LOCAL VIEW –Wink–

Here is a picture of children not being obedient. I told them to wait. They are vanishing into the distance. (Actually this is a zoomed-in part of a larger picture; you can barely see them in the larger picture.)

Kids in woods FullSizeRender

In a sense children are a lot like life. They refuse to follow the plan, and this can cause all sorts of different sorts of dourness to afflict us. One thing I’ve recently been noticing is the cure often isn’t words.

This is bad news for people like myself, who have invested a lot into the study of words. It is also bad news for people who don’t think talk is cheap, and make it expensive, such as psychiatrists. But again and again I’ve recently seen members of my staff, and the young parents who are my customers,  not only say a lot with a wordless gesture, but seem to solve a problem as well.

Solve a problem? Yes, because everything is stressed, and then, just by the way they roll their eyes, or give themselves a face-palm, they cause laughter to come to relieve the stress. This is bad news for the pharmaceutical industry.

I’ve been noticing this phenomenon so much that I’ve started to study it. As it is beyond words, I don’t suppose I can find the words to describe it, but sometimes poetry is within a glance. We say a person “beams” at us.  It makes me think we should observe silence from time to time, for otherwise words, whether spoken or written,  can become mere yammering. Silence is golden.

Most recently I saw this wonder within a wink. Not a word was spoken. A person just winked, and my heart was eased by a good laugh. It got me thinking, and looking backwards across the years…

…Musing backwards to days I spent drifting,
When shaving and showers were luxuries;
When shopkeepers thought I’d likely be lifting;
When hunger made appetite easy to please
And downwind of kitchens was Oh so delicious,
I couldn’t help look unworthy of trust.
One look at me made policemen suspicious.
I practiced innocent looks, or got cussed,
But one day I decided to risk arrest.
I saw a bored girl in a black limousine
And as I slouched by I gave her my best
Roguish wink. I wish you could have seen
Her sour face dawn a recalcitrant smile.
It made being a drifter completely worthwhile.

LOCAL VIEW –Some Pity, Please–

I didn’t heed financial advisers
So what I now own is my own fault.
I find I envy lonely old misers
Clinking their coins in a lonely old vault.
It’s not their coins I desire, but their quiet.

Quiet’s so rare I cannot conceive it.
In my house women rampage and riot.
Four generations! Can you believe it?

My friends who loved money gained fat pensions
And were without wives. All their cares were shed;
They should have known joy, without tensions.
Instead loneliness swiftly struck them dead.

Me? Don’t ask. I’ve no time to reflect.
I get no quiet. I get no respect.

rodney-4312-4608-wallpaper

One interesting aspect of Rodney Dangerfield’s humor is that it is an appeal for pity, but rather than pity it earns laughter. (“I know I’m ugly. I’ve always been ugly. When I was born the doctor slapped my mother.”)

Within the laughter is a joy that laughs at our sorrows. It is a recognition that, despite all the evidence to the contrary, it is good to be alive. It sees the glimmer of God even in a devil of a day.

All the same, I wouldn’t mind some pity, at times. (Preferably cash.) However I have a bad habit of always comparing my lot to people who are worse off, and that spoils my ability to play the violins. I start out with the violins, and then have this strange urge to insert a tuba.

For example, as a writer I prefer quiet, but despite the fact all my children are grown I never seem to experience the so-called “empty nest.” I have taken to getting up in the middle of the night to write, for that is the only time it is really quiet. Consequently I often lack sleep, (even though I go back to bed, and get to sleep twice a night, whereas others only get to sleep once). When I get up to go to work I feel like death warmed over, and want some pity.

Then I compare myself to a person who actually was the most unfortunate person in the world, for a day. I’m referring to myself 33 years ago. I was spurned and broke and living in a desert campground, and wrote this unhappy song:

I think I am going to die soon.
I see a skull’s face in the full moon
And high in the sky hear a mad loon
Luting a lonely and sad tune.

Why am I staying here grieving?
Who do I think I’m deceiving?
Why am I staying here groaning?
Life’s just a way of postponing.

Some body some body
Ask me to stay.

All I need to do is remember the horrible loneliness of that mournful twilight and all the noise I experience now doesn’t seem so bad. However I figure that shouldn’t disqualify me from pity. Maybe I don’t deserve a whole concerto of violins, but a lone fiddle might be nice, once in a while.

Recently my mother-in-law deserved the pity because she couldn’t go to her warm place in Florida because she was recovering from an operation. I agreed that the sooner she went to Florida the happier everyone would be. Finally she was able to go, provided someone went along to help her open up her house. I was willing to sacrifice the beauty of snow for a bit, however I was too indispensable to my workplace to go. In the end my daughter took on the task, but that meant my wife and I had to watch our granddaughter, who is three.

My sleep was even more disrupted, for the small child had the habit of crawling into bed with my wife and I at all hours of the night. It was cute, the first time, but the little girl kicks a lot in her sleep. Also sometimes she’d wake before me, and seemingly decided my upturned face was a good road to drive her toy cars over. It was a strange thing to wake up to.

However it was a perfect thing, when it came to getting me some pity. When people asked me, “How’s it going?” I didn’t need to respond, “Fine, and you?” Instead I could answer, “Things are not good.”

This forces people to raise a sympathetic eyebrow, and ask “Oh?”

Then I could say, “I’m terribly run down. This morning I was run over by a cement truck.”

I would then look at them and wait for them to correct me, saying something like, “You mean you felt like you were run over by a cement truck,” but no one ever took the bait. Maybe they know me too well. Instead they tended to look curious, and wait.

So I’d add, “Can you believe it? An actual cement truck ran me over. I took a picture of it with my cell phone, and can prove it to you.  Here. Take a look:”

run-down-feeling-img_4361

 

 

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Chit Chat–

I have never been good at chit-chat, as my family had the good sense to be dysfunctional, and we skipped all the humdrum banality of yawningly dull niceties, such as Christmas cards, gossip, and staying-in-touch. My brothers, sisters, cousins, nieces and nephews find sea-ice pretty boring,  and I don’t blame them. (Heck if I can explain why I myself find it so engrossing). The last thing I would want to do is belabor the subject, at a reunion, if we ever bothered to have such a thing as reunions. Nor would they be so rude as to belabor me with the idiotic stuff they are interested in. That is the whole thing about being dysfunctional. I get to focus on sea-ice, and they get to focus on their stuff, and we don’t get in each others way.

My wife’s family is totally different. They are functional.  Oh lord, are they ever functional! I groan, when I hear I must attend some barbecue. Sometimes I need a chart,  just to know who half the people are. And very seldom is even a single person interested in sea-ice.

When I bring up the subject of sea-ice at such a barbecue I feel like the guy in the movie “The Graduate” who says what is important is plastics.

Therefore I tend to zip my lip, and let the other person be the fool. My wife doesn’t approve of this. She feels I should be more outgoing.

It is the most amazing thing to watch my wife at a family barbecue. She will walk up to a total stranger, and inquire, “What brings you to this party? What is your connection?” Rather than feeling she is nosy, people love her. It often turns out the person she is cross-examining is the girlfriend of an in-law’s in-law, and was feeling completely miserable and wondering why she came, when suddenly she meets my wife, who is truly interested in her. So the newcomer spills her guts. It can be interesting, but it is seldom about sea-ice.

This has been going on for more than a quarter century now, and, because I hang around in the background as my wife interviews people, I have learned an extraordinary amount about stuff that doesn’t interest me in the slightest.

I have learned that some people who are not interested in sea-ice turn out to be interesting people, but also have learned that other people who are not interested in sea-ice remain boring as can be, no matter how many years pass.  Oddly, even they have become interesting to me, because I am curious about what their next inanity will be. Maybe it will not be, “One word, ‘plastics'”, but it will be some profundity such as, “Who doesn’t like chocolate?”

Anyway, it is hard enough to focus on sea-ice on an ordinary summer, with so many barbecues to attend, but this August my middle son is getting married. I figured this wouldn’t involve me, as the ceremony is the bride’s father’s business, and I thought I could get down to being dysfunctional and focusing on sea-ice, but it isn’t working out that way. My wife has built up a head of steam, and the wedding is to be on the farm where I run my Childcare, and not only do I have to move some perfectly good dysfunctional tractors I have sitting about, but I have to keep the garden weeded. Finding time to focus on sea-ice is looking unlikely.

Therefore I may not post much in the next 40 days. I ask the few, the brave, the proud, who do care about sea-ice, to forgive me. After all, you are the people I enjoy, and you talk about stuff I care about. If I was truly dysfunctional, I’d tell my family where they could go, and then hang out with the people I find delightful. However my wife is determined to make a functional man out of me, (and is delightful in her own way), and she is leading me astray.

When I do post about sea-ice it will, I fear, lack the depth I like to achieve. I’ll post in a breathless hurry, and it will seem like mere chit-chat. My hope is that the people who comment will do what they have done in the past, and add depth to my superficiality. Look to the comments, for depth, until after August 6.

I myself am only finding the time to barely glance over data, without digging. I will say it is looking like there is a chance the Pole will start hoarding its cold, with a more zonal flow, even though polar outbreaks are still bringing refreshing coolness to places ordinarily hot in late June, such as Indiana in the USA. We will have to see if this “zonal” scenario actually happens, but there are a few hints the cold will be restrained to the north, for the Pole is unexpectedly below normal. (It is unexpected because last winter’s El Nino would have one expect above-normal warmth at the Pole).

DMI3 0627 meanT_2016

My sea-ice curiosity is wondering what the heck could make it cooler than normal when it should be warmer. What could counter the El Nino? But I have a wedding to attend to, so I just breeze over it and say it must have something to do with the “Quiet Sun”, and make cryptic references to someone called “Svenmark”. However other people, who don’t have weddings to attend to, have the time to come up with fascinating postulates.

To even suggest the sun has an effect often gets you scorned at Alarmist sites, as they obsess on CO2. But people with broader minds allow more variables, and do consider that the sun might have something to do with heat in the summer. Some interesting ideas were brought to my attention by the blogger “ren”, (see past posts), and make me wish I could do justice to the topic. In reality I’d get in trouble if I spent time researching cosmic rays when I’m suppose to be getting ready for a wedding.

Therefore you must do it. Some solar waves should reach the Pole in the next few days. Because solar stuff is not included in the weather models, the forecasts of models should be wrong. After June 30, watch for the models being very wrong at the Pole.

To be honest, if I had the time to research, I’m not sure I’d be as forward-looking as “ren”, for I am backward-looking and like to study history. Alarmists like to begin sea-ice history in 1979, and are accused of wanting to “erase the Medieval Warm Period”, but I’m curious about a far more recent “warm period” which involves World War Two.

(Why?  I suppose it is because my mother’s first boyfriend was a British sailor who likely died bringing Stalin supplies. His letters abruptly ceased around the time an arctic convoy got destroyed by Hitler’s navy. A tender part of my mother also got destroyed, which made me curious about the details, which involves sea-ice, and where it was during World War Two, which happens to be a time people were far too busy staying alive to care much about something as remote as arctic sea-ice, unless it involved a convoy in Barents Sea.)

Convoy 1 ww2mR110Arctic

Alarmists seem as eager to “erase the 1930’s warm period” as they are to “erase the Medieval Warm Period”, because they like everything simple, and want temperatures to slowly rise and never fall. However disturbing charts keep appearing.

Convoy 2 04-giu-16-MAAT-70-90N-HadCRUT4-Since1900

You can see from the above graph why Alarmists chose 1979 as a starting point. (I sometimes wonder why they didn’t chose 1961.) But you can also see there was a warm period, even warmer than the current warm period, peaking in the Dust Bowl times of the Great Depression.  There was a cold spell at the start of World War Two, but also a warm spike in the heart of that war.

These are but cold facts to many, but to me they have a warmth, for they involve a person without whom I would not exist: Mom. These cold graphs, charts and statistics involved something called “reality” to her. She knew the poverty of the Great Depression and the death of World War Two. She didn’t want to talk about it, because she believed in the goodness of being dysfunctional, but I was a brat, and pestered, and learned the Truth.

The short version is this:  It was far safer to send convoys to Russia during the winter, when darkness hid the ships, but that was not enough. Stalin was desperate and needed more supplies. Therefore convoys had to be attempted during the summer, during the glaring light of a midnight sun which allowed the Nazis to see, and the first attempt at a summer convoy was a nightmarish fiasco. Lots and lots of good men died because a bad man called Hitler was at war with a bad man called Stalin.  Even though the USA was not at war at first, my mother’s heart was with England, and then it got shattered.

How might a teenager feel when the guy she adores abruptly stops writing letters? Not that the press was allowed to tell the whole truth during the war, but the press could hint at the truth when a British convoy got creamed. My mother was no dunce, and she could figure out why the letters stopped. No happy-ever-after for her. And did that effect her attitudes? And, a decade later, did that effect me?

The answer is, “Yes.” But Alarmists don’t care about what really effects people and what really matters. The subtle heartaches that rule our lives (unless we bring loving understanding to bear) mean nothing, for Alarmists are too determined to be simpletons, and to insist CO2 matters more than history, even to the degree where they ignore history.

Let me be blunt. Alarmists may clasp their hands and exclaim that they care, but caring involves more than saying you care. It involves understanding, and searching, and study, and if you can’t be bothered with that,  then you don’t care. The truth is Alarmists can’t be bothered to care. I don’t see why they can’t be honest about it, the way I’m honest about family barbecues. But Alarmists seem beyond being dysfunctional, like me.  They are dsy-dysfunctional. They don’t want to be functional like my wife, who wants to know your history, or dysfunctional like me, who wants to study other history.  To put it mildly and avoid bad words, they are flipping, hopping, complete crackpots who want to blame a trace gas like CO2 for problems, and have no use for history at all.

If you want to determine if a person is truly an Alarmist, bring up the history of sea-ice before 1979. You will swiftly see they do not want to hear. They call me a denier, but they deny the past. It is too respectful and flattering to call them by a word as accurate as “Alarmist.”  It likely will not catch on, but they deserve to be called by a word I have made up, “Dysdys.” They are a bunch of Dysdyses.

I need a break from these idiots. It probably is a blessing I’m going to be too busy with my son’s wedding to focus much on sea-ice. To deal with a Dysdys is often an exercise in infuriating futility. “They have eyes but cannot see; they have ears but cannot hear.”

If I get time, I’ll add some maps tomorrow. But that will look like I am trying to persuade the Dysdys with actual evidence.  After a decade of trying, I have doubts they are anything other than impervious to evidence.

You know what the Dysdys need? They need chit chat. They need to be sitting at a barbecue where they know absolutely no one, with a sneering nose wrinkled disdainfully, and face the ultimate challenge:  My wife walking up, and hitting them full blast with her caring chit chat.

Unfortunately for them, she’s mine.  I’m not sharing.

*******

As promised, here are the recent maps. “Ralph” has been reinforced by blurbs of low pressure swinging around from West Siberia.

The midnight sun really cooks the Tundra now, and any land breeze will bring heat north a ways over the sea-ice. The mosquitoes are murder, which is why polar bears stay out on the ice. In fact a little-known  theory states the only reason polar bears evolved was to avoid mosquitoes. (It is little known because I just made it up.) By the way, the heated Tundra is known as “baked Alaska”. It shows as red in the temperature maps along the coasts.

The ice extent is declining in its ordinary manner, so, to liven things up, DMI decided to meddle with how they do their extent graph. (Expect an uproar.)

DMI3 0628 icecover_current_new (1)

Here is their explanation:

New graphs

We have improved the algorithms calculating sea ice concentration and extent. Consequently, on June 28, 2016, we updated the graphs of ice extent with new data of higher quality. In particular, calculation of ice concentration in coastal zones have been improved, but also calculation of ice concentration in the Arctic ocean is improved with this new setup.

The sea ice extent data from 1979 till today is composed by a Climate Data Record (CDR, OSI-409a), an Interim CDR providing updates with one month delay to the CDR (ICDR, OSI-430) and an operational setup that calculates sea ice extent for the period between the ICDR and today. Further, the algorithms behing these three products are now more consistent than the previous processing chain.

This switch to new algorithms has led to small changes in the trends of sea ice extent since the first year of the data set, but it has not changed the general picture of ice extent decline.

You can read technical and validation reports of the products here.

Compared to last year, there is less ice northeast of Alaska but the ice is much slower to thin towards East Siberia. (2015 to left;2016 to right)

It does rain at the Pole during the thaw, and I think O-buoy 14 saw some, mixed with wet snow. It has seen little sun, but a swift increase of slush.

Obuoy 14 0627 webcam

Obuoy 14 0628 webcam

The open water along the horizon has closed up, but I expect it will open again soon. This camera should be bobbing in open water before September, as it is much further south than our old North Pole Camera used to be.

Now I have to go make a scruffy farm look presentable.

 

LOCAL VIEW –Reptiles Rule, Almost–

Every spring is different, and what has made this one unique has been the after-effects of a warm spell at the end of March followed by a deep freeze the first week of April. Certain flowering shrubs and trees, such as forsythia and black cherry, were right on the verge of blooming, and then seemed to put on the brakes. When the cold passed I waited for them to resume their budding and blooming, but the buds were blasted. The leaves came out, but there were simply no flowers this year.

I can’t tell you how much I missed the forsythia. It is such a happy bloom. It’s suppose to look like this amidst the late winter gray.Forsythia x intermedia Lynwood

Instead of that happy splash of color there were just stark stems, gradually leafing out with green. The cherry trees also just gradually leafed out. You could kiss your haiku sayonara.

Ordinarily the blooms, and especially the yellows, of spring evoke a sort of rollicking response in me. When I was a teenager, (after a winter that seemed particularly tragic to me, because a certain girl refused to smile),  even the yellowing of the branches of weeping willows defeated depression and prompted this joy:

Is that there a willow tree
In the winter’s gray?
Clowning yellows happily
And laughing in its play:
“Spring will come some day!”

Can it be a hidden grin
Is bursting out aloud?
A boatless sailors porpoise fin?
I see you’re in
Beneath your shroud.

But that was yesterday, and yesterdays’s gone.

Actually those two fellows are far too happy, singing that song. They fail to be morose in the proper manner. (Perhaps I should have linked to them singing, “Willow weep for me”.)

To live through a spring without the initial blooms is a sobering experience. After all, black cherries feed a lot of birds and critters, and it looks like there won’t be any, this year. Birds will be forced to seek alternative sources of nourishment, such as my vegetable garden.

The weather has gradually warmed in a desultory sort of way, and even the cold-blooded reptiles are stirring. Of course, snapping turtles are not welcome at my Farm-childcare, as their bite can take a child’s finger off. Yet one made an appearance today, though it was camera shy:

Snapping turtle IMG_2938

The males never leave the water, and tend to be draped by festoons of slimy algae, but the females can lumber quite amazing distances from their ponds to lay their eggs. Sometimes they travel five miles.  I think they don’t much want to share their ponds with their own children, or perhaps they don’t want the tiny offspring to be lunch for the grouchy fathers. The children are about the size of the lens in an average pair of spectacles, while the female in the above picture had a shell 18 inches (46 cm) from front to back. You shouldn’t be fooled by their lovely, friendly faces

Snapping turtle snapperhead

Photo credit http://mentalfloss.com/article/68505/10-biting-facts-about-snapping-turtles

Because they have very long necks

Snapping 3 common-snapping-turtle-breathing-at-surface-of-the-water (1)

Photo Credit  http://www.arkive.org/common-snapping-turtle/chelydra-serpentina/image-G136674.html

And they can bite you when you think you are at a safe distance.

Lastly, small children at a Childcare are not known for following orders. In some ways a farm is a good way to teach children to listen to elders; especially the older boys who are more rebellious. I once derived a certain smug and silent satisfaction when I witnessed a young know-it-all fleeing the rooster, setting a record for the hundred yard dash across the pasture, with the rooster a close second. I had repetitively warned the lad, “Stay away from that rooster”, but he wouldn’t listen. After the dash I didn’t have to say a word; the rooster had done the teaching.

On another occasion, after repeatedly telling a nine-year-old boy not to tease a particular goat we called “The Mean Queen”, I watched as that goat singled him out and, ignoring all the other children, stalked him like a cat does an unwary mouse, and gave him a good clout, pinning him against a tree. (The goat was hornless). The boy shot me a startled glace as he wriggled away from the goat, but I only shrugged and spread my palms in a way that was sign language for, “I told you so, but you didn’t listen, did you?”

However having a child lose a finger seems like going a wee bit too far, in my policy of letting children learn, from mistakes, that elders are doing more than ruining the fun, when they give orders.

We get many small children who arrive at our Childcare without any self discipline; wee tots turned into tyrants by permissive parents; and it takes me a while to teach them I am a fierce old grouch, a force to be reckoned with, as my “no” means “no” even if they tantrum until they are blue in the face.  (I might get faster results if corporal punishment was allowed, but it isn’t.) Progress is very slow in some cases, and I can’t take chances with a four-year-old “testing his boundaries” when I tell him to avoid a snapping turtle. Therefore I tend to get rid of snapping turtles at our Farm-childcare, when I can.

There shouldn’t be any uproar about turtle-removal, for snapping turtles are not endangered species in these parts, and about the only good they do is reduce the population of invasive Canada Geese by nabbing the cute goslings as they swim behind their parents. (Every golf course should import snapping turtles into their water hazards, to rid the fairways of Canada Geese.) Therefore there should be no uproar if we get rid of a turtle in the most natural and efficient way, which is to eat them.

We did eat a big old male, once, (and I have never chewed a tougher and more rubbery meat; I must have prepared it incorrectly.  I stewed it, and no amount of boiling would soften the meat.) However I have since learned modern mothers have soft hearts about most everything.  They are very spiritual, believe the lion should lay down with the lamb, and likely have never seen five cute goslings swimming behind a mother goose abruptly become four cute goslings behind a mother goose.  If they saw that their opinions might change, but as it is they are so softhearted they can make me feel guilty about putting a worm on a fishhook. The long version of this education involved a time I showed the kids how to make woodchuck stew, and if you have the time you can read about my education here:

https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/02/04/groundhog-stew/

The short version is that I’ve learned it is safest to either make sure parents sign a permission slip, or look over both shoulders surreptitiously, before I so much as bait a hook.

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate being educated by mothers younger than my daughters, and I may become a Buddhist yet, as I contemplate the feelings of worms as I hook them. (If not a Buddhist, I may become a fly fisherman). However it does seem odd young mothers want to control me, when they can’t control their darling toddler Adolf.

In any case, a snapping turtle on the Childcare property does present me with a bit of a problem.

This snapper would not even give me a decent picture. (That is why I had to use the pictures of others, and supply photo credits). I like taking my own pictures, but this female only poked her long neck up like a periscope once, and then, seeing I hadn’t left (and before I could aim my camera), ducked back down. She nestled more deeply into the leaves , and occasionally heaved a sigh, but didn’t poke her head up a second time, (which would have made a great picture.)

I waited and waited. I was so silent I could hear the grass grow, which reminded me of the job I was doing, when I first saw her, (mowing the grass.) Grass sometimes seems it is the only thing that is growing, this stunted spring. It’s a blasted nuisance. I’d rather watch a turtle than make a racket with a mower. But sometimes a man’s just got to do what a man’s got to do.

I use up lots of gas. It’s how I earn my pay:
Cutting lots of grass but never making hay.
Hay could feed some sheep which could feed and cloth the poor.
It makes me want to weep. Just who am I mowing for?

I’m a lawn-mowing man! I make the noise pollution!
I just do what I can, and await a revolution.

I kept checking on the turtle as I mowed, but she just stayed there, until I decided she must be laying eggs. This got me thinking. Turtle eggs make good eating, though they have some odd qualities. The whites never turn white, even if you boil them an hour, and therefore you need to fry them, or get over your dislike of uncooked whites. In either case, cooking turtle eggs would be yet another activity that makes my Childcare different from other Childcares.  At the very least, thinking about it kept mowing-the-grass from boring me to death.

It takes longer, but one thing I insist upon as I mow is bagging all the clippings and using them to mulch the garden. It cuts back on weeding, (which I like only slightly more than mowing), and also it makes mowing seem less pointless and useless. I mean, if people are going to worry about Global Warming, and yet use up umpteen gallons of fossil fuel cutting grass, and never use the grass for anything useful, then they will never dare criticize me, for I actually utilize what I cut. Right?

Wrong. I’ll save the details for some other night, but there are some folk who just hate farmers. No matter what you do they see it as some sort of rape of the environment.

It all seemed to conspire in a way that soured my sense of spring. Just as the forsythia has no happy yellow blooms, the next generation sometimes seems like a bunch of soured mothers with soured children. Grumph. Grumph. Grumph. And just then the next reptile gave me a shock, as I brought grass clippings to the garden.

Snake 1 FullSizeRender

It was a harmless and common garter snake, but snakes always make me jump at first. This one slithered into weeds and was being as uncooperative as the snapping turtle, when it came to being photogenic. However I was sick and tired of being patient with others when others are not always patient with me, so I poked it and forced it out into the sun.

Even the above photo seemed pretty dull, and unlikely to attract people to my website, and the snake wouldn’t sit still and be photogenic, and therefore, to make this post more interesting, I stepped on the end of the snake’s tail.

Snake 2 IMG_2965

Much more photogenic! What’s more, I noticed the snake’s tongue darted in and out much more often, when it was trapped. The tongues of snakes dart so quickly I’ve never gotten a good picture of one with its tongue out, but this seemed my chance.  I nearly exhausted my cell phone, but finally\ managed to catch this shot.

Snake 3 FullSizeRender

I was so pleased with the picture that I smugly decided there was a slight likelihood that the photo could go viral, and appear all over the web as an illustration for various blogs. But was the snake grateful for the possibility of fame?

Snake 4 FullSizeRender

Talk about unappreciative! But that’s how things have been going, this spring. You get no flowers. But I decided that, if the stupid snake didn’t want to be famous, he could go crawl about on his belly for all I cared. I would go see if the snapping turtle was more interested.

The snapping turtle had vanished. Furthermore, she left me no eggs. Apparently she only hunkered down in the leaves because she doesn’t like pictures, and deemed me the paparazzi. The nerve! Who does she think she is? Some Hollywood star?

As I rolled my eyes to heaven I noticed something. A branch of high-bush blueberry was loaded with blooms. Rather than finishing the lawn I investigated further into the brush. It was amazing, for every blueberry bush was covered with more blooms than I’d ever seen before.

Blueberries 1 IMG_2981

So maybe I did get some flowers after all. I just had to look for them.

Not that I expect any berries. This is likely just the Creator’s way of making up for the fact there will be few black cherries this year. Once birds realize there are few cherries, every bird in town will be chowing down in by blueberry patch.

My brief elation over blooms gave way to a gloom over an imagined lack of berries, and I trudged back to finish mowing the lawn.

That might make a good end to this post, but there was more, for the wind was picking up, purple clouds came hurrying over, and by the time I finished the lawn the gusts were chilly, and a driving mist was hinting at April. I rushed home to check the weather radar on my computer, and could see a cold front was ramming through, and that May snows were falling back in the Great Lakes, behind the front.

The way this spring has been going, the blueberry blooms will also get burned by frost, and they’ll wind up being worse than “for the birds”. They will be blasted, and there will be no berries for the birds. It will be, in the end, a sullen spring, a spring without flowers.

As I sat slumped at the computer, thinking how sad it is this spring gives me no bouquets, my wife, (who does not like it when I hurry to the computer to hunch over a radar screen without even saying “hello”), asked me if I’d completed a particular chore. Fortunately I had actually done it, though how I found the time only God knows. After all, as my faithful readers know, when I mow a lawn it involves a lot more than cutting the grass. It involves turtles. It involves snakes. It involves mulching the garden. It involves the blueberry crop, and the well-being of birds. It involves scanning the sky for frost in May. It involves important stuff, significant stuff,  like Global Warming. It involves the price of eggs in Africa.

Some days I envy robots. When they mow the grass, that is all they do. Some days I take my gloom a step farther, and think my wife would be happier with a robot. My daughters are not. They insist on bringing boys home that make even me look sensible. These young men do know about snapping turtles, but only because apparently there is a snapping turtle in some video game. Many do not know how to mow a non-virtual lawn.

The last video game I played was called “centipede”, a quarter century ago. Since then I’ve been too busy in the non-virtual reality to even watch ordinary TV shows. The only reason I go on-line is to study meteorology. The only reason I am involved in politics is because “Global Warming” dragged me into it, when all I originally wanted to do was avoid talking about unsafe stuff like religion and politics, and talk about “safe” stuff like the weather.

Be that as it may, I am now neck deep in serious stuff, significant stuff,  involving the hot topic of Global Warming. So far there is no reward. It is the epitome of a spring without flowers. In fact it is proof gloom is wise. To delve into the internet in this respect makes me live in a sort of basement.

Gloom IMG_2909

There is no forsythia in the above picture.  No happy spring. I can search the web all I want and my wisdom just gets darker. The politics of Global Warming isn’t warm, and proves cold-blooded reptiles rule, almost.

Almost, but not quite, due to an occupational hazard you face, if you run a Childcare. When you deal with children you may be older and wiser, and understand the logic of reptiles, but children know something reptiles don’t, and can be forsythia even when forsythia can’t.Gloom 2 IMG_2920

You can have been working a solid week to nurse a good gloom into life, but then a child will ruin it in five seconds. So I guess I’ll be gloomy about that.

I am bemused by my self, and conclude
I was made on a day the Creator
Mixed up pots of stuff that held nothing rude
And made good men, but when done, still had more.
In the artist pot, there was not enough
To make one; in the engineer pot,
Not enough; and so on, but such stuff
Should not be wasted, and so He took the lot
And mixed all together, curious
About what the mix might turn out to be.
I think that I ought to be furious
For the mix that he made turned out to be me.
I’m a Jack-of-all-trades who can do nothing well,
But if you make the Lord smile, you won’t go to hell.

ALWAYS FEED YOUR CAMEL

Image

Camel startles child HAPPY

(I haven’t been able to find out who originally took this marvelous picture, in my searching of the web. They deserve credit. The timing is perfect. If anyone discovers who the original photographer was, please tell us in the comments below.)

(Apparently the photograph is from Mongolia. I bungled across the picture while researching the gloomy subject of the current Dzud in Mongolia, and it sure helped fight off my gloom.)

Sometimes intellectual arguments cannot reach us in the manner the above picture can. It is not that a picture is worth a thousand words; it is that no amount of words can persuade us to budge from a particular intellectual stance, for it not a matter of the head but of the heart. The word that describes being budged in this manner is “touched.” Our heart must be “touched”. The funny thing is that “touched” can mean “produce feelings of affection, gratitude, or sympathy in”, but (because it is beyond the intellect) it can also mean “slightly insane”.

My Dad had every reason to scowl
At the sun, but I was just a teen
And full of good advice. As round-eyed as an owl
I’d tell him that life was nice, for I’d seen
Sunny things. He’d then scowl at his son
But have to laugh. I’m not sure why. He’d say,
“A little bit of God is in everyone”,
And leave it at that, leaving me to pray
That I might understand how such a bitter
Man could beam, and be so spiritual,
Before I spoke my sermon. The glitter
I called proofs became strangely dull,
As the Dad who had been dark grew brighter.
My youth, and not my mind, was the enlighter.

MICRO-CRITTERS RULE!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JULY SNOW IN HAWAII AND AFRICA

There are shenanigans going on at NOAA, concerning adjustments made to the temperature record, which make recent years look warmer than they actually are, when compared to past years. Some suggest  this has been done for purely political reasons, because of growing disbelief in “Global Warming”,  and because of a political need to be able to claim things such as “Last May was the warmest ever.”  Rather than properly scrutinizing such claims, the mainstream media seems to merely take what it is told and to run with it.  Rather than report they regurgitate.

The scrutinizing is left to others, who find it quite easy to cast considerable doubt on NOAA’s new, adjusted way of measuring temperatures. I myself wrote a post the day after they came out with the scheme, pointing out it made little sense to take temperature readings from the sun-baked, mosquito-infested arctic tundra, where temperatures can easily top 90° F, and to use those land-based readings to guess what temperatures might be out over the ice-choked waters of the Arctic Sea, where temperatures seldom get up to 40° F.  Such “homogenization” makes no  sense, yet NOAA’s “new way” did it.

https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2015/06/04/arctic-sea-ice-refutes-global-warming-karl-et-al-report/

Another way of scrutinizing the “new way of measuring temperatures” is to compare it with the temperatures NOAA actually uses, when making forecasts. NOAA doesn’t want to use “adjusted” or “homoginized” temperatures, when  it runs its GISS model. It wants to use “real” temperatures, and to make sure they are as accurate as possible, because even a slight variance in the data put into the forecasting tool can make a big difference, with the difference getting larger and and larger as the model forecasts farther and farther into  the future.  (It is sometimes suggested that even a butterfly flapping its wing can make a difference, ten days down the road.) Therefore, over at the Weatherbell site, Dr, Ryan Maue simply made a graph of the “real” temperatures, used for real forecasts, and rather than the past  May being the warmest ever, it appears to be the “eighth warmest since 1978”.

Of course at times one gets fed up with pointing things out, and being utterly ignored. Rather than  reporting, the media goes right on regurgitating, seeking out hot places to report upon, and utterly ignoring the cold places. At this point I’m afraid I resort to less than level headed and spiritual behavior. Even though I’ve just come from church, and know I should be gentle when I point out errors, and only remonstrate in a  fatherly manner when I see a lack of truthfulness in others, I resort to sarcastic potshots. I’m not sure the Bible actually states, “Thou shalt not resort to sarcastic potshots”, but I think it is implied.

One of the best sinful potshots, which I confess I’ve succumbed to employing, is to simply counter the media’s silly reporting of every heatwave they can find with reports of snowfalls. The media avoids reporting snowfalls in their silly  focus on heat, and it throws a wrench in their works to even mention the white stuff.  For example, you can post pictures of a July snowfall atop Mauna Kea Volcano on Hawaii.

Silly Snow 1 2015-07-17snow04Silly Snow 2 ScreenHunter_2562-Jul.-17-18.37Now, if you were a good reporter you might mention that the observatory up there is at an altitude of 13,796 feet, and up that high, while July snow is unusual,  it isn’t unheard of. However that  would be mature behavior, and, because we have been reduced to playing tit-for-tat with an immature media, you don’t mention that. Instead you sensationalize, and report the National Park is closed, and the rangers have posted:

“The road to the summit of Maunakea is closed to the public at the Visitors Information Station due to icy road conditions at the summit. After road inspection this morning, the ranger reports ice on the upper summit ridge and switchback, the east/ west summit ridge, and the UKIRT-IRTF roads. He also reported mixed rain and snow, fog, there is an inch and a half of frozen snow on the summit and moderate winds. This message will be updated accordingly as conditions change. (Mauna Kea Rangers on July 17, 2015 at 5:55 a.m.)”

In this manner, rather than educating the public, you can take advantage of the fact the general public assumes Hawaii is warm, and create an impression. After all, the mainstream media is more interested in impressions than in reality, isn’t it?

In the same way, the general public assumes Africa is a hot place. There is no need to mention South Africa is far south of the equator, and has passes up at higher altitudes, or even that it is winter down there. Simply mention the words “Africa” and “Snow”, and beat the media at its own silly game by posting pictures like this:

Silly Snow 3 snow1Silly snow 4 snow3-henn-417x313OK. Now, to see if you have been listening, I am going to show you a picture of a snow-covered farm in southern Chile, in South America, where they had up to 80 cm of snow.   You have to invent headlines and a brief article. (The only stipulation is that you are absolutely forbidden from saying, “It’s chilly in Chile”.)

Silly Snow 6 20150714183254No! No! No! That was utterly wrong! First, you mentioned that it was winter in the southern hemisphere. That is utterly unnecessary. Then you pointed out southern Chilie includes Cape Horn and juts down towards Antarctica. That utterly spoils the effect. The only reason I’m not flunking you is because you did mention there was “up to 80 cm of snow” even though there is not that much snow in the picture.

I’ll  give you one more chance. Here is a picture from a railway station, yesterday in Australia:Silly Snow 5 466912-5e729cba-2c1a-11e5-aa8f-85f55b955825 What do you mean, “At what altitude was this picture taken?” Just who do you think you are? An honest reporter of the old school? Modern reporters never ask questions like that. Please remember, “regurgitate, regurgitate, regurgitate”.

If you are an alarmist, you might try suggesting this snow is actually warmer than snow used to be. There are some who will believe you.

Silly Snow 7 2A9B8C0400000578-3164774-Queenslander_Billy_Brislane_pictured_running_through_a_snow_clad-a-119_1437112686604However if you are a Skeptic, you must post all the pictures you can find of snow in July. It is actually a refreshing job, when it is hot and muggy outside. Here is a great resource, for finding all the cold, frosty, snowy news items the mainstream media always neglects to report:

http://iceagenow.info/