There was the usual sensationalism about a big storm off the California coast, replete with the usual fabulous inaccuracies. Yes, it was a big storm, and all such storms are wondrous in their way, but there is no need to go completely off the deep end. “Reporting” has become synonymous with “a-tither”. It seems reporters fear they won’t get any attention if they report an “ordinary” majestic storm, and therefore need to bulge their blood vessels as they speak, and hop up and down. Unfortunately, when they behave in this way to excess, it has the effect of “the little boy who cried wolf”. People get jaded and stop paying attention even when reporters paint themselves red and do back-flips. It is a pity, for the majesty of a majestic storm ought to be appreciated.
The impressive image above is actually as the “bomb” has already started to weaken. It had been as low as 950 mb and in the above image it has already weakened to 961 mb. Also it was not going to charge ashore, but rather drift north, weakening further.
What was interesting to me was not the storm’s magnitude, but the fact it formed so far south. Such “bombs” are actually common further north, but few pay attention to them when they are far from centers of population. In the Pacific they tend to be categorized as “Aleutian” lows, and in the Atlantic as “Labrador” or “Icelandic” lows, and they are amazingly intense storms few notice but ships at sea and odd people like me. For example, here is a massive storm up north off Alaska in the Aleutians barely a week ago:
That is a 956 mb low, but did you see any headlines? Or how about this 954 mb Atlantic monster, currently rolling straight towards England with Hurricane force winds:
If the American media saw such a storm coming right at them they’d get blue in the face, but British phlegm apparently isn’t entirely extinct, or perhaps being fifteen degrees latitude north of California makes them more used to monster North Atlantic Storms. This one will likely curve north just as the one in California did, lashing the Outer Hebrides (which always get lashed.) Also one thing I have noticed about these brutes is that they tend to reach a climax out to sea, and usually weaken rapidly as they approach shore, and civilized areas. If they did not do so it is likely the civilized areas would not be civilized, for civil people would have decided to bail, and go civilize more congenial environments. In fact, at certain times in human history (for example during the Little Ice Age), a lot of people did decide to bail out, and migrate elsewhere, and one reason is that these monster storms did not stay off shore, and rampaged where they were not wanted.
The current storm off California is actually well behaved, and staying off shore, and when last I looked had weakened to 976 mb. However it did swing copious rains into California, which messed me up. Why? Because a certain “indicator” I was using to figure out my own weather, in the northeast of the United States, was “drought in California.” That “indicator” received a bullet between the eyes, because the drought is over and now they are fretting about floods.
O well. If you dabble with meteorology and are even remotely honest, you expect surprises. Only complete buffoons are “sure” about what the weather will be, and anyone who claims climatology is “settled science” is a bald-faced liar. The subject has so many variables that even variables have variables, and models run on billion dollar computers have to leave some variables out, or else their creators would have to build trillion dollar computers.
I’m not so rich, nor likely to become rich writing paragraphs like the above one. Such truth gets one shadow banned, if not censored. But I don’t dabble for the money. Even as a bum sleeping in my car I still scanned the clouds, and was thirsty for hints about the future.
With my “drought in California” indicator all shot full of holes, I have to turn to other “indicators”, and one is that the California “bomb” appeared so far south of the Aleutian islands. This indicates a huge shot of frigid Siberian air was sucked south and is chilling the Pacific Ocean. Not that the North Pacific is below normal, but the “warm blob” sea surface temperature anomaly in the North Pacific is no longer a cherry red, and in places is yellow, which is an anomaly close to normal:
Also, when the Pole is robbed of arctic air, plumes of milder air are sucked north to replace the departed air, and such plumes reach northward from both the Atlantic and Pacific side, currently.
While Alarmists tend to delight at “warm” invasions of the arctic, they fail to notice how swiftly the warmth in the above map is lost to outer space. (I guarantee you there will be little sign of the two plumes by next week’s map.) They also fail to notice the extreme cold is bumped off the Pole and displaced south to East Siberia and the Canadian Archipelago, where it is in a position to attack China and the United States. Lastly, they fail to calculate, in their “albedo” equations, snow falling far to the south of where it usually falls, where the sun is far stronger. “Albedo” doesn’t matter much north of the Arctic Circle, for the sun has set for the winter, but it does matter in more southern latitudes.
However the “indicator” I currently am falling back on has nothing to do with maps. It is a she. It is (or was) a chain-smoking cook and cleaning lady my parents employed back when we were rich, back before our troubles came. She was from Prince Edwards Island, and was more familiar with the wild nature of Labrador Lows than southern people, and would regale me with tales of how the winds would drift snow right over the tops of houses. On two occasions, when I was bewailing how snowless the Massachusetts winter was, she drew deeply on her cigarette, shook her head, and midst a cloud of exhaled smoke stated the warmth was likely a sign we were about to get buried. On both occasions she was proved correct. The years were 1967 and 1969, and the first saw, as I recall, a storm called “The Hundred Hour Snow”, and the second saw a duo of February storms build snows over three feet deep, in the suburbs of Boston; I recall it because in 1969 both storms were called once-every-hundred-year storms, and I didn’t know you could have two once-every-hundred-year storms in a single month. I also recall it taking a long time for a teenaged pal and myself to extract ourselves from a deep drift where we were wedged up to our armpits, after we dared each other to jump into it from a third story. Lastly, both events were preceded by remarkable warm spells. (I recall sunbathing in January, with my shirt off.)
How can this happen? I suppose the jet stream becomes “loopy”, and can bring first warm air far to the north, and then bring cold air far to the south.
I also have learned about something called, “telleconnection.” What this idea suggests is that a downward dent in the jet stream relaxes north only to rebound south again, at a more eastward longitude.
Hmm. A unusually southward storm off California might be followed by a unusually southward storm to the east. And that would include me. And then? Then that “trof” would relax north and rebound as a big storm in Europe. Possible?
I confess such powers baffle me. On one hand they seem to work like the squishy toys kids have at my Childcare, where, when you press in at one area they bulges out at another, but at other times they behave like waves, which can do bizarre things when crests match up with crests, and troughs with troughs, and then a crest cancels a trough when they match up. I’ve seen situations where the wake of a boat comes in, bounces off a pier, and heads back out, and, as the incoming cross the outgoing, the water alternates from being completely flat to peaks three feet tall to flat again in mere half seconds.
So I tend to just observe without claiming to understand.
In the meantime we are enjoying a remarkable thaw. The crushing two feet of heavy, wet snow we got before Christmas, and near-record bone-chilling blasts we got right after, have relented. Near-record cold has been followed by near-record warmth, and the snow-cover vanished. Now the cold is starting to seep back from the north, but where California gets howling winds we experience wafting airs, or calm. Where the storm off California has “weakened” to 976 mb, the storm departing the east coast has “strengthened” to a pathetic 1006 mb.
According to certain theories involving “teleconnetions”, the map will be reversed, somehow. There may even be a Labrador Low way down south near New York City, like the blizzard of 1888, stunning the city people with four feet of snow. It makes me wonder. How can such power appear from such a weak-looking map?
I can’t explain how it happens. But it does happen. Power is not a thing mortals understand as much as they flatter themselves that they do. People are as hard to predict as the weather, and a study of history is full of dramatic rises and equally dramatic falls, with the one constant being that the people who think they can predict who will hold power and where power will shift get fooled.
I’ve been grousing a lot lately because aging has effected my personal supply of power. Or I thought it was aging, as I huffed and puffed just walking through deep snow. It seemed a triple whammy of china-virus, common-cold and ‘flu had aged me, for once I was over the trio I was much weaker. Then at my Childcare I noticed first one, and then another, four-year-old boy walking like an old man, after they were supposedly “over” the ‘flu. Lastly, a parent who took their child to an “urgent care” facility (because her child wasn’t improving) was told by the nurse there that the current ‘flu, “often persists for fourteen days.” Only then did I do some counting on my fingers and realize I was only at day fourteen. No wonder I felt so powerless!
Of course, when you run a business the buck stops with you, and when everyone calls in sick you have to show up. As boss you have the power, but at times you wish you didn’t.
Today was suppose to be my day off, but a state inspector (talk about power) showed up and told us we had to lay off a splendid, young worker, as certain paperwork was incomplete. At age seventeen you don’t have to get a “background check”, but at age eighteen you do. Apparently we abruptly had a “possible sexual predator” on our staff, which is a serious offense in the world of bureaucrats. I withheld my views, (but it seemed to me a person was guilty until proven innocent.) In any case, abruptly I had to work a nine hour shift.
My personal supply of power was low, for I’d worked hard the day before and was planning to recharge my batteries with rest. Now I abruptly was in charge of a small mob of three to five-year-old children.
The feeble low pressure in the above map was suppose to give us rain showers, but just enough cold air seeped south to turn the raindrops to fat, lazy snowflakes, the world outside turned white, and soon a fall of sticky wet snow had built past an inch in depth, and as I brought the kids outside into the playground they all wanted me to build them a castle.
Fat chance. I was so tired I was barely able to reach down and scoop up snow. But I did crouch down and show them how to start rolling a snowball. Somewhat to my surprise, they all began rolling snowballs. Perhaps it was because the snow was perfect, but it seemed silly to even attempt rolling snowballs, for the snow was so thin. Undaunted, they denuded the playground of snow in their zeal, rolling numerous snowballs.
Mind you, I was too old and tired to supply the power. The power was supplied by children who average four years old.
I think they could have completed their castle, but nature failed to supply them with enough snow.
After two hours of non-stop work, they ran out of gas. Drenched and exhausted, they were ready to go in for lunch. They were also ready for naps, which I appreciated.
As they slept in their innocence I found myself contemplating the strange mystery of power. If I was younger and stronger I would have rolled the balls for them. If I was richer I might have paid a staff to roll the balls for them. But they did it without pay, and with very little prompting. They displayed power beyond the control of the so-called powerful, and they are only four years old.
Power arises from unexpected places.
I'd bail out, but I own no parachute.
I can't face the music, when I can't play.
Life has some nerve! How dare it refute
My theory that it can't wind up this way.
Leave it to saints to be lunch for the lions.
I'll take a happy ending, for starters.
I want to see bad guys clamped into irons.
I don't want good guys to end up the martyrs.
Don't get me wrong. I know well the story
How from our disgrace a poor soul is lifted
And, shedding all shame, rises in glory
Praising the Lord, but I'd rather be gifted
By seeing the glory this side of my tomb
As on charging white horse God destroys all this gloom.
Recent events have me shaking my head, and the odd thing is that I don’t have to give examples and explain what I mean. People simply nod.
How stupid do the reporters think we are? When a person can be seen on YouTube stating X, and they report the person stated Y, do they think people do not notice?
The only person who fails to notice such a discrepancy is a person who never checks YouTube and who only watches the TV news. In other words, an elder. An old fart like me. Yet even I got so disgusted with the discrepancy that I bailed on watching anything on TV, and started watching YouTube. I even meddle with Twitter a bit. And despite all attempts to censor those forums, they are like a leaky boat. Enough seeps through to know you are on salt water.
It is astounding how the viewership of network news has plummeted. Either a lot of old folk are kicking the bucket, or even old folk are getting fed up with the discrepancy.
You would think the reporters would look at the statistics and say, “We need to report differently.” Amazingly, they don’t. The more reality states X, the more ferociously they report Y.
At some point one wants to ask the reporters this simple question: “Have you no shame?”
While being rolled down a hospital corridor in a gurney on a Thursday evening early last February, it occurred to me that sometimes avoiding stress can be a stress in and of itself.
It reminded me of when I was a kid and would try not to think of my tongue. The more I tried not to think of my tongue, the more I noticed it. The more I tried to position my tongue in a place where I wouldn’t feel it, the more I felt it. It would just about drive me mad, and it took a supreme act of distraction to break my mind free.
The same sort of thing can happen at my Childcare, when I get some children’s-song stuck in my head: “Good morning! Good morning! And how do you do? Good morning! Good morning! I’m fine. How are you?” To an advanced poet of vast learning like myself, having such drivel repeating over and over and over again in my brain blotched my sense of dignity. It required a serious antidote. Whisky got expensive, so I tended to resort to a sort of spider-solitaire on my computer that allowed one to reverse moves when losing became apparent, and to attempt a different course of action, and to eventually “win” the game, though on a few occasions I’d have to back up and try over again a hundred times, and “winning” took over a week. The intense concentration involved got my mind off everything. I called it “zoning out” and it had its benefits, but my wife could become exasperated when I “zoned out” too much. Eventually I decided “zoning out” had the traits of an addiction, and was as bad as whisky, and I erased the game from my computer.
Ever since I’ve been in a sort of withdrawal. I work too much. I can’t get my mind off what needs to be done next, and on a farm, especially an old rundown farm, the work is endless. A thing I call “the list” gets stuck in my head, like a song. The struggle then becomes to avoid burnout.
That is the point when “relax” starts to appear on “the list”. However, it is like writing down, “Don’t think of your tongue.” You can’t relax when you are uptight about relaxing.
This issue gets exacerbated by aging. On one hand you can’t work as fast, while on the other you are running out of time. When younger, “running out of time” meant I’d work faster, but when you get older there is no such thing as “faster”. When younger I would drive myself and chain smoke, but now I’m paying the price for all the smoking I did when younger. Due to compromised lungs, it takes little to make me huff-and-puff, and I’m forced to pause. I don’t want to sit down though. Another attribute of aging is that limbs stiffen up swiftly, and if you sit down, you may find it hard to get up again. Therefore, the trick is to “pace yourself”, and to simply stand and wait until you catch your breath, and then work until the huffing-and-puffing begins again. In other words, it is still possible to drive yourself. You’re just a lot slower about it. What this means is that, even when it looks like you are relaxing, you are not.
The thing you have to do, as you reach-your-limit at a point where less work is accomplished, is to do a wonderful thing called “delegate”. I always found delegating hard to do, as I am a do-it-yourself type of person. I found it hard to ask for help, (or even to ask girls to dance, many years ago.) (The only “asking” I managed when young was the now nearly-forgotten art of hitchhiking.) However, over the years I slowly learned how to ask for help, and to reward the good people who helped me, until (with much help from my wife) I became a small businessman with an actual “staff” of helpers.
But then a madness hit our nation, which is in some ways a fierce war everyone is pretending isn’t happening. I see it as a war between Globalists and those who believe in what the United States stands for.
If one bothers to read the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the United States is very clear about what it stands for. Globalists, not so much. But, as best as I can tell, Globalists feel there would be no war if there was only a single government, and even that there would be no disagreement, if there was only a single government. Preposterous, I think. It is like saying marriage wouldn’t have any arguments if there was only a single spouse. It might be intellectually true, but it is stupid all the same.
The stupidity of Globalism strikes me as similar to the stupidity of communism, which has brought great misery to beautiful people and beautiful lands, wherever it has been tried. I’ve studied those disasters, and I notice a great difference between the way the Founding Fathers of the United States and Communists regarded small businessmen like myself. Thomas Jefferson stressed the importance of what he called “independent small farmers and artisans”, while communists loathe such people and deem them a “counter-revolutionary petite bourgeoise” which must be purged to make society healthy.
To me it has seemed that the ridiculous pandemonium called the “coronavirus” has in some ways been aimed at ruining small businesses (as well as small churches and small schools). Nothing about the “lock-downs” made the virus less lethal, but it did bankrupt many businesses (and prevent worship and learning.) The intent of the “lock-downs” increasingly seems malevolent, and people who say so out loud no longer sound so much like crazy people lost in conspiracy theories, (which may be why the censorship of such voices is increasingly desperate).
I like to think I am one of the “small, independent farmers and artisans” that Thomas Jefferson liked, and also one of the “Kulaks” whom Stalin despised. This blog describes one man’s view of enduring (and hopefully surviving) what seems like an effort to irradicate individual effort and replace it with a sort of “collective” mentality. One element of this attack seems to be aimed at making it harder for small businesses to find help.
One frightening attack on the supply of labor is the problem of Fentanyl. Even when the Coronavirus closed churches I was part of a small group which went right on meeting, (sort of under the radar), and the purpose of this group was to be a sort of AA for the addicted, and at one these meetings a young man told me a story that shocked me. He said he had to comfort his mother, because she was upset when she had to attend her first funeral of a classmate, and she, in the blindness of her grief, had moaned, “You don’t know what it is like when the person who has died is not an old-timer but instead is your own age.” He responded, “Mom, I do know what it feels like, for I’ve been to thirty-two funerals for people my age.” This opened my eyes to the fact we are midst an actual war, with our youth actually dying.
Another attack on the supply of labor was to offer coronavirus “benefits” which made it more lucrative to be unemployed than to work. I’m glad such seductions weren’t around when I was young and loved leisure, for I found it hard enough to push myself to work as it was; (asking for a job was as hard as asking a girl to dance.) I don’t blame any young person for taking the higher-paying “job”. Why should a young person work a job that pays $300/week when the government pays $600/week for sloth? In a sense the young were being bribed from the world of “small farmers and artisans” to join the “collective”, and the Swamp could afford such a non-productive strategy by simply printing money, with all the inflationary dangers that entailed.
In any case, right when I needed help, help was harder to find. Right when aging increased my limitations, and I could do less, I had to do more myself. My wife and I, on a regular basis, talked about simply closing our Childcare, but we couldn’t really afford to. Also, I felt like I was in a war, and closing my small business would be letting the bad guys win. I had the desire to go down fighting. And so, during the two years we’ve been fighting the coronavirus war, this blog has inadvertently been a recorded history of how free people respond to tyranny.
For me the response of free people has been to find a way to keep right on doing what free people do, in a way under the radar (and under the table) of new rules and regulations. If school is outlawed, homeschool. If church is outlawed, hold many “small groups”. If church suppers are outlawed, hold smaller suppers. If restaurants are closed, find a way to order special food and tip highly. If choir practice is banned, record an online choir of a hundred, separate, “socially distanced” voices, and use virtual technology to combine all the voices and blast a mighty chorus, bigger and better than before. (Some of these “virtual choirs” are utterly amazing, and also represent a spiritual form of counterattack.)
The war we are within is a bizzarre war. It is an invisible war. It is a war that small businesses like my own may be winning. The communist mentality never expected such a pushback. They expected that when they shut schools, I would close my Childcare. My militant counterattack was to tell them “Go f— yourself” and remain open, without masks or vaccination mandates. I was very warlike, but why? Because I was and am kind to small children. (And they are not.)
However, some do die in a war. It is what makes war be war. Though people sung “When Johnnie comes marching home again” as soldiers marched off to our last Civil War, every graveyard in New England attests to the fact many Johnnies never came marching home. Their bodies are not in the graveyard. Their bodies are buried far away. But monuments covered in lichen attest to their sacrifices. Not only the bad guys die, in a war.
Usually, it is the young who are the cannon fodder, but in this bizarre Civil War it may also be the old. I thought of this when, rather than protecting the elderly, New York’s Governor Cuomo imported coronavirus patients into elderly housing, even when Trump made hospital ships available. The infected victims did not need to enter assisted-living facilities. The elderly should have been protected, but Swamp did the exact opposite of what should have been done.
This stupid choice shortened the lives of tens of thousands of senior citizens who deserved better. Some of these elders may have been senile and might have had little wisdom left to offer, but even these deserved better than they got. Other elders had many years left to live and were as sharp as tacks yet were banned from even seeing their own family. Meanwhile the Swamp saved a lot of money, because treating such goodly elders in the kindly manner (which elders had worked long and hard to pay for [and had in fact earned]) cost the Swamp at least $100,000/year. If you have 10,000 elders die of the coronavirus you therefore have saved the Swamp a billion dollars. When money talks, compassion walks.
Money has never been able to talk to me in that manner. I grew up in a wealthy town and know how hollow the core of wealth can be, and how marrowless is the bone. Not that money is evil, but love of money is evil. It takes the “love of money” to think that killing 10,000 of our smartest citizens (and depriving them contact with their loved ones even as they die), results in any societal “good”. It only “makes” a billion dollars from murder. What could be eviler? What could be more an “act of war”?
It wasn’t merely New York that “accidentally” imported coronavirus into the very places which should have been most protected. Massachusetts made a billion, New Jersy made a billion, and you could go on from there. Call it genocide or senior-ocide, I call it disgusting and an act of war.
What a joke it is that, in such cases, rather than the young being cannon fodder, it is the old geezers like myself who may go down, in this idiotic war. But there have been days I confess I don’t get the joke anymore and fear I myself may become a casualty. I’ll be just one more closed small-business. Just like the little, nearby restaurant run by a grandmother. Another empty store-front, killed by the Swamp. I’ve read that 40% of all restaurants in New England have closed, to prevent the spread of a virus by using a strategy which scientists knew from the start wouldn’t work, as the virus kept right on spreading.
My hope is that, with so many restaurants closing, there must be a lot of waitresses who might be inclined to work at a place like mine. I’ve always liked waitresses because they work for less than minimum wage, with the expectation “tips” will make up the difference. They believe if they are kind others will be kind in return. That is so much nicer than communism, and indeed is more Christian than some Christians I know, though many waitresses profess to being Atheists or at least Agnostics. In any case, I do have hope.
But in the meantime, I have to work with a depleted staff though I’m getting too old to be working so hard. And I confess I may not have what it takes. I do like the idea of dying with my boots on, and if it happens, I figure I’ll just be a battlefield casualty. Just a statistic in this invisible war.
Winters are hard this far north, and the past one tested me a lot with frozen pipes and failing heating systems and gloppy, heavy snows I had to remove from driveways and fire-entrances. With January past and the maples feeling the first stirrings of sap, I felt I’d done a decent job, for an old geezer, and gave myself a pat on the back. As February began, I thought I had, at long last, arrived at a morning where I could sit back and write poetry. All was ordinary at first, until I went to use the toilet and noticed the water in the bowl was not clear, but gray. I questioned my wife, “Why is the water gray?” She said, “I don’t know, but the toilet made a funny sound.”
I was very annoyed, and griped, “What the heck did you do?” As if it was her fault. When I turned on the bathroom sink faucet the water shot out like a firehose and shifted from clear to jet black to clear to jet black again. Foolishly I repeated, “What did you do?”
As I headed to the cellar she got in my way, inquiring “Why must you always blame me?”
I gently removed her from my path, apologizing, and saying “Something’s gone wrong.”
In the basement I brushed the spiderwebs from the pressure dial, and saw it pegged out at 120 psi, when the system is supposed to run between 40 and 60 psi. I hurried to the circuit breaker and shut off the well-pump. Then I went upstairs and ran the faucets until the pressure resumed normal levels. I decided the black water was because the extreme pressure cleaned the inside of the pipes, for it stopped happening when the pressure dropped. Then I went down to the cellar to look at the pressure switch, and saw it was burned out. Fried. Lucky the house didn’t burn down. It had melted into an “open” position, so the well pump didn’t stop pumping, and the pressure kept rising and rising.
Fortunately, pressure switches are easy to replace. You basically disconnect a couple wires, screw out the old switch from the pipe, screw in a new switch, and reconnect the wires. You can call a plumber, who will charge you $360.00 to do a ten-minute job, replacing a $20.00 part. Or you can do it yourself. As much as I would have liked to “delegate” the job to a plumber, it seemed once again I should “do it myself.”
This was not the stress-free morning composing-a-sonnet I had planned, However, as “relax” was on “the list”, I relaxed driving twenty minutes to the hardware store to buy the $20.00-part, relaxed chatting with an old friend at the store, and then relaxed driving twenty minutes back.
There are worse things to be stuck with doing than driving through snowy New England woods. I kept the car radio off, to avoid disturbing news, and instead had a private talk with God, involving some intimate things which are nobody’s business, but some things I feel free to make public. Namely, “Why, Lord, do you make Your creation so beautiful, and winter woods so full of poetic images, and yet never give me time to write poems?”
Back in the cellar, though the PSI gauge read zero, I shut the valve on the pipe leading upstairs to keep water in the pipes from flowing down to the cellar. Only then did I remove the pressure gauge. The instant it was removed a jet of water spurted into my face, and I struggled to screw it back in, which stopped the spurting. Then I had to think how there could be pressure when the well was shut off and no water could flow from upstairs. Coffee time.
My wife looked at me hopefully as I emerged from the dirty old cellar, and her face registered the fact I looked a little like a drowned rat. She wisely said nothing, and I didn’t look at her, because even a hint of a smile at the corner of her lips might have set me off. (Not that I failed to see the humor in the situation. I just wasn’t ready to laugh.)
I slumped morosely by the woodstove and sadly glanced at my open notebook. Not so long ago I’d been starting a sonnet, and at that time could see the entire thing even as I began. It was loaded with internal rhymes, and I had all the rhymes at my fingertips, as well as the rhythm. It began:
Lord, put Your foot down. But just not on me.
I think it is best that You manifest
And halt this world's insanity. Set free
You’ll have to trust me. There was more. However, the sonnet now was like Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan”. Coleridge saw the entire poem in a dream and arose to write it, but some bothersome interruption knocked at his front door, and when he extracted himself from the chitchat and returned to his writing, the vision was gone. Utterly. He couldn’t even pretend he could write another line. All we have is the fragment; a great start to a poem which is but a might-have-been. And the above is the start to a great sonnet which is but a might-have-been. Only in my case it was not an unwelcome visitor knocking at my door. It was a malfunctioning pressure valve, and water spurting in my face.
It is hard to concentrate on poetry when you get hit in the face by a jet of water. It is even harder when your wife can’t even use her kitchen sink. It should be obvious why I forgot the rhyme to “manifest.”
In any case, I did enjoy licking the wounds of irony. I’d asked the Almighty to put His foot down. I did request “not on me” but scripture states, “Those God loveth, He abuseth.” Therefore the foot apparently came down on me. Ha ha.
Irony didn’t solve anything. I took a deep breath and focused my mind onto the mundane. How could water spurt from pipes with no pressure? The pressure must come from uphill, where the well was. There was no way to stop water from running downhill, so I would have to devise some plug for the pipe when I removed the pressure switch. After considering how to make a quick plug, (whittling wood seemed like it would take too long), I asked my wife if she had a stub of a used candle. She provided one in a twinkling. I carved a plug of wax, and I headed downstairs to face getting water shot in my face a second time. Lots of water shot in my face, but the plug worked. Then I could work in leisure, but I knew that one final episode of getting water shot into my face lay ahead, when I removed the wax plug and put in the new pressure switch. Sobeit. I put in the new switch and my wife had a kitchen sink again. I was a wet rat crawling ashore, bedraggled and yet victorious.
However, I was seriously behind schedule. Not only did I have to rush off to work a shift at the Childcare, (because the staff has problems of their own, which I won’t go into), but also the forecast was for yet another storm of glop and freezing slush. I had to stock up the woodboxes at home, and also deal with my wife’s anti-Swamp activities.
Where the Swamp seems to want to ban people from visiting elders in old-age-homes, and to ban people from the schooling of their own children, my wife insists on “staying involved”. She is a grandmother who reads stories to grandchildren in Brazil, via computer magic, and who refuses to allow the family’s matriarch (her mother) to enter the hellish “retirement communities” the Swamp offers. And in this particular situation she didn’t want to face the fact the coming storm made travel seem inadvisable. By hook or krook, we were going drive to Maine for a flash-visit of three granddaughters. (A two-year-old and twins-aged-six-months.) But we couldn’t leave until after attending a middle-school-aged grandchild’s quarter-finals basketball game.
At the risk of sounding like a heartless cynic, at times it occurs to me that all this family-stuff does not help me write sonnets. Perhaps that is why many poets live alone. But I have to admit warm and fuzzy family-stuff is a counterattack, in the weird war we are midst. Therefore, I sometimes go along with her sentimental nonsense, figuring her feminine intuition is smarter than my masculine willpower. That is why I might be seen at a grandchild’s basketball game which barely resembles basketball, when I’d much rather be writing a sonnet which does resemble a sonnet.
However, there are times I must draw the line. Driving to Maine is a bad idea if you never arrive. I needed to heed the fine details of the forecast, even while preparing for the storm. But I had no time to sit at my computer to look at the details.
For an old geezer, driving to Maine or even attending a basketball game is stress. It was one more stressful thing on “the list” even though “avoid stress” was on the list. I found myself thinking it might be too much. I might fail to be as tough as I want to be. I might be a battlefield casualty.
My mind slumped into morbidity: Just as the above sonnet is unfinished, much that I have wanted to do in my life will never be done. Life is too short. But this is no different from what happened to my peers in the 1960’s and 1970’s when they became cannon fodder. In the Vietnam war, each young person who died sacrificed their “promise”. Each death was a promise unfulfilled. What might have been would never be. In like manner, the death of every old geezer in the current war is a half-century of wisdom lost, and its promise unfulfilled. War is hell.
As I had these morbid thoughts, I had no time to play my violins of self-pity and compose sorrowful sonnets. I had to gulp down some chili and hurry up and down the front steps, filling the wood boxes. Then I felt a burning in my chest.
I figured it was just heartburn, because I’d hurried to work after gulping chili. I think your suppose to siesta after chili. However, I was pushing myself, carrying a few more logs than was wise, and pulled an obscure muscle I’d never pulled before which must string between the chest and the middle of the back, and likely has to do with lifting shoulders to gasp for breath when the diaphragm isn’t enough. Yet it occurred to me it might be something other than heartburn and a pulled muscle. My heart might be quitting. And as I thought this I was bathed with sweat, which was likely due to collapsing in an armchair by a hot stove to catch my breath, yet such sweating also may be a symptom of a heart attack. Stress.
The stress-relieving thing to do in such a situation is to do what I did in California thirty-eight years ago: Drive to a hospital, explain that you are having chest pains, and have them run a quick ECG. (ElectroCardioGraph). Back in 1984 they’d tell you your heart was fine, and that the chest-pain was due to a binge, you moron, and your stomach was protesting the fact you had drunk something like two cases of beer in two days. In 1984 the diagnosis took thirty minutes and cost $110.00. But hospitals are different now, during this invisible war.
I have a unique perspective, when it comes to hospitals, for my father was a surgeon at the MGH (Massachusetts General Hospital) in Boston back in the 1940’s, 1950’s and early 1960’s, back when doctors actually ran the hospitals, and before lawyers and insurance companies ruined everything. Those were glory days, as antibiotics had just been discovered, people stopped dying of staff infections after operations, and people dying of things like syphilis and tuberculosis were learning they wouldn’t die after all. Doctors and nurses walked with a real spring in their step. (How far we have fallen.)
I figured I was probably being a hypochondriac, but I’ve known good fellows who died because they didn’t want to make a big fuss about why their chest hurt. So I figured I should make sure it wasn’t anything serious. I was 95% sure it was nothing, but 5% is stress, and I wanted to avoid stress. Of course there would be some stress because of the coronavirus nonsense. They might object to the fact I was not vaccinated. But what happened might be interesting. It might make a good blog post.
I put off deciding, choosing to instead go close down the Childcare, thinking maybe the chest pains would ebb and I could forget my worry, but, if anything, they grew sharper. I still was thinking it was a pulled muscle, but the worry was there. I then had to face the stress of telling my wife.
She wanted to call an ambulance and I said by the time an ambulance arrived we could already be at the hospital. She said she couldn’t do CPR while driving and I said she could do CPR on me as I drove. She said she’d drive. As she drove, she called ahead to the emergency entrance using her voice-activated car phone, and she answered a slew of questions including my date-of-birth, and then we continued our discussion alone as we drove through the darkness of late twilight.
I was attempting to remain calm and stress-free, saying I was 95% sure I was just being a worry wart, but, if the 5% was true, then, if I was about to die, a good wife would not want to have the last thing her husband heard be criticism. Criticism could exacerbate stress, which contributed to heart attacks, so likely the best thing was praise. I should be praised for remaining so calm when there was a 5% chance I was about to croak. And then we laughed, which is about the most stress-free thing there is.
We arrived at the emergency entrance, which seemed an unnaturally bright pool of yellow light in the darkness of evening, and I hopped out as my wife drove off to park the car. I walked in and introduced myself as the man who had called ahead with chest pains. The lady told me to put on a mask and asked me my date-of-birth and whether I’d been vaccinated. Obviously, the woman did not deserve to be called a nurse.
I have a unique perspective towards nursing, as my mother was a registered nurse at Children’s Hospital in Boston in the 1940’s, and at Brandais College in the mid-1960’s, and as a hospice nurse in the late-1960’s, and then an EMT in Maine in the late 1970’s, through the 1980’s, into the early 1990’s. My mom could remain cool in the face of blood, and boys in my boyhood neighborhood would go to her with a gory cut, because they knew their own mothers would freak-out and perhaps faint. My mom knew freaking and fainting wasn’t any good, so she would tend to the gore. (If I had a complaint as a child, it was that my mother was too cool and too detached and that she didn’t gush enough.)
The woman I was dealing with was not tending to me, the patient, but rather tending to the paperwork. It was likely a good thing I put on a mask, for it hid my expression, which was likely an odd mix between pity and sheer contempt.
For one thing, it took me about two hours of on-line research right at the start of the coronavirus pandemic to understand cheap masks were a dumb idea. As I recall, there were at least three peer-reviewed studies in the “New England Journal of Medicine”, and two more in the English journal “Lancet”, which stated ordinary masks were more or less useless when it came to preventing the spread of virus. At least one study ventured masks were harmful, because of problems other than the transmission of virus. In other words, “science”, as it was defined before the coronavirus, stated masks (other than expensive ones), were useless. However, “science” acquired a bizarre, new definition, once the war on Truth was declared.
In its new incarnation, “science” became whatever furthers a political goal. It doesn’t matter if the goal is low lusts, greed, and desires for power. Science must bow, must disregard its former affinity to Truth, and must be “politically correct”. In essence, science must agree to be false. It is for some “higher good.”
To me this claptrap is such a complete denial of the original definition of “science” that it cannot be borne. Science is supposed to be a study of Truth, just as poetry is a study of Truth. And, when I have studied history to seek examples of at least a single occasion when lies led to some “higher good”, what I see are examples of times such lies led to societal disasters. The ultimate lies were Lysenko’s, who had the distinction of precipitating terrible famines in both Russia and China, “for their own good.”
To put it mildly, I have thought using masks is a deed of rank stupidity for over two years now. Therefore, when I enter a hospital’s emergency entrance and a lady asks me to put a mask on it strikes me as a sure sign that she is ignorant. I pity her, because I know she is just doing her job, but her job is not a nurse’s, and she cannot claim to be one. She is in fact a bureaucrat in a white uniform.
I have an unspiritual inclination to rear back and give such people an uppercut to the snoot, but that would hardly help matters, even in an invisible war. Pity is better. And, as a man who runs a Childcare, I often watch small children struggle to put together simple puzzles, and know it is often better to allow them to figure things out for themselves. To be simply given an answer often involves no true learning, which may be why God, in His compassion, allows people to bungle along learning things. If people prefer falsehood to Truth for some queer reason, well, they will learn the hard way. Only if one, with all their might and main, seeks Truth midst all the fluff and balderdash, is one likely to see the Light.
I looked away from the bureaucrat clicking away at her keyboard to see if there was anyone else around. The news always makes it sound like hospitals are overcrowded with wheezing and gasping coronavirus patients, but this particular emergency entrance seemed downright serene, and understaffed. Even as I thought this a strong, young man dressed in white walked briskly around a corner and approached me. “Hi!” he said, “Are you the fellow with chest pains?” He held out a palm and we shook hands as I nodded, and then he continued, “My name is Zack and I’m your nurse. Follow me.”
As we walked further into the bright depths of the emergency entrance, I explained I was 95% sure I just pulled a muscle in my chest, and that I was just playing it safe, and Zack agreed it was better to be safe than sorry. I like agreeable people, and I took an immediate liking to him. We chattered away as if it was an everyday thing for me to strip down bare-chested and for him to start sticking small plastic sensors to various parts of my chest. For example, I stated there were a lot more sensors than there were in 1984, and he asked what happened in 1984, and I gave him the short version. When I mentioned the two cases of beer he laughed and stated that he had also learned two cases of beer in two days was not a wise idea, when he was younger.
My cellphone beeped and it was my wife texting. She said the hospital wouldn’t let her wait inside. She wondered if she should wait in the parking lot. I asked Zack how long the ECG would take, and he said besides the EKG there would be blood tests, and it would take at least an hour for the results to come in. I texted my wife it was going to take longer than I thought; over an hour; she texted back she’d wait in the parking lot until I had more news.
Zack clipped a thing onto my finger to measure my oxygen levels, and then stood back and regarded a computer display above the bed in satisfaction. It made efficient-sounding beeping noises, and besides a graph of my ECG had around ten other numbers. Then Zack hurried off, and swiftly returned, telling me the doctor said the EKG looked good, but that the doctor wanted to do other tests, including a cat scan. I asked how long it would take, and he said likely at least two hours, and maybe five. I texted my wife my ECG looked good, but there would be other tests, and she probably should wait at home. She sent an emoji of a relieved face.
Zack was swabbing the inside of my elbow, but rather than just drawing blood samples he was inserting an IV with a Y junction to allow saline in as well as to draw blood out. I asked why they had to do other tests if the ECG looked good, and Zack said an EKG wasn’t enough to prevent malpractice suits; if I had a heart attack in the next month the doctor could expect to have his socks sued off. Therefore, insurance companies required a whole slew of tests, to cover the doctor’s butts. I said it was all about money, and that lawyers and insurance companies were driving up prices, and Zack diplomatically shrugged.
From there we moved on and had a chat about why I said ECG and he said EKG. They mean the same thing, and I told him that as a writer I preferred English, and “cardio” began with a “C”. I wondered if EKG meant the machine was made in Germany, and Zack laughed. Then I asked him how long he’d been a nurse.
It turned out he’d worked eight years for a crew laying concrete foundations. The money was better than he made nursing, especially with all the cement-work overtime, but he was getting worn down. I told him cement work was rough on backs, and that I knew cement-workers who’d turned to Fentanyl to escape the pain. He adroitly avoided the subject of Fentanyl, but stated he indeed had worried about his back. I said nurses had to be careful not to hurt their backs as well; some patients could be pretty fat. Zack laughed and said this was true, but cement was heavier.
By this time I was all wired and tubed-up like a person at death’s door, and Zack hurried off to bring a couple blood samples to a lab, and a very tired-looking doctor came trudging in.
I’ll call him Dr. Robe because he struck me as being like a robot. He asked a long string of questions in a monotone yet hurried voice, as if he was asking them by rote and wasn’t interested in many of the answers. The questions seemed very much like the checklist of questions you have to answer on forms as you enter a doctor’s office, questions more aimed at malpractice lawyers than your health, questions that hold the echoes of some past court proceedings: “But did you inquire as to whether the patient was a pathological liar?”
Right off the bat Dr. Robe struck me as the sort of doctor my father would have railed should be disqualified. Doctors were not supposed to look so tired and bored and discouraged; they were supposed to radiate faith and hope and to activate the placebo-effect with their complete confidence. Their confidence was supposed to be reassuring and infectious; Dr. Robe looked infected by gloom; he had no spring in his step; he trudged.
I resisted the urge to rail at him as my father might have done, and instead prodded my slouching sense of pity. (Patients aren’t supposed to pity the doctors; it is supposed to be the other way around; but the weird war we’re within has things upside-down and backwards.)
It occurred to me it must be humiliating to be a doctor these days. Gone is the respect people once had. Where once doctors gave their opinions from a sort of pedestal, now they are told to keep their opinions to themselves. They receive orders from the Swamp, and if they beg to differ, they could lose their jobs. Rather than being treated like professionals they are treated like lackeys and flunkies. All their experience, all that they have learned over the years through actual contact with the hurting, all their success and failure, is disregarded, in favor of some Swamp commandment. Worst is the fact that the Swamp’s new definition of “science” is looking increasingly stupid, as it is confronted by its failures to be like true “science”, and to honor true Truth.
The Swamp is confronted by the failures of its “promises” to come true. Masks were supposed to stop-the-spread but failed. Social distancing was supposed to stop-the-spread but failed. Vaccines were supposed to stop-the-spread but failed. Those who trusted the Swamp, and complied, now can’t help but to increasingly feel disappointed and even betrayed. Me? My faith was trampled very early on, and I’ve been a Skeptic for nearly two years now.
I think what originally set off alarms in my head was my perception the Swamp did not like second opinions. My father was very big on getting second opinions. I could recall that, back in the glory days when doctors ran their own hospitals, doctors were always sharing what they had discovered, or asking if the other doctors had ever come across an unexpected complication they were confronted by. They were well aware every patient is different, “what is good for the goose may be bad for the gander”, and they had open minds that sought the insights of others. As a small boy I liked to hang about the periphery as they talked over drinks after work, for they all seemed excited to hear each other’s latest discovery.
The Swamp now seems utterly different. They seemed to epitomize the Globalist view that there should only be one view. And this sense was verified when the first news about hydroxychloroquine surfaced. To me it seemed very good news, and I was appalled when the doctors who sought to publicize the beneficial possibilities were censored on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. At that time there was no vaccine, so why repress a potentially good treatment?
And so it has continued, through numerous other helpful treatments including ivermectin. Second opinions are not allowed. Only vaccines and masks are allowed, even though they aren’t working. (Who doesn’t know at least one person who wore masks religiously and had both the vaccination and the booster yet still got the coronavirus?)
Despite the censorship of Free Speech, (and even of the last president of the United States), people still do communicate, and the second opinions of those doctors who dare speak out are disseminated from obscure websites across the globe. And sick people always have a propensity to try even the most crackpot cures, when their first doctor fails. And, when the supposedly crackpot cure works, though the Globalists scoff, the word spreads despite Globalists best efforts to quash the word. People simply want to be better, and no amount of malarky can deny that the impulse to be better is a truly good impulse in the mortal soul. If you repress the urge to get better, you are basically a complete jerk.
This returns me to my earlier point that Globalists feel this world would be a better place if there was only one view allowed. I asserted their idea is like saying marriage would involve less disagreement if there was only one spouse. True, but then it wouldn’t be marriage. And the fact of the matter is that the Creator created us different. We share our fingerprints with no other soul among the nearly eight billion currently alive on earth. This might make us feel alone, if it were not for the wonder of understanding.
That is what I remember most from the glory days of medicine. Doctors had no fear of second opinions, because their interest was understanding. They did not see a second opinion as a threatening disagreement, but rather as the wonder of another view. As impossible as it may seem to some, disagreement wasn’t disagreeable. It was the opening of a window to a new sky.
How far we have fallen. When I looked at Dr. Robe I did not see a brave doctor of the sort who would be banned from YouTube and Twitter, but rather a compliant yes-man, subservient to the Swamp. He feared losing his job, craving dollars. Yet as much as he makes, it is never enough. He must pay back three times what I make in a year just to pay for the “insurance”.
Back in the glory days, when doctors ran hospitals, my Dad didn’t worry about being sued. When he saved a fellow’s life, we’d get a “grateful patient” gift from where the fellow reclined in Florida, a big cardboard box filled with oranges, tangerines, and juicy grapefruit. Now? Now doctors spend $150,000 a year for malpractice insurance. You have pay for the “privilege” of saving some goofball’s life. How far we have fallen.
Actually, it isn’t so hard to pity Dr. Robe. For a third of what he pays just to avoid the vengeance of ungrateful patients, I happily subsist. I pay my bills and live a good life with children and grandchildren. I am not rich but feel blessed in many other ways. But maybe I too will face the vengeance. I may face the vengeance of a sort of Stalin, who loathed the Kulak, who I am sort of like.
To be blunt, I feel the Globalists are narrow-minded, and that they find it offensive that so many live outside their myopia. Where they are consumed by a lust for power, the powerless simply get by. The Globalists ask, “What right have the powerless to be happier?” (For indeed we are.)
The answer, (which they don’t want to hear), is that we simple bumpkins deal with Truth, which is Beauty, yet which they seek to deny. They think they have their reasons to deny the Truth about cures for the coronavirus other than their vaccine, but when their vaccine fails and other cures work, the “cure” is something called the Truth. At this point, they can either confess their error, or they can deny Truth.
At which point one wonders what low craving they are blinded by. They must know on some level that their so-called “science” has been made to look foolish. Why do they insist on stating they are not fools when, it is increasingly obvious, they are fools?
There are various theories about what motivates them, ranging from the simple pride of a person who doesn’t want to admit a mistake, to more elaborate conspiracy theories.
One theory states that the profits from vaccines are gigantic, as much as twenty dollars back for each dollar put in, and Globalists are deeply invested, and don’t want to face a crash. Another theory states all sorts of wicked results are the real intent of jabbing every person on earth. Some even state they want to reduce the world population to half a billion.
All I know is that vaccines don’t work. People get vaccinated and still get the corona virus. Back in the old days, this disqualified the jab from being even called a “vaccine.” But the new “science” decrees that the jab results in “milder cases”. How can they compare a case with what never happened? The question should be, “Have vaccinated people died?” Because some have, the vaccination failed to vaccinate. So why push it? And why push it on small children, who almost never suffer complications from the coronavirus? Especially as the vaccination has some side effects which have killed some people. This may be a “small” risk, but why expose a child to such risk at all? Simple question. Just answer the blasted question! Instead, they change the subject. For example, am I a racist?
The effectiveness of various cures are topics which, back in the glory days when doctors ruled their own hospitals, would have been freely and openly discussed after work while sipping an Old-Fashioned. Now you hear cures discussed behind the magazine rack at the local market, or on obscure uncensored sites on the internet. However, as I looked at Dr. Robe, it did not even occur to me to bring up the topic of alternative cures. He was not a brave doctor. He was just a poor man, poorer than me, striving to pay off fabulous college loans and incredible insurance costs, cursing whoever told him that being a doctor would make him respected and rich. Increasingly he is neither. Rather than respected, doctors are increasingly a laughingstock. Surely this must eat away at them. Some pity must be felt, (unless, of course, doctors seek revenge on the public.)
These may seem like odd thoughts to be drifting about my head when I had a 5% chance of meeting my Maker. But they say your whole life flashes before you, as you die, and the downfall of hospitals has been a part of my life. Also, I must say this about Dr. Robe: He did reduce my 5% worry I was dying to around 0.1%, simply by stating my ECG looked normal. This relaxed me greatly, and from then on, I was just going along for the ride, enjoying the views of how hospitals look now, compared to how they looked when I ran about the MGH in Boston as a little boy.
After asking me a robotic checklist of questions Dr. Robe droned that he wanted to be absolutely sure enzymes in my blood didn’t change in three hours, and also to make sure I didn’t have a blood clot in my lungs, by having me go through a cat scan.
I hadn’t seen the bill. ($6,402.77). I hoped insurance covered a lot, but knew somebody somewhere was making money from the nonsense. Should it cost so much to learn nothing is wrong?
In any case, Dr. Robe vanished, and I never saw him again. It was the end of his shift, and hopefully he went home to a nice wife and good backrub. But I could not go home, and texted my wife that things still looked good, but I couldn’t go to the basketball game or Bible study, because it would be at least three hours before they were done checking me over from top to bottom.
Right at this point a tiny, masked woman dressed as a nurse came to roll me off for a cat scan. This struck me as a little absurd, for it seemed a big, strong nurse like Zack should have done the rolling. But back in my boyhood men weren’t nurses. Zack would have been called an “orderly”, which may now be a sexist term. Who knows? All I knew was a tiny woman began detaching plasma bottles and saline bottles I didn’t need from a height she could barely reach on tiptoes and putting the bottles above my head on another rack she also could barely reach, attached to a bed she barely looked strong enough to roll.
Above her mask she looked a little stressed to me, and in a hurry, so I tried to think of some way to relax her. After all, as one approaches age seventy, scrawny young women one wouldn’t have looked twice at, when aged twenty, have a surprising beauty, even when you can only see their eyes and foreheads. And I know life is hard at hospitals, midst this invisible war. I evaluated her.
The little nurse seemed disinterested in conversation, only stating, “I’m taking you for your cat scan” before becoming very efficient, so it was up to me to break the ice. Something impish in me had me state, “I think I am going to like this. Will you mind it much if I squeal, ‘wheeee!’ as you roll me?”
She looked at me with severe surprise above her mask, and said, “Please don’t.”
I laughed and said, “OK I won’t, but, you see, I run a Childcare, and I am forever pulling wagons or dragging sleds full of children, and they say, “wheeee!” as I pull them, but they never pull me. So, this is a new experience for me. I think I will enjoy it very much.”
She met my eye, and the severity of the young face above the mask went through a lovely transformation. She laughed, and said, “I push strollers at home and gurneys at work.”
I replied, “Gosh! You never get a break! Well, I suppose my old age does have its advantages…” Her forehead vanished as she lowered her shoulders to push me, but I did hear a chuckle.
I must admit she pushed well, achieving speeds faster than I thought wise, and she also had an amazing ability to navigate through automatically opening doors even when she had to show some sort of badge to make them open. I didn’t say “wheeee” even once, but did at one point inquire, “National Guard?”
This was because, down from the emergency entrance, we passed the non-emergency entrance, which is not the “main entrance”, (which has been closed a long time due to the coronavirus). The non-emergency entrance is where they take your temperature and ask a slew of questions and make you put on a mask before you go to an appointment about a hangnail. And as we passed through a crossroads and I looked down towards that entrance, I saw not the usual nurses but big men in combat boots and camouflaged uniforms.
The nurse pushing me simply explained, “Yes. We’re understaffed.”
I said, “Those big fellows should be pushing the gurneys. You should be swiping the foreheads.”
“Maybe, but they can’t run the cat scan.”
“You do that too?”
“You must have to do a lot when you’re understaffed.”
“I know some nurses who quit.”
“So do I.”
“Strange times.” There seemed little else to say about the nurses who quit when ordered to have the vaccine or the booster, (or even other vaccinated nurses, who quit when ordered to order the unvaccinated to vaccinate). It was just part of the war. I suppose, given more time, we might have discussed the various reasons which the media never talks about, but we had arrived at the cat scan, and she had a job to do.
The cat scan was a futurist looking plastic donut covered with green lights and digital readouts, and a few red lights, with a table that shifted in and out of the donut. I had to shift my old carcass to the table, which involved rearranging various wires and tubes, and also the nurse had to add a “tracer” in my blood, which involved my answering a whole slew of questions, including my date-of-birth again. (I was patient with this stuff because both my mother and father had told me of outrageous mistakes made by hospitals that weren’t careful, such as amputating the wrong leg, or the right leg from the wrong person.) I did wonder a bit what the “tracer” was, and what side-effects it might have, and why they asked so many questions about allergies. The nurse mentioned I should tell her of various side effects, including heat in my crotch or anus. I was about to ask further questions, in a hopefully disarming voice, but just then I was hit in the face by a jet of water.
In order to inject the tracer, the nurse had to loosen the saline drip, and the little tube had jumped from her fingers. “Oh! I’m so, so sorry!” she exclaimed.
“Don’t worry. I’m getting used to it. It’s the fourth time today I’ve been squirted in the face.”
Her eyebrows raised above her mask as she dabbed my face with a white towel, which I found enjoyable. When was the last time a young woman dabbed my face with a towel? My mother? Sixty years ago? She brought me back to earth by asking, “What squirted you the other times?”
I gave her the short version of replacing the pressure switch in the cellar, and by the time I was done the “tracer” was in me, so I dismissed asking about side effects. Whatever will be will be. The ‘tracer” might cause cancer (or even have been the vaccine), but there are only so many conspiracy theories a man can handle at once, and these days I’m overwhelmed.
The nurse was shifting all the tubes and wires so they wouldn’t get hung up in the donut, and we were ready to roll. I rolled in, and the machine’s robotic voice (feminine) told me to hold a deep breath, and I did, and things clicked and whirred, and the machine said “exhale”, and things whirred and clicked, and then I rolled back, and there were more clicks and whirrs and a beep, without me needing to hold my breath, but then I rolled in again and had to hold my breath again.
As I rolled in and out of this “hole” I chuckled. It occurred to me the situation could have Freudian implications. It had some similarity to sex, or perhaps birth. But that idea was so utterly absurd that it made me think that all the time I spent fifty years ago, studying thought and psychology based on Freud, and even the thought and philosophy of those who rejected Freud by fighting Freud, such as Yung and Pearls (gestalt) and Lang, was a complete waste of my time. Fifty years ago, I thought I was seeking Truth, peering deep into the subconscious, but the fact of the matter is that, when you are rolling in and out of a hole, the Truth is that you are rolling and out of a hole. Psychologists make Truth complex when it is in fact simple.
The way this idea crossed my mind made me chuckle to myself, which made the masked face of the tiny nurse pop up and regard me studiously, even as the cat scan was completed. I’m glad she didn’t ask why I chuckled. It would have taken several hours to explain Freud, Jung, Pearls and Lang, (let alone Timothy Leary). Rather than asking me any questions she (I suppose) looked for “symptoms” and became satisfied my chuckle wasn’t a symptom. After this swift appraisal of my mental state, (especially swift when compared to Freud), the little nurse vanished as she bowed her shoulders and trundled me at great speed back to where I began by the emergency entrance. When we got there, I thanked her for the ride, just as I always thanked drivers who gave me rides when I hitchhiked fifty years ago, and, just as drivers then vanished and I never saw them again, she vanished.
So there I was, back where I started, when I arrived with the simple question, “Am I having a heart attack?” Maybe now they would let me go home? Not so fast.
No sooner had the little nurse completed the task of shifting various tubes and wires from my mobile and rolling situation to my static situation, when the new Doctor came ambling in. In fact, I’ll call him Doctor Amble, because he had the ease of a refreshed man just starting his shift, which was different from Dr. Robe, at the end of his shift. This difference alone should highlight the importance of second opinions. After all, our own opinions shift, from first thing in the morning to when we go to bed weary. However, the difference in opinion between Dr. Robe and Dr. Amble was more than that, and I found it interesting to see it manifest.
Not that Dr. Amble actually said Dr. Robe was wrong. He was in fact just telling me what Dr. Robe had prescribed. Much that was prescribed I already knew, (such as the cat scan), for I had already endured it. Yet, as Dr. Amble spoke of Dr. Robe’s prescriptions, he made telling noises. He never actually said, “Pshaw”, like an old time Yankee, but made odd noises that meant the same thing. For example, he seemed to feel the cat scan was a waste of time, for he made the slightest “puh” noise as he read that prescription. He also seemed to feel a sort of scorn for the first blood test and the second one three hours later. He had a better test. Not that he said a thing to me, but I am a surgeon’s son who grew up in a hospital, and I know a second opinion when I see one. I wondered what his second opinion was, but he just told me I seemed well, but they’d need to make sure with a few more tests. Then Dr. Amble ambled off, likely unaware I was scrutinizing him more carefully than he scrutinized me, and coming up with diagnoses all my own.
For one thing, I sensed his relaxed attitude was an act. An emergency ward is a stressful place to work even during peacetime, and he was working midst an invisible war, where political pressures had doctors forced to bite their tongues and keep their second opinions to themselves. Once again, I felt I, as a patient, should pity the doctor more than the doctor pitied me, especially as I’d already learned I was well.
Apparently Dr. Amble’s second opinion involved his own way of finding out if a chest pain was due to the heart. His way was to have the patient put a tiny pellet of nitroglycerine under their tongue. If the pain vanished, there might be a problem with the heart. If the pain failed to vanish, the problem might be a pulled muscle, or heartburn due to the sort of diet which invites an ulcer.
A nitroglycerine tablet costs less than a dollar, so you can see Dr. Amble’s approach might get him in trouble with those who see medicine as a way to make big money. For example, suppose Dr. Amble’s approach was more effective than a cat scan, which involves a machine which costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and an entire staff of technicians. It might seem obvious a diagnostic tool that cost a dollar would be more attractive than a tool that cost a million, but that is not how the Swamp works.
The male nurse Zack came hurrying back to where I lay, holding a tiny paper cup and a tiny bottle of tiny nitroglycerine tablets. After asking me a few questions including my date-of-birth he very carefully shook a single pill from the bottle to the paper cup and told me to put it under my tongue and allow it to dissolve, and to quickly tell him if I felt any dizziness. I did put the pill under my tongue, and then asked him if it might cause a migraine headache.
Zack looked surprised asked me why I asked that, and I told him I once was watching a crew blast granite in Maine and they told me not to stand downwind of the blast, because even a whiff of nitroglycerine might cause an instant migraine headache. He said he had never seen that, but my blood pressure had already fallen ten points. Then he asked me if my chest still hurt. I shifted about and said, yes, it still hurt the same. He shook out a second tiny pill into the cup, and after I dissolved that one under my tongue, he shook out a third.
I noticed Zack was taking great care not to touch a pill, and asked him why, and he laughed. Still keeping his eyes on the electronic display above my bed, he told me that even without touching the pills his body was absorbing enough nitroglycerine to, if he went to the airport the next day, set off alarms. He would be pulled aside as a suspected terrorist. I said it was amazing airport sensors were that sensitive and Zack agreed. Then he asked me again if the pills lessened my levels of pain, and I said not a jot, and he nodded, and left.
Soon Dr. Amble came sauntering back into the room, shuffling through a sheaf of papers in a scornful sort of way, and he said I was likely fit as a fiddle and right as rain, and that my blood tests showed no unusual enzymes, but they’d have to give me another test in an hour to see if there were any changes, and then he heaved a sigh, as if he himself thought it was a big waste of time. Then he turned and ambled out, but I thought I detected a slight slouching, as if he was under a burden.
Then I had to sit for about for an hour, which can be a little stressful for a person like me. I entertained myself by holding my breath and seeing if I could make my O2 levels drop to where it made a little light blink, but that got old, and then I drummed my fingers and fidgeted. Even though I don’t smoke any more, I’m still addicted to an occasional nicotine lozenge, but they were in my shirt on a chair six feet from the bed. Reaching that chair without unplugging various tubes and wires became an interesting challenge. I thought I had succeeded and was sucking a lozenge and back to making my O2 levels drop, when Zack came hurrying in. I asked him if he came because my O2 levels had dropped, he replied no, he came because I was dead. Apparently, I had disconnected some wire that measured my pulse. After he reconnected me, he stated it was time to take my second blood sample. As he took the tubes of blood, I asked him how long it would take the results to come in, because I wanted to tell my wife when she could pick me up. He said around an hour, so that is what I texted my wife.
Then I had to endure one of those slow hours which remind me of math class in high school. (Math was my last class of the day. Waiting for the minute hand to reach twelve was like seeing time come to a complete halt.)
Actually, it is not a bad thing to have time slow down, at this stage of my life. Usually, it feels like things happen too fast and I can’t keep up with the craziness, and I’m left gasping for time to collect my thoughts. Now I had time. Strange that the place for such peace was an emergency ward.
I made good use of the time, thinking deeply about hospitals, doctors and nurses, and what I’ve seen in sixty years. For some reason my mind kept returning to Dr. Amble, and what I might say to him to uplift him. I had a clever insight I thought I might share, a witty and pithy statement which might be short, like a sonnet, but which he might find worth mulling over afterwards. Sadly, like Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan”, it was not completely delivered.
Not that I didn’t try. The moment Dr. Amble reappeared I lifted an index finger and flashed a witty smile, but he never looked up from the papers he shuffled. He came in one door and ambled in a seemingly relaxed way through the room, and out the other door, shuffling papers all the way and never looking up once. I followed him the entire way with index finger raised and witty smile, but he never noticed.
In conclusion, I heard his conclusions, but he never heard mine. He said I was fine and could go home.
A young woman I’d never seen before entered after him and detached me from all the tubes and wires, I put my shirt back on, and then she looked scandalized when I put on my jacket and was about to leave. “Where is your mask? You can’t leave without your mask!”
I had forgotten all about masks. After searching we found it, crushed on the sheets I’d spent hours laying upon. Once it was back on my face, the nurse seemed very relieved, and I was allowed to walk out to the emergency entrance.
I was uncertain which door to exit by. The same woman who was there when I entered was still there, clicking at the same keyboard, and she was able to tell me what door was acceptable. Then, five hours after I entered, I walked back out into a pattering of raindrops, and towards my wife’s car I could see idling out in the parking lot.
Did this experience lower my level of stress? Yes, in terms of worry about my chest pains. But in terms of my levels of worry about hospitals? I’m not so sure. It’s not that the people who actually work there are bad, but rather that the absentee landlords who oversee hospitals are…. Deranged?
As my wife drove me home though the inky dark, I apologized for the fact my hypochondria had cost us five hours. I said my chest still hurt, and, if I hadn’t been reassured, I likely would have worried all night and all the next day, but at least now I knew I was OK. But it should have taken 45 minutes, like it did in California in 1984. She was very nice about it, simply saying her prayers had been answered. Then she promptly discussed driving to Maine.
This had the potential to immediately increase my level of stress, partially because it involved forecasting New England weather, which is inherently stressful if the outcome matters to you. The potential for being wrong is likely greater in New England than it is for most of the rest of the world. I avoided stress by exhaling slowly and deeply, and also by avoiding making a forecast. Often it is best to simply say, “We will see in the morning.”
The trip to Maine is another story, and this one has gone on long enough. Hopefully the trip to Maine will be “Part Two” of this description of how stressful it can be to avoid stress. However, I think it is good to stop “Part One”, at this point, for it is a sort of happy ending, and I do like happy endings. What can be happier, and more stress-relieving, than to find out your chest pains do not mean you are about to die?
But gosh! It sure can be hard getting that answer! Downright stressful!
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.)
SATURDAY MORNING UPDATE
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:
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:
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.
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.
9:00 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.
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:
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.)
By mid morning someone bothered put a small “L” on the map for the ghost-low.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
I’m going to post some pictures of our frozen streams and rivers. Stay tuned.
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.
An excellent post describing the panic, (if not focused on facts and numbers), is here:
“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.
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.
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.
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:
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):
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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 http://www.wetter.net 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.”
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.
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.
46 KILOMETERS LEFT, ALL IS WELL BUT LOTS OF OPEN WATER
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Things remain fairly dull, usually, until the thaw starts, but perhaps the Alarmists will give me more to write about.
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.
This is not to say Bill isn’t still very dangerous