Scriptures advise us to repent. And I’m not talking about the stuff some fellows spout: “Did I ever confess that I once invited three girls to the same prom?” That is not confessing. That is bragging.
I am talking more along the lines of the things we do because we have been cowed by a bully. Sometimes the bully is the cravings of our own body, but quite often it is some big jerk we do not respect at all intellectually, but respect because we don’t like the pain of humiliation. The humiliation can take all sorts of forms, from being verbally mocked and scorned to being dumped headfirst into a wastepaper basket.
I was put ahead in school because I could read at an early age, and elders felt I’d be bored if I had to sit about with people learning to read when I already could read. It was assumed I would learn more by taking classes on subjects I didn’t already know about, and that the “challenge” would be good for me. Instead I ran headlong into a totally different challenge. For the next ten years I was generally the smallest boy in class, and also a year less emotionally matured, and this meant I faced persistent efforts on the part of my peers to shape me up. IE: They sneered a lot.
It wasn’t very fair, for there was nothing I could do about being a year younger, but I had to adapt in some way, and I think my way involved escapism. I became an escape artist. I wasn’t the sort who often stands up for his rights. But I became highly skilled at evasiveness. The people waiting to “shape me up” would wait in vain, for I’d take a new route.
Escapism was not seen as a good trait. If there had been a class in escapism I would have gotten an “A”, but instead I tended to escape the problems that came along with getting an “F” in other classes by getting the lowest grade you could get and still pass. A “D” got you by and avoided punishment. This drove some people crazy. “All aptitude tests say you are smart”, they would gripe, ‘Why won’t you study? Why won’t you do your homework?” The answer was easy: Escapists don’t do homework. And escapists do study; they just study “extracurricular” stuff. Unfortunately I didn’t know the word “extracurricular.”
Fortunately I was not alone. There were others who did not behave correctly. To not apply yourself to the task at hand, and instead to fool around, was described as “hacking off”, and we who behaved in such a manner were described as “hack-offs”. By ourselves we were very lonely, and a few hack-offs I befriended were some of the loneliest people I’ve ever met, but when we got together we were not alone any more, and joy exploded. The table where the hack-offs sat in the cafeteria, which should have been a gloomy place due to the low status involved, was often ruled by hilarity. I think this may have annoyed some miserable high status people, for they’d occasionally feel compelled to walk over to our happy table and sneer. We needed to be “shaped up”.
I was not shaped up properly, and instead learned of better ways to escape. But such ways were not altogether “better”, for there were things I might have learned I instead fled from.
For example, I might have learned how to fix a car’s engine, but the fellows who knew how to fix cars scared me. At my school they were a group called “the greasers”. They should have been friends, for in many classes they too were “hack-offs”. However they were tough where I was tender, callous where I was sensitive, and I annoyed the heck out of them.
Tears especially riled them. I recall one time three of them cornered me behind the school, ambushing me as I took an evasive route home, and demanded I fight them one by one. I threw the first two down with a head lock and hip throw, but when the third and biggest fellow advanced grinning, I bolted sobbing. Sobbing was very annoying to such tough young men. And they were men. They were shaving in grade school, practically.
I was so shaped into a timid form that, even when the hormones hit me, a year later than everyone else, and I went through the typical growth spurt and became six feet tall, it didn’t sink in that the fellows who could shave in grade school were short, only around five feet six inches. I couldn’t figure out why they were treating me with greater respect. I still shied away, because my identity was already formed into an escapist mode.
It has since occurred to me that, when the hormones hit, we go shooting down a prepared channel. Boyhood forms what attracts us, and in an ideal society we would be formed in a way that would aim us towards high-status activity. However in my society only some were aimed towards high-status. People like me were so hurt by sneering that we were formed in a way that aimed us the opposite direction.
One odd coincidence was that, during my junior year in high-school, a class dedicated to escapism appeared. I signed up right away, for it seemed obvious it was a class I’d get an “A” at. It was called, “Creative Writing”. And indeed, as a senior, I got the first “A”s of my academic career. During graduation ceremonies I was called forward, and, perhaps to the astonishment of some classmates, I was presented with an award that had never before existed, “The Creative Writing Award.”
This would be a happy ending if life ended at age seventeen, but now it is fifty-three years later and, rather than success, I find myself shadow-banned.
This presents me with an interesting dilemma, at the end of my life. This certainly is not a Hollywood ending. It is not like the happy-ever-after ending of “It’s A Wonderful Life”.
Rather it is like the complete disdain faced by Christian martyrs. Cancel culture is like Nero, sneering at Paul and chopping off his head, and scoffing at Peter and crucifying him upside down, and then erecting a statue to himself the size of the Statue of Liberty, in Rome.
In terms of being a social climber, Nero climbed to the very top. He got recognition. He had status. In fact one reason Peter and Paul got in trouble was they stated Nero did not out-rank Jesus. But towards the end of Nero’s life more and more people got in trouble for not respecting him enough. He had his own mother killed, which seems a rather drastic solution to the Freudian drama. Anyone who stood in his way tended to be “disappeared”, which is a dictator’s way of dealing with debate. The famous portrayal of Nero playing the fiddle as Rome burned was because Nero proposed urban renewal, and some felt the city had character, and that historic neighborhoods should be preserved, and therefore Nero’s solution was to just burn the entire place down, (sort of like Fraudulent Biden is proposing by outlawing all fossil fuels).
It is said that recognition is important, and therefore there is no such thing as bad publicity. But to be “disappeared” is not publicity. It is just to be marginalized off the edge of the earth. Out of sight is out of mind, and dictators tend to believe they can control Truth by stating what “facts” they will allow, and what inconvenient bits of history they will erase. As far as Nero was concerned, only Nero mattered, and he became a sort of god, in terms of his sheer, brutal power. Paul and Peter were to be disappeared, with all their papers incinerated. They were to be completely forgotten.
To some degree it must have been depressing to Peter and Paul to know they would soon be executed, and at the same time to see the towering statue of Nero being built up into Rome’s skyline. At that time it was the tallest structure in the city. It must have been apparent, in the short term at least, that Nero would get all the glory as they themselves were basically erased.
However Peter and Paul also had faith, and the knowledge Jesus Himself had stated, “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” When push came to shove, Peter and Paul had faith in what they would never see manifested in the physical world. They stood up to Nero, and faced being disappeared, and saw no miracle manifest to save them from being actually, physically disappeared.
What guts they had! What fortitude in the face of fiercely snarling evil! Then I look at myself. Have I any semblance of such guts? Hmm…
In some ways I very much doubt I have such guts. After all, I have described how I was shaped into the form of an escapist. I do not stand up to a bully like Nero. I do my best to elude him, to avoid him, to pass down second street when he travels down first. It is only by accident that my avoidance looks like defiance.
Only by accident? Or is it not really an accident? Is being a wimp actually a form of defiance?
If truth must be known, it is a form of defiance. To avoid something is to call that something worthy of avoiding. Nero does not want to be called worthy of avoiding. He wants to be called worthy of worship. That is why he built the huge statue of himself, towering above the ashes of Rome.
In a strange way the table of fellow hack-offs; who I sat with in the school cafeteria all those years ago, was like the early Christians, for what others called “status” we called “worthy of avoiding”. Of course, we hack-offs had no Messiah to guide us, and in that manner were unlike the early Christians. However we rejected the “Nero” we dealt with, which tended to be the cafeteria tables that held the stars of the school: The football heroes and the cheerleaders, the students who got “A”s and their disciples. We were unworthy of acclaim in both athletic and academic terms, “losers”, yet our table knew laughter and joy, which tended to suggest “acclaim” is not as necessary for happiness as some believe.
But now, in my old age, I confess acclaim sure would be nice. It is why the maudlin film, “It’s a Wonderful Life” can bring tears to a person’s eyes even the tenth time one watches it. And I, as a writer, think acclaim may be a big reason I have written.
If you write, you either write a diary confession you want no one else to see, in which case you don’t mind if it is burned, or else you do want to share. You want to share something that might brighten another’s day, along the lines of a get-well-card to a friend who is feeling poorly. You want to share the words that make a sad face brighten with a big smile. You even want a big crowd to smile, and roar applause. You want to be a rock star, but it is not to make yourself worthy of worship. It is because you want to make many others happy. Therefore you are not a Nero, puffing your own ego with a grandiose statue of yourself. Rather you are loving your neighbor, and even your enemy, as scripture advises. However you do seek applause.
To be shadow-banned, or hit by cancel culture’s censoring, is therefore painful. It is the opposite of the applause a writer craves. It is difficult for the writer involved to see that the rejection may not be because the writing is bad, but because it is good. For it is good to defy Nero, simply by seeing and saying there is good in neighborhoods of Rome which shouldn’t be razed, and in Nero’s mother who shouldn’t be killed, and in Peter and Paul. When such simple and sweet statements are seen as defiance, and as an enemy of the state, the writer is served the opposite of the acclaim they desired. They are cancelled.
Personally, I can say it is damn depressing to have struggled my entire life to stop being an escape artist, who avoids standing up to authority and avoids “causing trouble”, and instead to learn how to speak truth boldly, cleverly, humorously, and persuasively. And what does it get me? The exact opposite of what I wanted.
Saying that confesses I want the world’s praise. I am no better than a sleazy politician or Hollywood star. How much of my life have I wasted, seeking the praise of the wrong people? How much of my time have I, in seeking such praise, been bowing and scraping to win the accolades of sickos, of Neros who are zeroes?
In seeking the praise of these pitiful people, how often have I pretended I don’t believe the Truth? How often have I backed down, with disarming eyebrows, when I could have jutted my jaw?
Too many times. And it was all in vain. Being nice to bullies never seems to change them. They never “come around” to my sort of kindness. They seemingly just get worse. If anything, backing down just convinces them bullying works, and they become incorrigible.
But I can’t blame them. I am the one who wanted their praise. Their attention. Their applause. How could I become such a fool, wherein I was ashamed of Truth to a degree I’d deny it, for the favor of nitwits? If Christ returned today, there are Atheists who could say they stood for Truth, whereas I would be ashamed, for in some way disregarding Truth, in favor of the acceptance of Neros.
How could I have been so stupid?
One time, when I was young, I astonished the other hack-offs at my cafeteria table by announcing I was tired of being a hack-off. I wanted to be “popular”, and was going to go sit with the football players and cheerleaders. (I was infatuated with a certain cheerleader). Then I deserted my tried and true friends, and spent a miserable fortnight sitting at the wrong table. All it did was make the football players awkward and uncomfortable (they kindly did not tell me to buzz off) and I couldn’t think of anything to say. I did achieve a splendid five seconds of eye-contact with a certain cheerleader, but nothing came of that. Then I gave up, and moved back to the hack-off table. It sure was a relief to be back home!
Remembering that adolescent adventure makes me wonder: What made that hack-off table “Home”? What was so comfortable about the company of hack-offs?
I suppose it was comfortable just being what you were: Not an athletic star. Not a brilliant scholar. Not an big actor in the school’s production of “Camelot.” Not anything but a hack-off, yet able to think, comment, and most of all laugh. Able to appreciate. Able to understand. Able to be the cheering audience which the Nero’s originally wanted to please.
How is it the Nero’s become so disdainful, and look down long noses, and call such people “Deplorables” and “Bitter Clingers” and “Inhabitants of Flyover Country.” In truth such hack-offs are the salt of the earth. Without them life has no flavor. No joy.
It is a great thing to strive to be great, but one should not lose touch with the fact greatness already exists, and being great is only emphasizing Truth that already exists. And one great thing is that the salt of the earth do exist.
The existence of a Nero mentality involves a decoupling of leaders from the led, wherein the leaders are estranged from the very people they supposedly are leading. The beauty of love, understanding, sympathy, empathy, and forgiveness are all cast aside for brutal gains, in terms of power. The things that make an audience clap and cheer and rise to its feet, demanding an encore, are belittled as stuff that can be manufactured and controlled by censorship and the pulp of propaganda. “You will only cheer when I say, and stop cheering when I command.”
The blandness this creates tends to become tasteless, which is odd, for tastelessness is often used as an excuse for censorship. The elite feel the humorist has stepped over an invisible line. A truth, the very truth that gives their humor its salt, its bite, its flavor, offends those in power.
On April 13, 1969 my favorite show on TV did not appear on air, as it was deemed too tasteless by someone “upstairs” in the network. It is interesting to view the show now, and to see what was not allowed to be seen back then:
In some ways the “shocking” content now seems tame, and in other ways some of the content seems sad, for we now know how society moved, the following half century. After all, some things that have become “permissible” are not altogether positive.
However, as a young man barely sixteen, I was fed up with what I called “phonies.” People walked around faking happiness. Truth was repressed. I felt I was being stifled by my suburb, which was externally green and lovely and superior to a slum, but had no soul. Only the “hack-offs” like me were close to being honest. We at least could see a status symbol was only a symbol. Other people behaved as if a status symbol had actual power, when we knew it was devoid of power, for we were spoiled rotten, and knew things are just stuff, clutter, and wealthy suburbs are the mother of much misery.
It just so happened that as the Smothers Brothers got cancelled, I headed off, escaping the misery of suburban stifling by hitchhiking to Florida. I still have the diary, and soon will post the pages, for I think it is a story that remembers an America that was a very good land, but beginning a fall into hard times. Perhaps the fall began with John Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, and accelerated with the assassinations of his brother and Martin Luther King in 1968, but in 1969 the nation was still largely wholesome and optimistic, which was something I discovered over and over again as I hitchhiked. The salt of the earth were all around and easily found.
It is also interesting to look further back in time, and see what happened in the long run to the salt of the earth, as opposed to Nero, in terms of human memory. For the Neros of the world care very much about how they are remembered, for some reason. I don’t know why; they aren’t going to be around to enjoy it. But perhaps it is just a willful attempt to extend their power beyond their lifespan, and to demand people seem them as worthy of worship after they are dead and gone. In actual fact, this rarely happens. However the Neros talk about what they call “their legacy”.
Well, in terms of Nero’s legacy, the great Colossus of Nero was almost immediately altered and renamed after he died. A crown was added and it was dubbed, “The Colossus of Apollo”. Then the Colussus was amazingly shifted across town (quite the engineering feat) for the Colossus had to make way for the the Colosseum. That is ironic because Nero’s urban renewal had to make way for newer urban renewal. However decay of Rome was already setting in, and the statue of Nero’s final indignity was to seen as valuable scrap metal, and to simply vanish.
Meanwhile, what happened to the supposedly “dissapeared” Peter and Paul, in terms of worldly status? They, who did not seem to give a hoot about their worldly status, got remembered. Some stray letters they wrote to remote Roman provinces were not destroyed, or perhaps were destroyed but copies were made first. They fell through the cracks of censorship, and “went viral”.
The irony becomes complete when the urban renewal of Rome begins to involve structures built in memory of Peter and Paul even as Nero, though not forgotten, became a name you would not give to your dog. (Maybe to your pet weasel.)
The Basilica of Peter:
The Basilica of Paul:
But, like the men, the external of such beautiful architecture is nothing compare to what lies within. The interior of the Basilaca of Peter:
The interior of the Basilica of Paul:
It seems a strange legacy for two men who were supposedly disappeared, especially because they proved they didn’t care for themselves, and only cared for their Master.
In a sense it is a happy ending, like the ending of “It’s A Wonderful Life.” True, one had to sit around for over a thousand years to see it manifest, but perhaps time passes differently in the place Peter and Paul watched from. I doubt those fellows now care much about the gratification we earthlings get from worldly praise, but I, as a fool who cares about such things, do care, and am gratified.
But do you know what gratifies me most? It is what a standing challenge the reality I describe is to the hierarchy of China. In their recent history, Mao is their Nero, but they are still desperately attempting to glorify the man. This makes them vulnerable to any comedian. Whom they then must censor, to some degree. For example, here is “Uncle Roger” discussing being censored, and to a degree turning it into a promotion.
It is worthwhile to do a bit of searching, and learn a bit about “Uncle Roger.” He at times speaks perfect English with only a bit of a California accent, and I came across some critics bemoaning the fact he adopts a pretend “Chinese” accent for his act. This brought me back nearly sixty years, for when I first heard the Smothers Brothers (they sold LP Record albums of their comedy act in nightclubs, before they appeared on TV) I was appalled Dick Smothers would take advantage of his handicapped brother Tom, I was blissfully unaware Tom’s “handicap” was part of their act.
Part of comedy is to adopt a persona which may be made up, but helps bring out the Truth. For Charlie Chaplin it was the persona of a tramp despite the fact he was wealthy, and for Rodney Dangerfield it was the persona of a man constantly harassed, disrespected and unloved, though he was generally adored.
“Uncle Roger” is currently moving from the “safe” topic of oriental cooking to the “unsafe” reality of testing the limits of social norms. I think he is gambling that being banned in China will increase his popularity outside of the range of their censorship. He is “Chinese Malaysian” which means he is of the many Chinese people who live outside of China’s ruthless rule.
However that brings up the question: What is the range of China’s censorship? It would be a dictator’s dream to completely control all media all over the entire planet. But that is a dream based upon a falsity. Why? Because Truth cannot be controlled in that manner, and what China is attempting is like attempting to capture sunshine with a butterfly net.
One thing I learned quite early in life was that what is true in winter is not true in spring. This was expressed well by King Soloman in the Book of Ecclesiastes three thousand years ago, and became a hit song by the Byrds when I was twelve, called “Turn, turn, turn.”
The lines that impressed me most, as a boy, involved the fact there was a “time to embrace” but also “a time to refrain from embracing”. In other words, not all rules were iron clad and universal. Truth required discernment.
In terms of censorship, there may be times to censor, but there are also times to refrain from censoring. For example, during dangers, when ungoverned fear may cause a panic, it may be a sort of censorship to say, “Do not fear”, but it keeps panic under control. But, during a time of danger, if people pretend there is no danger, it may increase awareness to say, “Be afraid.”
If there are two alternatives, which alternate in how applicable they are to a given situation, then obviously two views are better than one. Only a complete fool like Nero (or Mao) would think a single view must cancel and censor the second view. However power breeds a madness which thinks the single eye of a cyclops is superior to two eyes with depth perception, (which is a third eye neither eye has all alone).
The thing about this power madness is that while Nero (and Mao) represent extreme cases, we should confess that to some degree we are all guilty of putting our single view over another’s. It walks hand in hand with the selfishness that makes true brotherhood difficult. Fortunately, most of us can be tapped on the shoulder, and come to our senses, especially when some comedian points out how laughable our behavior actually is.
For it is midst such laughter we rejoin the human race. We become the salt of the earth. Rather than “on top”, clinging to symbols of our status, and feeling we lead and we govern, we are led by the third eye, which sees Truth.
Truth is mankind’s true Leader, though the sheep often stray.
We are part of an amazing Oneness, and all things are interconnected. If I slap a mosquito here it likely has some effect in China. However it will not do to feel guilty about possible consequences for breathing. It may be true that a tiny pebble can start a huge avalanche, but it is also true you can throw pebbles all day long and not start a single avalanche. This is likely a good thing. If I could cause trouble with a tiny pebble…well, I won’t go there.
Instead I just do my best in the small world I see I can influence, and leave the big stuff for God to do. God is described as all-knowing and all-powerful, and therefore He can shoot pool like you wouldn’t believe. His billiards table has seven billion humans as balls, and, though all the humans think they are operating out of free will, God knows exactly how they will respond, the same way a pool shark knows how balls will respond, and therefore God can toss a tiny pebble here and a tiny pebble there, and create any avalanche he wants.
I often am determined to be a better person, and to keep my temper, and to not allow a tiny pebble to make me crumble into a roaring avalanche. But I do have my sore points, and life can conspire to touch those sore points, and then, DOING! I discover my free will did not do what I wanted it to. I am not God.
After I’m humbled in such a manner I sometimes just sit back and watch, rather than trying to control. I become detached, and see the world as a oneness. In a oneness cancel culture can’t cancel. All things are interconnected, and to cancel another is to cancel yourself. Only a fool wants that. Who would reduce their homeland to ashes just to rule ashes? (Besides Fraudulent Biden, I mean.)
As I sit back and watch, it occurs to me there is a certain ebb and flow in life. It is vital. In fact when there is no ebb and flow we speak of water being “stagnant”, and generally that is deemed unpleasant. The oceans need their tides, and our lives need their ups and downs.
I suppose a true saint would be indifferent to ups and downs. Saint Paul says “I have learned to be content in any circumstances”. But notice he uses the word “learned”. Some of us may not be there yet.
For the rest of us the yo-yo of life makes us feel manic-depressive and makes psychologists wealthy, but actually bipolar behavior is as natural as the tides. The ebb and flow of life is nothing to be all in a dither about.
For example, take the example of flooding and droughts. My area has moved from too much rain three weeks ago to a solid fortnight of too much sun. In a sense we were stuck (and in a sense stagnant) in a wet pattern, which had only to shift 300 miles east to stick us, (again in a sense stagnant), in a dry pattern. Yet the Alarmists who get in a dither about both flooding and droughts seem to want an even more extreme stagnation.
My last post was about how the desert southwest is recovering from a so-called mega-drought, and I’ve enjoyed just sitting back and watching it happen.
I spent five years in those arid lands, and never saw such a rainy spring. In fact “normally” spring is a dry time. As the storm track retreats north, with less arctic air to push it south, there are fewer Pacific storms crossing into the Rockies, and bringing some element of the Pineapple Express to the desert. The main source of water is melting snows in the mountains, which is why the level of Lake Powell tends to rise even as the demands of irrigation sees Lake Mead’s level lower. However, later in the summer, moist air from both the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf of California gets squeezed between the high altitude and troposphere and thunderstorms start to go off. (This is locally called “The Monsoon” though it not a true monsoon.) During these thunderstorms Lake Mead tends to see its level rise, though the demands for water have been so great with the populations of California and Arizona exploding that it seemed the Colorado River could not possibly keep up with the thirst. This prompted wiser minds to consider using water more carefully, and perhaps having fewer lawns and golf courses, but also prompted foolish minds to consider banning fossil fuels, which would have no effect whatsoever. However this spring was a reprieve from that worry.
This spring has seen what I never saw. There hasn’t been a dry season. In a weaker form than winter’s, the Pineapple Express has continued to deliver blobs of moisture over the Rockies, and, with the sun rising high, thunderstorms began earlier than usual.
There are many rivers which are often bone dry in June, or else a series of pools joined by a mere rivulet. This is especially true when many dams were built upstream to utilize the water. For example, the Gila River once had steamboats chugging to Phoenix from the Colorado, but now that section is basically an intermittent stream, sometimes bone dry, due to damming upstream, to feed the great thirst of Phoenix, and the surrounding farms that feed Phoenix. However this year that intermittent stream called the Gila has returned to being a river, and indeed a river at times in flood. Downstream the Colorado River, which was at times so sucked dry of water it no longer reached the sea, again reaches the sea.
In my last post I described how Lake Powell and Lake Mead are seeing their levels rise, and look likely to continue to recover well into the summer. The thirty-two reservoirs above Lake Powell are also refilling, and no longer resemble any sort of mega-drought.
However if all the water is falling in the desert Southwest, there must be some other place, where that water usually would go, that is experiencing drought. All things are interconnected. So where is that place?
Apparently it is up in the Canadian Rockies. Forest fires are roaring.
Why should I care? Well, the smoke is so thick it comes east:
I knew something was up, long before the media mentioned forest fires, because we were in a cool Canadian air-mass, and should have seen vividly blue skies, but instead the skies were of a milky hue, as if it was a hot and humid summer day, though the weather was brisk and cool and bone dry.
I immediately expected reinforcements of cool Canadian air, because that has been my experience. I’m not sure why it occurs, but forest fire smoke always seems to bring cooler weather. Maybe it is simply inherent in the jet stream that makes the fires possible out west, or maybe the smoke actually deflects sunlight and creates cold air masses, but it has been my experience that even in the heat of July you can expect the heat to shrink south for a while, when the skies get milky or gray with smoke.
But it wasn’t July, here. It was May, and the air came straight south from Hudson Bay, which is still ice-covered. We didn’t just get a frost. We got a freeze. Temperatures here were 28 (-2.2 Celsius) two mornings ago.
Now, if anyone is going to be all a dither about this late freeze it should be me. My middle son and I have been striving to get our tiny pear-tree orchard to bloom for seven years, and this year the trees (or half of them) finally, finally bloomed. But this late freeze pretty surely nipped our first crop in the bud.
But perhaps I have learned a little from Saint Paul about being “content in any circumstances”, for instead of bewailing my pear trees I find myself thinking about the pines in the Canadian Rockies. Many of those trees can’t release their seeds from their cones without fire. So this was a good thing for them.
And how about golfers in Pheonix? Has no one compassion for them? Usually by now it is getting too hot to golf, and Alarmists get mad when those golfers water their greens, but this year it is cooler and the greens are greener. Therefore it is safe to say, “Where there is smoke there are greener greens.”
While looking through my boyhood diary, now over sixty years old, I kept coming across a word you don’t hear much any more: The word, “Yay.” It was an expression of enthusiastic approval, for example, “School is out for summer. Yay!”
I suppose we don’t hear it much any more because cancel-culture includes little approval, which seems odd because its proponents flatter themselves with their so-called “inclusiveness”. It gets confusing. For example, they approve of disapproval. Finally you have to disapprove of their approval, just to stay sane. In any case, few people say “Yay” about each other, anymore.
This is quite the opposite of the love and understanding that permeated the atmosphere of the Summer of Love in 1969. Rather than disapproval there was the active appreciation of differences.
The opposite of active appreciation and acceptance is the sort of lock-down mentality we’ve been dealing with in the strange war we are midst. Because war is hell, we to some degree must resort to the very thing we disapprove of, when disapproving of disapproval, however it helps to simply get quiet, from time to time, and to recall things that require no arguments. Some things are true simply because they are. For example, gravity requires no arguments to work, at least until you learn how to levitate.
One thing the strange war has involved is an incredible shortage of workers, which has had me working full time at age seventy. Then, to my joy, colleges let out for the summer, and a couple of former interns returned wanting summer jobs. So this morning I got to sit and sip my coffee, and think of things that are true simply because they are. Yay!
I am thankful for a morning without
The urgent, the rush, the shove of the self
to push gutsy, and instead to just flout
The slave-drivers. Like a book on a shelf
I'll stay unread; remain unmanifested
With my Maker. His goodness and mercy's
In all and beyond all, and yet it's said
None can see. Why not? None sees the breeze
But all feel its fingers pass through their hair.
I'll sit and hear what silence has to say.
The heart is fuller when without a care
Yet strangely empty when caring. The way
To fullness, when your sad spirit's sunk,
Is to open your heart and clear out the junk.
It pays to always remind yourself, “It could have been worse.” We could have had our recent storm in December, and could have faced the huge snowbanks hanging around for three months before they started to wilt in the March sunshine. As it is, they are wilting already.
It has been a winter of two powers, Atlantic and Pacific, battling for meteorlogical world-domination, with the Pacific for the most part winning. What this meant for us was a kindly pattern, with the storm track heading up over the Great Lakes and the Saint Lawrence valley, putting us on the warm side of most storms. It also made for powerful warm sectors to the storms, surging over us from the southwest to the northeast, and also pushing the secondary developments out into the Atlantic. It seemed a great year for Atlantic gales, but they were all five hundred to a thousand miles offshore, and even the cold blasts in their wake were usually out to sea. However in February the pattern seemed to shift, and the Atlantic powers started to assert their control more.
The storm track started to have trouble heading up the Saint Lawrence valley, and the warm sectors seemed less robust, and more easily occluded or shunted east. The secondary storms were less out to sea, and blowing-up closer and closer to the so-called “benchmark” southeast of Nantucket, where they can clobber us. And finally one did.
Our big storm was preceded by a a series of weak waves that failed to either be Pacific and give us mild rains, or Atlantic and give us gales, but instead meekly passed over from west to east, only growing strong after passing us, as storms had been wont to do all winter. However, even when temperatures were above “normal” they were just cold enough to give us snow. We actually had our snowcover gone by mid February, but it grew back as a series of small storms passed. For twelve straight days we had at least a few flakes, or sleet, or freezing rain, which waged a war against the power of the sun, which was now swiftly rising higher in the sky, nearly 23 degrees higher at noon than it was in December. I have written how we raised a final igloo at our Childcare, but so bright was the March sunshine it soon was renamed, “The Bad Tooth” (because it had cavities.)
It was at this point our streak of snowy days was broken by a blast of wind from the north, as an Atlantic gale blew up close enough for us to get the cold gales behind it. There was a band of snow in northern Maine and another down towards NYC, but we were in bright March sunshine, with winds cold enough to keep the snow icy (as can be seen in the above picture.) The computer models began to crank out ominous maps showing a storm coming up the coast, and I did the only thing I could think of doing, which was to lug as much firewood indoors, and undercover onto the porch, as my old body could stand.
I was fairly grumpy about the work, because I always am grumpy when faced with the stupidity of Daylight Savings Time. I don’t care if Benjamin Franklin dreamed up the idea. It is idiotic to mess with people’s biorhythms twice a year. It’s not so bad when you get the stolen hour of sleep back in the fall, but in the spring it is downright cruel to rob people of an hour of sleep, right when they are winter-worn and also have to do their taxes. But I figured that, if there is any way to control the weather, it is not through Carbon Credits but rather either by washing your car or preparing for a storm. In my experience preparing for a storm is a good way to chase a storm out to sea. (Also raking a pile of leaves is a good way to create a big gust of wind.)
My strategy didn’t work this time, as the map swiftly showed the set up for an east coast storm. You can see the prior storm as a gale blowing up over the Atlantic, to the far right, even as an approaching weak low in the “northern branch” is in the upper left and another weak low in the “southern branch” is towards the bottom left. Earlier in the winter such lows had past to our west keeping us rainy, and that was actually my hope: That the snow would change to rain; you don’t have to shovel rain.
Monday was a gray day with everyone cranky from the missed hour of sleep, and the cars again needing headlights in the morning, and the temperatures warming above freezing as the ridge of high pressure passed over and the north winds became southerly. Every now and again enormous snowflakes would fall, very swiftly, as if they were practically rain. In the afternoon the snow did change to light rain, and I got my hopes up. Rain might destroy my igloo, but I was stiff and sore from lugging firewood, and an igloo seemed a sacrifice well worth avoiding shoveling snow. The northern low was diving southeast as the southern low reached the Carolina coast, turned northeast, and started to intensify.
Snow began to mix in with the rain as we closed up the Childcare, but was melting on pavements and not accumulating. The air was still surprisingly dry, which is not a good thing if you desire rain, because, if precipitation falls through dry air, evaporation occurs, and evaporation cools the air, and the falling flakes stay cold enough to avoid turning to rain. The actual forecast was a bit wishy-washy about where the rain-snow line would set up. I imagined the forecasters preferred looking foolish to underestimating dangers, and would forecast snow even if they thought rain was more likely, so I kept my hopes up. However, to play it safe, my wife slept at the Childcare to watch over her mother, who was staying upstairs, and also to be there without having to battle through the half foot of wet snow forecast by morning. Meanwhile I went home to keep the home-fires burning and feed the dog.
Around dark I looked out at the streetlight and saw the rain had changed completely to snow, and by 7:00 PM it was steady and starting to accumulate, but not particularly heavy. I went to bed early and when I awoke just after midnight the snow was becoming heavy and it looked like we had a couple inches. I went back to bed and then heard my son plow the drive by the house. Glancing at my clock I saw to my surprise it was only 4:00 AM, and peering outside saw we had roughly a foot already. Any hope I had for rain was dwindling, especially because, though radar showed a wall of water rushing north from the southeast, our winds remained light from the north.
I tried to get back to sleep but suddenly I heard a blast of wind and the windows rattled. I have no clue what the phenomenon was, for when I arose the winds were back to being light from the north, but the lights had blinked and various electrical devises in the house were making the various noises they make as they reboot. I pottered about making ready to lose power, filling the bathtub with water (to flush the toilet with) and filling kettles in the kitchen (to cook with) and brewing an extra pot of coffee (to get wired with.)
Slowly the windows purpled with belated daylight, and I looked out and saw we had around a foot and a half (46 cm) and that I couldn’t see 400 yards down the road. Radar showed rain in Boston, rain in NYC, but we were just over the rain-snow line, and that line was moving south, not north towards us.
Looking out the front door convinced me to stay in. Notice the untouched snow shovel.
I called my wife, and was surprised to learn six children had been dropped off. Some parents couldn’t afford to miss any work, with heating costs so high, and couldn’t work from home. In one case the parent had lost power, just down the road. My wife said she still had power but the lights were blinking a lot, and she had filled pots with water just in case. My daughter texted she had lost power. My son texted the plows couldn’t keep up with the snow even on the bigger highways, and road-crews weren’t salting or sanding because they couldn’t stop to refill, and anyway the snow was coming down so fast it just covered the sand and washed away the salt. I told my wife I’d wait a bit before shoveling out, but then my neighbor put me to shame, clambering out to shovel her roof.
I went out to snow-rake off the roof of our screen porch before it collapsed, and as I did so my dog decided to get tricky (as usual) and to get me in trouble by violating the leash law (a $25.00 fine) but the snow was so deep her feet couldn’t reach the ground. After plunging across the yard she reached a place under the trees where her feet could touch, but just then there was a loud crack from the treetops, and snow came thudding down with a noise like soft thunder. The dog decided not to be so sneaky and came back.
I went out front to shovel the front steps. The snow was so heavy and wet I quickly decided a narrow path was better than a wide one.
Then I walked down the drive. Though my son had plowed a foot away earlier, the snow was a foot deep again. I looked towards my jeep.
It occurred to me I was crazy when younger, for back then I actually liked snow.
By this time the storm’s pressure was rapidly deepening as it came up the coast, as the northern branch feature plunged southeast towards the southern branch storm. If you are against snow, you hope the northern branch will hit like a croquet ball and knock the southern feature out to sea, but instead the two features were “phasing”.
What”phasing” does is generate “bombogenesis”. .
When I was younger they used to call this “rapid cyclogenesis”. This didn’t seem exciting enough, I suppose, so the phrase became “explosive cyclogenesis”, (if the pressure at the center of a storm dropped at least 24 mb in 24 hours). Then an unknown meteorologist (who should be famous) came up with the shortened form “bombogenesis” as a joke, little aware the coined word would someday make the dictionary. In any case, bombogenesis has been happening over and over all winter, out in the middle of the Atlantic where no one noticed, but this one was noticeable.
As the storm neared and exploded the winds shifted to northeast, and the radar showed the precipitation shift to the east from the south. It actually became less heavy, though it remained heavy. Boston remained in rain, but snow began in NYC.
By evening snow made it to Boston, as the “back edge” of the snow never made it east to us, in southern New Hampshire. We just got snow, snow, snow, for over twenty-four hours.
By noon we had over two feet, an were starting our third. I had to face the music and dug out the snow in front of my Jeerp. Then I thought I’d scoop a little hole in the windshield to see through, drive out onto the road, and only then remove the rest, out where plows could remove it when it fell to the ground, and I wouldn’t have to shovel it. But as soon as I started to poke a little hole the entire mass of snow on the windshield and hood slid off in front of the car. Hopefully snow has no ears, and didn’t hear what I called it.
(Notice how, by the time I took the picture, fresh snow was already accumulating on the hood.)
I again shoveled the snow away in front of the Jeep, and removed just enough by the driver’s-side door to get in, put the vehicle in four wheel drive, and spun my way out onto the highway. The rest of the snow slid off as easily as the snow slid from the front, and I was ready to journey the half mile to the farm. The state highway was a rutted mess, and the side road was a single lane. At the Childcare the chickens were snowbound and only the tops of the playground fence protruded.(Compare fence with first picture in this post).
My wife however was levitating three feet off the ground, (thanks to dense snow and snowshoes).
The idea was that the snowshoes would pack down the snow enough for the children to walk on, but kids have never been known for obeying instructions and sticking to the path, and once off the path they could do little more than flounder. I myself tended to break through the snowshoe-packed snow every tenth step, sinking right to my crotch. This made my next step like stepping up a three-foot-tall stair. It was amazingly exhausting, just moving twenty yards. I could see the kids would have no problem taking naps. Although the lights blinked a lot, the Childcare never lost power, though the internet quit and the cellphones were starting to text very slowly. I was still able to throw the children’s drenched snowsuits into the drier.
I did a bit of work shoveling the walkway into the Childcare, which my wife had shoveled earlier, but skipped bothering with the other entrances. There is a state law all fire exits must be clear, but I wasn’t worried about any inspectors showing up.
My son had passed through with his plow, crashing through the huge walls the town plows had raised across the parking lot entrance and exit and plowing a single lane so people could pick up their kids, but there was already another half foot of snow, and a town plow had raised a smaller wall across the entrance and exit. So I hopped in my Jeep and did the easy thing, which was to drive around and around in four-wheel-drive, breaking through the town plow walls, and packing a single lane in the parking lot. It worked. Bedraggled looking parents came by to get their kids, exclaiming about how awful the roads were. Many were going home to houses with no power, as the snow was so heavy it was taking down trees.
My wife decided to spend a second night at the Childcare. I was glad I had stacked wood inside, and got the upstairs wood fire stocked up and running on low, just in case they lost power over night. Then I headed home, as I wanted to see things on the internet.
The back road was deeply packed and like a washboard (not that many know what a washboard once was.) As I drove I was amazed by the industry and resiliency of many, who were out with snow-blowers and had their driveways clearer than the highways. Also just about every vehicle on the road was a pickup truck with a plow, as construction workers made some off-season bucks plowing drives. They’d get paid three times during this storm, as they plowed after each foot of snow. I noticed many men had little front-end-loaders they were using on their drives; almost like toys, such loaders seem to becoming as common as rider-lawnmowers, among men in the construction industry.
All of this got me musing about how dependent we are on fossil-fuels. My mind drifted back sixty years, when, after a storm, most shoveled. I can remember the first snowblowers appearing, clanking and awkward, in our wealthy town, and how scornful my father was of “sissies” who used them. Though he himself was crippled by polio, he had a sort of John-Henry-vs.-The-Steam-Engine attitude, and insisted we boys display our brawn and prowess by shoveling our fairly long driveway by hand. I wasn’t much help, being small, and my eldest brother never seemed interested in that sort of prowess, (preferring piano prowess), but my next-oldest brother was amazing, shoveling like a tornado, and liked to have the driveway done before all neighbors. We were helped by the fact it was paved with the blackest of all blacktops and faced south, but often it was clear and dry while the road was still snow-covered.
Before I was born New Englanders actually preferred to keep the roads snow-covered, as people moved about in horse-drawn sledges and sleighs. (I actually rode down the road our Childcare is on in a sleigh, in December of 1968). One lane of the state highway was not sanded for children in sleds on Town Hill, as recently as 1960, and back then the road department had a “roller” gathering cobwebs in a garage, which once had been drawn by horses to pack down the snow on streets.
I suppose we could go back to those ways, but it would make sense to prepare for it beforehand. We currently have no “rollers” nor sleighs, and would be in a bit of a pickle if Fraudulent Biden got his way, and we had no fossil fuels. Nor was it always easy during those old time winters. People used to be snowbound for days, and, during the winter of 1717, for weeks.
Arriving home, I took the dog out for a floundering walk, and then settled by the fire to check out the internet, which was working at home. Besides checking out some interesting articles on the winter of 1717, I kept an eye on the radar. The center of the storm had stalled, and described a loop-de-loop just north of Cape Cod. Some dry air was sucked in, but we remained in a snow band in southern New Hampshire, with an expanding “dry slot” remaining just to our west. It grew purple and then black outside, but I kept looking out the window towards the streetlight, and the snow kept flying. At 7:00 it passed twenty-four hours of snow. When I turned in at 10:00 it was still snowing…
and when I awoke in the wee hours the snow was lighter, but radar showed we were in the final band, just barely poking into southern New Hampshire from the south, as “dry slots” expanded all around us.
I awoke to brilliant sunshine at daybreak. The snow had ceased at around 2:00 AM, which meant we received 31 hours of snow, and the “official” town total was 36 inches (though I don’t know who the official was.) My own guess would be a little less, because the snow slumped under its own weight. In any case, it was over thirty inches, and the deepest one-storm-total I’ve witnessed in my seventy years.
The final four inches had been far more fluffy than the earlier snow, especially the first foot, which was like heavy wet cement as you shoveled. I skipped as much as I could, so I could hurry over to the Childcare. The schools were closed but again we were open and again a handful of children arrived despite the conditions.
The first thing I noticed was that our igloo had been wonderfully repaired. “The Bad Tooth” had been to the dentist. (Boy in background is on snowshoes.)
The second thing I noticed was that our “snow shedder” roof had solved one problem, but created another. The problem it solved was that it shed three feet of snow, so I didn’t need to shovel the roof. The problem it created was that it dumped the snow in front of the vent for the propane furnace, and the furnace shuts off when the vent is blocked. Some shoveling cannot be avoided, but I did as little as possible. (Vent is just beyond lower corner of nearest window.)
The isobars tightened as the storm moved off, and winds picked up. Bands of clouds rolled in from the north, and from time to time the brilliant sunshine would give way to whirling flurries of snow, and the sun would then come bursting out again and the air was filled with glittering. The sun was so high that the salted pavements swiftly melted, helped by the fact the mild winter has created no semi-permafrost beneath the pavement. (Other winters I’ve seen the ground frozen four feet down, especially under pavements, where there is no insulating blanket of snow.)
At this point the long-range-forecast produced another storm around a week in the future, with another three feet of snow possible. It seemed unlikely to me, but having just studied the winter of 1717 I knew such a duo of storms was indeed possible. But that winter began to become severe in February, during a mild winter just cold enough to have many snows, while our current storm seemed much later and more like the Blizzard of 1888, which occurred on March 17 after a mild winter with little snow, and wasn’t followed by a second storm. (1888 only produced two inches of slush down in Boston, but over four feet of snow in NYC.) In any case, no one was in the mood to sit back and hope the March sunshine melted the snow, with the ominous forecast.
My neighbor across the street was especially concerned because his house was built right against the street in the mid 1800’s, when “rollers” packed down the snow and people passed in sleighs. Now plows shove snow aside right against his house. To accidentally make matters worse, last summer he added a snow-shedder roof which dumps snow into the street, which the plows didn’t appreciate. Soon they would be widening the streets with “wing plows”, which, by pushing the shed snow off the street, very well might push his house right off its foundation. Therefore he borrowed a friend’s mini-front-end-loader and hustled to remove the snow piled against his house.
This highlights a subtle war that occurs between homeowners and town or state plows. Homeowners push snow out of their drives into the street, and the plows push the snow back into their driveways.
This conflict used to be handled fairly well, as homeowners would shove the snow across the street and off the street on the far side, and the operators of the wing-plows had a sort of dexterous touch to the plows, and would slightly raise them as they passed a drive, leaving at least the center of the drive open and the snow to the sides. However, a shortage of drivers abruptly occurred, as some of our best town drivers passed away, retired, or were hired away by the state (which paid better wages and was desperate for drivers). Suddenly we had young drivers who were unskilled, and snow at a depth rarely seen. A lot of mailboxes got knocked down, and even roadside stonewalls got shifted.
Clean-up was still occurring the second day after the storm. The long-range forecast still held the second huge storm, and people remained unwilling to trust the brilliant March sunshine and balmy temperatures. A huge front-end-loader appeared to shift snow from around the stop sign by my house, fearing another storm would cause the sign to completely vanish, despite the beaming March sunshine.
The schools had reopened on the second day after the storm, despite the fact the side roads still needed work, and this meant our Childcare had to handle “the bus kids”, who are children who only stay in the morning until the school bus comes. I had to make sure the entrance was passable. It was, but the exit was dangerous because the snowbanks were so high you couldn’t see if traffic was coming. You just had to gamble, shooting out into the street and hoping people stopped. My wife decided that was no good, and texted everyone that for the next few days our exit would be the entrance and the entrance would be the exit. This made everything clear as mud, for some still had no internet and received no text and employed the old arrangement, but we managed to get through the morning without a single head-on collision.
I got to thinking about the subjectivity of the word “passable”, especially when teachers are involved. (I probably should steer away from this subject, due to a hostility I still bear, even after a half century, towards a male teacher back in Junior High, who said a very pretty girl’s writing was “passable” and mine was not. Perhaps that was when I first learned about subjectivity. The girl’s writing may have been “cuter”, but so is a five-year-old’s. Anyway, as a bitter, thirteen-year-old boy craving recognition, I suspected the thirty-year-old man wasn’t looking at the flirtatious thirteen-year-old girl’s writing at all.)
In any case, teacher’s find roads “passable” when the alternative is unpleasant, and “impassable” when the alternative is pleasant. For example, the school plans for five “snow days” a winter. That means a teacher can miss up to five days without having to make them up. The days are paid for. But from the sixth day on, the missed day must be added to the end of the school year, to make up for missed time. No one (sane) wants to go to school in the summer. Consequently the effects of missing the first five days are pleasant, but after that are unpleasant. The result is that school was cancelled for three inches of snow in December, but we had school despite three feet of snow in March.
When you think of it, even twenty feet of snow is passable, when something as agreeable as skiing is involved. Here is an example from the Sierra Nevada:
This subjectivity evolves over the course of a lifetime into the wise saying, “It’s amazing what you can do when you have to.” When a ship was de-masted back in the 1400’s they couldn’t use cell-phones and a GPS and sit about waiting for the Coast Guard to show up in a helicopter, but had to use broken lengths of spar and a temporary sail (called a “jory”) to rig a makeshift sail, in order to stay alive and get back to shore. This created the phrase “jury rigging”.
“Jury rigging” is different from “Jerry rigging.” In the late 1700’s and early 1800’s a sloppy and/or lazy worker was given the disparaging title, “a Jerry”, (I don’t know who the original Jerry was, and apologize to all other Jeremiah’s), and therefore a badly built structure was called, “Jerry built.” Therefore the difference is that “jury rigging” involves necessity, and a display of ingenuity, and often saves lives. For example, the quick-fix that saved the lives of the astronauts on Apollo Thirteen was definitely jury rigging. The failed o-ring that caused the space shuttle Challenger’s explosion was likely due to Jerry rigging.
Bureaucrats in heated offices like to sit back and devise a slew of codes, rules, and regulation all intended to prevent any structure from ever being “Jerry Built,” but tend to get carried away, which gives us the OSHA horse:
In other words, the difference between jury rigged and Jerry rigged is often a matter of where you are sitting. People in warm offices see the world differently from people in the midst of blizzards.
It also seems to me that people become overly dependent on rescue, and lose touch with self resiliency when bureaucrats become too helpful. Often, after a hurricane or tornado down south, people simply stretch a huge, blue tarp over their roofless home, and then sit back and wait for help. Bureaucrats arrive with lots of forms to fill out, and then vanish back into offices to determine who qualifies for what and to what degree. Then they reemerge with more forms to fill out, including forms to hand to the people who fix roofs, to attempt to avoid paying the vultures who arrive and promise to fix roofs, but who take the money and run. Months and sometimes years pass, and the houses still have blue tarp roofs, but fortunately the weather is much warmer down south, and only a few nights each winter do people suffer, and occasionally die of pneumonia. The rest of the time the survivors live under blue tarp roofs which were originally jury built but now qualify as Jerry built. Then…
Then a church group gets involved. I have friends and relatives who “go on vacation ” by joining such groups for a week each winter. They coordinate with churches in the south, and arrive with trucks full of supplies and tools, have a prayer meeting, and get to work. As far as I know there is a minimum of form-filling. There is a job to be done and they just do it. There are communal meals, and a men’s dorm and a woman’s dorm (usually at local churches) and often local people join in during the meals, the work, and the evening prayers. I’ve known a couple people who only went down “to see the damage” but who returned praising the high spirits and moods of optimism and kindness they had witnessed, and who went again on following years. The most amazing thing described is how swiftly homes were repaired, even when they had been flooded to the ceiling of the first floor and all the sodden wallboard had to be removed. Many workers had no skill, but were willing to do what they were told, but there were enough skilled carpenters, electricians and plumbers to “do things by code” even without a bureaucrat present. Often the original structure hadn’t “been built to code”, and some jury rigging was necessary to improve upon the Jerry rigged structure, but what was most noticeable, especially to the local people, was the efficiency; in a few weeks several church groups had arrived and left, each having a wonderful time, and an entire neighborhood had been fixed up. More was done in less than a month than the government had managed to get done, despite the government having far more time and money. In some cases it had been years and the homes were still roofed in blue tarps, until a bunch of goodhearted bumpkins arrived.
They didn’t have to help their neighbors, but had become aware of what is within the old saying, “You never know what you can do until you have to.” People have hidden capacities within. A fat man may not think he can run, until he faces an escaped tiger.
My father verged on taking this attitude to the extreme, as he had been crippled by polio, yet came back from a hopeless-seeming situation largely by the sheer force of his will. He had little patience with me as a boy, when I whined, “I can’t.” Where my mother had the mercy of a nurse, he had the mercy of a drill sergeant, and wanted the work done. He wanted the driveway shoveled even if you only had a tablespoon.
This resulted in my developing a split personality. On one hand I was very good at escapism; at eluding the drill sergeant, while on the other hand I was good at facing the music when escape was no longer possible. And my escapism did land me in crazy predicaments more responsible people seldom find themselves in, for example being in a small sailboat in a storm at sea with the engine gone and the halyards snapped and no radio. You can run away from reality only so far before reality catches up. Sleeping in my car was another consequence of my escapism called “poetry”, and taught me a lot about facing the music (or perhaps facing the poetry).
People confronted by poverty know there is such a place as “rock bottom”, and are far more willing to break laws than bureaucrats in warm offices who like to sit about and make the laws. The same is true for any small businessman, and one endearing thing President Trump did was to point out there were more rules and regulations than any person could ever hope to read, and that in some cases the rules countermanded each other, and he set about abolishing many. However the simple fact of the matter is that people do not need a politician to override stupid rules. When pressed by necessity, such as a blizzard, people simply do it. They do not worry overmuch if it is jury rigging or Jerry rigging, they just do it.
Besides saying, “It is amazing what a man can do when he has to,” people say, “When the going gets tough the tough get going” and “It’s the job you never start that never gets done” and any number of other sayings which boil down to a reality bureaucrats don’t much like to hear: “Life goes on without bureaucrats.”
In a sense the recent storm was a trial run, a test case. People got to test their limits, and see their weaknesses exposed. For example, as I drove to the Childcare the second morning I noticed long line of cars at the gas station. It was people needing gasoline for their home generators, and the word on the street was that the gas station was running out of gas. This demonstrated how many have taken steps to exist without power coming from outside, but also exposed a weakness in their plans; IE: They may run out of gas.
As I arrived at the Childcare I faced the fact my body ached and that in some ways I myself, at age seventy, have run out of gas. Also it is harder to hire help. When I was young families with six kids were common, but now they are rare. Also, when I was young there was nothing a kid felt was worth watching on TV in the afternoon (unless you were a kid who liked mushy soap operas) but now there are all sorts of video games and shows to distract youth from going outside. (However when the power goes out and batteries fail perhaps things change.)
But I am lucky because I have my crowd of “bus kids” waiting for the school bus. It’s amazing how much work they can do, in just fifteen minutes, but when you think of it, four boys frenetic for fifteen minutes adds up to a single “man-hour”. And they work far faster than I can. To be honest, I think nine-year-olds work harder than many teenagers, (for short periods of time). As the bus arrives they troop off happily, each with a five dollar bill for a half an hour’s work, and no bureaucrat has arrived to tell me whether or not I have broken a child-labor-law, and whether the fire escape doorway is clean enough. (Notice in the background the snow has already settled a foot, and the rails on the fence are reappearing. Also notice the cleared doorway below the window’s lower right corner.)
In any case, it is still possible to remove snow without fossil fuels, but the fact of the matter is that fossil fuels often make the job faster and easier. I suppose one could even say fossil fuels, and the toy front-end-loaders men can now buy, to some degree replace the fact families used to have six kids who could shovel snow by hand. However solar power can’t do that.
Solar power works, for the sun will eventually melt the snow, but life will be far harder if Fraudulent Biden gets his way and fossil fuels become unavailable. This article involves my small town up in the hills, and amounts to a sort of test case, but the Blizzard of 1888 involved four feet of snow down in the big city of NYC, and the winter of 1717 involved five feet of snow for a month all around and even within Boston. (Drifts covered the tops of single story cottages, and their location was shown by a hole in the snow with smoke coming out, where the chimney was.)
When I amused myself by looking back at 1717 I came across other hard winters in those early days, which old-timers of that time argued about, (the arguments involving which was worst). There was one in the mid sixteen hundreds and another roughly thirty years later that involved over twenty “falls of snow” and various “ferries” that don’t exist any more (because we have bridges) being frozen solid for extended periods of time. For example, we now drive from Boston to Charlestown over a landfill which boats pass through using locks, but back then Boston was just a peninsula, the Back Bay was still a bay, and the only way to Charlestown required a ferry. To have the ferry freeze involved salt water, or at least brackish water, freezing, creating sea-ice far south of the Arctic Circle, (which of course got me interested).
In some ways this is all just trivia, but I can’t help but notice that, among the mild winters, there are some winters of legendary cold. The winter of 1698-1699 isn’t known so much for the depth of the snow, as for the lack of thaw and rain. The snow that fell never melted. The rather poor records of that time state they had “thirty snowfalls”, which may be a record, and certainly was a pain in the butt for the people.
One thing that is interesting is that the people involved were not used to such winters. They were newcomers, and snow over a foot deep is seldom a problem in the southerly sections of England they came from. However the transplants swiftly utilized some Native American ways of surviving deep snows, one of which was to use snowshoes.
Having utterly exhausted myself walking through deep snow to feed my goat during our recent storm, I concur that this is a brilliant invention. I also think it demonstrates that, while the Native Americans and Europeans spent half their time, a full seventy-five years out of their first hundred-fifty, trying to commit genocide against each other, between 1620 and 1770, they also had a sneaking admiration of each other and stole each other’s ideas. (Pity they had to be sneaky about what could have been done in the broad daylight of peace.)
Pity that we now live in a time when Fraudulent Biden must sneak his ideas past all the checks and balances of a vibrant republic, and avoid the health of wholesome debate, initiating “lock downs”. In terms of the China Virus, to ask for a second opinion from doctors was not allowed. And the same was (and is) true concerning Global Warming, and the decree we must abandon fossil fuels. A second opinion is not allowed, and a two party system is banned. It is pitiful. Why? Because such autocrats have the my-way-or-the-highway attitude of a cyclops, and the pity of a cyclops is that it can never even dream of the depth-perception people with schizophrenic eyeballs take for granted.
Schizophrenic? Well, you have to comprehend it took deep snow to force Puritans to do what they otherwise wouldn’t. People who had a love of their own ways might say “I will never act like those other people do”, but deep snow made them hypocrites, because they did act like those other people, and wore snowshoes. And is not such hypocrisy a sort of schizophrenia?
I remember my parents talking with my grandparents about something they called “the pendulum”. Things would go from one extreme to another extreme, and then back again. It could involve things as inconsequential as the length of women’s dresses. Or it could involve more serious stuff. But the idea was that neither side was stable. You couldn’t freeze the pendulum to the far right or far left. Something in human nature always wanted to see the other side, and was swayed the other way.
One attribute of any autocrat is that they want to freeze the pendulum. They want to have the power to outlaw any opinion other than their own. If you get bored by their banal braying, they want to censor your alternative opinion. If you are a child bored by the blackboard, and your eyes drift to clouds out the window, they clash shut the blinds. They demand they, and they alone, are the center of attention. They alone are worthy of worship. They deem themselves God.
However something in human nature wants to see the other side, and is swayed the other way. The despot hates this. It is for this reason communists encourage “the revolution”, but detest “the counterrevolution”. They encourage a dismissal of sane honesty in order to get power (“The ends justify the means”) and resent sane honesty once they have seized power, (“Might makes right”.) However they defy a law as simple as the law of gravity, when they attempt to freeze the pendulum to the far left. Honesty tugs, pulls, drags, and makes all their effort an exercise in futility.
The despot is like a person who rushes about attempting to stamp out fires he sees leaping up from the carpet, who is unaware the fires are due to the fact the ceiling above his head is ablaze, and showering sparks.
In any case I currently find myself in the shoes of the petite bourgeois, who are despised by the communist mindset because the petite bourgeois are capable of thinking for themselves and therefore are “counterrevolutionary”, because they do not need a “collective” telling them what to do. Not that I intend to overthrow the government, but when you state Truth matters, you may accidentally be threatening liars. And when some say “the ends justify the means” they are just justifying their lies. You then may become a threat to them, simply by stating the Truth. And, with that as my springboard, forgive me as I embark upon a bit of a rant.
The Truth is not a thing held by a mortal, and especially not by a mortal as full of flaws as I am, but Truth does have the power to crush liars. For the simple fact of the matter is that Truth’s mercy puts leaders in the powerful position they hold in the first place. What God gives God can take away. After all, from the start the odds are very stacked against such a lone person ruling a million. They are outnumbered. As Napoleon put it, “Religion is to keep the poor from killing the rich.”
However, what is to keep the rich from killing the poor? Hitler killed how many Germans? Stalin killed how many Russians? Mao killed how many Chinese? Pol Pot killed how many Cambodians? And how many Americans might Fraudulent Biden deem it acceptable to kill?
Acceptable? Well, there are some who say that the current population of earth is “unsustainable”, and needs to be reduced to a half billion. This logic makes the genocide of roughly seven billion people acceptable. It is a “reasonable” thing to do, though such a genocide must include Americans. If you have no heart, such logic makes perfect sense, (providing you are of the half billion who escape the genocide).
I am not of those who would escape such a genocide, and therefore I look around and wonder if we Americans are like Europeans, and are willing to be led like sheep to slaughter. Are we like the six million Jews and one million Roma led to gas chambers by Hitler? Are we like the Russian Kulak, of whom Solzhenitsyn said six million were killed by Stalin’s purges?
I think not. Europeans are superior to Americans, in terms of their fidelity to leaders, but Americans are superior to Europeans, in terms of their love of individual liberty. (I imagine souls are born in the place that most suits their needs, or “Karma”.) However the result of this difference is that which works in Europe may backfire in America.
Is this just wishful thinking on my part? That is what I stand about looking for: I seek evidence Americans will push back against despotism. Or will they meekly comply to all lock-downs?
One thing I have noted the past three years is that people were not all that law-abiding during the China-virus lock-downs. At first, when they imagined they were making sacrifices for a good cause, they were willing and eager to listen to bureaucrats. However, when the cure started to look worse than what it was supposedly curing, people started to devise ways “around the law”.
In a sense the lock-downs were like a blizzard, and people became aware “you never know what you can do until you have to.”
I could go on at length about how people “got around the law,” (often using the law to get around the law, because bureaucrats have made so many contrary laws one could legally sell turnips as catfish, if one used laws slyly). (Glance through Silvergate’s, “Three Felonies a Day”.) But such a discussion likely would be a very long sidetrack, and should involve a separate post. Let it suffice to say the response of the American people was in some ways troubling to the radical left. First, the economy was not harmed as much as expected, and second, people were not as enraged as expected.
I surmise the radical element in “the swamp” expected trouble when they rigged the election, and then also brazenly shoved the falsified results through congress, for they erected barricades of razor wire. Why? Then they attempted to inflame the passions of the protestors and to at least generate the appearances of an insurrection. Why? Lastly they tried to make what involved no arms and very little violence look like a rebellion, when it was largely peaceful and largely in compliance with the law. They seemed to think if they used the word “insurrection” often enough they could make a lie be reality, but the effort failed miserably. The media failed to fool most, and became somewhat comical in their resemblance to what little children call “backwards-day”. With burning buildings in the background, the media called events involving Antifa rioters “peaceful protests”, and with smiling protestors peacefully milling about in the background the media called the January 6 protests “an insurrection”. It was too much; it overtaxed even the credulity of the credulous.
The American people have been exposed from an early age to the clever blandishments of Madison Avenue via non-stop commercials on TV, and have been forced to become callused to (or develop antibodies against) such sales pitches, and the leftist media was not as clever as Madison Avenue. In fact they were downright clumsy. Then the simple fact the American people did not respond as expected made the media a strange mixture of overly-confident and afraid. They went from clumsy to clumsier.
Perhaps some think the failure of Americans to rise in wrathful violence is a sign the people have lost their courage. Some on the radical left are perhaps encouraged, and think, “This takeover is going to be even easier than we dreamed possible”. However I imagine the silence may be like the silence of teammates seeing a member of their own team make an error. The faces of Americans, watching their politicians and their media, are like the faces of the Chicago players in the Norman Rockwell painting, “The Dugout”.
Such a concept involves the idea we are all on the same team. This may be a new idea to some leftists. For all their talk of “inclusion” they are big on exclusion, on “cancelling”. The idea we are “one nation indivisible” is a bit of a shock to them. Yet many look upon even leftists as fellow Americans, and as teammates. The ideas Jesus Christ put forward about loving your neighbors and loving even your enemies hits leftists like a ton of bricks, when they face faces that are not filled with hate, but rather wince with disappointment. They are the faces of teammates that hoped you’d do better.
But what the heck, even Babe Ruth struck out. In fact he struck out a lot. He struck out more often than he hit home runs. He struck out 1330 times, yet is purported to have stated, “Never let your fear of striking out get in your way.” It seems an example of the idea that greatness is founded upon failures. Failures help us to fine-tune our swing, if we swing for the fences. The pendulum swings back and forth, between strike outs and home runs, between hot-streaks and slumps. As teammates, we should support each other regardless of whether we are winning or losing. If you grieve, we grieve. If you rejoice, we rejoice. (Any mention of “cancelling” in such philosophy?) We all seek a greater good which is good for you and good for the team. If you get sent back to the minor leagues, it is not to humiliate or destroy you, but to further your development. And it also helps the team.
This philosophy is a bit hard for some leftists to hear, especially as they have had their chance in the big leagues and now face being sent back to the minors. However there is no getting around the fact they have struck out constantly without hitting any home runs. They require further development. And the pained expressions of their teammates should tell them as much.
With that I will end my rant, and return to the details of our recovery from the massive snowstorm we experienced.
The long-range forecast was still showing a second massive storm, with a further three feet of snow, only six days away, so we were acting accordingly. I had my Childcare drive clear of snow, and was ready to receive the three children who dismount from a school-bus at noon (as our town only has half-day kindergarten). However three minutes before the bus was expected to arrive a town plow flew by with its wing plow down, and blocked the drive with a three foot tall wall of snow.
I was busy elsewhere. The notch you see in the wall of snow was made by my wife, for the bus driver was unwilling to even open the door unless some way was made for the three children to get over the pile and into the drive. So my wife rushed out and stomped and tromped a path.
I arrived shortly after that, and, after muttering some things about young plow drivers, had to quickly clear the wall to make ready for a parent arriving at 2:00 and also the “Special Needs” school bus, which would be entering the drive at 2:30 to deliver a lone child.
Only a few years ago I would have attacked that wall of snow with a shovel, but I’ve run out of gas at age seventy. I just can’t work that hard any more. So what I did was put my Jeep into four-wheel-drive and crashed through the pile, and then backed up, and repeated this process over and over until the Jeep’s wheels had packed down the wall into a sort of flattened berm at the entrance. Then I drove around and repeated the process at the exit. Who needs physical strength when you have fossil fuels?
Feeling a bit smug I went into the Childcare and sat back to enjoy a bowl of soup and the deep, sweet silence which descends at “nap time”, which is suppose to end at 2:30 but tends to start to end earlier. I dress the early risers in snow suits and send them outside, so they won’t wake the others. I was in the middle of this process when I heard the sound of a plow scraping down the street, and glancing out the window saw the young town-plower use his wing plow to build a second, smaller version of the wall across our entrance. That was approximately at 2:29, and before I could think of appropriate swears the Special Needs bus came around the corner and attempted to plow its way through the pile into the drive.
I had never noticed this before about the Special Need buses, but they are sort of the antithesis of a Jeep. I think some sort of government subsidies are involved, invented by a well-meaning bureaucrat who desired to invent a vehicle resembling the OSHA horse. For example, the wheels on the Special Needs bus were tiny, about half as big as the wheels on my Jeep. They looked like they belonged on a golf cart. Likely this had some “green” benefit; perhaps better gas mileage in summer weather; but currently such wheels were a fast way to get stuck in snow. The little bus whined its tires and rocked forward and back, but was stuck.
I heaved a sigh, shouldered a snow shovel, and trudged out to dig the bus out. At age seventy I know the routine. First you have to remove the snow packed under the vehicle’s frame, which keeps the wheels from touching the ground. This involves some especially awkward shoveling, reaching hard-to-reach places, and over the past half century I’ve learned to detest such bent-over and twisted contortions of the body, while digging. It is detestable even when you are young and limber, and at age seventy it is especially detestable because I knew the situation was easily avoidable, if old Harry had been operating the wing-plow instead of the young whippersnapper.
As I thought about this injustice I was working myself into a tizzy, just thinking how detestable it was, but, where a fury once helped me work harder and faster, it now just gets me out of breath, so I have to pause and lean on my shovel. As I did so I looked up and saw a bus load of faces all smiling at me.
I had never noticed this before, but sometimes Special Needs students seem far happier than everyone else. Maybe their joy is a bit demented, but they sure were on a different page than the one my grumpy self-pity was on. As they watched me work they were all laughing and waving.
I was struck by a sudden urge to give them all the middle finger; to dissolve into rage and shriek strange things: “I can be demented too, y’know. I got my own Special Needs!” However such behavior does not behoove the director of a Childcare, so I abstained, and instead I waggled my fingers at the happy children, and smiled as they all waggled delighted fingers back. My middle finger did not step out of line. Then my fingers clenched the handle and I went back to shoveling.
I instructed the young-lady bus driver to try to back up and shoveled in front of the spinning tire, and then to drive forward and shoveled behind, and felt a ray of hope. The tire made a raspy noise, as if it was starting make contact with sand, and the vehicle rocked further and further backwards and forwards, until abruptly the bus lifted out of its predicament as if it was as easy as pie and it had been thinking of doing so all along, but just wanted to make me feel important by pretending to be stuck.
A small Specially Needed child got out and went waltzing into the Childcare, and then I had to get the bus out of there, through the wall of snow at the exit. I looked at the berm and, after stroking my chin sagely, decided against any further work. Instead I instructed the young lady to wait until I saw the road was clear, and when I gestured to gun the engine and leave the lot at top speed. It may have taken a few years off the bus’s green warranty, but it worked. They went piling out into the road, jouncing over the snow pile and then driving off with everyone happily (and a bit wildly) waving backwards at me. And for days afterward every time I passed that Special Needs bus, the driver would wildly wave at me, as if we were the best of long-time friends.
But for the moment I was bushed. “I’m getting too old for this,” I muttered to myself, but the snow was of another opinion.
The brilliant March sunshine turned the berms at the entrance and exit slushy by the end of the day, and the Moms driving their big SUV’s made deep ruts in the berm, which other Moms in their little sedans avoided, by straddling the ruts. Overnight the slush froze as hard as iron, and then, first thing in the morning, an especially air-headed Mom drove her little sedan right into the deep SUV ruts, where her wheels didn’t even touch the ground.
I had come creaking into work groaning about how stiff and sore I was, and collapsed at my desk to start going through a year’s worth of receipts and begin doing my taxes. I took a deep breath and prepared my mind to focus, which was when I got word the car was stuck. I was less than happy, even though it was a good excuse to avoid doing taxes.
It was the exact same situation the Special Needs bus was in, only rather than snow it was slush frozen as hard as iron. I limped to a shed, dragged out a grub hoe, and began to listlessly peck away at the ice, all my muscles protesting the abuse. And just then a superhero arrived.
It was a man who has been my neighbor since 1968. Back then he came up to my knees. He’s roughly sixty now, but still has his strength. He stopped his truck, stomped over, took my grub hoe from me, and began whaling away, prying big slabs of ice from the pavement and casting them aside. Then he backed his truck up close to the little car, so he had something to brace against as he pushed, and with a tremendous heave removed the sedan from the ruts. Then, with a friendly nod, he headed off. Then the young mother drove off, leaving me to reflect in the sunshine. I mused that there is a difference between age sixty and age seventy, and it is all downhill.
I glanced at my cellphone, and just then something amazing happened. Three feet of snow melted in five seconds. Of course I am not referring to the snow all around me, but the snow in the five-day-forecast. The dreaded second storm had up and vanished, “in the most recent run of the computer models” (which is what weathermen say nowadays, rather than “botched forecast.”) In fact the forecast was for nothing but sunny days and mild temperatures.
I looked around, noticing how different the snow looked, now that rather than threatening to grow deeper it was instead bidding adieu. What was this odd feeling I felt? Nostalgia for the nuisance? Yes, though it seemed impossible. At age seventy you can wonder if you’ll ever see snow again, and it makes you a bit wistful.
Glancing out over the playground I could already see the fence reemerging, and the igloo, which we had prepped for “the second storm”, was looking ragged. It would not long withstand the March sunshine.
And indeed that is exactly what happened. It collapsed three days later, and eight days later was a white shadow of its former self.
Not that, even with the snow vanishing, there are not plenty of signs of our great storm. Besides the plow damage to the fence in the background of the above picture, which I’ll have to fix, I know I’ll be huffing and puffing with a chainsaw a lot, cleaning up all the tree damage the heavy snow caused.
It is amazing how swiftly the snow shrinks in late March and early April, but it makes sense. Even in the ice ages the ice would melt and pour in torrents off the giant glaciers, for in April the sun gets as high and as hot as it is in August. Not that we can’t get tricked and be shocked by snow in May, but that is a fluke. Usually you move from shoveling snow to spading the pea patch so swiftly it makes your head spin. I’m not sure I’m up to it, at age seventy, and am looking about for recruits, for at my age what I should be doing is wearing suspenders, so I can hook my thumbs in them before pontificating sagely.
What would I pontificate sagely about? Well, you’ve read pages and pages, so you know. But I have one more thing to add.
As Americans regard their media and politicians like the Chicago players regarding their unseen teammate in Rockwell’s “The Dugout”, it suggests a certain awareness we have, and sense of humor we have, about the imperfections of others, and of ourselves. We know we are not perfect. At it’s worst, this means we are not entirely worthy of trust. So what can we trust?
On American’s soon-to-be-worthless money it says, “In God We Trust”. Ironic. Poor old widows worked long and hard as teachers for pensions, but Fraudulent Biden wants to find a way around paying the pensions, and the way (if successful) will be hyperinflation. People will get their pensions, but a thousand dollars will buy but a slice of bread. People will feel like fools for having trusted money, but American money states who alone deserves the trust.
“In God We Trust”. Many radical leftists laugh at that. Like Sennacherib before the walls of Jerusalem, they point out how many cried out to God, in whatever form they worshiped, and it never helped them. Sennacherib’s armies just smashed them. And some leftists imagine seven billion will be eradicated, in the name of population control, and God won’t raise a finger. But maybe such leftists are in for a surprise, just as Sennacherib got surprised.
The past winter surprised both sides of the Atlantic, as it was milder than expected, most of the time. People who could have been hurt very badly by high energy costs were not hurt as badly as expected. I sense some mercy in that, unless you are a particularly nasty person who wants people “to be taught a lesson” by suffering.
Personally I feel we were taught a lesson by the mild winter. We had a single shot of extreme cold, down to twenty below, and a single record-setting snowfall of over three feet. Also, at the start, we had extreme flooding. That is enough teaching, in my book. We saw our weaknesses exposed. We saw what we should do before next winter comes back to do it again. We also saw where we could help others, and where we need to ask others for help. But the strange question to ask is this: “Who was the teacher?”
The answer to that question makes leftists shudder. They argue against the answer, but fear it all the same.
It hardly seems worth posting, as shadow-banning has reduced my “views” total from over 300 to as low as 16. Roughly a 95% decrease. I tell myself it is a sign of honor. Someday in the future, anyone who wasn’t shadow-banned during these trying times will bear the mantle of disgrace, and be seen as something of a collaborator.
I would like to give credit for the decrease in views to my bad poetry. However one sign of being banned is that old posts without poems, which once appeared in search-engines because they had garnered over a thousand “views” (and in one case over 25,000), and which therefore continued to draw people to this site even years after the post was posted, abruptly stop attracting anyone. For example, here are the stats for a formerly popular old post called, “Why We Don’t Domesticate Deer.”
I should point out the post contains no poetry, and no politics about Global Warming, Sea-Ice, Vaccines, or Falsified Election Results. It was originally posted before Trump was even president. The only thing which might be deemed “political” was a mention that culling the wild deer population avoids starvation on the part of deer, and, occasionally, of poor people. Therefore the only reason for the abrupt cessation of “views” is that I, as an individual, am seen as being worthy of censoring, by some faceless bleep.
In any case I never really wrote for fame, which seems to harm people more than it ever helps them, but rather because I enjoy writing. I enjoyed the web because people responded to my writing, which was a lot better than the faceless rejection-slips I received when I attempted to interest editors in my work. I enjoyed even trolls, more than rejection-slips.
Before I discovered the web (around 2003) I wrote for the few who would listen. People in campgrounds and churches and at parties heard my songs. I did that for thirty-five years, so it is easy to return to that.
I still comment at other sites, though the discussions do not seem as instructive as they used to be. You used to get more links to sites that emphasized the point that the person you debated with was trying to make. Now, too often, you just get smeared, or get cancelled and your comment vanishes. But some places still have some adult debates, or goodhearted silliness.
Recently there was a slightly facetious post by Kip Hanson on the WUWT website about whether eating lentils would halt Global Warming, and the comments devolved at one point into some old, grade-school poetry about the digestive effects of eating beans. I could not resist the challenge, and composed this:
Beans! Beans! They make you dance
To escape your own flatulence!
Beans! Beans! You’d better run
To escape the climate-harm you’ve done
For sphincters in quite vegan asses
Produce stench whose harm surpasses
Several other greenhouse gasses.
This just demonstrates that once a poet, always a poet. Even if you are an old dog.
On the road to tomorrow the old dog
Does not strain the leash any more.
His tired eyes blink blandly through milky fog
And cats don't fear him. He will not implore
His Master for treats, nor yank him down stairs
In a scrabble to nowhere, as if ahead
Was always hidden treasure although there's
Nothing to be seen. Instead the dog's led
Meekly, heeled without wish to strain faster
Or sniff slower, content to cross green grass
Within the peace of walking with Master
On roads to tomorrow. I think this means
That the old dog may not tug, but still leans.
I may not post for a while. I need to think, (and also to do my blasted taxes, though it seems like paying a government to screw me).
I try to see the bright side of things, and one nice thing about having an elderly mother-in-law to care for is that, even at age seventy, I still get treated like a young whippersnapper. Of course, this also means that like Rodney Dangerfield, “I get no respect”, and it can be a bit wearing at times.
I tell her not to walk her dog up to a dangerous curve on a nearby country road, especially when it is narrowed by snowbanks after a storm, but later look up the road and see traffic stopped up at the curve, and even a front-end-loader stopped in a driveway beside the road with its scoop full of snow, as an elderly woman slowly crosses the road right on the curve with her alarmed little dog (who knows better) in tow. Her eyesight is bad, and this causes her to scrunch up her forehead and look cross even when she isn’t cross, and this apparently made people afraid to blare horns at her. In any case, she has proven no young whippersnapper is going to tell her where she can walk her dog.
Multiply this by twenty times and life starts to get draining. By fifty and she is almost as exasperating as the government, which seems to want to take a system that worked and utterly screw it up.
Lately life has left me feeling drained. It didn’t help matters that they stole an hour of sleep from us last Sunday, with the nonsense of Daylight Savings Time. Then we got hit by a major snowstorm. My wife and I were so worn out that a very nice Saint Patrick’s Day dinner we had on Saturday was in some ways just more work.
We sat down on Sunday and tried to plan a vacation, but even that made us tired. A sense of absurdity kicked in. When even vacations make you tired, perhaps you are nearing a sort of world-weariness some state is spiritually advantageous. I forget how the quote actually goes, but it is something like, “When even opulence makes you weary, your heart is making space for the Lord to walk in.”
When my wife and I got home after dark something happened worthy of a sonnet. Maybe it wasn’t a “sign” but I’m certain a Viking would call it an “omen.”
We're a couple old fools who have flunked a test.
Though we both make our bed we seldom get rest.
We try to treat all like they are a guest
Yet stumble and fall while doing our best.
We drove home in darkness. Silent was night
And our drive looked the same, lit by our light
But into its beams flew a shadowy sight:
An owl, with wide wings braking its flight.
It lit just above us, wisely looked down,
And melted away my face's sad frown.
Why should we interest this soul of the air?
What had we done? And why should it care?
I have no answer, but cannot refute
That souls from above us do give a hoot.
It has been a battle to even build a snowman this winter, with strong thawing so frequent. The children at our Childcare love an igloo, but often they have melted away even before the walls were halfway up. We did complete one in January, but it collapsed in a cold rain and soon was just the white letter “O” on the brown lawn. The one above is our most recent effort, over six feet tall and called “The Leaning Tower of Igloo”. It is also “The Last Igloo”, for two reasons. One reason is that it is March, and the sun is higher and stronger. Though we still have more than a month before pussy willows begin to bud, the snow shrinks so swiftly at times it is hardly worth shoveling it. The second reason is that I’m getting a bit old for such effort.
Not that a man is ever too old for a snow fort. I don’t doubt some stuffy bankers think they are beyond such childish sport, but that is because they never test their resolve. They stick to their daily duty and never dare leave the sidewalks and scoop a handful of sticky snow. If they did they’d realize they were like an alcoholic sipping just a single sip of whisky. Once they started they could not stop.
Nor is it that snow brings out the child in a man. In fact it is the other way around. Snow brings out the man in a child. There is something deeply civilized about the urge to build. After all, what is the dome of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome but Michelangelo’s glorified igloo.
Of course, I am no Michelangelo. Maybe I could be, if I had so many working for me, but I had to move the slushy snow, and my back stiffened up so I couldn’t flex as well, which is why the two sides don’t match.
Nature seemed to approve, as a retrograde gale up in Labrador brought us subfreezing gales and turned the slush to rock, and crusted the snow so the kids could run over the snow without sinking. Rather than melting my igloo nature preserved it. And the kids seemed to approve of the igloo as well.
Not that it will last. But the maple syrup other old men are tapping from trees will not last either. Some things are not made to last, but rather to be enjoyed, and hopefully this sonnet is such a thing.
The trees have sprouted buckets, and also tubes
Of modern plastic, as maple weather
Freezes the thaw each night, and frugal rubes
Get rich off sap. With skin like old leather
They concoct ambrosia, and city people
Escape concrete to inhale fragrant steam
And to worship, without any steeple,
A lifestyle so long lost it's like a dream.
At daybreak a big man can walk upon
A crust on snow that was practically slush
The day before, breathing puffs in the still dawn,
But I don't inspect buckets in that blush.
As winter birds sing spring songs, what I do
Isn't work; it's the play of my last igloo.
I thought that if we saw brown outs this winter they would be the sort that afflict an over-stressed electrical grid, due to Fraudulent Biden’s weird war against the middle class and fossil fuels. Instead it was a far more pleasant brown out, brought on by the melting of nearly all white snow. The benign pattern (unless you operate a ski resort) had storms passing to our west, swinging warm fronts past us and placing us in a warm southwest flow. When secondaries formed on the cold front or as “skippers” on warm fronts they never bombed out until safely out to sea.
In the map above the high pressure to the right is what I call the Bermuda High (though modern sorts seem to now call it the Southeast Ridge) and it is separated from the Azores High by a mid-Atlantic trough which has seemingly stolen all our thunder so far this winter, sucking in the biggest storms and coldest air. Our arctic air tends to be in that lobe of the Bermuda High extending north of the warm front, and has a hard time coming west as a back door cold front. However the above map has an actual arctic high coming via Calgary and the Alberta Clipper route, which suggests the brown out may not be forever and we had best enjoy it.
Lydia, my last surviving goat, decided she could leave her hay-pile and heat lamp in the shed and check out the garden, for some dried corn stalks, which she for some reason relished.
Goats like to be part of a herd, and Lydia doesn’t like being the last goat, and seeks a new herd when possible at out Childcare.
We definitely had rebounded from our cold shot, and hats and mittens were discarded all over the hillside, but a glance at the long range forecast warned another shot was in the works.
The high temperature of 39 on Tuesday was for early in the day, and the forecast snow was for late in the day, so everyone planned accordingly. Personally I planned to use the last of the brown out to load the porch and woodboxes, without annoying my wife by tracking snow all over the place. But, the best laid plans of mice and men…
And just like that the brown out was over. The question was, would this inch of fluff be swiftly melted by a resurgence of southwest winds?
Judging from the long range forecast above, a brief resurgence might have been expected Wednesday, but cold seemed to be pressing. The Bermuda High, suppressed to Florida in the map below, is in a fight with high pressure either side of Hudson Bay which, rather than being blithely pushed east, is starting to dig in its heels and do some pushing, showing signs of turning into a “blocking high pressure” which prevents lows (such as the one over the Great Lakes in the map below) from cruising north, but rather squishes them southeast, often as secondary “skipper” developments along the coast (as is the case in the map below.)
What happened was that low over the Great Lakes dissipated to a blip that barely gave us a flurry, as the coastal feature rocketed east to become a mid Atlantic Storm, which is what has happened over and over this winter, but the front it left behind was very different. It was a long warm front to the next storm, moving out of the Rocky Mountains. Formerly the Bermuda High would have whipped that front north, but now there was formidable Canadian High Pressure to the north, and even a weak cold front pressing south over New England. Battle lines were being drawn.
Yesterday provided just enough of a window to stack wood with a minimum of mess to my wife’s floors, but the blue sky grayed and by evening a silent snow was falling. By this morning I had three and a half inches of snow and sleet to shovel, and Lydia goat was nowhere to be seen. Smarter than I, she was basking under her heat lamp.
We have been spared the more brutal side of winter (so far) but there have been a couple of cold shots, brief reminders we’re not off the hook. They are like a left jab in a fist fight, quick and then gone, but you notice you are a bit dizzy.
The cold air really has had to work to reach us, as the pattern wants to divert it all out to sea. A couple of maps will demonstrate how the cold air had to back track from Baffin Bay, rather than taking the normal route down the east slopes of the Canadian Rockies from Alaska. Then cold swiftly is sloughed off to the east, and we are back into a more benign southwest flow.
The first map shows a bombing-out low in the upper right corner, in Baffin bay, delivering much of the arctic air associated with it into the Atlantic east of Labrador, but a little is leeching west into the northern lobe of a mostly moderated high (“polar” rather than “arctic”) which is following a mild storm crossing New England. Because New England is in the warm sector, and because the following high pressure is not particularly cold, the weather bureau had to be on its toes to alert people to the sneaky cold coming around the top. They did a good job, but people still got caught off guard. Sneaky cold is called “sneaky” for a reason.
My own experience was perhaps typical. At 2:30 we were still enjoying near-record warmth at 55 degrees, (12.8 Celsius), and I was enjoying walking around fifteen pounds lighter because I wasn’t wearing my heavy coat and snow pants and bulky boots. I didn’t want to bother with that stuff if I didn’t have to, and thought I might get away with it. What could go wrong? I had only two and a half hours before the last child would be picked up, and then I’d be free for the weekend.
Yes indeed, as I thought that, there was, if not an ominous drum-roll, an actual, distant roll of thunder to the north. The clash between cold and warm was creating midwinter thunder, which is always a delight to me, but not a very good sign if you expect balmy weather to continue.
I mentioned to a teen-aged intern working with me that we might want to get rain-gear and warmer clothes, and she scoffed, and I said I’d be right back. I’d left most of my winter garb at home, but did locate an enormous mad-bomber rabbit-fur hat, and a couple of huge mittens, and walked back out looking like a slender lollypop with big hands. At age 70 I don’t care what I look like as much as I care about staying warm. However the teen-aged intern did care about looks, even though the wind was starting to whip cold showers and the temperature began dropping like a rock. My head and hands stayed toasty, but the rest of me quickly got drenched and cold.
Soon sleet began mixing with the rain, but also sunbeams. A big, high rainbow arched across the purpled sky. The wind gusted so strongly it even lifted the soddened leaves, which had been flattened by snow but exposed by the thaw. Most of the kids delighted in the crazy weather, staying warm by racing about in some sort of fantasy brawl involving sticks that were lasers, and fleeing many pursuing invisible aliens. However one little toddler felt the sucky weather sucked, and wanted to be picked up and held.
Both the intern and myself could commiserate with the toddler, because we had shared her sickness, due to a thoughtless mother who had dumped the little child off when the child should have stayed home, early in the week. We had comforted the child then, both had caught the child’s cold, and then the intern stayed home a couple days as I worked at less than a hundred percent, and now we were comforting the child for the final forty minutes before her mother came to pick her up, as the wind whipped and sleet pelted and wet leaves swirled.
I gallantly unzipped my wet coat to wrap the toddler, (but actually confess it warmed me as well), and attempted to distract the child from the misery we were midst. The rainbow worked. For around three minutes. Then I sent the child in with the drenched intern to help another intern do the end-of-week cleaning indoors.
Then I turned my attention to the other children, who were not bothered a bit by the abysmal weather. As they raced about I kept myself moving. The cold isn’t so bad if you keep moving. I picked up sticks the wind had blown from trees and put them by the place we have campfires, and picked up the gloves and hats kids were leaving strewn about. As their parents pulled into the parking lot I alerted the kids it was time to go, and handed them their hats and gloves. They all looked radiant. I felt ashen gray. Sometimes the last ten minutes of a Friday is the longest. I was shuddering, and wet to the skin.
But then the final parent came, and hip-hip-hooray, I was done! I headed home and skipped my usual Friday beer, opting for a half-shot of brandy. Then I loaded both fires, and even turned up the propane heat, but I couldn’t stop shuddering. It was 28 degrees outside, (-2 Celsius) which meant it had dropped 27 degrees in three or four hours, but it was 72 inside, so why was I still shuddering? Hmmm…
When I was young my mother, a trained and “registered” nurse, had a dread of something called a “relapse”. To my great annoyance, she would make me stay in bed a full day after my temperature returned normal after a sickness, to avoid a “relapse.”
Apparently relapses were something nurses had learned about during the Spanish ‘Flu. If you hopped out of bed too fast, you could wind up back in bed for an extended stay. Or die. I found the concept somewhat mysterious. Relapses only seemed to be a danger when I felt fine and could hear my friends playing outside. On Monday mornings, when I felt awful and did not want to go to school, there was never any danger of a relapse and I got booted from bed.
However now it seemed I was experiencing a genuine relapse. I had babied myself through some ailment all week, and was on the road to recovery, but then had stood out in arctic blasts looking like a lollypop with large hands. My mother was likely rolling in her grave, if she was watching, but hopefully heaven doesn’t look backwards.
I knew I must be feverish when I had absolutely no desire for beer, and just desired bed. Basically I slept like a rock Friday night, snoozed all Saturday, shivering, (except for spells after taking a couple aspirin when I felt wonderful waves of warmth). I only arose to tend fires and use the bathroom and ingest chicken soup. (My wife later informed me the teen-aged intern spent her Saturday the same way, which made me feel a bit less like a frail, old fossil.)
Despite sleeping Friday night, and most of Saturday, I slept right through Saturday night, and now am bounding back, revived. Can’t remember when I last slept so much. And now I look at the weather maps to see what I’ve missed.
The north winds that gave us our cold shot (with temperatures to 17 [-8 Celsius] Saturday morning) are now relegated to the upper right corner of the map, up in Baffin Bay, and again are pumping the cold air down into the Atlantic to our east. And again we are in the benign southwest flow, and could again see temperatures in the fifties tomorrow.
And that’s pretty much the news from here, except for a bit of thinking I did while feverish. I likely should quit here and make this like a Lake Wobegone post where “all the children are above normal”. In fact I’ll make a break below, so readers can bail if they wish to avoid an old man’s cantankerous rambling.
My feverish thinking involved all that cold air that has been missing us, and chilling the Atlantic. I’ve noticed the water isn’t as chilled by those winds nearly as much as I expected. Not only here, but on the far side of the Pacific, civilized areas have been spared the wrath of winter as blasts of cold air have been diverted out to sea. Yet the seas show little sign of being cooled by months of blasts, except at the very edges, where the sea-ice extends outwards a bit more than usual.
You can see the extended sea-ice in Baffin Bay, or in the Sea of Okhotsk on the Pacific Side, but only spots of blue east of Japan or south of Greenland. The air doesn’t really effect the water. However the water hugely effects the air.
Joseph D’Aleo wonderfully described the amazing and explosive power warm water has when cold air moves over it in a paper he wrote. I urge the scientifically inclined to seek it out, but I’ll just nab a couple illustrations from the paper which demonstrate the power the ocean has to generate super-storms. The first illustration shows cold air like a lid on a hot ocean.
The second shows when the lid is blown off and so-called “bombogenisis” occurs.
As I lay in bed thinking it seemed, to my feverish common sense, that water should have more power than air, because air is dispersed molecules bouncing about far apart, while water is densely packed molecules close together. In terms of molecules, air is hugely outnumbered by water. When cold air tries to chill water, you have a lone cold molecule taking on ten-thousand warm molecules. But when that same warm water tries to warm cold air you have ten-thousand taking on one. Who do you suppose will win such a battle?
The water will win, unless the water is chilled to a point where it is water no more. Once sea-ice forms, the air is no longer utterly changed by the ocean. But away from sea-ice air is utterly changed. It is not only warmed, but is supercharged with the most potent of greenhouse gases, namely water vapor. In the above illustration the air is not merely warmed, but also moistened.
Though my locale has been spared this winter, I have studied what I call “fisherman maps” of the Atlantic and Pacific, watching the amazing storms few care about because they seldom effect us. Each of these storms demonstrate water having a huge effect on air, as air, to be honest, has a minuscule effect on water. While it may be true winds whip up water, it was the water’s warmth and moisture that made those winds in the first place. Water wins, in terms of power.
Such super-storms are not rare. It is actually rare to have a pacific “fisherman map” as storm-free as today’s…
…which has no storms and only two gales. But note it has three “developing storms” and two “developing gales”. Winter brews storms by sending cold air over warm water, but the power is not in the cold air but in the warmer water.
Lastly, the power sent aloft by super-storms is not merely some sort of insipid water vapor, as if water vapor was an “inert” greenhouse gas. Water vapor also holds energy, though it is “latent energy”. It is not heat-energy measured by a thermometer, nor wind-energy measured by an anemometer. Rather it is latent, and lurking, and able to perplex and confuse all who downplay water vapor, in favor of any gas which holds no latent energy. Such as?
Such as CO2, which makes up a small part of our air. Only one in 2500 molecules in our air is CO2, and all the changes to levels of CO2 people fret about do not change that “one” to “two”. (320 ppm to 420 ppm may change “one” to “one point three”, but it remains a tiny fraction of 2500).
As I lay in my sickbed I wondered who could believe one molecule in 2500 could warm an ocean when an entire arctic blast could not chill it. Instead the ocean warmed the arctic blast, and turned its bone-dry air into a super-storm drenched with moisture.
If air is so slow to change the temperature of water, and water is so quick to change the air, why would we look to one 2500th of the air as a reason the water has warmed?
The oceans have warmed for the past sixty years, which should lead to an out-gassing of CO2, because warmer waters are less able to hold dissolved CO2. Even so, that out-gassing is a minuscule amount among greater gases that also have a minuscule effect, as air is outnumbered, in terms of molecules, compared to water. Also, if oceans are warmer, they must also be “out-gassing” more water vapor, which happens to cancel out much of CO2’s “greenhouse effect”. Yet all of this is like fretting about a flea on a stallion. The true big kahuna is the sea.
The argument that a tiny, trace gas controlled the enormity of our climate demanded, from the start, overwhelming evidence, because the idea basically sounds nutty. It was as nutty as the idea of drifting continents. You had better get your ducks in a row before you propose continents drifting about. But in the case of drifting continents scientists got their ducks in a row. In the case of Global Warming scientists just got nasty, which divorced them from science, so they were not scientists any more. Instead they just became nutty. Maybe to some degree richer, but nutty. Maybe to some degree holding prestigious positions at universities, but nutty. Perhaps holding some backroom power in government bureaucracies, but nutty.
Being somewhat nutty in my own way, perhaps I have a word of warning to rich nuts in prestigious positions of power. You can bully and bullshit all you want, but, as a “childcare professional” I must sadly inform you, you are transparent to the young. The young are not merely impressionable clay you can mold with nutty propaganda. They innately recognize a lie by the dead way it makes a heart feel. Then, because you represent a dead way, they will turn away from you, hungry for life, hungry for something that does not involve money or prestige or power, but what could that be?
Hmm…It seems I heard, through the fog of my fever, some sort of murmuring about some sort of stirrings of a “revival” someplace called Asbury…
…But of course you insist those “revivalist” folk are silly. What is not silly is to believe one molecule out of 2500 of already-thin air warms the mile-deep oceans. Or so your Nuttiness insists.
Begging your Nutiness’s pardon, but perhaps you do not know how you look, through the eyes of honest youth. You say what? CO2 is a poison gas but air by derailed trains is safe? Can you have actually said that? Need you have your nose pushed into it like a dog?
An interesting aspect of Global Warming is that, when you scrutinize the statistics, it turns out the increases are never where ordinary people would notice them. Not that people would notice a single degree of temperature change, but such overall, world-wide changes largely occur either where people don’t live, or when they are asleep. Most of the warming that sways the “world average” occurs in the arctic, where very few live, or at night, where the daily low can be a higher low than usual.
In other words, when you read that the (much altered) statistics for the United States show a recent period was the “warmest ever” (or since records have been kept), it does not mean we are sweltering like the poor farmers did during the Dust Bowl. Daily high temperatures are nowhere near as hot as they were in the 1930’s. Nearly all the high temperature records were set back then. How, then, is it warmer? It is warmer because it does not get as cool at night?
Night before last we had an opportunity to set a new record for the warmest low temperature for the date, due to being wonderfully placed in the current pattern. A storm was bombing out just east of Labrador, (at the right edge of the map below), but the discharge of arctic air was largely to our east, and the cold likely was more of a concern to the coral isle of Bermuda than us. Why? Because an actual Bermuda High, associated with balmy summer days, had formed, bracketed by the Newfoundland storm to our east and a Great Lakes storm to our west. We were nestled in a southwest flow, seen in the isobars of the map below.
I am to some degree excited by setting records, albeit in a cynical way. On one hand I don’t think setting records shows any “trend”, because we largely only have records going back a hundred years, which means, all things being equal, each year has the same one-in-a-hundred chance of setting the record. On average the odds are that every place should set between three and four records a year.
However Concord, New Hampshire has records going back to 1869, 154 years, and to set a “record low high” there would be good click-bait for my blog, which needs all the help it can get because I am Shadow Banned, for I don’t subscribe to the politically correct balderdash about Global Warming, (and several other politically correct balderdashes.)
While I confess it is pretty cynical to see things in terms of whether they are “click-bait” or not, I also confess that I myself am attracted to what is sensational more than what is merely everyday, although sometimes the everyday is more praiseworthy.
Even in ugly events, we gravitate towards the war in the Ukraine and the earthquake in Turkey, and ignore lives being wasted in our own communities due to the ugliness of various types of everyday ignorance. Generous people will give to help people far away, even while ignoring people trapped by lingering bitterness right next door.
In wars and in natural disasters, there are examples of heroic behavior that restores our faith in the goodness latent in all people. I sometimes wonder what heroic behavior would look like in my neighborhood, without a war or natural disaster. Might it not be as simple as reaching out to a discouraged neighbor and giving them courage? Such behavior might not make the newspapers, but is praiseworthy and does not go unnoticed in heaven.
One reason I persist with writing, even though Shadow Banning has proved highly effective in my case, is because I’d rather be noticed in heaven than on the front pages of Fake News. Also, being fake just doesn’t appeal to me. It just seems so…so…so fake. What really seems sensational is Truth…which causes trouble even in First Grade.
In any case, to get back to being cynical, I was a bit excited we might set a new “record high low” as I slumped in my armchair by the stove, after a long day at my Childcare. I briefly scanned the Fake News about shooting missiles at weather balloons after they had completed their spy-missions, and telling people poison gas from derailed trains was safe but CO2 was a poison gas. Nuts. Then I turned to the weather maps, which are more exciting simply because they are the Truth, and also I like any weather events that are out of the ordinary, for they reveal what the ordinary does not.
In the balmy (for winter) southwest wind the temperatures didn’t drop as the sun did. In Concord the “record low high” was 40 and the winds kept temperatures up near 50 (Fahrenheit). It seemed unlikely the temperatures could drop ten degrees. But then…..(drum roll)…..the wind died.
If you look back up at the above map you will notice New Hampshire is still back towards the crest of the ridge of high pressure, and not yet under the cloud deck of the advancing storm, nor fully in its southwest flow. Therefore, for the start of the night, “radiational cooling” could occur.
Radiational Cooling is Truth, and therefore very cool. Without going into Plancke’s Law, or long-wave versus short-wave radiation, it basically is the fact a clear sky at night sucks up heat from all below. In a summer heatwave, this is a good reason to leave your house and, swabbed in mosquito repellent, sleep as naked as legally possible on the back yard’s lawn. The sweltering heat will radiate away from you, up into the starry void of outer space. But in the dead of winter this same heat-loss is why the coldest temperatures occur when sky is clear and there is no wind, (and wind non-farms are motionless and produce no power to warm with).
When it is neither summer nor winter, farmers agonize about how frost might destroy their dreams, and often destruction is a matter of less than a degree, brought on by a lack of wind and by radiational cooling.
Radiational Cooling can be amazingly local. I have seen frost on the hood of my truck but not the windshield. I’ve seen it in the lower side of my garden but not the upper. And like all farmers I’ve attempted to intervene, when possible, and to prevent frost from damaging.
One way is to run a sprinkler. Making everything drenched means there is more water to freeze, and freezing water involves the release of latent heat, which occurs during the phase change from liquid to solid, and, when the temperatures are only a tenth of a degree below the freezing point, the release of even a small amount of latent heat can actually save a crop.
Another way is to disturb the dead calm that heightens the effects of radiational cooling. The same amount of heat is lost to a clear sky in a wind, but calm localizes the loss. In some cases frost only forms in still air below the level of your knees, and by burning campfires at strategic parts of your garden you create updrafts, which demand compensating downdrafts of milder air, and again the crop is saved.
This is likely one reason why the phenomenon of “urban heat islands” exists. In the winter, during still conditions, every house creates an updraft just like a campfire does. This messes up the radiational cooling which formerly occurred at that location, and the weather station records higher nighttime lows, even some “Record High Lows”.
However recent studies show that the most dramatic examples of “Urban Heat Islands” occur not in Urban, but Rural, areas. When a place, that once had a single farm house midst fields, has only a few suburban abodes built in those fields, the disruption of radiational cooling is most pronounced.
This does not change the amount of heat in the total atmosphere, but rather stirs the air at the very bottom, so the air by our thermometers can’t measure only stratified, still air at the very bottom, with warmer air out of reach up above, but the rather the same two airs mixed. It looks warmer, but isn’t.
In which case, to return to the topic, I should have had high hopes that a small city like Concord, New Hampshire could create enough updrafting to halt the radiational cooling. But the temperatures seemed to be taking a nose dive down through the 40’s.
I was weary from work, (children can be exhausting) and though I might have liked to have stayed up to watch Concord’s thermometer, my eyelids became like lead. I was a bad reporter and a bad scientist, because I said, “the heck with this” and went to bed.
Being an old man, I had reason to arise in the middle of the night, and as I did I blearily checked the temperature in Concord. Blast. It was 39. It had just missed having a Record Low High. No “click bait” for me. But then I glanced at the clock. It was 1:30 AM. Hope revived. Perhaps it reached only 41 by midnight, which would set a “record low high” for yesterday, if not today.
The house was too warm, despite the wood stoves being shut down to “low”. However I like to keep them going, to “keep the edge off” when the cold returns. (It is easier to keep a house cozy when the furniture is warm.) So I checked the wood stoves between yawns, and one looked like it could use a log, so I stumbled to the porch to get one, and also to check my own minimax thermometer.
As I stepped out I noted the big moon’s light was muted. An overcast of alto-stratus was swarming north ahead of the advancing storm. Also I could hear sighing in the pines, as winds picked up: Far from ideal conditions for radiational cooling. And, when I checked my minimax thermometer, I saw temperatures locally had jumped four degrees, to 46 from 42, (the 42 recorded at an earlier point in the night when radiational cooling was obviously stronger).
But what about Concord? Did their temperatures, down in their river valley, also rise four degrees, from 35 to 39? Or are they far enough north and east of me that the cloud cover and wind hadn’t reached them yet?
This can be determined by people who do not have a business to run, and wood stoves to tend to. But in my humble opinion what it shows is how the records can be swayed by minor local influences other than CO2, and are fickle, even whimsical, and amount to yet another variable, among the too-many-variables we seek to understand, as we seek to understand the chaos called “weather.”
(Anyone who calls our current level of understanding “settled science” cannot tell an ass from an elbow. )
However, for “click bait”, I’ll say the cloud cover and wind did not reach Concord, and that they set a new “record high low.” Yowza! Yowza! Read all about it, here on my blog!
However I will not say this means you need to stop using gas stoves.