happen) “freakish”.  However just because I am not fooled by it has been no reason to frown. Frowns have been few and far between, on the winter-weary faces I’ve seen.

Smiles are a good thing to see, as this has always been a time of toughness, in New England. One reason for having Lent when it is, is because, back in the day,  food supplies were getting short. One reason for corn beef and cabbage being a traditional Saint Patrick’s Day meal was that corn beef was the only meat left, and cabbage, carrots and potatoes was all that was left in your root cellar.  Then, midst this general poverty, towns would hold their Town Meeting.

It was a smart time to talk about budgets. People were bound to be more frugal and practical when they were basically broke, then they would be midst the bounty of harvest. Also, during harvest, everyone was busy harvesting. In March there tends to be little to do, as the fields are all slush and muck, if they are not snow covered. Planting began in April.

Town Meetings were also a time to meet people you hadn’t seen during the cold, snowy days when it was hard to get out much. Unfortunately we are are more mobile now, and this makes it even less likely to see neighbors, for everyone tends to work miles from their homes and neighbors. It also makes it hard for people to attend Town Meetings, and sadly our town abandoned that wonderful example of democracy in favor of elections, which allow people to rush in and cast votes on topics they know next to nothing about, and haven’t heard discussed from both the Yea and Nay sides.

A major issue our little town faced was whether or not to slash the school budget. Such discussions can get ugly, because on one hand there are the “it’s for the children” arguments, and on the other hand the economy is bad, and people are on the verge of losing their homes, and one may hear “it’s for the senior citizens” arguments, because soaring taxes hit those on fixed incomes especially hard. I agonized over the choice, but in the end voted against slashing the budget, however my vote was in the minority.

Considering how serious the implications are, and how many work at the local schools, it was hard to walk into the voting place without feeling guilty as you passed school children with pickets reading, “Save our drama club” and such things. It didn’t matter that I was voting the way they wanted, for there were other signs taking the other view. It is a sort of gauntlet you have to get through, and even though the ballot is secret I always feel as guilty as hell.

But there were nothing but smiles to be seen, in the sunshine, this year. Fifty degrees!  Do you have any idea how long it has been?

There are times our common sense and intellectual nature is overwhelmed. It doesn’t make a lick of sense, but it happens, like when a very attractive person smiles at you.

Then you see, out in the Childcare’s playground, that the igloo the children delight in has collapsed into a pile of slushy snow, and you look at the weather map, and you realize that the pile of slushy snow will turn into rock-like ice tomorrow. What sort of playground is that?

There are times our common sense returns with a rush, as it does when an attractive and smiling person walks away, and we realize our wallet is missing.

I need to give myself a good slap in the face, and repeat over and over, “It isn’t May yet. It isn’t May yet.”

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Darth Belichick

I was so completely disgusted by the nonsense being spouted by the reporters on sports radio regarding the inflation of footballs that I vowed to listen to no sports radio until the Superbowl. However the ridiculous hubbub can’t be escaped so easily. Even when I tried to escape into the world of weather maps, I discovered both of my favorite meteorologists, Joe Bastardi and Joseph D’Aleo, had posted on the topic of “inflategate”.

Interestingly, they both brought up, in a far more scientific manner than I am capable of, what I brought up in my post:  https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/meteorological-explanation-belichick-deflation-psychological-explanation-reporters-inflation/

I simply stated that I’d noticed that the balls on my Childcare playground lost pressure when they got cold, and regained it when the were warmed again. No one was removing air or adding air. I stated reporters ought do a bit of research, rather than leaping to conclusions.

Joseph D’Aleo did far better, by quoting someone from:


Science teacher here. Given the conditions of the game, a ball which meets specifications in the locker room could easily lose enough pressure to be considered under-inflated. Some math:

  • Guy-Lussac’s Law describes the relationship between the pressure of a confined ideal gas and its temperature. For the sake of argument, we will assume that the football is a rigid enough container (unless a ball is massively deflated, it’s volume won’t change). The relationship is (P1/T1) = (P2/T2), where P is the pressure and T is the temperature in Kelvins.
  • The balls are inflated to between 12.5 and 13.5 psi at a temperature of 70 degrees Farenheit (294.1 K). Let’s assume an average ball has a gauge pressure of 13 psi. This makes the absolute pressure of the ball 27.7 psi (gauge + atmosphere). Since these are initial values, we will call them P1 and T1.
  • The game time temperature was 49 degrees F (278 K). We are attempting to solve for the new pressure at this temperature, P2. We plug everything into the equation and get (27.7/294.1) = (P2/278). At the game time temperature, the balls would have an absolute pressure of 26.2 psi and a gauge pressure of 11.5, below league specifications.

*Furthermore, given that it was raining all day, the air in the stadium was saturated with water vapor. At 70 degrees, water has a vapor pressure of 0.38 psi. The total pressure of the ball is equal to the pressure of the air inside the ball and the vaporized water in the ball. At 49 degrees, the vapor pressure of water is 0.13 psi. Up to 0.25 additional psi can be lost if the balls were inflated by either the team or the refs prior to the game. Granted, it’s unlikely that anyone would inflate balls from 0, but it easily could cost another couple hundredths of a psi in pressure.

  • For a ball that barely meets specifications (12.5 psi gauge), it’s pressure would drop to 11.1 psi during the game… enough to be considered massively underinflated. 

(The discussion proceeds from there, and makes for some interesting reading. However most sports reporters didn’t even consider this possibility. They leaped to the conclusion air had to have been removed from the ball.)

The stupidity of the reporters is emphasized by their conclusion that the balls were weighed, rather than the air pressure measured. Some actually thought a football weighed 12.5 pounds, but Tom Brady was throwing balls that only weighed 10.5 pounds, (when in all likelihood the balls he threw were rain-drenched and made heavier, though not pounds heavier)

How could reporters be so stupid? It takes no brains to hoist a ten pound weight in a weight room, and know it weighs more than a football. (I assume sports reporters spend some time in weight rooms, even if they themselves don’t exercise.) It seems even the logic of personal experience went into abeyance.

Another thing I’ve seen through personal experience involves water condensing inside a ball. I notice this at my Childcare when we blow up balloons. The water vapor in breath, (which you notice making puffs of steam on winter mornings when you breathe out), can form drops on the inside of the balloon on cool days. I imagine air made steamy from hot showers in a locker room might do the same thing, inside a football, as a football cooled. This would cause another drop in pressure, (and is what clamps the lids of canning jars down, if you happen to be a person who cans vegetables, but I don’t suppose sports reporters do that.)

In any case, there are plenty of things that can cause a football’s pressure to drop, without anyone releasing any air.  The question then becomes, “Was this done intentionally?”

Another question might be, “Even if it was done intentionally, is it illegal?”  After all, if the balls pass muster, they have passed muster, haven’t they? Until the rules are written to specifically ban balls that lose pressure as they cool, one could conceivably fill a ball with hot steam, so they were at 12.5 psi when passing muster, but flat as a pancake when they reached the field, and they still would be legal.

I wish Belichick or Brady had said that. Oh, the howling that would have ensued!  People dislike the fact that, when people strive for excellence, they test the rules as they test the limits. However I think it goes further. People, especially underachievers, just plain dislike overachievers.

For example, in the hysteria about the inflation or deflation of footballs, everyone assumes it helped Brady throw better. The actual data shows he threw worse with the under-inflated balls, including an interception. Therefore, if one is going to leap to the conclusion conspiracy was involved, why not leap to the conclusion someone was attempting to sabotage Brady’s ability to throw? Why not imagine some sinister gambler bribing the ball boy to fill the balls with hot, moist air?

Why not? Because it doesn’t fulfill the childish need some have to belittle excellence:


Cheaties 48971be54e96c1119e28f275122c9f4c_belichick_cheaties As I have watched this “deflategate” stupidity play out, I can’t help but think I am actually watching a bunch of bad losers. I’ve tried to watch it from afar, but it seems to be wherever I turn. People seem to have grown up in a cushy America where everyone gets trophies at award ceremonies, so no ones feelings will be hurt, and therefore people have developed no resistance to loss, and have no resiliency, and simply can’t stand it, and must savage those who win.

If you can’t stand loss then you can’t stand life. Life is full of loss. This is especially obvious as you get older, and dear friends pass away. However that does not diminish the beauty of the gift life is, nor erase the real reason for living.

What is the real reason for living? Well, I am not going to launch into that sermon, tonight. However I will say that both Belichick and Brady know all about losing. Hasn’t anyone noticed they have gone a while without winning a Superbowl? It hasn’t stopped them from pressing on, or seeking to excel. Nor have I heard them screech at the people who have beat them, “You cheated!”

Losing is a part of the game, and if you can’t take it you shouldn’t get involved. This is something I teach the children at my Childcare. When we eat a carrot I make sure they know a carrot lost its life, and when we roast pork over the fire I make sure they remember the pig. However the clearest example of losing I can give them involves the game of checkers.

Though my Childcare emphasizes the outdoors, sometimes the weather is so awful we stay in, and sometimes I teach the little ones to play the game of checkers. Usually I teach them to play each other, but quite often they want to play me. If I can’t avoid it, I play them, and beat them.

Admittedly a shred of egotism may be involved in the fact I remain undefeated, when it comes to playing checkers with children under age seven, (through there have been some mighty close calls), for I am seldom a winner in other areas of my life. However my aim is to counter the belief that children should always be encouraged by sheltering them from the fact life involves loss.

Loss hurts, but so does skinning your knee. I don’t think childhood should be bubble-wrapped, and think skinned knees are part of a healthy childhood. As is the pain of losing.

Sometimes, as I inform a child I have just beaten them at checkers, they turn their innocent face up to mine, and it winces with the pain of loss, and twists to rage, and they yell at me, “You Cheated!”

What do I then tell them?

Oh for goodness sake! You are not a five-year-old! If you don’t know the answer to that, you need to stop and do some thinking.

That is what I think a lot of Americans need to now do. Too little of “escapegate” involves rational thought, and too much involves the mentality of a witch hunt. It likely should be renamed “hategate.”

People need to take a hard look in the mirror, and understand where this sort of hysteria leads. It led to six million Jews dead. It led to Jesus crucified.

Not that Brady and Belichick are saints, but I have noticed something. It is not the people who have struggled through many losses to excel at something who are screeching Brady and Belichick should be punished. Rather it is the losers.

Losers need to know it is OK to lose, and also that the escape is to admire and emulate the winners. It does not make a loser better to attack those who are better.

LOCAL VIEW —A Boy’s Boredom—

Perhaps I’ve been working too hard, but a sort of fed-up feeling rose up in me today, and had me tired of any media but the outdoors. (Not that the outdoors is usually thought of as a “media”.)  All the people on various talk shows on the radio, both the political ones and the sports ones, struck me as being uninspired. I just felt sick of them, and fortunately one is able to turn a little nob and silence them.

The weather is a bit drab, midst a sort of winter drought. We do get rain, but the drought involves a lack of snow. Not that the little snow we have gotten hasn’t set some sort of record in terms of nuisance-per-inch. I can never remember having to shovel so much sand onto icy surfaces, after a measly total of four inches of snow since before Christmas. However all in all it has been a bit boring, in terms of drifts and high snow banks and howling winds, though there has just enough snow, mixed with just too little rain, to completely spoil the skating.

It reminds me of a certain January day in my boyhood, when the skating was no good and the sledding was no good, and all  there was to do was homework, and that was no good. The only sport was basketball, but I was the youngest and shortest boy in my class. Hormones seemed to be hitting everyone else, and they were all growing like weeds, as I remained the same. Therefore basketball was out of the question, unless I was in the mood to be humiliated, which I seldom was. It was a time when it seemed humiliating simply to be alive, and my mood was morbid and I might have malingered away into complete misery, were it not for the second-shortest boy in my class, who understood everything I was going through, and was a great friend.

This fellow had the endearing quality of having intense enthusiasm about whatever he happened to be doing at that particular moment. It is very difficult to remain properly moody and depressed, in the face of such enthusiasm. At times I even tried to avoid him, because I wanted to pout and be miserable, all alone, like a lady going through a box of Kleenex having a good cry over a book, or a blues-singer enjoying his sorrows in song, but my friend would come barging in and interrupt.  He would have seen an owl snoozing on a branch in the woods, and would state I simply had to go see it. He refused to take “No” for an answer, and, in the end, I usually had to concede it was worth the tramp through the trees to see an empty branch when an owl had supposedly reposed.

The most annoying quality he had was his ability to finish all his homework in what seemed like ten minutes. It took me an hour to even open a book, and just then he’d show up and give me an excuse to get an “F”. (Not that I minded all that much, until my report card came.) He was always dragging me off into other troubles as well, as he enthusiastically took me past “No Trespassing” signs to see what was down the train tracks, or in the quarry, or just beyond the reach of the junkyard dog. Not that I was unwilling. I soon learned that, while the fellow could be annoying, life was never boring when he was around.

His mother didn’t much like my mother, and the feeling was mutual, and they independently arrived at the conclusion the other’s son was a bad influence on their precious son. They were correct, as mothers usually are, but mothers might accidentally have their sons in dresses, if they had their way. Boys like trouble because boys are trouble, and we managed to find so much boyish trouble that, one January, we were banned from even telephoning each other. Fortunately he had received a couple “walkie-talkies” for Christmas, and he loaned me one. Unfortunately they only had a range of a mile, and our houses were slightly more than a mile apart. Only by stringing up elaborate systems of wires outside our bedroom windows could we hear, dim and remote, a faint voice fading in and out, midst vauge waves from the ionosphere.

To cut this long story short, one drab January afternoon, when I was up in my room and should have been doing my homework, we were conversing enthusiastically on the walkie-talkies, and he faded away, dimmer and dimmer, until he faded out. Nothing I did could improve the reception, and bring him back. I was abruptly confronted with what an antidepressant that friend was, and just how empty and stark and like-January life is, when a friend is gone.

(Perhaps this feeling returned because, at my age, I have to say good-bye to some old friends, who forge on before me. However this reality didn’t occur to me today, as I shut off the radio, and simply sniffed the weather.)

(Perhaps this mood hit me because some of my boyhood friend’s attributes are going into the creation of the character “Durf”, in the novel I’m working on. However I didn’t think of that either, as I looked across the dreary and drab January landscape.)

It was the strangest thing. I simply could remember being twelve, and bored out of my gourd, and that there was a beauty in that boredom.

Give credit to the boredom of boyhood,
To that ache drilling deep to the heart.
It urged me to trouble but led me to good.
Without it a man never would dare start
Questioning, probing, testing tradition.
He would be apron-strung and stay home,
Not seek to better the human condition,
Not shock a schoolmarm, daring to roam
Playing hooky. Give credit to boredom
For men on the moon. They’re glad to come home
So give credit to women for what we come
Home to, but do not make that a catacomb.
Instead see a crucial part of Good
Is born out of the boredom of boyhood.

Isn’t it amazing what can come from being just beyond the reach of the reception of a radio?

I am sort of starting to like being just beyond the reach of bad weather. The rain and mildness that swept over us last Sunday brewed up quite a storm to our north, and Quebec got clobbered. Not that the mainstream media cares much about Quebec, but they had sheets of freezing rain on one side of a storm that gave true blizzard conditions, powder snow drifting in temperatures of -40°, on its other side. (The mainstream media was more interested in a weak clipper that slid to our south.)

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The very edge of the arctic air did press south over us, as temperatures dropped to 16.5° Monday night and only rose to 29.5° on Tuesday, (-8.7° and -1.4° Celsius), but this is nothing, compared to the -40° (both Celsius and Fahrenheit) air that dropped towards us and then was sucked back up into the storm in Quebec. The southern edge of the arctic air was just enough to evaporate the first burst of snow from the Alberta Clipper, and send the second burst well south of us, towards Washington DC, which deserves to be cooled down.

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The edge of the arctic air, that depressed the clipper south, kept us below freezing all day, but swung the winds around to the ocean and kept the cruelest cold away, so we did get up to 30.9° (-0.6 Celsius).

Even as that clipper moved south of us, I deeply distrusted it, and watched like a hawk for signs it would explode and kick back snow over New Hampshire.

I am also suspicious of that mess over Texas. That seems likely to hit us. However, according to the American computer, that Texas mess will go just south of us, as will a follower from the Gulf of Mexico, even as the next Alberta Clippers dive south of us (or dry up before they get here). In fact, according to the American computer, there will be swaths of snow all around us, as New Hampshire remains drab and dry. A week from now the American “GFS” model predicts the following amounts of snow will have fallen (A Dr. Ryan Maue map from the Weatherbell site):

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It is somewhat amazing how all the storms miss New Hampshire. As a boy this would have caused me terrible misery, because snow was my Avatar and Messiah, the Rasool and Savior, who could rescue me from the oppression of schoolmarms, and a map such as the above was something like a true-believer learning the second-coming  has been delayed beyond the period of time they can expect to be alive.

As an old geezer I very much hope the maps are correct, and the second-coming is delayed. I’d much rather sit back in a mid-winter drought and contemplate stuff that occurred a half-century ago. I enjoy remembering old friendships, especially my old pal who was such a bad influence and got me into so much trouble.

The problem is, he was quite the interruption, and indeed there were times I wished he would get lost. I would want to get all morbid and wade in Kleenex like an old lady having herself a good cry, but he would bust in, bursting with enthusiasm, and drag me from my sweet violins of self pity.

Why is it that I have a strange feeling, as I look at the above map, that it is wrong? Why is it I have the feeling I will not be able to sit here, composing poetry? Why do I feel that,  instead, I will be gripping the reins of a bucking snow-blower attempting to keep a business’s parking lot business-like?

If and when that happens, I hope I adopt the right attitude. As I trudge about behind the snow-blower I hope I don’t feel a great writer like myself should be spared such drudgery, and instead should be placed on a silk pillow and allowed to compose in Persian luxury. Rather I hope I regard the snow as an interruption like my old friend,  dragging me from insipid yammering into vigor and activity and enthusiastic life.

I probably won’t. I’ll probably feel really, really sorry for myself, behind the snow blower. However, in memory of my boyhood buddy, I hope I shall do so enthusiastically.


It dropped to -5.8° (-21° Celsius)  early Wednesday morning before clouds moved in from the weak coastal storm, and lifted temperatures to zero (-17° Celsius) by dawn.  A very light snow was drifting about, and the kitchen pipes were frozen, and my mood soured immediately. Thawing pipes had not been on my “to do” list.

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The light snow didn’t show up on radar, and the small storm off the Carolina coast didn’t seem to be worrying anyone, except perhaps me.

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Frozen pipes are just one of the glitches that go with the charm of owning a 250-year-old house. I have no idea of how many owners my home has had over the years, but some some have been poor, and have repaired rat-holes by carefully cutting and flattening a tin can, and then hammering it in place with cobbler’s tacks (because that owner apparently repaired shoes, judging from the heaps of worn-out soles we found under a floor.)  When we first moved in, some of the wiring was state-of-the-art for 1910, and the toilet was attached to one of the first town sewer systems in New Hampshire, (IE, it ran downhill to a local brook,) which dated from back around the time of the Civil War. I could go on, but let it suffice to say that in some ways I wished I could mothball the place and save it as a museum, but I had five kids to raise without much money, so I added my own jury-rigged southern engineering to the make-up of the abode.. Also it was obvious that in the past, likely when a tannery was in operation fifty yards away, and every home in the crowded neighborhood had a horse and hay and grain, the neighborhood had a problem with rats.

When I was more limber I crawled around under a floor, contorting myself in ways I’m not sure I could manage any more, and sprayed foam insulation into all the anciet rat holes I could find, for I had discovered that when you have four fires creating updrafts up four chimneys, the house needs to replace that lost air, and every chink becomes a vent. When it is below zero outside the inflow of air is below zero, and, if the inflow is directed towards water pipes under the floor, they freeze.

The foam insulation was only a temporary solution, because even though the rats didn’t return, field mice and voles apparently find foam insulation interesting stuff to chew on, and built new, smaller, modern, plastic tunnels through the old rat tunnels. Therefore I had to deal with the subzero-inflow situation again, and go spelunking beneath the house again, in the dead of winter.

That was quite an adventure, because creepy spiderwebs holding dead spiders covered with white mold were everywhere, and any place pipes leaked was sheer ice, and at times I had to inch along flat on my back holding a small flashlight in my teeth as I worked.  It was bitterly cold, and I risked burning the entire place down by thawing and repairing the pipes with a butane torch, and then I wrapped the pipes in round tubes of foam insulation, as I gave the mouse holes another shot of the canned, expanding insulation, feeling, as I did so, the softly whistling jets of inflowing, subzero air stop.  I recall thinking, at that time,  that where some men climb Mount Everest for adventure, my adventure is owning an old house.

Though it was a wonderful adventure, once is enough. I have no desire to do it again, however apparently I did not do the best job, and also the voles have returned. The pipes have started freezing again. To avoid crawling back into that strange world I’ve devised lazier ways of heating the pipes when they freeze.  Copper conducts heat wonderfully, and by strapping a running hairdryer to the pipes where they vanish (in a more accessible part of the ancient cellar,) and wrapping hot, wet washcloths where the pipes reappear beneath the kitchen sink, I can usually get back to work on my novel, and hear the water start running in the kitchen in a matter of minutes. However the way to avoid even that bother is to leave the water just barely trickling from the taps. It is on my “to do” list now, as soon as temperatures drop to zero.  (-17° Celsius.)

Easy, right? Even if the faucet is barely dripping, somehow the fact the water is flowing (especially the hot water) keeps it from freezing. So only a complete moron would neglect this worldly responsibility. However therein lies the rub. If “writing a novel” is on your “do do” list, and is among your worldly responsibilities, you face a tragic side-effect of creativity, which is that it makes you an air-head, a space-cadet, and a moron.

In other words, with a pleasant and dreamy expression I tapped away at the keyboard, occasionally glancing at my Christmas thermometer and marveling as the temperature sank to -5.8°,  and only went to bed at three in the morning, congratulating myself on how witty and clever I’d been, and I totally forgot to run the kitchen faucets.  When I blearily staggered from bed three hours later I wasn’t calling myself “witty” any more. I was calling myself a bonehead, (to begin with). Then I called myself worse, because the pipes were frozen more solidly than usual, and the hairdryer and hot-washcloth approach didn’t work, and I had to rush off to work with the pipes still frozen.

From time to time during the day I dashed into the house and repeated my procedure, but it continued to fail. My wife was not pleased, but she knew she could have left the water trickling herself, but has her own worldly responsibility that causes her to forget other worldly responsibilities.  For her it is not “creative writing”, but rather is “grandchildren”. Perhaps it occurred to her that, if she forgot her own failure to trickle-kitchern-faucetts, and called me a dunderhead for letting the pipes freeze, I might remind her. The potential for marital discord was there, but we did rather well in that respect, all things considered.

Fortunately the temperatures moderated during the day, rising slowly to 22.8° (-5 Celsius) and then failing to plunge as the early evening came on. Snowflakes continued to drift about, never accumulating, as the weak storm continued to drift to our southeast, never exploding into a nor’easter.

Not that I had time to sit by my computer and dwell on maps, (or dwell back in the year 1971 and play with the characters in my novel). Thawing pipes had risen to the supreme spot at the top of my “to do” list. Thawing pipes had become the very reason I was alive.

It’s funny how often this happens, when I try to write. It is as if the world is against me. I want to be a writer, but the world wants me to be a pipe-thawer. And there also are other niggling details that arise, making even being a pipe-thawer difficult. For example, one of my goats was limping, and that concerned me and required attention. Also the children at the Childcare all happen to think they should come first on my to-do list. To be quite honest, they may be right. They may be more important than some novel that it is likely not even fifty will read, and they are certainly far more important than blasted, stupid, accursed pipes that are frozen.

However after dark fell the children and goats were dealt with, and now it was time to face the pipes. Perhaps this was one of those times that separates the men from the boys. Perhaps it was time to grab the bull by the horns. Perhaps it was time to pry open the trap-door in the corner of the kitchen floor, and, contorting my body in a limbo that would make a yogi blanch, descend wormingly with a small flashlight in my teeth into a world where white-molded dead-spiders sway to and fro in bitter drafts whistling through colonial rat-holes.

On the other hand, I could give the hairdryer and hot washcloths another try.

I chose the latter, but dang it. It didn’t work. The hairdryer had been on so long I’m fairly sure the warranty was expired, and I’d even started a blaze in the cellar stove to warm that ceiling, but nothing worked. With a sad sigh I gave up on attending a lovely pot-luck supper, and instead faced a decent into spelunking.

“Hold on a second,” said the part of me that always looks for reasons to procrastinate from facing the the inevitable. “Surely we can think of a better way. Surely you have noticed the pipes that disappear from the accessible part of the cellar are only cool, and not cold. Surely you have also noticed the pipes that that reemerge beneath the kitchen sink are so friggin’ cold the first hot washcloths you applied soon were frozen stiff. Rather than spelunking, why don’t you just remove the floor beneath the kitchen sink. Surely that is the place to start.”

I confess. I listened to the voice of procrastination, and removed the floor beneath the kitchen sink.

Besides the usual fungus-whitened spiders, and the carefully insulated pipes which turned upwards at right-angle-elbows to head up to the sink, I saw icicles. The water dribbling down from my hot washcloths was so chilled as it descended it formed icicles at the elbows. Perhaps I should apply my hot washcloths at that spot. So I did. And, above my head, I could hear a most blessed sound: The sound of water starting to drip from the kitchen sink spigot, tapping against the bottom of the sink, just above my head.

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

The trickle soon became a torrent, and my scientific conclusion is this: “I darn well better extend the insulation past the elbow.”

This may not seem like a big conclusion, compared to the mathematical conclusions of a great scientist like Einstein, or the poetic conclusions of a great poet like Shakespeare, however I assert it is a very important conclusion, if you really, honestly dare to be great.

After all, what is greatness?

It is not produced by the people who are spared all the bother of ordinary life by “financial security” in all it insidious forms. In terms of poets, I would say the ones who gain praise, flattery, and worst of all financial grants, are swiftest to produce claptrap that has no meaning to the truth ordinary men know. In the same manner, I would say it is the climate scientist who gain praise, flattery and worst of all financial grants, who have produced the complete fraud called “Global Warming,” and disassociated science with Truth.

So then, what is greatness?

It is what poor people do every day. It is to put aside what you want to do for what you must do. You want to write a novel but yiu must face the frozen pipes.

Big-shots in Washington are facing frozen pipes of their own. Will they put aside what they want for what they must do?  Will they match the humble decency of the poor?

(Even as I say this, I do not forget that I brought this all upon myself, by failing to trickle water from the kitchen taps in the first place. Nor do I forget to be grateful that the pipes never cracked and burst, and started spraying streams of water down where I’d have to be a spelunker to fix them.) (No matter how bad things get, they could be worse.)

With the kitchen again behaving as kitchens are suppose to behave I received a radiant smile from my wife, and returned to the keyboard of this computer, and discovered I was too tired to post anything. (Being good doesn’t mean you can write well, right away.) However I did have the satisfaction of visiting other sites and seeing others were hard at work.

Temperatures only dropped to 20° overnight (-7° Celsius) which seemed nice and balmy after recent cold. It doesn’t freeze pipes. On the morning radio there was even talk of the New England Patriots playing in the rain next Sunday.  Time to check the map:

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The weak low I was worried about was passing out to sea, but had left energy behind down in the Gulf of Mexico. That was the next ripple in the southern branch, and the next ripple in the northern branch was the Alberta Clipper that was plunging through Ontario. Would they “phase”, and join forces to make a big storm?

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Looking out the window I witnessed another gray day with stray snowflakes drifting about but never accumulating. At the market people complained the cold penetrated more though it was warmer,( which is a northern, winter version of warm weather’s, “It’s not the heat; its the humidity.”) I spent most of the day catching up with what I’d left undone while dealing with frozen pipes. Temperatures nearly touched freezing, reaching 31.8° ( -0.1° Celsius.) It was a dull, plodding sort of day, where I had to remind myself to pause and, if not sniff the roses, at least watch the snowflakes.

As usual, the things that made me chuckle most and lifted my spirits most involved the kids at the Childcare. For example, when I was driving six to kindergarten I noticed the hills were dimmer ahead, and knew we were are driving into a snow flurry, and thought it would be fun to make them aware of it. What I did was say, “I thought I saw a flake. Oh! I saw another. Look! Two More! And there’s four!  And More! And more!”  As I grew more excited as the flakes increased the children grew excited with me, and then abruptly a little girl exclaimed, “Maybe we should turn back!”

Playing catch-up all day left me drained at the end of the day, so I again sat at the computer and enjoyed the work of others without working myself. The map showed the northern branch failing to connect with the southern, and the southern moisture sliding out to sea rather harmlessly.  It seemed I could relax and get back to my novel.

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I awoke this morning to streaked skies, and saw my Christmas thermometer report temperatures had dropped to 14.7° (-9.6° Celsius) during the night, but had then risen despite the nearly clear skies and nearly calm wind to 19.2° ( -7.1 Celsius). Smoke from our chimney drifted off to the northwest, indicating a slight southeast wind from the milder ocean. All signs were for warmer weather, so I checked the maps.

The southern stream was fading away out to sea, failing to “phase” with the Alberta Clipper fading away to the north, but I did not like the look of the next arctic high expanding behind the Alberta Clipper, nor the look of the cold front it pushed towards us. The cold keeps coming. I planned to work on our firewood stocks, and asked my middle son if he might help a little as he left for work. He said he might squeeze a little woodwork in, before heading up to see his girlfriend in Maine this weekend. I was fairly sure I knew how important firewood was, compared to a girlfriend.

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The above radar map shows the cold air just starting to brew up some lake-effect snow east of Lake Ontario, hinting at the power of the cold air. The next map shows the cold air brewing squalls across New England:

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Temperatures, which had again nearly made it to freezing in the morning, took an abrupt dive, and dipped below 10° (-12° Celsius) shortly after sunset. I am making sure to leave the water in the kitchen sink trickling tonight.


That would make a good ending for this post. Indeed it was the ending I planned, when I was finally caught up, and had a few moments before work to start this post, this morning. It seemed a fine moral tale: 1.)The artist neglects a minor worldly responsibility, 2,) the artist pays the price, 3.) the artist makes amends, 4.) the artist finally has time to write.

However life is never so simple. Shortly after I arrived at work, when I was up to my neck in small children and busy loading six into a van to take them to kindergarten, I received word my middle son had been in a crash on his way to work.

I’ll skip most of the details, but mention two.

First, I will say that just as I neglected the worldly detail of trickling the water from the tap on a sub-zero night, he neglected the worldly responsibility of always focusing straight ahead. Perhaps he was looking towards Maine towards his girlfriend, but when he hit the brakes he stopped four inches too late. The other car was undamaged, but he buckled his hood and ruptured his radiator. A swarm of vultures immediately descended. (The radiator fluid was “environmental damage” that required the local firetruck to serve as a hazmat crew, he was not allowed to drive his car to the side of the road as the local officer called the local tow truck, and so on.)

Second, you have to imagine me facing down a vulture who happens to be a bullet-head who operates a tow truck for a living, as a snow squall filled the air with billowing snow.

(I actually like poor guys who drive tow trucks more than I like the college professors who devise economic policy and insurance regulations, but do not like how tow truck drivers think college students are rich as professors. They figure you must be rich to go to colleges they never attended. My son was told his Subaru Outback was only worth $2000,00, and repairs would cost $3000.00, so his vehicle was officially totaled, but the magnanimous guy would offer $100.00 for the car. (In fact repairs might be that high, to restore the vehicle to “mint condition,” but to get a vehicle back on the road only requires “passable condition,” and I’d say that would cost $800.00. Furthermore, even as junk a Subaru Outback is valuable, (they are good in snow, and some joke it is the “State Car” of New Hampshire,) and can be sold for $600.00 with ease. This fellow was ripping off my son, mistaking him as being a rich college professor when he was a poor student.

I understand tow truck operators live in a rough world of bizarre insurance policies and legal regulations, flashing police lights and smashed cars and wailing ambulances and weeping women, and aren’t rich. Most people are whisked away from their wrecked car and receive a “loaner” and later a check from their insurance company and a new car. But college students only have the cheapest insurance, that covers others cars but not their own, (if they have insurance at all.)

I figure economics professors may deserve to be ripped off, for they mooch off tax-dollars and make others work as they don’t, but their students, who slaved to get degrees that are often worthless these days, and who have college loans the size of mortgages, don’t deserve to be ripped off.  However I suppose it is hard for tow truck operators to make this subtle distinction. They don’t understand that, compared to college students, they themselves are the rich fat-cats.)

Anyway, the situation represents a societal “frozen pipe” I sure hope I never have to thaw. It was hard enough to just extract my son’s car from the fellow’s vulture-clutches, and away to a friendly garage.

I’ll let your imagination fill in the details.

I will say it was the last thing I expected, when I got up this morning. I will not say it is a bad thing that I experienced it. In fact I think it would be a good thing if the people down in Washington DC actually experienced what the insurance regulations they legislate create.

This is not to say I don’t sometimes wish I could afford a staff of assistants and aids who would do this stuff for me. Likely most poets and poor people wish they were gentleman farmers with farmhands they could rebuke like Lord Jesus rebuked Doubting Thomas and Unfaithful Peter, farmhands who were disciples.

Instead most poor people and poets face the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune in a most matter-of-fact way. It is just the next frozen pipe. You take them one at a time.

Perhaps that is why I like weather maps. They hint at where the next frozen pipe may come from. Tonight’s map suggests it, as usual, will come from the north.

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Looking at this map, it seems that after the current arctic blast we may get a break, and the Patriots may play American football in a warm stadium next Sunday, however if you look to the map at the start of this post you see little sign of the high pressure now parked over the Great Lakes and now freezing our tails off, this evening.  In the same manner, an arctic high out of sight at the top of this map might come down from off the map and be freezing our tails off by this coming Sunday. The cold keeps coming.

Anyone with sense knows we mortals don’t control the weather, (unless we have extraordinary powers of prayer.) Unless and until we can make it rain when we command it to rain, we don’t make the weather dance to our tune, but rather we dance to the weather’s tune.

In like manner, in this thing called life, some think they command the Creator to dance to their tune, and these delusional types hold office in Washington DC. Others dance to the Creator’s tune, and they are called the poor, who learn to hear a piper playing in frozen pipes.

Who do you suppose will be most blessed?