CORONA VIRUS –Micro-critters Still Rule–

Five years ago I wrote a piece for the “Watts Up With That” website called “Micro-critters Rule”, to some degree spoofing Alarmist’s contention that they completely understand the biology of the Arctic, but also marveling at the way life can colonize the most extreme landscapes. I stated life is rugged and can take on all challenges. In some ways this ran completely against the Greenpeace belief that nature is extremely fragile and we humans should be banned from walking on large parts of it, because we break everything we touch.

I began by bringing up something which always seems to disturb environmentalists who sail the Northwest Passage, which is that Nature has her own private strip-mine up there, bluffs of exposed lignite coal which have been self-igniting, combusting and producing a rank stench for eons, called “The Smoking Hills”.

In like manner nature produces the La Brea Tar Pits, the sulfur springs of Yellowstone, and the oil slicks of the Gulf of Mexico. Yet rather than extinguishing life, life steps up to the challenge, and chows down on noxious chemicals like candy. This is especially true of the smallest examples of life. Even in Yellowstone’s geysers, at temperatures approaching boiling, species of life kick back and call it home.

One particularly bleak landscape exists in the arctic, after the glaciers recede. It is a landscape devoid of organic matter: It is either rock scoured by ice, or else sand and gravel washed by thousands of years of ice-water. All organic matter has been transported hundreds, even thousands, of miles away to the south, and no carbon is available to form the building blocks of life, so such starkness doesn’t enter into Alarmist’s concerns about Global Warming.

All their focus is on another landscape, the “permafrost”, rich in carbon. The permafrost can be a surprisingly deep ooze made up of wet and incompletely composted topsoil, (which includes some mysteries, such as young plants strangely churned down far below levels one would expect to find them). The Alarmist fear was that Global Warming would speed up the composting process, causing the permafrost to burp and belch huge amounts of greenhouse gasses.

I wasn’t all that worried, for my own study of history led me to believe it was warmer in the Medieval Warm Period, and that, if the burping and belching of primal ooze didn’t lead to runaway warming back then, it would not lead to runaway warming now. However the Alarmists not only were worried, but some were panicked.

This led to a fight among Alarmists between the alarmed and the panicked, which interested me for I am always interested when my opponents eat their own.

The panicked were not worried about CO2, because it was a pipsqueak greenhouse gas compared to methane. Methane was a far more potent greenhouse gas, and methane would be sure to be belched by thawing permafrost, for it is belched as “swamp gas” by every other mire on earth. They were certain the planet could not handle the increase, and were quite angry other Alarmists were not alarmed enough.

However it turns out there is an arctic creature which actually chows down on methane. It lives not in the carbon-rich permafrost, but in those stark landscapes of bare stone and washed gravel and sand which are practically devoid of carbon. These micro-critters snatch methane from the air, and are the pioneers that colonize the wasteland, laying down the first traces of carbon which allow lichens to follow, which allow mosses to succeed them, leading to grasses and the finally the first willows and conifers. As far as these micro-critters are concerned, the more methane the merrier.

At this point I’d like to diverge from the direction my original article went, (which was to talk of other microcritters which no one suspected lived on the underside of arctic sea-ice), and instead to focus on the panic some felt about any sort of superabundance of methane.

Basically the panic was due to an incomplete understanding of the majesty of creation. In essence, we mortals are prone to leaping to conclusions. We think we have everything figured out, when in fact we have lots to learn. We are basically too big for our britches, and the younger you are, the smaller your waistline tends to be, and therefore the young have smaller britches and it is easier for the young to get too big for them. (Or, I should confess, this was true of me.)

As one gets older one experiences, like a weatherman, times when their forecasts are incorrect. One becomes aware they are not as smart as they think. This seems to be especially true when it comes to what must be described as “worry”. In the case of many, what they worried would happen never came to pass, but in my own life the very things I worried would happen did happen, and much to my surprise I didn’t die, nor merely survive, but actually benefited.

This brings me to the current panic about the corona virus. People are behaving as if worry is a reality, rather than a creation of our imagination. Rather than “Don’t worry; Be happy”, people say, “Do worry; Be unhappy.”

I will appear cynical, but I’d be dishonest if I didn’t point out that the people most interested in fueling the worry are those who suffer from the error of thinking they stand to gain, if others suffer. Some doctors care more about making money than healing, and some politicians care more about gaining power than serving.

The fact of the matter is that this is but one virus out of many. We are part of a world where we are exposed to countless virus every day, and countless bacteria as well. Some of these micro-critters are actually helpful to us. They help us digest our food, and help us remain healthy in other less-well-understood ways.

For example, children exposed to lots of dirt and even manure on a farm tend to have stronger immune systems than children who live in very clean environments. There is some evidence that, if the body is not challenged by outside virus and bacteria, its immune system goes haywire and attacks itself. This manifests as various “allergic” responses, which take forms as varied as mild sneezing, to asthma, to the immune system attacking joints, (arthritis).

This is not to say that children on a farm should not have tetanus shots, or shouldn’t wash food fertilized by manure. However one can go too far, and can allow worry to rule.

If you “quarantine” yourself to an excess, you are actually weakening your immune system. If you don’t go to the beach, you are not exposing yourself to a thousand micro-critters in the seaweed, and if you don’t play on the playground or golf-course you are not exposing yourself to another thousand. Just as a muscle gets weaker if you never work out, your immune system gets weaker if you never go out.

Therefore when the quarantine is lifted we should expect a surge in sniffles and fevers.

I can just imagine what the media will make of such a surge. They will suggest we should all rush back into quarantine, when it was the quarantine that caused the problem in the first place.

Before you leap to conclusions (and become too big for your britches) I’d like to give two examples when the obvious conclusion was incorrect.

When the bubonic plague was killing between a quarter and half the people in towns in Europe, it was noticed many Jews didn’t get the plauge. Therefore it was concluded Jews were poisoning non-Jews. Wrong. The simple fact of the matter was that the plague was spread by fleas, and Jews had cleaner households and fewer fleas.

During the polio epidemic of 1954 is was noticed that poor Mexicans didn’t get it. Therefore it was concluded chili peppers were the cure. Wrong. The simple fact of the matter is that polio is spread by water, partly by sneezed aerosols but also by unsanitary drinking water and swimming pools. Also, if you are exposed as a child the illness is far less severe, in most cases. Mexicans were exposed when young, while non-Mexicans were older, and suffered more.

In the above two cases one sees Jews saved by cleanliness while Mexicans were saved by the inability to be so clean. Cleanliness may be next to godliness, but one should not jump to conclusions and call dirty gardeners ungodly for growing flowers. Nor should we intentionally eat manure. We should not think we know it all. We should not be too big for our britches.

The expression “too big for your britches” actually was coined by the American congressman Davey Crockett about the American president Andrew Jackson (though Crockett called britches “breeches”.) This shows you the stuff we are now dealing with is not new. Politics brings out the worst, and, occasionally, the best.

The best politicians care more about serving than gaining power, just as the best doctors care more about healing than about getting rich.

In order to become worthy of the word, “best”, they obey an ancient spiritual law which asks us to love. Not only to “love thy neighbor”, but to “love thy enemy”. The best doctors take the Hippocratic oath very seriously.

Sadly, some in the current Corona Virus Crisis are more interested in power and money than they truly care about you and me. When China cut off all air traffic from Wuhan to other parts of China, but urged air traffic to other parts of the world, they were not loving their neighbors. And when pharmaceutical companies and their sycophants salivate over our tax dollars for research grants for vaccines that don’t exist, and peddle pills that cost over a thousand dollars, and attempt to suppress pills that cost a half dollar, they are not good Samaritans.

Opposed to such denial of spirituality are some doctors who take their Hippocratic oath seriously. Then we witness such good men banned from posting on Facebook. It makes the common man aware some non-spiritual people want to repress Freedom of Speech. It makes us worry.

Worry is unwise. Instead we need to simply trust in Truth, and do what good politicians and good doctors do, stand by the Truth.

You may be banned from Facebook, and lose social standing in other ways, and even lose your livelihood and join the poor. But, “blessed are the poor”. And also, “It is easier for an camel to fit through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to get into heaven.”

It is hard not to worry, and to even become paranoid, when we witness ordinary people expressing ordinary concerns being banned from Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or what-have-you. If you can’t handle feeling suspicious, do not stimulate your paranoia by watching the following statements of a formerly-famous female virus-researcher (whose statements are now banned from YouTube). (To make the link work remove the hyphen).

Personally, I’m very tired of paranoia. I’ve been dealing with it for more than a half century. When I was a boy my father, a surgeon, threatened the livelihood of psychiatrists by suggesting they didn’t obey the rules of science. They marshaled a nasty push-back, a concerted effort to prove my father was insane (and he did become very mad, about what they did). Therefore I am all too acquainted with how ugly life gets when you threaten another man’s precious purse, and my personal escape from it has been to have an empty wallet.

Now I’m old, and able to be glad I chose to be poor. Where others have lived ugly lives, mine has seemed beautiful to me. Where others cringed and responded out of fear of losing their precious purse, I’ve learned to understand that great line, “when you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose.” Of course, a man with a mansion will not listen to a man sleeping in a dented old car. He has eyes but cannot see.

Instead of attempting to argue with those who insist there is some benefit in harming others, I just look at the dirt, and at the micro-critters behind the Corna Virus. They are life, part of a creation created by a Creator who likes life, and sustains it as a reflection of what He is, which is above all Love.

The Corona Virus is but a solitary germ midst a vast pantheon of micro-critters we can’t see, part of an ebb-and-flow of life. To them a mote of dust in a sunbeam is a giant planet, and the interplay and interrelations between them all is a fabulous balance crucial to the crucible brewing life. The so-called “experts” in microbiology are fools, if they think they see more than the tip of a tip of a tip of an iceberg. And if they take it a step further, and audaciously insist they alone can come up with the “cure”, a patented miracle drug and/or vaccine they “own”, and that everyone should stay home until they come up with their miracle drug and/or vaccine, for the solitary germ called the Corona Virus, than even fools start to shake their heads in wonder, for even fools recognize they are not the Creator of life, and rather are part of the Creator’s creation. “Experts”, however, dream of power, control, domination, and of ruling all, when they cannot rule even a micro-critter.

People besotted by power think they control, but have no control over their own arrogance and, oddly, their own worry. China’s draconian responses are like a worried old lady’s. For example, it’s “One Child Policy” was based upon worry about overpopulation. Rather than solving a problem the One Child Policy created a graying population with too many old people, which requires new draconian responses. Behind all the “policy” is a disregard of life, and much cruelty, based largely on worry.

People who base their lives on worry’s fear often create the very situations they fear most. The law of unintended consequences kicks in, along with any number of Murphy’s Laws, and, if I ignore my own advise and fall prey to worry, I worry that the people who seek to “control” viruses, and through mandatory vaccinations to “control” people, (and perhaps even to “control” population by decreasing it by seven billion), will make some science fiction movies become real. The plot would have unexpected twists and turns, such as a virus mutating so that it only attacks the rich and powerful who think they are vaccinated against it. Also people who have little regard for life tend not to trust each other, and, just as Stalin “liquidated” and “purged” nearly every fellow communist of his own age whom he had initially called “comrade”, the plot would involve betrayal and backstabbing and the rich and powerful eating their own, and times would get darker and darker until…

Until humanity gets sick and tired of it. Perhaps hyperinflation would make money worthless, as cataclysms made power meaningless. At that point people would long for what was abandoned when politicians put power before service, and doctors put money before healing, and what would that be? Life.

Then, according to lore, the Creator of Life, seeing so many turn to Him, will ride down from the sky midst great glory to our rescue. Then the world will be returned to the way He intended it to be, where even the smallest germ reflects his Love. And, also according to lore, even if we die before this Great Day, we will be somehow revived, and will get to see it.

So….see you there.


It has seemed fairly obvious that China has seen fit to under-report the actual numbers of people who died in Wuhan province. I fear there are some indications they have not “slightly” under-reported the numbers who have died, but have “grossly” under-reported the failure of their health care system. The actual number of deaths may be in the millions.

I’m not sure why they chose to repress news of the extent of the tragedy, but the American news media chooses to repeat their disinformation, rather than questioning it. I’ve heard various theories as to why this is so. I’ve heard the Chinese don’t want to “lose face”, and that the American media stands to lose financial support if they question China. I have no idea if such speculation is true, and can only share my reasons for skepticism.

First, even when the factories in Wuhan were being closed down there were localized spikes in “carbon emissions”, as seen by satellites. It is suggested this indicates cremations were occurring at full blast. Far more burning was occurring than would occur if only a few thousand died.

Second, people who are dead do not renew their cell phone accounts. The number of people who failed to renew their cell phone accounts in Wuhan did not number a few thousand, but rather numbered up near 20 million.

Third, the initial expectation of what percentage of people who contracted the virus would die was around 3%. Such numbers are not plucked from a hat.

Fourth, the doctors in Wuhan who initially dealt with the virus were extremely alarmed. Their initial comments are preserved, though they were later publicly shamed, jailed, and forced to “confess” that they were “exaggerating” the dangers. Several of these doctors later died of the virus.

Fifth, the responses of President Trump make no sense if you accept the version of what happened in Wuhan now being broadcast by the Chinese media (and parroted by American sycophants). Assuming he gets information from other sources, the death toll being far higher than reported explains why he acted as he acted.

In other words, the news we are getting from Wuhan is “Fake News”. China does not want to admit they badly bungled the initial outbreak of the virus, and that a pandemic was raging before they knew it, and, (like a fire which is far harder to put out if allowed to spread), their healthcare system was unable to handle what it was faced with. Compared to the responses in places like South Korea and Taiwan, they look downright pathetic. I can only suppose their leaders now want to hide their inefficiency, fearing a public outcry, and perhaps even demands they be replaced.

The one good thing about the “Fake News” is that it made people less inclined to panic. Can you imagine how people might have behaved if they knew 20 million died in Wuhan? So many elite would have fled to Nantucket that the island would sink! (As it is, the little airport that flies people out to Nantucket has a parking lot crowded with cars that have New York plates.)

In the end the truth will leak out. China may seek to close the Wuhan internet, or heavily censor all postings, but cell phones will make their way to Hong Kong, and we will see videos from Wuhan, and I fear they will not be pretty.

LOCAL VIEW –Boston Bozo’s Bitter Backlash–With Monday Conclusion–

It looks like we are in for some real winter. This morning the thermometer read -3º F (-19ºC) on the sunny side of the house, and the wind in my face just plain hurt. Only my sense of humor calls this weather “a bit brisk”. It is dangerous.

Not that you can’t adapt to it, and take proper precautions, but amazingly few dress correctly. They attempt to dash from heated cars to heated buildings without spoiling their fashionable demeanor with all the woolen stuff that can make a slender woman look like she weighs 200 pounds, and messes up her hair, and makes metrosexual males look like the Pillsbury dough-boy with very skinny ankles. So, instead, they attempt to make it from their parked car to the door dressed like it is April, and practically perish in the wind. Bozos!

Fashionable demeanor? They wind up looking like crippled cats with their tails ablaze, as they painfully limp in super-fast-motion through powder snow above their shoe tops, with wind whistling through skimpy clothing. (It’s called “a lazy wind”, because it can’t be bothered go around you, and short-cuts right through you.)  Bad hair day? If the wind and static electricity doesn’t frizzle, the simple fact heating bone dry air seventy degrees creates indoors humidity around 5% can make the the most starched hairdo look like a mad scientist’s. This sort of cold takes dignity and grinds it under a cruel heel.

I suppose this idiotic behavior proves the Global Warming Alarmists were quite correct when they prophesied, “In the future people will not know what winter is like.” They were not false prophets. They just failed to mention they were not talking about the weather, but rather about the dumbing-down of the public to a point they don’t even know how to dress correctly when it is bitterly cold.

Forgive me if my tone is sardonic. You need to understand I have been taking a drubbing for over ten years, for simply stating the obvious, which is that Global Warming is not a crisis, but a weather cycle that lasts around sixty years, superimposed over a solar cycle that seems to last around 200 years. I have been called things that you wouldn’t believe for being a Skeptic, and have even been told I should be locked up. This does tend to make a man bitter. So does a wind chill of -25ºF.

I looked in the mirror when I came indoors this morning, and looked as bitter as the central character in this Boston Globe cartoon dated 1917.

My sister sent me the cartoon, after it was printed in the current Boston Globe. This actually surprised me. The Globe is infamous for printing only the news that supports the concept of CO2-caused Global Warming, and for utterly ignoring the evidence of the past, which tends to suggest “the only new thing in the world is the history you haven’t studied.” For them to allow even a suggestion we have seen the current weather in the past is highly unusual. They actually have deleted such suggestions from their various websites, in the past.

I wonder. Can the times, they be a-changing?

I wonder. Under a former president, (who I will not honor by naming), vast amounts of money our government does not have was printed, and handed out to any who would further the idea Global Warming was real. Science was degraded, reduced to absurdity. But now President Trump is horrifying people by turning off that faucet of funding. The Globe has written with great zeal how propaganda science cannot survive without billions of dollars being spent. Yet even the Globe must understand that, without funding, certain news is less profitable to be associated with. Not that they will ever admit such news was “very fake news”. But perhaps, slowly but surely, and by small increments, they are changing their “slant” and “spin” to a degree where they can allow evidence from the past to ink their pages.

I wonder. Is it too late? The dumbing-down of the public has been going on at least since Hansen testified before congress in 1986, if not longer. An entire generation of school-children has been brought up to blithely believe Global Warming is a fact. But the current blast of cold isn’t ancient history. It isn’t happening in 1917. It does no good for me to point out the real facts, the real history, the real temperature records from before Hansen wasted such unbelievable amounts of tax-payer money “adjusting” the actual temperatures recorded by actual people. The past doesn’t matter. What matters is the killing blasts coming south. Are we prepared to handle them?

One funny thing is that the only happy people in the above cartoon from 1917 are the plumbers. I met such a plumber yesterday, just inside the front door of my church, down on his knees. He wasn’t praying. He was attempting to thaw the pipes of a radiator. I asked him if he was busy, and he replied “Not yet.” He went on to say our heat was set too low, as are other households, and he expected that, as the arctic outbreak grew worse, he’d be working non-stop.

Sad. People turn down the heat to save money. But plumbers are not cheap.

My main hope is a “pattern flip”.  Old-timers call this a “January Thaw.” Our winter temperatures tend to bottom-out around January 19, but if you scrutinize the local temperature-graph one sees the bottoming-out isn’t a smooth curve. It is a bit like a roller coaster at the bottom of the yearly curve. Despite the fact 125-years of records tends to average-out yearly spikes, there is slight evidence (more obvious at some sites than others) of a slight January Thaw around January 11 and a greater one around January 22. However there is a lot of variability. Some years the thaws are brief and slight. A true “pattern flip” sees a cruel winter give way to a delightfully prolonged thaw. But…there is the worst case scenario to remember, when the thaw is skipped, and the winter just goes on and on and on until you are ready to scream.

I am old enough to remember the winters of the late 1970’s. (1976-1977 started earlier than this one, and went without a lasting thaw until late February). (1978-1979 started late, but amazed even the lobster-men of Maine by breaking some of their weather-rules, and freezing up harbors later than they had ever seen.) At that time the media exclaimed about Global Cooling and A New Ice Age.

I hope we don’t see that. I’m hoping for a “pattern flip”. That will give us enough cold to wake metrosexuals up, like a shot-across-the-bow, without really hurting them.

As it is, it looks bad for two to three weeks. An amazing reservoir of cold air was nudged south from the Arctic Sea and is now heading our way. A second reservoir of very cold air was bumped from Eastern Siberia up over the Pole, and via “cross-polar-flow” will likely follow the first arctic outbreak. After that? Hopefully the pattern will flip, and winds will stream up from the southwest.

For those of you who like maps, here is our current map:

The front down in the Gulf of Mexico and crossing Florida was the first arctic blast, which I suppose some will now call a “polar” front. The “arctic” front, holding a reinforcing shot of colder air, extends from south of us to a low over the Great Lakes called an “Alberta Clipper.” Waxing poetic, (all meteorologists are secretly poets), Joe Bastardi explained, “The emperor of the north likes to lay down a white carpet to announce his arrival, and that is what the clipper shall do.”

I won’t mind a clipper, for that tends to be the sort of snow you can broom away.

What I am more nervous about is the gap between the coming arctic out break and the following one. East coast blizzards can occur in such gaps. (Next Thursday).

We are actually fortunate because the worst cold is coming south to the west of the Great Lakes, and then turning east. It must cross the Great Lakes before getting to us, and those waters are still in the process of freezing. Until they freeze, they warm all air passing over, (and this causes enormous “lake-effect” snows to our west). By the time the cold gets to us it is only -6ºF rather than -30ºF.

If you are interested, here is our local forecast: (Temperatures in Fahrenheit). (Notice warming and snow next Thursday, followed by arctic blast. Storm?)

This will be rough, in terms of heating bills. The poor will get poorer. Some elderly will die in cold houses, and some homeless will freeze on the streets. Those who got rich promoting solar power will not care,  although those who thought they could retire to Florida may face face frost and snow, even there.

In terms of running my Childcare, we will venture out on hikes, but they will be short ones. If it is windless we will build a bright fire and let children play on the farm-pond’s thick ice. But even a slight wind can be very cruel, and I am not such a zealot about the outdoors that I risk frostbite. Legos are an acceptable alternative. Here is the work done by a boy aged four, today:

 It just goes to show you cold can’t stop the children.

(I’ll update this post with end-of-month statistics of what our temperatures actually were. They tend to be lower than forecast.)

Friday Update

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Clouded up before dawn and the temperature rose to -3° F, from a local low of -9°F (-23°C) around three AM. The sun was a brief glow to the east before settling to a light gray smear in the southern sky during the short, gray day. The temperature peaked at around 6°F, (-14°C) with the lightest dust of snow sifting in a light wind. I took a couple of boys out to whack a puck around the pond in the afternoon, not bothering with skates, for by the time they had them on my hands would have been frozen, and they’d want them off. We lasted 20 minutes.

It is interesting how much the forecast for next Thursday has changed.

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That is a shift twelve degrees downwards in 14 hours, and demonstrates the long-term reliability of models.

Here is the evening map. They did not bother draw in any fronts for the weak impulse that passed over and now is south of Nova Scotia. I call such subtle features “ghost fronts” because they persist although invisible. Don’t be surprised to see it reappear north of Nova Scotia tomorrow.  It is a piece of energy tippling along what theoretically is the warm front of the Alberta Clipper bogged down and occluded over the Great Lakes. (The “warm” water of the lakes is creating rising air, causing that stalled feature to persist, rather than fade away.)

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5:30 AM: Down to -7°F last night, but now up to -4°F as high clouds stream in from the west. Check morning map:

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Sure enough, the “ghost front” feature has reappeared north of Nova Scotia. I call these lows “zippers”. They ripple along a warm front when the main low has occluded, and are more obvious in Europe, when a big Atlantic gale stalls and occludes. Our occluded low is a weakling Alberta Clipper malingering over the Great Lake’s updrafts. A new Alberta Clipper is sliding east to its southwest, bringing us high clouds. The snow will likely stay south of us. Behind it is nasty cold. I wouldn’t like to be at the Patriot’s game this Sunday.

Sometimes these surges of cold from the north bring about an equal-but-opposite surge from the south, but the warmth is still milling about in the Gulf of Mexico, and as of now shows no sign of charging north as a storm.

The equal-and-opposite reaction that you can safely predict with a high degree of certainty is the reaction of Alarmists to the bitter cold:

Record Breaking Winter Cold? Don’t Worry, the Climate Explainers Have it Covered

Hansen, who formerly predicted that Manhattan would be awash under rising seas by now, is now predicting the warming he predicted will be hidden by brief mini-ice ages.

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These fellows seem to just make things up as they go. However, judging from the over-500 largely-sarcastic comments to the WUWT post, people are not buying it any more.

Boston Bozo 7 mckee-cartoon-warmer-colder-winters9:00 AM — Up to 3°F (-16°C) under gray skies. Heat Wave!

The forecast for next Thursday has switched back to snow, with a high of 21°F and low of -6°F. The model my phone is hooked up with (GFS?) must be struggling with a storm it sees going out to sea one run, and coming up the coast the next.

Why Worry? That’s not happening until sometime next year. Today I just need to deal with the gray.

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I thought we might get through a night with temperatures above zero when I awoke at three last night and temperatures were holding at 1°F, but by dawn we had dipped to -3°F, and we have now been below zero five straight nights. Last winter I think we only managed three nights the entire (kind) winter.

Yesterday (Friday) we managed to inch up into double digits, 11°F, but today we only managed 8°F. The occlusion that lay back over the great lakes was swung south by the flow from the north, becoming a ghost cold-front with a ghost-low and even a ghost warm-sector on it. (Not much of a warm-sector, but we’ll take any slight warming we can get, at this point.) One interesting thing about the ghost low is that it in part seems to be a Pacific impulse. If you look back to the start of the post you’ll notice a low crashing into the Pacific northwest. It then undergoes what I call “morphistication” as it transits the heights of the Rocky Mountains. One part of it attempts to reorganize east of the mountains, but higher up in the atmosphere some sort of reflection proceeds merrily across the continent as if the Rocky Mountains didn’t exist. As the Alberta Clipper moves off the coast (after giving us a quarter inch of dusty snow) the ghost low approaches Lake Superior last night:

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By this morning the ghost-cold-front (dashed orange line) is settling south to the east, but lifted slightly to the west as the ghost-low moves south of the Great Lakes. (The arctic front is way down to the Gulf of Mexico, and the lower part of the Pacific storm is still entangled in the western mountains.)

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By mid morning someone bothered put a small “L” on the map for the ghost-low.

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This evening the ghost is passing south of us, with little more than high clouds effecting us (this time; another time it might lead to surprises.) The old Alberta Clippers are brewing up towards Labrador, and a sneaky front is wheeling around over its top. Sometimes blobs of Atlantic air get injected into the arctic flow and we get odd, un-forecast flurries coming down from the north. However I think nervous eyes are more likely looking down at the lows rippling along the arctic front in the Gulf of Mexico, or at the lows malingering out in the Rocky Mountains. Me? I’n just hunkering down to endure the next arctic blast, which was held up slightly by the ghost impulse, but now has a free pass to come south.

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A quick glance at my cell phone sees the snow is back for next Thursday, for the moment. I suppose the low out by the Rocky Mountains will combine with some Gulf moisture and try to come north, but be shunted out to sea, but not far enough to allow us to escape the northern, snowy edge. And as it bombs-out in the Atlantic the winds behind it will make us even colder than we already are. Two days with zero (-17°C) for a high temperature! (Let’s hope the models are wrong.)

Boston Bozo 10 FullSizeRender This current blast of cold has our local rivers, which are rushing streams people like to kayak on to test themselves, more frozen than we usually see in the very depth of a cold winter, and we’ve barely begun.

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Happy New Year!


Down to -10°F last night (-23°C), which is the coldest we’ve seen so far. I celebrated a Greenland New Year’s last night (IE I went to bed at nine.) Therefore I could arise early and see the late dawn’s light the frosty windows.

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I promised I’d include some statistics, so here is the Concord, NH weather data. Concord is north of us, up the Merrimac River,  and because its is down in a valley it can be warmer than us on bright sunny days, and colder than us on still, cold nights, but usually it’s temperatures are close to what ours are.

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It’s interesting to look back to December 6, when temperatures touched 53°F (12°C) and December was averaging +4.3 of normal, and the ponds were barely skimmed with ice. Now the month concludes -4.6 of normal, and the ice on ponds is a foot thick. What the heck happened?

One thing that happened is that the winds turned north and stubbornly stayed from the north. Our “warm-ups” involve moderated Chinook air that had crossed an entire continent, and winds just north of west. We haven’t had all that much snow, but it sits and refuses to melt. The last five days of the month have averaged over 20 degrees below normal. That will dent your wallet, when you pay for heat.

Snow is still in the cards for next Thursday, (bitter cold powder, not the sticky stuff children like), followed by another arctic blast, and the long range is now hinting at another storm at the start of next week, followed by another arctic blast.

Boston Bozo 14 FullSizeRender

The map shows the remarkable magnitude of this arctic blast, with the cold front nearly across the Gulf of Mexico to the Yucatan.  (Also rising air over the “warm” Great Lakes continuing to fuel a weak low all their own.)

20180101 satsfc

It looks to me like the cold will not hurry to relent. Up at the Pole the flow continues from Siberia to Canada, refueling the source of cold air. However over at the Weatherbell site Thomas E Downs, V posted a very cool analysis of the bitter winter of 1917-1918, (week free trial available). The cold may have caused people back then to stay indoors in close contact, and contributed to the spread and mutation of the so-called “Spanish ‘Flu”, as troops were mobilized and sent overseas. The  pandemic reduced the world population by roughly 5%. Not the nicest winter, or spring. (My Grandfather nearly died of the ‘flu in France.) But one thing Thomas Downs points out is though the cold remained brutal right through January, the pattern-flip in February must have felt like heaven to people in the northeast USA. (Last 10 days of January to right; Mid-February to left.)


It also is likely that those who do best in harsh winters are those who avoid skulking indoors, and instead embrace the discomfort, and go out to take pictures, to show to their grandchildren. I’m glad people took pictures in 1918.

Boston Bozo 17 Screen_Shot_2017_12_30_at_10_14_02_AM.png

I’m going to post some pictures of our frozen streams and rivers. Stay tuned.

Fort McMurray Fire Vs Great Peshtigo Fire, 1871

When the forest fires came sweeping into Peshtigo in 1871, there was no advance warning. Winds may have been over a hundred miles an hour. The heat melted things that demonstrate the fire’s temperature was over 2000° F. The flames were over 200 feet tall.

Drought had the city fathers worried about fire, and they had even stockpiled water in tanks to fight fires, but this fire hit with speed we can hardly imagine.

Every building in town was built of wood, the bridges were wood, and the roads were paved with what?  Sawdust.

It is worth googling this fire, and reading some of the accounts. The fire came so fast that it was upon some before they knew what hit them. One report states 300 were burned in a popular tavern. For the rest, it was a race for the river.

Fire 1 WER2002-06

Fire 2 WER2002-07a

An excellent post describing the panic, (if not focused on facts and numbers), is here:   I think this is the most telling quote, from the Peshtigo Eagle, a local newspaper of that time:

“The frenzy of despair seized on all hearts, strong men bowed like reeds before the fiery blast, women and children, like frightened spectres flitting through the awful gloom, were swept like Autumn leaves. Crowds rushed for the bridge, but the bridge, like all else, was receiving its baptism of fire. Hundreds crowded into the river, cattle plunged in with them, and being huddled together in rise general confusion of the moment, many who, had taken to the water to avoid the flames were drowned. A great many were on the blazing bridge when it fell. The debris from the burning town was hurled over and on the heads of those who were in the water, killing many and maiming others so that they gave up in despair and sank to a watery grave.”

It is hard to rely on the casualty figures, but it seems over a thousand died. Nor did the survivors get much press or swift relief, for even as this fire started to die down the Great Chicago Fire was starting, and it was the front page news. Even less newsworthy was another huge fire on the other side of Green Bay. The area scorched was huge.

Fire 3 PeshtigoFireExtend

In other words, these things happen. Not only do they happen in the west of the USA, but they even happen in the east. If you don’t believe me, google “the 1947 forest fires up in Maine”.

I lived up in Maine in the 1970’s, and heard old-timers talk about what a freaky October that was, but I find few young people in New England even dream forest fires are anything but something that happens “out west”. The few who are slightly aware fires can happen in the east tend to have visited Arcadia National Park, which has a few placards that inform tourists how the flames leaped across the inlet and consumed the island before burning out with a strange fireball out over the sea (according to local fishermen.) That event is still dimly remembered, but nearly no one remembers another fire was worse in the most southern part of Maine, York County, where two towns were burned to the ground.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean to downplay how awful it is for the people of Fort MacMurray to see their homes destroyed. But at least they had warning, and could hop in a car that is much faster than a horse, a car that doesn’t freak out like a horse does. The picture below is from an amazing video shot from a car fleeing Fort MacMurray, that had to drive past flames I think would have turned most horses right around in their tracks.

Fire 4 160505132021-restricted-10-ca-wildfires-0505-exlarge-169

I should also point out Fort MacMurray’s bridges are not made of wood, and are not burning and collapsing, as people flee. Furthermore, the modern highway is paved with what?  Sawdust on fire? Or concrete that doesn’t burn?

In other words, we should be thanking our lucky stars. People are not burning to death. They are escaping, thanks to modern vehicles.

Fire 5 160505131628-07-ca-wildfire-0505-exlarge-169

I know it is very hard to feel lucky when you have worked very hard, and all you have worked for winds up looking like this:

Fire 6 _89613358_2f50a65a-21dd-4489-9134-ccbd19c3fbb3

But think again. All the stuff that was destroyed was just stuff. It’s the people that matter, and they were not destroyed.

This is something people need to remember, when the horizon looks like this, (and it isn’t a pretty sunset):

Fire 7 160505131400-04-ca-wildfire-0505-exlarge-169

In such a situation what is most important is people, not stuff. If you get out with your family alive, thank your lucky stars.

Suppose what reddened the skies at Fort McMurray was not a forest fire, but a volcano. Suppose no one got out alive, and all were buried in ash, and we could glimpse their last moments as they fled. Suppose it was Pompeii.

Fire 8 workers with casts of bodies at pompeii


Among the people frozen-in-time at Pompeii are many who obviously cared for the right things, and there is even the plaster cast of a couple kissing as they died. However a plaster cast that influenced my boyhood has apparently been lost. (Some plaster casts were exposed to the weather, if not tourists, or even to youths with a destructive sense of humor, and have crumbled away. There was no museum large enough to hold them all.)

The particular lost-cast I remember was a cast burned into my memory, which I have never been able to find on the web. The book-of-my-boyhood described the person as “The Miser”, and it was of a man laying on his stomach but with his head up, and in his right hand was a bag of money. As a boy I pitied that man, for I assumed he could have escaped the volcano, but had gone back for his coins.

Now that I am old I understand coins are not the only thing people give undue importance to, when they should be attending to what really matters. And I cannot resist stating, as a garrulous old grouch,  that I fear the mainstream media is especially guilty of running straight towards a sort of  “volcano” for things that do not matter.

It is not merely that the media attempts to sensationalize the sad happenings at Fort McMurray as being the “worst ever” when obviously things have been worse elsewhere at other times. Nor is it that the media labors to belabor that forest fires are due to “Global Warming”, which is not only scientifically absurd, but tiresome.

What really bugs me is that they fail to see how lucky we are. We are surrounded with proof we should be grateful, but they think there is no money in that. The only way to report,  (they never quite come out and state, yet epitomize), is to whine and complain things have never been worse. It infects their entire attitude towards life:  The way to get ahead is to say things have never been worse.

There have been a few times I myself have been so full of pity for myself that I have actually been inclined towards sinking to that mainstream-media attitude. Not that I ever sink so low as they live every day. Heck, my worst depression probably looks like a snow-topped mountain, to them.

But last winter I did have a major operation, and as you wake from such trauma it is hard to be an optimist. And I will confess to you that, yes, I did feel sorry for myself. However, as I wallowed in that post-operative frame of mind I was handed a book. Apparently someone I do not know, but who reads this blog and felt I deserved a tip even though I don’t have a “tip jar,” felt compelled to send me a book.

I can barely recall the book. I read it in a sedated state. But the book certainly was not a sermon. Rather it was a tale of the Galveston Hurricane, full of lurid details. And as I read how those families suffered, I stopped feeling so sorry for myself. I understood that I myself was not even close to being as bad off as those people once were. In fact I was downright lucky.

I can not do justice to how important this is. This post is but an acorn, and the idea I trace is like an oak. But, in a nutshell, it boils down to, “We are fools to feel sorry for things we should feel lucky about.”

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Comparison with 2006–

I was listening to some Bach yesterday to mellow out my temper, but unfortunately was on a PBS station which injected a bit of Climate Change hoopla into my brain before I could change the channel, the result being I was anything but mellow. The editorial was so full of incredibly distorted news that I’m surprised the speaker’s nose didn’t grow so long it poked out through the front of the radio.

Just for an example, every El Nino makes the waters warmer around Australia, which allows waters to get hot enough, in the shallowest reef-waters, to “bleach” some coral. The coral dies, and then comes back after the water cools. I’m not sure what percentage gets bleached, but it isn’t all that high. I’m not sure how long it takes for the reef to recover, but it isn’t that long. Like a forest fire in the Pacific Northwest of the USA, “bleaching” is not pretty, leaves a short-term wasteland, but is a part of the natural cycle of things.

I know all this because there was a “coral reef bleaching scare” around ten years ago, and I paid attention to a degree where I actually visited Australian websites. Some fellows at resorts were irritated that they might lose customers because people would assume the reefs were dead, while other fellows thought tourists would come if the guides played on a theme of “see the reef before it is too late.” However I soon understood the reefs were not anywhere close to dying out; bleaching had occurred before, and the reef always recovered. Some websites frequented by scuba divers were downright contemptuous of the media, and how ill-informed the reporters were, and how some scientists were pandering for funding, to study reefs the scuba divers already knew about. The divers joked the scientists were looking for a paid vacation. In the end the scare blew over and the coral recovered.

The PBS editorial I accidentally listened to was replaying all the exaggerations of the old scare, based around this latest El Nino. For example, in an area of sun-baked shallow water up to 99% of the coral can die. That is a true fact. However it is a gross distortion to use the “up to 99%” figure for the entire barrier reef. Yet the editorial said something along the lines of, “A professor and his students were reduced to weeping because up to 99% of the Great Barrier Reef had died.” That may not be an out and out lie, if you parse the sentence with a lawyer, but it gives a false impression, and therefore PBS seemingly is misusing its funding. It is suppose to educate the public, not bleat propaganda. (The (unnamed) professor is suppose to do the same.) (Weeping isn’t scientific, and weeping is known to, in fact, cloud scientific objectivity. A bunch of bawling students is therefore not a sign of a good teacher.)

The editorial went on to do the same with other facts regarding sea-ice. My favorite involved blithely explaining away the cold hitting Europe as “cold displaced by the heat at the Pole.”

Joe Bastardi at Weatherbell site  posted a Dr. Ryan Maue forecast map of snow in Germany this week.

Germany April snow 2 gfs_tot_snow_eur_29(1)

I was curious as to whether the forecast had verified, so I checked back to the Weatherbell site, and Joseph D’Aleo was (as usual) right on the ball. I learned temperatures over Germany were ten degrees below normal.

Germany April snow 3 ncep_cfsv2_4_t2anom_europe(2)

And Pierre Gosselin reported to Joseph,

“Winter transforms Germany’s Thuringia Forest into a winter wonderland today. Massberg webcam photo 11.07 a.m.

Newsite Thuringia Antenne here writes that winter has returned and will stick around for awhile, reporting of icy roads, accidents and cold. Meteorologist Dominik Jung of forecasts 5 to 10 cm of snow across wide regions of Germany, especially Bavaria and Thuringia.

The Rheinbrecke at Rees had to be closed for over an hour and a half early this morning due to accidents from icy conditions, the RP Online reports here.”

Germany April snow. Winter_massberg_April_26_2016

While it is true Europe is smaller than the Arctic Ocean, (3.931 million square miles versus 5.427 million square miles), when you include the area of Atlantic Ocean covered by the cold hitting Europe you wind up with an area larger than the Arctic Ocean. Nor is the entire Arctic Ocean above normal. Slightly less than half of it is, in fact, below normal.

Germany April snow 4 gfs_t2m_anomf_arctic_1

None of this was mentioned in the editorial, of course.  In the end it basically dissolved into a diatribe against people who vote out Alarmists, such as Australians. What was most nauseating to me was its “science-is-settled” attitude, which accepted guff as gospel.

I have my doubts about recent record-keeping, due to some being polluted by  “adjustments”, but, using those records, we are indeed feeling the effects of a large El Nino, and the air temperatures of the world are at “record highs” as the sea-ice-extent is brushing “record-lows.” I don’t find this particularly alarming, as records are set all the time, when the period when the records have been kept is relatively short.  The last El Nino did indeed set a recent record, for the central Pacific, but didn’t for the waters just off Peru. Off Peru the 1998 and 1982 El Ninos were “the worst ever”.  In any case, I’ve been expecting a lot of hubbub to be made about this El Nino’s mildness, and the word “unprecedented” to be used a lot, and the PBS editorial didn’t disappoint me.

What is always interesting to do is to search the historical records we have from the period before modern records were kept.  They are full of surprises, and in fact it was my study of the conditions the Vikings in Greenland lived under that first alerted me to the fact that the word “unprecedented” didn’t include a huge swath of history.

I started poking around in the past, looking at low sea-ice extent, and I didn’t need to go far to find an example that surprised me. It was the year 2006, which most think of as a year with higher ice-extent, because most focus on September and not late April. I found a good site for making such comparisons, where you can erase all the years you don’t want charted, and avoid facing a hopeless tangle of graphed squiggles. I thought it would be interesting to compare 2006 with 2012, (2012 being the year with the lowest extent on record). Here’s the site, so you can do your own comparing:

What is interesting is that 2012 was above normal, while 2006 was at record-setting lows, at the start of May. By September 2006’s extent was barely below 6 million km2, while 2012 was well below 4 million km2. In other words, all the hubbub about how low levels now are might actually mean we are in for a year like 2006, rather than 2012.

At this point one runs into a lot of talk about how much more solid the ice was back in 2006, versus how flimsy it is now. So I did a bit of checking. People have been skiing from 89 degrees north to the Pole for over ten years, so I went and looked at the “final degree” diary for 2006. Temperatures were milder that year than this year, and April  17 had this intriguing headline.


Reading a little discovered this:

We have crossed difficult leads of open water today, where we also had to use our two large sleds as bridge to get across. This we can do on two-three meter wide leads. We lash the two sleds together to make a catamaran, and push them out in the water. This raft floats well and becomes a stable platform; we then crawl across to the other side one after another. This system works on small leads, but on wider leads we need to find a crossing point.

We did 15.5 kilometre on our ten hour long day. It’s now 46 kilometres left to the Pole, and it looks like we will make it with good margin. At the end of the day however, we came to an enormous lead, 3-400 metre wide. We made camp nearby this lead, and Thomas and I went out to look for a crossing point for tomorrow. Pressure ridges and large leads have one thing in common; they don’t last forever. When we meet such leads there is just one thing to do and that is to walk along it until we find a crossing point. They can be several kilometres long but sooner or later the lead will close. The good thing about such leads is that they take up a lot of the movement in the ice and we hope conditions are more stable on the other side.

OK, that is 2006, when the ice was “thicker”.

Now let’s evesdrop on 2016

From April 14

A long and hard day. Lots of snow on the ice, and a lot of rubble. Not extreme, but it’s there all the time…

Final Degree 1 in-the-ice

From April 16

Beautiful day, sunny but cold. Also today heavy walking, but nothing so bad that we have to turn back. The drift has changed direction and has almost stopped up.

Final Degree 2 ice-2

Now, if I was like PBS I would never mention that they later came across open leads. I’ve made my point: The ice was thick and piled up this year. However, because I am in love with truth, I’ll mention the leads.

From April 17

Just slightly some wind, and it was in our back. Temperature probably around minus 30-35.

And drift was almost zero. We got into better ice, less bulky and with hard snow. We followed a new lead that went straight north for almost an hour.

From April 18

We skied 18 Km, same as the day before. Lots of snow in the ice, but good conditions. A lot of large pans.

From April 19

Sunny, a bit wind from the back, warmer aprox 25 under.

We met an open lead right away in the morning. Struggled there for a bit, but came over. After that we had to jump several cracks, and did a couple more leads…

We then meet the mother of all leads just before camp time! Luckily it had one point that was possible to cross. We went over and came into camp at 20:15.

There. That is what real reporting looks like. You report truth, not just what supports your theory.

The “Race Against Time” expedition experienced the same arctic landscape. They started further south, experiencing some leads at the start, but then fought through a great deal of pressure ridging, which they described as “boulder fields”. Later they too came across the leads close to the Pole, and displayed their unabashed bias (apparent throughout the trip) by stating, “Strangely warm day around -10C. 8 hours trekking today. Reached a huge expanse of water, which is bizarre so close to the North Pole.”

They should have read up on 2006, for then they would have seen that the temperatures they experienced were colder than 2006 through much of their trip. Rather than “strangely warm” they should have stated 10ºC  was”temperatures like 2006″. Also if they had researched they would have known that the adventurers in 2006 also found leads near the Pole. Maybe they would have even researched to a point they would have known there were leads near the Pole in 1987.  It’s not so “bizarre” after all.

Barneo 6C 3-subs-north-pole-1987

I always admire the people who ski to the Pole. The oldest has been 69 and the youngest has been, I think, 10. However the “Race Against Time” crew got a bit too maudlin for me.  On one hand they had to promote how “delicate and fragile” the arctic was, but on the other hand they had to make it sound like they were up against hardships only supermen could endure, and this made them describe the pressure ridges they had to haul heavy sleds over as being like the Himalayas. Wrong.  Making pressure ridges sound huge is politically incorrect, if you want to promote the idea all the ice is melting.  They forgot the political cause, in their lust for self-aggrandizement.

Fool Ranulph

All I can say is, “Put on a hat, you fool!”

To return to more mundane matters, the last “whirl” faded away from the Pole, pumping a high behind it. This has cut off the export of cold down into the North Atlantic, but not before the trough mentioned at the start of the post was filled to the brim with cold. That trough will slowly drift across Europe to the east, and some milder temperatures will finally return to Europe from west to east as that trough moves to Russia.

It looks to me like Pacific air may try to generate the next “swirl” at the Pole, but the models suggest that low north of Iceland will be the next low at the Pole, splitting the high pressure in Frem Strait in half. Hmm. I guess we’ll see what we see.

O-buoy 13 has been experiencing dull weather, cloudy but with little snow, and steady temperatures at -10ºC.Obuoy 13 0429 webcam

O-buoy 14 has been producing the better pictures, and reminding me of what originally attracted me to these cameras. (Beauty). Temperatures have been going through a diurnal swing between -7ºC and -15ºC. It’s gradually clouding up.

Obuoy 14 0427 webcam

Obuoy 14 0429 webcam

Things remain fairly dull, usually, until the thaw starts, but perhaps the Alarmists will give me more to write about.



Bill 1 Screen_shot_2015_06_17_at_7_15_36_AM Forgive me. I’m just practicing distorting truth, just in case I want to try to get a job in the mainstream media.

The above picture is actually a graphic created by Joseph D’Aleo at his excellent Weatherbell Blog to show how small tropical storm Bill was, as it came ashore; IE: Twelve Bills could fit in the state of Texas.  One of the larger Pacific super typhoons could cover the entire state. I’ve seen complexes of summer thunderstorms bigger than Bill.

Of course, a small storm doesn’t sell papers, or get you hits on your blog, and therefore some feel it is acceptable to hurl around superlatives like children whipping pillows about a bedroom. Perhaps too many young reporters watched too many commercials when young, and feel dishonesty is the American way.

It isn’t. Falsehood leads to confusion, and bad engineering. Just as an engineer would not want to build a bridge with false figures, any sort of “social engineer” should understand that “social engineering” will fall down in a heap if it is built upon falsehood, (especially the falsehood “the ends justify the means”).

For this reason reporters are under an unwritten obligation to sift through falsehood and seek truth. They are not suppose to be the dispensers of bogus news, mere sock puppets of editors who are themselves puppets. When even an infallible Pope comes out with a statement about Global Warming, reporters are suppose to do some fact-checking.

Reporters, and also scientists, need to have some pride. Truth is is worth the battle.

Nor is reality boring, if you do the work and leave the virtual world of your computer to gather facts. Even a small tropical storm like Bill will have an area of heavy rain, and ten inches of rain is a royal pain for those upon whom it falls. There is a story there, if you go and dig for it, (or slosh about for it). It is sheer laziness when reporters can’t be bothered, or only drive to a local beach and pretend to struggle against a howling wind on camera, when it is in fact merely a breeze. (One of my favorite bloopers shows a reporter reporting from a “flooded parking lot”, and as he exclaims with hyperbolic eyebrows an elderly lady calmly strolls across the parking lot behind him, and the water isn’t even up to her ankles.)

In any case, perhaps I am no one to talk, considering I used such an absurd headline to get your attention. And perhaps that is what the Pope is doing today: Getting some attention.

In truth, Bill is merely a tropical rainstorm this morning, moving up through Oklahoma, heading towards Ohio, where they can use the rain.

Bill 2 rad_c_640x480 This is not to say Bill isn’t still very dangerous