LOCAL VIEW –Carrot Crop–

Sometimes my Childcare work is actually fun, to a degree where I feel a bit guilty for charging people to do it. Such was the case with the carrot crop, this year.

Carrots, like parsnips, are a biennial, and put their energy into forming a big root the first year. If you leave the root in the ground then the second year the carrot puts all the energy stored in the root into producing a beautiful flower (shaped like it’s close cousin, Queen Anne’s lace), and then produces so many carrot seeds that they can become a weed, in certain situations.

Because they are a biennial they handle freezes well, and I tend to harvest them last, for two reasons.

The first is that I have a tendency to procrastinate whenever possible, not because I am particularly lazy, but rather because life is so full of fun things to do that I always over-schedule. Usually I am busy doing one thing, but even when I am busy with one task I am procrastinating in terms of ten or twenty other tasks. This tends to get me in trouble, but also makes me highly skilled when it comes to inventing excuses for procrastinating. The best excuses are those which disguise the procrastination as part of a “plan.” And this brings me to the second reason for harvesting carrots last.

One year, as I was procrastinating in my usual way, I continued my usual habit of pulling a few carrots every day for my wife’s needs, and noticed that as the carrot greens finally browned (and they are one of the final things in the garden to give up on greenness in the autumn) that the carrot roots beneath the greens abruptly grew substantially larger. I suppose the carrot pulls all energy from those greens down into it’s roots. This was a great thing to discover. No longer was I procrastinating, but instead I was being a wise farmer and “ensuring my carrots achieved their optimum size.”

This year I nearly paid the price for this procrastination. The first hard, carrot-browning freeze of winter was not a “Squaw Winter” followed by an “Indian Summer”. (Yes, I know such terms are now politically-incorrect, but it is also politically-incorrect to criticize the traditions of an indigenous people, and, as the Yankee have been squatting here stewards of New England for 399 years, I figure we deserve to be called “indigenous”), (especially by globalists who have no culture nor traditions whatsoever.)

This year the cold came with unusual ferocity, and the first blast was followed in short order by a second, and then a third. The autumn began to remind me of the start to the winter of 1976-1977, where the “Squaw Winter” came without an “Indian Summer”, and turned out to be “Real Winter” and froze our socks off all the way into February.

Usually our temperatures drop steadily through November; our lows bottom out around freezing at the start of the month and sink to around 24° (-4.4° Celsius) by the end of the month. But this November, during the three savage, arctic blasts that hit us, the high temperature was 24°, and the lows set records, around 12° (-11° Celsius) even back at the start of the month.

This led to a problem, when I took the children out to the “carrot harvest” at our Farm-childcare. The ground was frozen hard as iron, and the carrots were stuck in it like rivets. At first I thought I’d need a jackhammer to dig them out, but I managed to jump on my shovel with such zeal I broke through to the unfrozen earth, and then could pry up slabs and plates of brown, frozen earth, roughly three inches thick, with the tapered ends of orange carrots protruding from the bottom. By whacking and smashing these plates the plates could be broken into chunks, and the carrots wrenched free (and they tasted just as good when thawed) but to me it seemed like an awful lot of work, per carrot.

Of course, when you are dealing with children two, three and four years old, they have no idea that this is not how things are always done. Also they find it sort of fun to smash plates, and not get in trouble for it. Prying up the plates had me huffing and puffing, and I would have given the job up, but the kids were having such a blast I continued to pry up frozen slabs of earth even after I was too weary to break them up, and they kept up their smashing and prying-carrots-loose until we had filled a grain bag with some forty pounds, and they also all had small bags holding their “favorite carrots” to bring home with them.

I could not, in good conscience, allow them to think this was a usual carrot-harvest. We had done less than half of the twenty-four foot double-row in twice the time it would usually take to complete the entire harvest. I attempted to get across the idea I had procrastinated too long, but they’d had too much fun to understand Aesop’s fable about The Grasshopper and the Ant, and so I abandoned my moralizing and just told them I was going to try to “soften the soil”, to make the rest of the harvest easier.

Then I found an old, black tarp to cover the rest of the carrots with. I figured the black would absorb sunshine and might even thaw the soil. Most of the children were not the slightest bit interested, but this year I have one small boy who tags along with me and has an owlish interest in everything I do. He even reached out with his small hand and felt the black tarp along with me, noticing the slight warmth it gathered from the low November noon. He then owlishly listened as I reminisced, (like the garrulous old coot I am), about the winter of 1976-1977. There may not have been an Indian Summer that November, but I seemed to recollect the blasts did relent to a degree where temperatures were normal for a while, edging above freezing every noon. Perhaps the soil around our carrots could thaw.

I seem to get a small sidekick like this owlish boy every few years. They are precociously articulate, and what is especially nice is that they are deeply concerned about my well-being. They seem very aware I am hapless and need help, but they own this awareness in a manner that is amazingly respectful. For example, when I am rummaging through the staff’s packs for a missing flashlight (which we need for November’s early-evening darkness), this particular boy will first inquire what I am looking for, and, second, point out a flashlight I’d never notice at the back of a counter on the far side of the room.

If the sidekick is a female, it is like I have the secretary I’ve long yearned-for but could never afford, in the form of a four or five-year old girl. This small boy is like having a butler. He is unnaturally interested in my interests, and unnaturally helpful.

Where the other children forgot all about carrots under the onslaught of other interests, this young fellow popped up the next day, smiling and helpful, and querulously wondering in a piping voice if the soil had started to thaw under the tarp. This was helpful to me, for, under the onslaught of other concerns, I might have forgotten all about carrots myself. We checked the soil daily.

In any case, we lucked out. An Aleutian Low crashed east into Alaska, interrupting the southward delivery of arctic air and allowing us just enough sunshine and thaw to soften the soil under the tarp. (And if you don’t believe me, ask my small butler. Though born in 2014, he will inform you, “This may have happened in 1976 as well,”) (because he asked me.)

Because the soil under the tarp did thaw, the rest of the carrot-harvest was much easier, though at first the other children were less than eager. If you look at the picture at the start of the post, you’ll notice only two children are working, and the rest are standing around. Perhaps they were a bit desultory because there were no “plates” to break, but they soon got over that, which is why there are no further pictures. I was soon too busy “providing child care” to take pictures.

The first problem involved breaking up fights about who would get the shovel next, and be the next to get to dig carrots. I attempted to teach them about “taking turns” and “sharing”, but they were too impatient for that. They skipped off in all directions and returned with more shovels than I knew our Childcare possessed, including tiny shovels ordinarily seen when building sand castles on a beach. One girl couldn’t be bothered with a shovel, and scooped with her hands in a manner that puts badgers to shame.

The second problem was that dirt was flying in all directions, and I had to instruct the young in ditch-digger-protocol, and teach them how to dig without flinging a face-full of dirt at a neighbor. Despite my instructions, I had to pause to attend to eyes weeping muddy tears, but even that tearful, offended face swiftly became riveted on the next carrot.

No two carrots are alike. This seemed to intrigue the small children and make them dig faster. They were constantly exclaiming over how a carrot was especially fat or long or round or small or crooked, and would dissolve into gales of laughter over a carrot that forked like two legs (which made me cringe slightly, for, in prior years, a small, tertiary fork between the two “legs” has resulted in child-like hilarity and frank discussions, which can present problems to child care providers.)

I hardly dug at all, so busy was I with other issues, but I instructed the children to place the gold they dug up in a single pile. The pile looks small, in the picture at the start of this post, but it grew and grew. When I put all the carrots in a second grain bag it amounted to a second forty pounds (minus carrots children took home.)

Forgive me for being a bit smug, but I can’t help myself. We had a great time. Not a child whined all morning that they were bored or that they wanted to go home. Nor did my staff or myself need to concoct a “plan” or belabor a “curriculum”. The “curriculum” was “dig carrots”.

And what did this “curriculum” teach? At the very least it taught where carrots come from. (The first year my wife and I opened our Farm-childcare a small child asked me, “Why do you dig dirty carrots when you could get clean ones in plastic bags at the store?”)

Good things come from dirt. I don’t know why this is such a revelation. But a mother did give me a disapproving look, as she picked up her daughter after our carrot-harvest. She had just washed her daughter’s play pants, and already the knees were brown.

The Old-Men-Don’t-Stand-On-Tiptoe Sonnet

Children need contact of many types, and one sad thing is that certain schools-of-thought tend to frown at contact. This is especial true of male Child-care-providers, who are rare and whom children swarm when they appear, like a bunch of mosquitoes to a nudist colony. The frowns are either because people fear some sort of sexual child-abuse may occur, or because people fear some sort of bullying is occurring. There is a “zero tolerance” for rough-and-tumble-play although it is as natural as puppies or kittens rolling about play-fighting, and is play which likely has importance in terms of “learning limits”.

I’ve seen two young men quit the Childcare profession because of crap they took from nervous parents, but I think I get away with more because I’m older. Perhaps an old fossil represents less of a sexual threat, (though I’ve known some disgusting old men in my time.) However being old also is a bit of a liability. I can’t withstand pummeling as well as I once did.

In teaching about “limits” I often joke, “Do I look like some kind of punching bag?” and “My mother didn’t raise me to be a punching bag.” In fact the children have memorized the two statements. But it doesn’t slow them down a bit. When I stoop to tie one child’s shoes, I often am blind-sided by two or three children who see my stooping as an opportunity for “rough and tumble play”. My wife tends to be a bit stern when she witnesses me being mauled in such a manner, but personally I think it keeps me in shape. I have never been the sort who goes to a gym to work out, and might be fat if it weren’t for being constantly attacked by children. However sometimes I wake in the morning and wonder what work I did the day before that left me so stiff and sore, and it takes me a while before I remember wrestling with ten three-year-olds at once, the day before.

A few days ago I was talking with a four-year-old girl who is willful and doesn’t like to follow instructions. I can give her orders, ask her to repeat what I just said, and she seems completely unable to repeat my instructions. This can cause trouble when it comes to feeding farm animals the wrong foods. I can tell her old, buttery corn cobs are bad for the farm dog, but she simply ignores the instructions and does what she pleases. I was wondering if she had some sort of so-called “learning disability”, and decided to give her a sort of test, in terms of her memory skills. One day, when she was the last to leave, I asked her to remember the dance class she attended the prior afternoon. She then not only recalled every detail of the class, (definitely no problem with memory), but instructed me to do all the various motions, including various stretching exercises. In the early darkness of a November evening, as her mother’s headlights swung into the driveway, she spotted an old man prancing about the yard.

The next morning I swung from bed and groaned. Lord, was I ever stiff! I scratched my head, trying to recall some effort such as digging potatoes or cutting wood, but drew a blank. Then I remembered the dancing I’d done the day before.

Of course as soon as the girl saw me that day she wanted to “play dance-class again”. Rather than faux-grumbling, “My mother didn’t raise me to be a ballet dancer”, I grouched, “Old men don’t stand on tiptoes. That’s not what old men do.”

Then I said it again. I liked the way it rolled off my tongue. “Old men don’t stand on tiptoes. That’s not what old men do,” and made a song for the kids. I wondered if I could even make a sonnet from it.

Old men don’t stand on tiptoes. That’s not what
Old men do. They’re gruff and tough and all that
Stuff that comes from craggy views. Eyes are shut
And hearts are closed; they’ll lose their keys and hat,
If order you confuse…so why am I on
Tiptoes just to sneak a peak at You?

Old men are not romantic. That’s not dawn
In their cave. What’s the use of splashing spruce through
Whiskers as they shave? Too late to start,
With one foot in the grave; old men can’t be
Romantic as they haven’t got the heart,
That’s not how they behave, yet what I see
Is prompting me to pick a final rose
And offer it to sky, standing on tiptoes.

ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Crazy Rivers–

Some of the world’s biggest rivers drain north into the Arctic Sea, and are one of the amazing “variables” one needs to wonder about, in order to understand the many reasons arctic sea-ice varies so much.

First, one needs to focus on the fact that the flow of such great rivers, (the Lena into the Laptev Sea, the Ob and Yennisey into the Kara Sea, and the Mackenzie into the Beaufort Sea), varies enormously, for the obvious reason that, in the summer, snow and ice melt, and, (because waters cannot drain downwards and feed a “water table” due to permafrost), they feed the entirety of the thaw into rivers, but then, in the winters, the entirety of that water freezes, and rivers go unfed. In the case of the Lena River, in places the river can rise sixty feet in the spring floods, and as much as 100,000 times as much water is pouring into the sea in June as did in early April.

The infusion of fresh water into a salty sea creates a freshwater “lens” near the deltas, because the waters do not immediately mix. Fresh water is less dense than salt water, so it tends to be at the surface, and fresh water freezes more readily, because it has a higher freezing point. Therefore water by the deltas and close to the shores tends to freeze first.

“But wait”, you may ask, “Is not the water close to shore warmer than water further out to sea?” Yes, but only initially. During June the river water is made less icy by long summer days, however by September the tundra such rivers wander through is swiftly freezing over, not only dramatically reducing the amount of water entering the rivers, but also the temperature of the water within the rivers. Also the water that has already reached the sea is rapidly losing its heat to the darkening sky overhead. This tends to create an updraft over the coastal waters, which allows the colder air over the tundra to flow out to sea to replace the air that has risen. This “land breeze” becomes more likely as the temperature difference between the ocean and the tundra becomes more dramatic. For example, this year October 12 temperatures over the Kara and Laptev and East Siberian Seas hovered close to freezing, while (due to fresh snow-cover and radiational-cooling) temperatures just inland in Siberia were far colder.

The swift refreeze of inshore waters was noted by both whales and whaling ships, who fled such waters in early September, (the whales because they cannot breathe under ice, and the whaling ships because sail-powered boats were lousy ice-breakers and could be stopped by as little as an inch of new ice). However scientists of that time, far from the actual situation, came up with an interesting theory, due to their study of the density of salt water as opposed to the density of fresh water.

Water is wonderful stuff, in that it gets less dense as it freezes. If ice behaved like substances such as iron or gold it would sink as it solidified, and the bottoms of our oceans would gradually fill with sunken iceburgs, likely eventually preventing life from continuing, (or even evolving), on earth. However our ingenious Creator made ice float.

Furthermore the process of water becoming less dense as it chills starts before the water actually freezes, so water at thirty-three degrees Fahrenheit will float above water that is thirty-five, if the water is fresh. But scientists noted that as soon as water gets salty this characteristic is lost, and water at thirty-three degrees will sink below water that is thirty-five.

Therefore it seemed obvious to scientists in the days of whaling ships that, as you moved away from the arctic coast, the process of diffusion would cause the “freshwater lens” atop the sea to become more salty, until the salinity reached the magic point where the coldest water was no longer less dense than slightly warmer water, whereupon the sea could not possibly freeze. Why not? Because, as the saltwater at the surface approached the freezing point, it would sink and be replaced by rising warmer water. It became “settled science” that the sea at the North Pole must be open.

It was believed that the constantly sinking cold water at the Pole drew a branch of the warm Gulf Stream at the surface north from the Atlantic, and also drew north a branch of the warm Kuro-Siwo current from the Pacific, and provided access to the Open Polar Sea. This “settled science” was the basis of the expedition of the Jeannette in 1879, which involved the Jeannette getting stuck in the ice for two years before being crushed by the sea-ice. Although all of the crew successfully evacuated the sinking ship onto the surrounding ice, less than half made it back to civilization alive, whereupon “settled science” received some needed revisions.

“Settled science” continues to need revisions, even to this day. (It would require revision even without the stupidity of a politically predetermined result, arrived-at before data is even gathered, let alone processed, due to the needs of nitwit politicians.) It requires revision because, although the laws of nature do not change, our understanding of how such laws play-out does change, especially in cases where many variables are involved.

For example, it still is somewhat theoretically baffling that vast stretches of open water freeze in the Arctic Ocean in a matter of days and sometimes hours. After all, the laws of nature do not change, and salt water at thirty-two degrees will sink below salt water at thirty-three, and therefore it should be theoretically impossible for the surface water to get cold enough to freeze, especially as the temperature of the water must sink below twenty-nine to freeze, because of the salt involved. Yet the edge of the sea-ice can extend miles during “flash-freezes”, and the entirety of Hudson Bay can skim with ice in a mere week. How does nature defy science with such brazen chutzpah?

When I was a young man I lived on the coast of Maine, and got to watch during the very cold winters of the late 1970’s as sea-ice formed and made life difficult for the fishermen, lobster-men, and clammers, who paid their bills by being able to access open waters.

Such men have to deal with brutal realities, and tend to keep their eyes wide open for “bad omens”, and, (even though they at times forecast incorrectly and are then “false prophets”), they do observe things that indoor people never notice, and they tend to have an uncanny ability to foresee oncoming bad weather even when the Weather Bureau is still oblivious. (For example, a mere glimpse, through low scud from the east, up to high clouds veering to the south, alerts them to the fact “steering currents” are bringing the storm causing the east winds straight up from the south towards them.) From such observant men I learned it was a bad omen when a winter sea took on “that oily look”.

“That oily look” was a bad thing because it often indicated a situation where spray froze on the gunnels and rigging of their boats, and, in a worst case scenario, this would make the top of the boat heavier than the keel, at which point the craft would turn upside down, which made life difficult.

I suppose it is because Climate Scientists do not get out enough, and must labor long hours indoors by hot computers, that I have never heard them describe seawater as “taking on that oily look”. For the most part the refreeze of arctic waters, as they describe it, begins with slushy stuff they call “pancake ice”, which doesn’t address the problem created because, if cold water sinks, the surface water should never get cold enough to freeze and make “pancake ice” in the first place.

The refreeze would be sensible if the ice only extended out from preexisting sea-ice that was already floating, but, as we now watch the yearly refreeze, we will often note “islands” of sea-ice popping up on the maps, far from any other ice. How is this possible, if cold saltwater sinks? How can the water get cold enough to freeze?

My take is that the water gets cold enough to freeze by becoming airborne. Often arctic situations arise where the air rushing above the water is far colder then the water is, and a speck of spray uplifted into such air becomes super-cooled, and will immediately freeze if it hits the rigging of a ship, but, if no ship is available, it falls to the surface of the water, and immediately freezes.

Because that speck of spray is now ice it doesn’t matter that going through the phase-change from liquid to solid released heat. Ice at thirty-two will bob merrily atop colder water, even if the water is twenty-nine. And, as soon as that speck of spray exists as the tiniest iceberg, it can be a sort of seed-crystal for the growth of more molecules of ice. Water chilled by gales in the proximity of the tiny iceberg, rather than sinking, attaches to that microscopic “edge” of floating sea-ice. And it is at this point the water takes on “that oily look”.

In essence “that oily look” is nature’s way around the fact that cold saltwater should sink, and that it should be impossible for the North Pole’s salty waters to freeze in the manner freshwater lakes do. “That oily look” indicates a microscopic layer of slush exists on the surface of the sea. Because the very cold winds persist, it doesn’t take all that long for the layer to become more than microscopic, and for the slush to thicken and for “pancake ice” to form.

Now, before I become too puffed up and swagger about bragging that I have the refreeze all figured out, I have to confess I have witnessed the refreeze occur without the “pancake ice” stage. Not only did I see it from afar, (through the eyes of the wonderful O-buoy cameras), but I witnessed it first hand during a record-setting cold spell at the start of February on the coast of Maine (I think in 1979). The weather made fools of fishermen that year, for they had stated with great authority, “If the hahbah hasn’t fruz up by January 15th it tain’t goin’ t’fruz at all,” and then the harbor promptly did what they said it couldn’t.

The weather was dry with a steady north wind for days, and at one point we experienced something like a week without temperatures getting above five (minus fifteen Celsius), and the sea froze not as lumpy grayish pancake ice, but as black ice, smooth as glass and surprisingly transparent, and with a slight white dust of salt exuded from the ice and drifting across the the black surface. It is completely beyond my ability to explain the physical dynamics of such a flash freeze, but it was not beyond my ability to take advantage of the rarity, and go skating on the smooth sea. In fact my older sister and I skated from the Harraseeket River in South Freeport down to the Royal River in Yarmouth, (primarily over shallow mudflats and only occasionally [and very nervously] across tidal streams). The fishermen’s wives stated we were fools and were risking our lives, but I prefer to modestly think it was a feat never done before nor since. (I should also mention the salt wasn’t too good for my skates.) Lastly, it is this sort of first-hand observation that teaches one that nature has nuances one doesn’t consider, when contemplating natural laws indoors by a warm computer.

One fisherman shared a first-hand observation, (IE: told a tale), describing something I have never myself witnessed. He was motoring slowly through bitter cold, to avoid making any splash that would get ice on his decks. There was no wind and no spray, and the water, though it had “that oily look”, was steaming like a cup of tea, so great was the temperature-difference between the water and air. Fishermen call such steaming “sea smoke”, and it made the day gray. Then it started to snow fat, lazy flakes. These flakes, when they landed on the water, didn’t melt. The water temperature was around twenty-nine, and the melting point of snowflakes was thirty-two. For a while the snow got heavier, and the fisherman stated the snow atop the water continued to accumulate until it was more than an inch deep. He was motoring slowly through white fluff as unsubstantial as froth.

Here again we have the first-hand experience of a man with no scientific training, which might give people sitting by computers an inkling of how ice can form atop the arctic sea even though cold water sinks.

Many such men existed in the 1870’s. They had existed for centuries, because back then the way to get oil was to drill whales rather than bedrock. Whales had grown more scarce due to the growing need for oil, and to find them, more ships ventured into the arctic than currently do. They followed the whales, and noticed no whales ever headed north towards a supposed “open polar sea”, even when the sea-ice was disgorged to the south into the Atlantic (as was the case in 1817) and the waters to the north were wide open. Whalers also knew from experience open waters one year were no guarantee there would be open waters the next, and also that gales from the north could bring crushing sea-ice south, and they had best be ready to turn tail and flee like the whales did, in such situations, or their ships would be crushed. But so great were the profits the risks were deemed worth it, and crushed ships were a supply of firewood for the Eskimos of that time. In 1871 31 ships were trapped and lost all at once, and 1219 people, including some women and children, successfully escaped and eventually made their way to Hawaii.

Considering this vast amount of crushing ice came from the north in 1871, during the time of the sea-ice minimum, a certain amount of skepticism regarding existence of an “open polar sea” likely existed among whalers. Tapping into these first-hand observations might have saved the men aboard the Jeannette a lot of trouble in 1879. Instead, the “authority” of that time was consulted, a mapmaker named August Heinrich Petermann.

The irony of August Heinrich Petermann’s maps was that he did seek out whalers as well as explorers and gleaned as much information as he could. He lived at the end of decades of daring exploration in the arctic, fueled partly because Britain had a 600-ship-navy sitting idle after Napoleon was defeated, and partly because the Arctic passed through a period of low sea-ice extents. Not only was there the phenomenon of the practically-open Arctic Ocean of 1817, due to sea-ice being shifted down into the Atlantic to a degree where it grounded icebergs on the coast of Ireland, but there apparently were low amounts in the Northwest Passage as well. In 1819 William Parry was able to sail further west in the channel that now bears his name than was possible for many years afterwards (and was impossible to do last summer.). The sea-ice then recovered with a vengeance, leading to the doom of the Franklin expedition in 1845, and also leading to a gradual shift towards searching for different routes across the Pole. Seeking a new route was a reason for the complete debacle called the “Polaris Expedition”, 1871-1873, up in Nares Strait between northwest Greenland and the Canadian Archipelago, (wherein the captain was likely poisoned by a jealous rival for a beautiful young woman they’d left behind in New York City). All these expeditions, both the well-run ones and the doomed, (and even the rescue efforts to find the doomed), increased information about coastlines, and August Heinrich Petermann was brilliant when it came to gathering all this coastline-data and producing the world’s best maps. However he was a bit of a dullard when it came to gathering a different sort of data, namely the first-hand observations of whalers who knew the actual nature of the actual sea, and likely should have been consulted, regarding the possibility of an “open polar sea”. Such homespun wisdom was dismissed, because the whalers were not scientists nor cartographers. Instead those who said “polar seas must be open because cold salt water sinks” were consulted, and August Heinrich Petermann’s maps contained an “open polar sea” because…well…because he drew the maps.

Let us be unkind, and rather than calling the maps “mistaken”, let us call them “fraud”, used by Petermann to lobby one of the richest men in the world, James Gordon Bennett Jr., to fund a Jeannette expedition doomed to failure, for it was seeking open water where open water wasn’t. (This noble and tragic adventure is described in great detail by the historian Hampton Sides in “In The Kingdom of Ice“).

One sadness of the Jeannette expedition is that the men hauled the scientific records they had collected back, as they grimly fought their way over ice and open water and frozen tundra, towards the safety of civilization, and those records survived even when many of them didn’t. Therefore Petermann’s thirst for more knowledge was in fact fed, but at a great cost, and it didn’t produce the answers he expected. (An irony was that, though the Jeannette sank, strewn about the hole its sinking left on the sea-ice were items, left behind as the crew headed south, and these items eventually showed the drift of the sea-ice. The items crossed the arctic, atop sea-ice which then flowed down the east coast of Greenland to Cape Farewell at Greenland’s southern tip, and lastly a bit up the west coast of Greenland to near Julianehåb, where the items were flotsam identified as being from the Jeannette, in 1884. This in turn led to Fridtjof Nansen’s marvelous exploits, attempting to drift across the Pole locked in sea-ice aboard the Fram, between 1893 and1896.

Due to the adventures and misadventures of early whalers and explorers, we actually have quite a lot of first-hand observations of where the edge of the ice was and how the sea-ice moved, from the past. Unfortunately there seems to be the same problem today that afflicted August Heinrich Petermann 150 years ago. First-hand observations from the past are ignored because they do not come from Climate Scientists, nor satellites, and instead misleading concepts are put forth because…well… because they affirm the misleading concepts.

Let us continue to be unkind, and rather than calling the misleading concepts “mistaken” let us call them “fraud”. However, rather than using the mistaken beliefs to lobby James Gordon Bennett Jr. for money, modern men now use their mistaken concepts to lobby bloated governments. Worst, rather than sending a mere 33 men aboard the Jeannette into danger, the modern mistaken views may be sending billions of people into unnecessary danger.

It seems to me no one should perpetuate such a fraud if they love their fellow man. First, who willfully lies to those they love? And second, who willfully places those they love in danger?

The closest I have seen to an attempt to look remotely loving, while justifying the perpetuation of mistaken concepts, contains a dismal assumption. The dismal assumption is that mankind is going exhaust its resources, and we are therefore all doomed to begin with. Consequently, considering seven billion are going to die anyway, we might as well “cull” the seven billion in an orderly manner. Hmm. I suppose the death of seven billion is acceptable if it is unavoidable, but is it unavoidable? Or is it merely a product of pessimism?

Such gloomy views have been around at least since Thomas Mathis wrote “An Essay on the Principles of Population” in 1798, and they have constantly been proved incorrect. Sadly, while it is no sin to be incorrect, such cynicism has all too often been an excuse for subjecting others to various forms of slavery and disadvantage, and, when one blithely talks about reducing the world population by seven billion, such gloomy assumptions also seem a thinly veiled justification for massive and unprecedented genocide.

Rather than expressing faith, hope, and love towards fellow man, such gloom demonstrates deep distrust towards man’s ability to solve problems, when in fact one especially lovable quality of free people is their ability to invent gadgets and techniques which do solve the very problems that the gloomy see as absolutely insurmountable.

I have lived long enough to see quite a number of doomsdays come and go, involving not merely the alignments of planets and the prophesies of Daniel and Nostradamus, but concepts such as “peak oil” and “peak population”. It is fascinating to now look back at the published ideas of “The Club of Rome” in 1970, and to see how utterly incorrect some of their assumptions were. Much that was seen as “unsustainable” has been merrily sustained. Third world nations such as India have not devolved into the wastelands-of-mass-starvation which the gloomy so confidently foresaw, but rather are better fed and better off.

What the gloomy failed to foresee was Ingenuity Manifested, within things such as “The Green Revolution”, yet their failures-to-foresee do not cause the gloomy to alter their forecasts, for they see such progress as merely “delaying the inevitable”, and they double-down on their pessimism. At it’s worst, their pessimism actively creates poverty. It is as if they are so irked by troubles not arriving in the manner they foresaw that they make trouble, just to prove themselves correct.

For example, back in the days when I was skating on sea-ice along the coast of Maine, we were supposedly “running out of oil”. Jimmy Carter was president, and appeared on television at the White House wearing an absurd sweater, telling us we needed to all turn down the thermostats in our houses. The “oil producing nations” had demanded higher prices for oil, and the United States was no longer a member of that club. There were long lines at gas stations, and traffic on highways slowed to 55 mph, by law, to save gas. In a “National Geographic” I saw a graph which authoritatively stated “peak oil” would occur in 1980. Because we were “running out of oil” we dutifully did what smart people do, which is to prepare for the inevitable. We put wood stoves into our houses, and, to heat our water, we put solar panels on our roofs (to this day the smartest use of solar power, because a tank of hot water in your basement stores solar energy far more cheaply after sunset than a battery does, especially when it comes to running your hot-water-heater.) But…

…But the simple fact of the matter is that we did not “run out of oil”. This seemed to peeve some people. Prophets of doom dislike being proved false prophets, and drag their feet in the face of progress.

When new oil was discovered, the pessimists did everything they could to make oil-exploration difficult, (with new regulations), and then, when “fracking” made it possible to glean more oil and gas from areas which were assumed to have been largely “exhausted”, they did everything possible to make “fracking” a dirty word. But me? I am amazed such pessimists can gripe. Why? For I am utterly amazed and deeply impressed by the ingenuity displayed over the past forty years. If you had told me, when I skated sea-ice in Maine and Jimmy Carter was president, that, in forty years, the USA would be exporting oil and gas, while an oil-producing OPEC nation like Venezuela would be in a state of ruin, I would have laughed in your face. I was wrong, and am somewhat glad I was wrong, but others seem irate they were wrong.

I am aware I am starting to rave, and seem to be drifting far from the subject of sea-ice, but have no fear. I will revert to sea-ice shortly. However I must discuss “the irate” a bit, because they even enter discussions about sea-ice.

I think “the irate” are those who are sure things are “unsustainable”, and are equally afraid they may be the ones who will eventually suffer, when we run out of food and fuel. Consequently they become ruled by fear, rather than love. They are so sure famine is coming that they see it as frugal common-sense to be misers of food, blind to differences between being sensible and being stingy. Clinging to what they have, they see others as a threat, rather than seeing others as brothers and sisters who we can work together with, to avoid famine.

In actual fact the word “sustainability” involves sustaining all people, not just those who have a selfish viewpoint wherein “sustainability” only sustains their position of privilege.

The fact of the matter is that “sustainability” is one of those tricky words, able to be used to justify evil because it sounds so good. Another such word is “non-violent”. Surely “non-violent” is usually a good word, but a man who stands by and does nothing violent as his mother, wife and daughter are raped by a stranger is not a saint; he is a yellow coward. In like manner, a man who talks about “sustainability” when primarily interested in preserving a status quo wherein he has, even as others are “have-nots,” is not a saint; he is greedy.

One quality of those trapped within such a state-of-mind is that they tend to propose rationing, rather than proposing increase. (Quite often the “rationing” is hypocritical, where “have-nots” need to cut back even as the elite “haves” continue to enjoy lavish lifestyles). The royalty wishes to remain royal and prefers the poor to remain peons.

This seems a bad attitude, like that of a man so concerned about a shortage of potatoes that he hoards them rather than planting any in the spring. It is the antithesis of the attitude of a man like Norman Borlaug, whose work with improving strains of wheat may have saved a billion people from starvation. Instead it is a “bad attitude” which not only failed to help a “Green Revolution” occur, but at times even was a stumbling-block attempting to prevent “the Green Revolution’s” manifestation. It remains a bad attitude that not only fails to help a “Fracking Revolution” manifest, but is a stumbling-block attempting to prevent its manifestation. Tragically, souls with this attitude not only fail to love, but are a stumbling-block that seeks to prevent the beauty of love from manifesting.

What an odd state-of-mind! In the name of “rationing” it allows one to deny others, enslave others, even exterminate others, all in the guise of “becoming sustainable”!

I think I know this selfish state of mind, having experienced it myself as a young man on the coast of Maine. My experience was as follows:

I knew of a small beach which was usually deserted, especially after school let out for the summer, because the secluded cove was owned by a small college. After the college closed in June I took a young woman to the beach with nefarious motives. When we got there another couple was strolling the same beach. I found their presence annoying and even frustrating (perhaps for biological reasons), and noticed my mind became crabby and began producing intellectual discussions about the problems of over-population and crowded beaches. My view was that the world would be a better place if the other couple could be “disappeared”. The young lady I was with was somewhat shocked by my negative attitude towards my fellow man. Instead of being warm towards me, she shot me a look of distaste and walked over to the enemy, involving the other couple in a conversation. Though initially glum about involving myself with anyone besides the young lady, I went along with her, and somewhat to my surprise discovered I had a wonderful time swimming with strangers. (Perhaps the cold water of Maine had the same effect as a cold shower.) The strangers turned out to be fascinating people who broadened my mind, and also told us of a good, nearby snack-bar. So we went and got an excellent lobster roll. It may not have been the roll I wanted, but at least the afternoon was not a total loss.

Such experiences were quite common during my misspent youth. My attempts at seduction were a long series of debacles and fiascos, (and explain why I first became a father at age 38, rather than at age 18 as I planned), (and also why I was at times a very crabby young man). I did not get what my ulterior motives desired, but sometimes perhaps we should feel sheepish about our ulterior motives, and count our blessings for what we actually get.

I bring this up to own the fact that, because I did once wish two very fine people could be “disappeared” from a small beach, I should be included with those who wish seven billion very fine people could be “disappeared” from a small planet. However hopefully I was a little different, in that I recognized my logic was ruled by lust’s frustration, and was not exactly the sort of logic that scientists dub “objective.” Others seem sadly less self-aware. They seem ruled by ulterior motives without the awareness they are ulterior.

What is “ulterior”? The definition of the word “ulterior” is “lying beyond that which is evident.” “Ulterior” therefore is that which is undiscovered, and should be of interest to all researchers.

However an interesting thing about human nature is that we often are unaware of the value of things until we are deprived. Subjectivity has its value, for we never value water until it is a hot day and we have none. A person with lots of water could call fighting for a sip of of water “silly behavior”, but only until they themselves were subjected to extreme thirst. Then they discover they too can be “silly”. It is only when confronted by such desperate impulses within the self that one faces truly spiritual dilemmas, regarding how one will respond. Will one punch a small child to gain a sip of water? Or will one suffer, so the child can drink?

For this reason the people who, one way or another, experience great thirst, can be the people who through subjective suffering gain objective wisdom. This is not to say they always make the right choices. They may have even punched a child one time, and faced great chagrin before, the next time, they did better, and allowed the child to drink first. However in the end they have an awareness of thirst which people who have always had water lack. For such people thirst is a reality they understand, while, for those who have never thirsted, thirst remains “ulterior.”

Blessed are the poor and they who suffer, for they are down-to-earth and are aware of essentials. Pity the rich, for they have little idea of the “ulterior” that motivates them. Like a cigarette smoker who has never run out of smokes, the rich are unaware of how crazy they would become if deprived, but such craziness rules them all the same.

The wealthy sometimes become aware that something is missing, and feel depressed despite having everything they could possibly obtain (in material terms). They then can afford to hire very expensive psychiatrists to help them look within for “subconscious” causes for their depression. Basically they are halfheartedly seeking to become more self-aware of “ulterior motives”, but often they don’t really want to see what the psychiatrist attempts to point out, and put up a fight, and the psychiatrist then can become quite rich by prolonging the battle. Psychiatrists use all sorts of fancy words for how people deny the truth, and their clients have all sorts of clever ways of arguing that the fancy words do not apply to them and their particular case, and all of this expensive talking, and talking, and talking, can seem very humorous to the poor, who have managed to become aware of “ulterior motives” without spending a dime.

In the worst cases the wealthy, despite seeking education in fine institutions and colleges, and despite being under the guidance of the best professors and psychiatrists and gurus, have no real reason to call the uneducated “stupid” or “deplorable”, (though too often, in their vanity, they do exactly that.) Why? Because sometimes the poor are far smarter. Why? Because sometimes, in seeking to avoid the pains of life, we avoid the very Truth that teaches. It matters little if you avoid pain with heroin, or by accepting a corrupting bribe, or by marrying a rich person you detest, or by disdaining good advice; if you successfully avoid pain you are possibly ruled by your “ulterior motives”, and are potentially much less likely to become aware of such “ulterior motives”. Meanwhile, in this sort of worst-case-scenario, the poor face pain every day, and become far more aware of “ulterior motives”. Therefore the poor can become far more able to rule such cravings and desires, while their so-called “rulers” are basically addicts ruled by a fear of withdrawal. In such a topsy-turvy society we can sometimes see what seems utterly impossible occur, wherein the underdog abruptly stuns the champion; the small David defeats the huge Goliath. History is full of examples of small nations seemingly appearing out of the blue and rising to a sudden prominence that shakes the mighty. (The Mongols were just a bunch of feuding Hillbillies, and then along came Genghis.)

Yet, although history is replete with such examples, and although the wealthy often adore historical novels, movies and plays, they too often miss the point, the underlying narrative, which is that Truth matters, and is a joy to those who can bear the pricks of pain involved with seeing Truth. Instead some become so lost in avoiding pain that they become comfortably numb, and wander midst an attitude of unawareness.

This “unaware attitude” seems comical, in an ironic way, to the poor and aware. I recall the fishermen of Maine used to joke about the attitude of wealthy people who retired to Maine. The fishermen stated, “The moment them wealthy folk gather up their loot ‘n’ move, from makin’ money in them big cities, t’down east here in poor, old Maine, they want to burn the bridge at Kittery behind them”. (Kittery is at the southern border of Maine).

The “unaware attitude” often seems a sort of selfish, NIMBY attitude that deprives others after satisfying the self, and even a strange and sad proof of Henry Ford’s statement, “If you say ‘I can’, or say ‘I can’t’, you are right.”

Why? Because it is people who love who make a better world, who beget a “Green Revolution” and a “Frakking Revolution”, while it is pessimists who deem love impossible who make the world worse, and who fight progress, and desire deprivation.

One of the pricks of Truth I’ve felt was seeing I too was such a pessimist: If I’d had my way, back when Jimmy Carter was president, a rogue wave would have swept two strangers out to sea just before I arrived at the small beach, and I would have had my way with a young woman. And then? I suppose that, (because the purpose of sex is procreation), I might have become a father far earlier than I actually did. Yet, as a young father, after increasing the “overpopulation” myself, I might have then insisted the population of earth (back then) was too high at 3.5 billion, and, with a flippant disregard for others, claimed that any further “overpopulation” was immoral, and that the 4 to 5 billion conceived since were somehow “unsustainable.” (It was beyond my ken, at that time, that a future increased-population of 4 to 5 billion could possibly be enjoying bigger meals and a longer life-expectancy than had ever before occurred on earth.) (The word “liberal” supposedly means “generous”, but the “liberals” of my youth wished to “ration”. What is so generous about cutting back?)

But I confess I was of that mind-set. I sowed in a negative manner, and reaped negativity in many ways. But, unlike some other liberals, I was honest about my experiment, and my personal motives were not quite as “ulterior” as the motives of others now seem to be. I may have utterly failed when it came to seducing a young woman on a beach in Maine, but I succeeded in discovering there is life after such failure. In like manner, I discovered there is life after the world-population surpassed 4 billion, 5 billion, 6 billion, even 7 billion. Rather than the hell predicted, billions of children were born, enjoyed decent childhoods, and became young adults full of the hopes young adults have.

Let me put it this way: Do you believe in democracy? What chance would my former belief have, in an election today? I claimed that the billions born in my lifetime should not be born, but here they are. Now suppose we vote about whether they should have been born. Who will win that election? Me, or the billions of vibrant young people? And, after the results were tabulated, who should change their views? Me, or them?

The answer was fairly obvious to me, even before the four to five billion were born. Even before Jimmy Carter stopped being president I sensed my so-called “liberal” views were not truly liberal, because they were motivated by greed and not generosity, and lust and and not love. I needed to shed greedy and lustful “ulterior motives”. It was painful not to get what I desired, but in the long run my life was better for putting my desires aside, and accepting the Truth even when it didn’t fit the “script” I had written for myself, about how my life should be. Truth is always better.

How? Well, explaining that would involve explaining how things worked out over the next forty-five years. It would be a long and involved answer, take pages upon pages, and is not the question you should be asking. Instead you should be asking:

What does this have to do with sea-ice? Well, there are two main reasons.

The first is that some involved in the subject of sea-ice seem to have ulterior motives. Their motives are not the simple ulterior motives that August Heinrich Petermann had, when he lobbied for money to discover the “open polar sea”, but are much greater whoppers.

Even though Petermann was deluded, at least he yearned to map the arctic better. Such betterment could be hoped to end his delusion with hard facts. But modern arctic investigators? They own ulterior motives which, when push comes to shove, could care less about any further discovery in the arctic. Therefore there can be no betterment and no end to delusion.

What many modern arctic investigators seemingly care most for is “funding”. Perhaps the funding was originally seen as a way to further research, but at some point the research was neglected, and finding funding became the focus. In some ways money became such an ulterior motive that researchers entered a strange reality wherein the motive became more real than the science, and in order to justify this motivation they went so far as to attempt to replace what is real with what is false.

I don’t think, even in my misspent youth, I was ever quite so absurd as that. I may have had unrealistic dreams, but I could be brought down to earth by a woman’s disapproving glance, and then was forced to recognize the difference between what was hopeful fantasy and what was false. I might be extremely annoyed when my attempt to seduce a young woman on a Maine beach was interrupted by another couple. However, if I had attempted to “replace the reality”, what would I have done? Shoot those two innocent people dead, and then attempted to proceed with my seduction? I was never close to becoming that evil, because such behavior owns an ugliness utterly unlike what my nefarious activities desired. “Disappearing” others was too ugly to be included in my beautiful fantasy of seducing a beautiful babe. However, among certain arctic researchers, “disappearing” the data of other researchers has been acceptable, and even has been tantamount to what they were hired to do.

Going into the dreary details of such destruction of data is depressing, and I don’t want to linger long on such a subject. However it has been widespread. The cause has seemingly been because the poor, or even the not-so-poor, are susceptible to bribes.

For example, when parts of the temperature-record of Iceland was “disappeared” the chief meteorologist of Iceland threw a fit, until he met with those who had lots of money. Then he abruptly was OK with parts of the temperature-record of Iceland being “disappeared”. I fear he was bribed.

I myself have never been the chief meteorologist of Iceland, and therefore have never been subjected to bribes. I’ve never had my “ulterior motives” tempted to such a degree. Therefore I will not criticize a man in whose shoes I haven’t walked. (Maybe he used the money to pay for a friend’s expensive cancer treatments. Who am I to judge?) But I will say that the altered record is bullshit, and arctic record-keeping seems full of such bribery-induced nonsense. So many arctic records are obviously incorrect (if you have studied the subject) that you need to screen the data with the assumption you are dealing with a pack of liars.

For example, just look at the old records and compare them with the modern “adjusted” records. Here is the sea-ice “extent” graph from 1976, when Jimmy Carter was president.

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This graph documents very low extents in 1945, 1953 and a record-setting low in 1960. This was followed by an extraordinary “recovery” by the winter of 1962-1963, but then sea-ice again began melting away to far lower levels.

The above graph represents a lot of hard work done by many dedicated scientists, yet is currently spurned. Why? Because they did not have satellites back then, and therefore the hard work of decent men is deemed “inadequate”.

OK, OK, OK. Be that way (though it seems snobby and dismissive to me.) Let us look at only the “satellite record”, as it was graphed in 1980, (beginning in 1973, though we have pictures from the first Nimbus satellite going back to the mid 1960’s).

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There are some interesting differences between the early 1970’s in this graph and the prior graph. It would be fascinating to learn the reasons, which would involve looking at the data. However both graphs agree sea-ice was at low levels, in the early 1970’s, much like today’s. Down near 6 million km2. Certainly not up around 8 million km2. Yet look at the modern, “adjusted” graph, for the same period.

How is it possible to “adjust” the sea-ice totals for a very low year upwards roughly 2 million km2? Are such “adjusters” aware what they are saying about the dedicated scientists who worked back at that time? They are in essence calling them idiots, for recording the data they recorded, (even as the past experts often worked in extreme and dangerous arctic conditions).

Before I myself dismiss such scientists who lived in the past I need to see a clear analysis of their data which shows exactly why they were in error. None has been forthcoming. In fact all the analysis of data I myself have done seems to show that the ones in error are the modern “adjusters”. They claim sea-ice was thick in cases where we have first-hand records, and sometimes photographic evidence, that the waters were open. The “adjusters” have no business adjusting the records of honest and decent men who are no longer around, and cannot defend themselves. In fact, if anyone needs adjusting, it is the “adjusters” themselves.

I rest my case: You cannot deal with modern arctic data without sensing you are dealing with liars. You are dealing with people who accept bribes, perhaps because they feel Truth doesn’t make them enough money, and even feel that Truth might be a bad thing, because Truth might put them in jail for forgery.

I do feel a certain pity for such people. Perhaps they spent years studying the arctic in college, burning the midnight oil, and when they graduated they discovered the general public could care less about arctic sea-ice, and no jobs were available, and they faced working an ignoble job in a fast-food restaurant, flipping burgers. Oh, the pain! But just then they got tempted by a bribe. They could skip flipping burgers, if only they conceded to becoming an “adjuster”.

The problem with such pity is that perhaps all people deserve such pity. Few get paid for what they most enjoy.

I too burned the midnight oil, but rather than arctic sea-ice I studied poets. I studied Shakespeare and Milton and Shelly and Chatterton and Keats and Dylan Thomas and Frost and Dr. Seuss. And when I graduated I discovered the general public had no use for my knowledge, and no jobs were available, and I faced working in a fast food restaurant, flipping burgers. Oh, the pain! But in my case no one tempted me with a bribe. So I had to flip burgers.

Flipping burgers wasn’t so bad, nor were the hundred other jobs I had to take that were “beneath me.” In fact, the pricks to my ego were a gateway to the ordinary life of those who are the salt-of-the-earth. In some ways it was an honor to be humbled, because I became part of what makes life possible. Your roof doesn’t leak? Don’t thank experts about poetry or arctic sea-ice. Thank the roofers, and I got to join their ranks for a little while.

Not that I didn’t whine. What poet wants to quit a composition about beautiful clouds because he has to work under a blistering sun, hammering nails on a hot, noontime roof? Only now, many years later, do I feel honored that, (even though many are not thankful for what doesn’t happen), I am why your roof doesn’t leak.

I am also why roofers have nails, because I worked in a nail factory. And when you look at the label on a bottle of wine or ketchup or a can of sardines, understand I have made those labels. When you open the sardines, understand I worked in a cannery. When you ride a high horse, understand I shoveled the stables. I have worked making and lubricating ball bearings large and small, and even computers need ball bearings. And that is only six jobs of a hundred, and each was an insult to my ego, for I felt I should instead be paid for my poetry. Yet each insult made my poetry better, more down-to-earth, more real. In the end I feel my so-called “bad fortune” is far better than the fortune of a so-called “sea-ice expert”, who thinks he is better off accepting bribes to perpetuate propaganda. I wouldn’t like to be in his shoes, when he looks in the mirror.

This brings me to my second point, which is that such negative behavior never results in good. It may seem “right”, but it is the negative side of Henry Ford’s statement, “If you say ‘I can’ or say ‘I can’t’, you are right.” The side-of-the-negative is the side that states, ‘I can’t’. It states “starvation will be widespread by 1980” and denies the “Green Revolution” will happen. It states “the United States will be an oil-importer forever” in 1974, and can’t imagine the United States exporting oil due to the “Fracking Revolution” in 2019. In essence it is a negative shadow, which cannot face the light of Truth.

Opposed to this depressing power is, I would like to suggest, a positive power that affirms Truth. Not that Truth needs affirming. Truth remains perfectly true even if every person on earth denies It. In fact reality is the other way around: We do not sustain Truth; Truth sustains us. And it is for this reason that underdogs can display such an ingenuity and prowess and even power, if they honor integrity and honesty, that they unseat the mighty. It is why little David could defeat huge Goliath. In a sense truthfulness taps into the greatest power on earth, Truth itself, releasing benefits which those who cling to power and money don’t believe can ever come about, and therefore don’t include in their financial forecasts, (and all other forecasts as well.)

The difference between Truth and dishonesty is symbolically like the difference between a bud that is grafted to a root, and a bud that isn’t. The first will thrive while the second will wither. The pity is that some see the fruits the bud produces and seek to hoard such produce, (money, power, the admiration of others,) in a manner disconnected from the root. By doing this they in essence seek a byproduct of growth even while cutting themselves off from growth’s nourishing root.

The irony is that we can see the foolishness of such behavior when others do it, but tend to be blind to examples of our own foolishness, (or we excuse our own foolishness as being some sort of “necessary evil”). For example, we’d call it foolish if we saw a farmer who so overvalued a byproduct such as manure that he spent all his money on manure and none on feeding his animals, yet at the same time we might be maxing out our credit cards and running a deficit budget all our own. In like manner Communists see the irresponsibility of Capitalists while Capitalists see the irresponsibility of Communists. All too often both fail to look within to see if they are securely grafted to the root of Truth, or are merely seizing upon byproducts.

One quality that seems associated with those cut off from Love’s root is a sense of impending doom. Madame de Pompadour stated, “Après nous, le déluge,” and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez states “The world is going to end in twelve years.” Often the sense of doom leads to drastic measures, guillotines and purges and genocides, which seem a self-fulfilling prophecy, bringing about the very dooms they seek to avoid. Hitler’s hate of Jews and Slavs did not save Germany from ruin, and Stalin’s hate of farming Kulak did not save Russia from starvation. All of Maurice Strong’s dishonest manipulations to “save the planet” left him an exile, an old man hiding from justice in a Peking apartment. To me all these examples seem proof of the second half of Henry Ford’s statement: If you say “I can’t”, you’re right. The greatest irony is that some basically waste fortunes, pouring money down a rat hole, unaware all their efforts are cutting themselves off from the root that creates fortunes in the first place. In my view George Soros has literally expended billions to say, “I can’t”. (I’ll never understand how he could pour such fabulous amounts down a rat-hole, when he might have spent it on me).

At this point I’d like to suggest the chilling effect of cutting yourself off from the root of Truth is like the chill now descending upon the arctic tundra, freezing things up and shrinking the flow of arctic rivers to a trickle.

(There. I told you I’d get back to the subject of sea-ice, and I’ve done it).

What seems to happen to arctic researchers is that a compromise which initially seemed slight becomes acerbated. They felt a little compromise, perhaps 5% of the time, would result in funding which would allow them to conduct honest research 95% of the time, but such compromise turned out to be like a small spot of cancer which spread. How did it spread? Well, if the honest research discovered a Truth which went against the “Arctic Sea-Ice Death Spiral Theory”, they needed to hush it up or they might offend their patron. And, because the “Death Spiral Theory” was like the “Open Polar Sea Theory”, it was dead wrong, and all research would tend to disprove it. Therefore all research, not 5% but 100% of research, would need to be hushed.

It would be absurd to conduct good research only to crumple up and throw away the honest results. Why bother even fund the research? Why even bother have science or scientists? Yet such absurdity may explain why we now have a sixteen-year-old girl speaking before the United Nations as an authority on sea-ice, as scientists sit on their hands and are mum.

Cynical Sophists seem to resort to such sentimental tactics when the bankruptcy of their belief has been revealed, in all its sophisticated sterility. (When logic fails, resort to emotion.) Surprisingly, such tactics can be effective, primarily because young women do have heart, which many Sophists lack. However, once the heart is involved, there may be consequences Sophists never intended. The heart is closely associated to Truth, and can veer a person’s path from safe topics into political-incorrectness. It can therefore be dangerous to involve a teenage girl in political calculations, for they can be like a loose cannon on board a pitching ship.

In terms of Truth, the hope which young girl’s hearts bring to “the equation” can be like the hope of a sunrise-tundra in the spring: A dark, cold tundra suddenly lit by light: tundra moving towards a time when, under the warmth of 24-hour summer sunshine, the trickle of an arctic river becomes an amazing flood and the water rises 60 feet.

Of course the young woman involved should be careful; (after all, Joan of Arc did wind up burned-at-the-stake); however there is at least a chance the young woman’s appearance is an indication the Sophist Alarmists have quit pretending to be scientists, and scientists will therefore be let alone, and allowed to do what they do best, (study Truth). This may result in a Renascence, a revival of Truth, and a surging flood of beneficial knowledge which the negative, cynical and sour never expected.

Initially there may be some hard times for arctic researchers, and some may even have to flip burgers for a while. Why? Because much funding formerly came from people who prefer propaganda to Truth, and who prefer rationing and deprivation to progress and increase. Such people become peeved when ideas such as “The Arctic Death Spiral” are not supported by hard evidence, and I surmise that may explain why the wonderful arctic cameras we once had bobbing on buoys ceased being funded, even as the cost of creating and maintaining such camera-buoys became less. Such cameras undermined the “narrative.” Also further funding may dry up because pouring money down a rat-hole isn’t productive, and even spiritually unwise people recognize a bad bet is a bad bet. But arctic research will continue, even if not funded.

Why? Because some recognize what a frontier the arctic is, and own a craving to be pioneers. This thirst to penetrate the boundaries of the known, and expand the horizons of knowledge, can cause some to strive even when they are not paid for striving. Just as some work fifty weeks just to blow all their savings spending a two-week-vacation climbing mountains, some work long days flipping burgers, and then, in the evening, study charts and graphs involving arctic sea-ice, just for the fun of it. And the wonders of satellites and the internet allow even someone from the Congo to study sea-ice, if so inclined. Older meteorologist stand amazed, for with a click of a computer we now can gather data that took them six months of grueling field-study to gather, in their youth, followed by six months of analyzing heaps of paper in the lab. Consequently we now have no idea where the next genius will appear, or what next marvel will manifest through the study of Truth. Perhaps the next revolution will be called “The White Revolution”, and involve sea-ice.

The Russians seem to have ideas along those lines, and furthermore do not seem to expect sea-ice to vanish, considering they have built so many billion-dollar icebreakers.

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Nor does Russia seem inclined to bow to members of Greenpeace, who seemingly desire that the arctic becomes a vast National Park, preserved for the enjoyment of extremely wealthy cross-country skiers. When Greenpeace activists attempt to protest in a politically-correct manner by “seizing” an arctic oil-rig, they run into Russian political-incorrectness.

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Russia apparently insists upon control of its northern coast, (15,000 miles of undulating shoreline north of the Arctic Circle), and horrifies environmentalists by replacing diesel-fumes with smokeless nuclear ice-breakers. They plan on developing a northern sea-route, and upon their northern ports being developed, and upon northern resources being exploited. They even have the audacity to plan to build massive nuclear ice-breakers-with-helipads like the world has never seen, within five years.

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Not that Russia cares all that much for Truth, or Freedom of Speech, but at least they have the old-fashioned pragmatism which deals with facts, rather than with unfounded idealism and with fabricated theory such as “The Arctic Death Spiral.” And, because they deal with facts, there is at least a chance they will someday receive the bounty that comes from honoring Truth.

Personally I am more interested in a different bounty, which is the wonderment that comes from looking at sea-ice, (and the associated weather), with eyes unclouded by bias or any need to be politically correct. Not that simply reporting what your eyes witness doesn’t get you in trouble. In certain circles you can cause a deathly silence to fall, simply by stating a truth, such as, “Arctic sea-ice isn’t decreasing. There was more arctic sea-ice this September than in September, 2007.”

In some ways I’m getting tired of offending people with Truth. This is especially true when the people I offend are beautiful women. It hasn’t just occurred when I was a young man in Maine, (and the Truth involved was that the woman was beautiful and I was lustful). It’s been going on since I was knee high to a grasshopper, and the beautiful woman I was offending was a young schoolmarm and I was a young truant. You’d think I would learn, but in some ways I seem worse than Rodney Dangerfield when it comes to getting any respect. This has led me to suspect the problem may not lie entirely in myself.

After all, I know better than to bring up the subject of arctic sea-ice at either a Conservative church supper or a Liberal cocktail party. I don’t go looking for trouble. But, when someone brings up the local bad weather in a most casual manner, and someone else responds, “Yes, this Global Warming is really getting terrible”, Truth always compels me to state, “There was more arctic sea-ice this September than in September, 2007.” And then beautiful women look at me aghast. It’s not fair. The situation even seems a sort of set-up. (WARNING: Rant Alert.)

I feel it is high time for old geezers like myself to stand up and be counted. After all, old geezers have rights too, y’know. “If you prick us, do we not bleed?” It is high time to form some sort of blaring political noise, some loud and objectionable “Codger Power”, able to be equally annoying as everyone else.

Life is cruel to us boys. (Yes, another sidetrack from sea-ice has begun, but it involves why the subject of sea-ice is so side-tracked even among scientists of the arctic; IE: I’m not the one who started this sidetracking from Truth.)

I’ve been involved with raising children for decades as a father, coach, and finally, over the past decade, through running an outdoors-oriented Childcare on a farm, and I have seen various child-rearing fads come and go. For a time “experts” stated discipline stifles a child, but then (when “permissiveness” blew up in their faces), they did an 180 degree swivel and the same “experts” then stated “lack of boundaries” make children feel “unsafe”.

Recently an interesting development has involved a seeming realization that Childcare play-areas are set up in a manner which is preferential to the needs of girls. Apparently most girls focus more on “fine motor skills”, while most boys focus on “gross motor skills”, and most indoor play-areas focus more on sitting than on tumbling. Also most teachers are female, and, if asked to be honest, state they prefer teaching small girls, who tend to be more complacent and obedient, than small boys, who tend to be brats.

When it comes to getting-in-trouble, roughly 80% of all children expelled from Childcare situations are boys, and this causes further damage to boys because small children have a deep need to be included. In essence small boys are placed in a situation hostile to what they require, creating a Tom-Sawyer-vs.-Aunt-Polly dichotomy from day one.

Childcare professionals have been aware of this problem for two hundred years, and in fact the word “kindergarten” comes from “children’s garden”, meaning that it was a garden that “grew” children, but also included the idea children didn’t learn by rote at rows of desks, but in “gardens”, through activity and movement called “play”. The originator, Friedrich Froebel, had bad experiences in school and was expelled from many, but eventually became an academic who attempted to define why “play” was important, identifying first ten, and then twenty, categories of “play”.

Considering Froebel’s German ideas came to the United States before the Civil War, we should know better by now than to think children learn by rote at rows of desks, whether such regimentation is called “a class” or “circle time”. But we haven’t learned. Instead schoolmarms are placed in the position of being wicked witches, banning recess and drugging small boys for being boys. It seems little wonder that boys often hate school. The drop-out levels of boys have increased (along with drug-addiction), and girls now are more likely to seek college than boys are. And yet we are supposed to pity feminists? What about old-codgerists? Shouldn’t old boys like myself get a chance to march about and be irate and offended, too?

When I myself was a boy I detested school but loved learning. I could hardly wait to leave school so I could learn something. One reason I opened my outdoors-oriented Childcare was because I did most of my learning while roaming forests and fields, and wanted to share the joy I felt. Yet, as I watched the children at my Childcare, I became aware they were learning a huge amount without me, simply through hands-on experiences while romping.

Call such learning “field-studies” if you will, but such learning required no thesis to be written, and, in the cases of the youngest, it required no words, as they hadn’t fully learned to talk. They would just point at something, and look at me with their eyes glowing delight. It was obvious they were learning, and also obvious they loved learning. School was not a bitter pill. Wisdom was not a thing to be measured by tests. More was learned during recess than in the classroom.

It seems to me that it is later that small children start to ask “why”, and do it to such an excessive degree that it can drive you bonkers. Even when you answer “I don’t know” they immediately inquire, “Why don’t you know?” Sadly, in some classroom situations asking “why” earns one a look of disapproval from the schoolmarm. Perhaps this is one reason I myself began to look out the classroom window. The answers to my “why” questions were not on the blackboard.

It is interesting to note that among the places I liked to wander, when the final bell rang and I bolted out the school’s door, was a place you would not expect a “bad student” to go. When the whim hit me, I’d stop in at the town Library on my way home from school, and wander about looking for something interesting to poke through. Sometimes I’d find a book and become so engrossed the Librarian would have to tap my shoulder and show me the door, at closing, and I’d be late home for dinner. The next day I’d be “kept-after” school for having failed to do my math homework, but perhaps my homework was undone because I had learned more about the Greenland Vikings than my teacher knew, even when she was five times my age.

Skip ahead three decades, to a time when I had children of my own, and became aware that the teachers were teaching my children things about Greenland Vikings (and arctic sea-ice), (and other things), which I knew to be false. What to do? I went to the teachers to have a chat, and lo and behold! Thirty years made little difference; I got a look of deep disapproval from the schoolmarm.

They taught by-the-book, and what the book said was not to be denied. I politely inquired, “Which book are you referring to? I’ve read many on the subject, and many articles in various magazines.” They then became slightly defensive, for the book they were teaching-by was “the textbook”, which had a single paragraph about Greenland Vikings, and a single paragraph about the danger of the “Arctic Death Spiral”, (and some hundred paragraphs suggesting that man was destroying the planet). A bit of delicate, further inquiry informed me that, back in college, the schoolmarm had never studied either Greenland Vikings or sea-ice. But, rather than humbly admitting I might be older and wiser, the young whippersnappers did what schoolmarms always do to me: They sent me to the principle.

As I sauntered down a hallway to his office (thinking, “This is just like the old days”) I could see this wasn’t like the old days. The hallways seemed to reverberate with a lack of discipline, and the noisy classrooms I passed were largely out of control. One boy grabbed a teacher’s chair, which had little wheels, and rolled it out of a classroom, across the hall, and tumbled it down a staircase, laughing his fool head off. Then the boy saw me. I didn’t say a word, but the boy slumped and stopped laughing, and trudged back into his classroom pouting, and took his seat.

I then had a interesting talk with the principle, who was a seemingly jolly, spineless man who informed me that the problem wasn’t the children; it was the parents. We didn’t talk about Greenland Vikings or sea-ice very much. Instead I agreed parents should be more helpful. I proposed having some parents simply walk up and down the hallways, as it seemed to make boys behave better. Being spineless, he agreed this was a good idea, which led to the formation of CARE ( which was an acronym which stood for “Concerned About Responsible Education”) and for a time I wordlessly walked the halls in shifts with two other fathers. It seemed to have a positive effect. I later learned the principle despised me, and said bad things about me behind my back, though he always spoke to me with sympathetic eyebrows, high in the middle and low outside. He was sympathetic even when I stated I had decided to withdraw my children from his madhouse, and to “home-school”.

Home-schooling was my chance to learn what it is like to be a schoolmarm. Although I never wore the clomping, fat-heeled shoes that teachers wore in my youth, I felt I walked in their shoes, and I consequently have far more respect for schoolmarms. (Even your own children can come up with the most fabulous excuses for undone homework.)

One thing I wanted to do was to make school different than I remembered it being. I wanted learning to be joyous, as it was when I learned by hiking through forests and fields (and by browsing libraries and, later, back alleys.) But I was confronted by a harsh reality: Some aspects of learning are not “fun”, namely the stuff old-time teachers called “drill”.

Some things are fairly boring to learn. For example, multiplication tables. Such things are vital to further learning, but I was never very good at learning things unless they were part of some larger logic. For example, I did badly in foreign languages because at the start it was vital to learn a list of meaningless words. However I could manage to learn a phrase or two when it had some sort of value to me: To this day I can say “The woman is very beautiful” and “You are a stupid ignoramus” in Russian (but not much else.)

In like manner I did learn some math, due to good teachers who interested me in figuring out the batting average of baseball players, and how many boards it would take to roof a fort I was building. But I had a hard time learning things that had no personal context or reference point. If I could see no reason, I had a hard time “applying myself”. I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “You have a good mind; why, why, why won’t you learn?” and, “You are an underachiever.”

In actual fact I was an overachiever, when it came to being a stubborn donkey and refusing to allow my mind to budge unless I was interested. In many cases the rare teachers who managed to teach me things I wasn’t interested in were the old-fashioned sort, who had no mercy, and who answered my “why” questions with, “Because I said so.”

The weapon such old-fashioned teachers wielded that worked best (on me) was to threaten to keep me from the forests and fields and libraries and alleys I loved, and one Science teacher got me to do an astonishing amount of dull homework because the alternative was to go to school with her all summer. Another old English teacher was more gentle, but simply forced me to do the same paper over and over until I handed in a draft with every word spelled correctly. (No spell-check back then). (Interesting to note I had a big vocabulary for my age, but couldn’t be bothered to learn to spell even simple words correctly.)

One thing that made those old-school teachers different was their emphasis on “completing your work”. It didn’t matter so much if the work was an “A” or a “D”, but that it was done. There was no “participation trophy” for merely showing up, and “trying” wasn’t an excuse for failing to complete an assignment. Even if you did a poor job, the job must be done. Nor did you necessarily earn approval, even when the job was done. You might earn a smile if you did “A” work, but not if it was “D” work. But even the the glower you got for “D” work was better than what you got for “incomplete” work. Looking back, such severity seems an afterglow from some former time, some echo of “The Puritan Work Ethic.”

At the same time there were new ideas and new approaches younger teachers thirsted to try out. I’ll gloss over these efforts, because for the most part they were ineffectual, and allowed me to escape “drill”. “Permissive” teachers allowed me to skip the rigors “Old School” teachers forced me to face, and let me play hooky. It didn’t matter if they called the work “arithmetic” or “new math”, and it didn’t matter if they called the work “history” or “social studies” or even “social science”. If they didn’t crack the whip, I’d prefer forests and fields to “drill”, and all their blathering about what-to-call-what-they-taught didn’t teach me one iota.

But one element of “permissiveness” did seem especially wrong to me, (and to many other schoolboys), and that was the unspoken need permissive teachers had to be popular. Me and my chums actually preferred the Old School teachers who knew we disliked them, for forcing us to “drill”, and we didn’t much like teachers who felt they had to be our best friend. The word “permissive” somehow meant they had to be “cool” and “popular” and “hip”.

Looking back, it seems to me the kids who were “cool” and “popular” and “hip” were a definite minority at my school, and the rest of us were a thing called “not so hip”. (Or perhaps “normal”). Therefore the efforts of some teachers to be popular looked like they were trying to woo a minority.

For the kids like me it seemed fairly obvious that such teachers were not the cream of the crop; they had not been “cool” or “popular” or “hip” when they themselves were our age, if only because they were not remotely handsome or beautiful, or particularly athletic, or all that smart. (That was why they were teachers, and not something better). Yet they had this odd wish to be what they never were, and thirsted to hang out with the “cool” and “popular” and “hip” kids.

Even to a twelve-year-old such behavior seems a bit pathetic, and is a sight that even seems pitiful: A thirty-year-old man or woman seeking acceptance from a minority of thirteen-year-olds who deem themselves classy, even as many of their classmates deem them otherwise.

A reason classmates disliked some peers who excelled (besides envy) was because some who excelled sneered at fellow classmates who didn’t do so well. But this meanness was dealt-with among peers by peers. We had our juvenile ways of separating the wheat from the chaff, the generous from the mean, and the genuinely admirable from those chasing the veneer of status. We may not have had words such as “politically correct” and “virtue signaling”, but we did have the words “real” and “phony.”

In some ways school involved much grouping and regrouping of small gangs, much shifting from superiority to inferiority to equality, as youth figured out where they were comfortable and where their gifts “fit”. Among athletes one might feel puny but five minutes later among Freshmen one might feel like a giant. Moods soared and moods crashed as hormones ran riot and roughshod, yet midst this chaos there was an awareness that some “got too big for their britches” or “took things too far.” Call it intuition if you will, but it was tantamount to detachment among youth you might deem incapable of anything but reactionary moodiness. Often it popped out of someone’s mouth in a way that resulted in gales of laughter, and a bully blushing (and promising to pound the jester later). Status was a precarious perch, like a game of king-of-the-mountain, and the “uppity” could expect a “comeuppance”. Yet for some status was the end-all and be-all of school, far more important than classes. For others the exact same status was proof the possessor was “phony”, and a person to be pitied. (Epaulets do not make the man).

If even youth can see past status symbols, and pity their peers when they crave such status too insanely (and look like shoppers madly fighting over an object at a sale) then youth can become downright horrified when teachers become equally eager to be included among the “cool” and “popular” and “hip”, and teachers act juvenile too. Such antics are hard to forgive or forget.

I recall when I was at my most awkwardly nerdy I was sneered-at by such a teacher. I likely deserved the sarcasm, but the rebuke was not what irked me. What seemed unforgivable was how the teacher turned away smiling towards the “cool” kids as the “cool” kids laughed at me, drinking up their small-minded approval. It was embarrassing. Grown-ups are suppose to be better than that, yet it was what was called “permissive” in 1964, and is called “politically correct” in 2019. Despite all the talk about “zero tolerance” for any form of “bullying”, it is a form of bullying. If you don’t believe such bullying exists, send a child into a classroom with a hidden camera, and have the child tell the teacher “Global Warming is a fraud.”

The pursuit of popularity at the expense of Truth may have a lot to do with the antics seen in Hollywood and among politicians, but it’s a dead end. It is Much Ado About Nothing. It involves the IQ of a bunch of clucking chickens figuring out their pecking-order. It is sad when people have to spend so much time and energy dealing with such nonsense, when what they really want to do is study sea-ice.

Also the pursuit of popularity has little to do with the true challenge of teaching, which involves the glaring difference between “drill” and the joy of learning. “Drill” may be necessary and be good for you, but so is cod-liver-oil. “Drill” is difficult to swallow. Either one must adopt the lantern-jawed mercy of a boot-camp sergeant, or be a sort of Mary Poppins singing about how “a teaspoon of sugar makes medicine go down in a most delightful way”, but in either case there is an acceptance that drill is, by itself, not delightful.

I thought long and hard about this subject while home-schooling my own kids, as they were forever asking me why should they do what they hated. I had no good answer, so I told them, “Because I said so.” However after I put them to bed I’d stay up late, sipping beer and wondering, “Why do I do what I hate?” I wanted an answer better than, “Because I have to.”

The answer I came up with involved seeing “drill” differently. Rather than seeing it as a bitter pill one was forced to gag down, I saw (or attempted to see) “drill” was the result of another’s joy.

A person in the faded past had endured the hardship, the sweat and strain and pricks to the ego, which led to the joy of revelation. And they then handed you all they worked so hard to achieve across the chasms of time, for free.

What such past people offer may be a thing as mundane as the “multiplication tables.” Learning such tables may be as dull as dust, but we should be thankful we don’t have to start from scratch and figure them all out for ourselves.

In like manner, when faced with a long and dull list of vocabulary words, we should be glad we are not faced with the task of coining such words. Most use words without any understanding of the Herculean efforts made by all sorts of word-smiths across the ages to hammer, distort and anneal the word into its current shape and definition.

One unusual aspect of my childhood was that my mother didn’t desire, (as a feminine equivalent of a man’s “den” or “man-cave”), a kitchen and pantry cluttered with cooking paraphernalia, or a sewing room, or a craft room, or a gym, but rather a library. She was a bibliophile, and even had a massive dictionary on an ornate stand in the dining-room. During the best days of my childhood (when my parents still got along) I sometimes was allowed to join the grown-ups during dinners that included foreign dignitaries, to whom English was a second language, and quite often the massive dictionary was consulted to see if a word was “used correctly”. Sometimes these visits to the dictionary were brief, but on other occasions (perhaps because my Dad could mix a powerful “old fashioned”), the conversations digressed in delightful ways into the various shades-of-meaning the same word might have, the origins the word had, how the meaning had changed over the process of time, and how shades-of-meaning could be different in different lands. (For example, in 1959 the word “fantastic” had a positive connotation in the United States but a negative connotation in India.) Even during dinners without company my mother tended to feel the definition of a word was chiseled on stone, while my father tended to look for loopholes, and the dictionary would be consulted. The result of all this was that, for me at least, the “drill” of learning a list of boring vocabulary words was less distasteful than it might have been for other children.

Drill is made distasteful when it becomes divorced from the amazing people who made the dull facts important. This is never more obvious than in the case of History. One is too often forced to memorize dull dates, but not told the full story. It is amazing how much passion and wonder can be lost through the study of dull dates. After such dreary memorization a bored boy is expected to write, on a test, “Valley Forge occurred in 1776”, without any real understanding of what occurred, or even that George Washington was involved. Where David McCullough’s book “1776” devotes chapter after chapter to what fueled that amazing moment in time, the schoolboy is just given a dull place-name and a dull date. Little wonder some rebel, and call history stupid. History is not stupid, but little wonder some think it is.

If you then add the fact some teachers deeply want to be popular, you can even have teachers who nod, and agree history is stupid. Rather than adding the joy-of-learning to the dull “drill” of history, they throw the baby out with the bathwater, and feel history itself is the problem. They then attempt to find a better way, something other than what actually happened.

Such a revision of Truth, of what actually happened, is called by some “revisionist history” and by others “progressive.” I call it “denial of fact”, and think, if you study history, you can see it often leads to a terrible end.

Inherent with thinking that history itself is the problem is the idea “old-fashioned” ideas are a weakness, and can be replaced by “better ideas”. Yet what happened is what happened; it is the Truth. When you attempt to replace Truth with a “better idea” you venture into the quicksand of utter folly.

I do not mean to suggest all attempts at social reform are folly. History shows us examples where attempts to reform society were beneficial, and where they were not. Therefore the measure of social reform should be the crop it reaps. Does the social reform result in the betterment of all, or disaster?

One of the saddest things to see, looking back in history, is how some so-called “progressive” people came to see their fellows, who had stood by their side as they fought “traditionalists” and rose to power, as being “not-progressive-enough”, and as holding them back. Stalin only rose to power due to the helping hands of many “bedfellow” communists, yet he came to see them as too “old-fashioned”, and “purged” them, (idiotically killing his best generals on the eve of World War Two.) In like manner Mao, after his “Great Leap Forward” had proved to be a leap backwards, had to deal with criticism he deserved from his fellow revolutionaries. Rather than humbly accepting what recent history taught, he instituted the “Cultural Revolution” which saw criticism (recent history) as evil (“counterrevolutionary”), and basically attempted to purge not only all of his best friends, but all of China’s best teachers.

The idea behind this sort of hatred towards tradition and history is the concept that tradition is a sort of weed, and that if you remove the weed something beautiful will grow. I honestly believe that both Stalin and Mao believed they were justified to kill, because something beautiful would result. Each morning they hopped out of bed, expecting that killing best friends and schoolmarms would result in roses. It never did. Apparently weeding isn’t enough. You must also plant.

The process of “planting” involves treating best friends and schoolmarms better than Stalin and Mao did, even when they disagree with you. Rather than seeing Truth as a backwardness and an enemy, it accepts the fact that even when Truth hurts, it is better than the alternative.

If you can follow my logic, you may glimpse Truth is not the dry lists of dull facts one grits their teeth to learn during “drill”. Rather Truth is a relationship. Rather than inanimate like stone Truth is alive. A inanimate stone just sits there. It cannot hurt you unless you go out of your way to fall on it head-first. However animate Truth can hurt you, even when you are minding your own business.

At this point I am moving into mystic territory. I don’t want to go there. I just want to lift the veil slightly, and hint at something. (Whether you choose to explore further is your own business). Let it suffice to say that I feel Truth is not a thing. It is a relationship we all are embarked upon, with whatever It is that made us.

I will say this: Our relationship with Truth is contentious. We all are social reformers in one way or another, and do not believe reality is as it should be. Though we may be like specks of dust upon a very small planet by a small sun in a small galaxy in a infinity giant universe, there are days we dare presume to grab the even huger Creator by the scruff of His neck and demand answers. (Confess. You’ve done it.) What amazes me is that, rather than being immediately incinerated by a bolt of lightning, we get answers. “Seek, and ye will find.”

In his long poem “A Lesson For Today”, the poet Robert Frost ends by suggesting he wants the epitaph on his gravestone to read, “I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.” In other words, if you seek Truth, do not expect an easy road lined with roses.

What holds true for students of poetry also holds true for students of arctic sea-ice. Truth is no outing for the feeble. Often those who stand by Truth win no earthly popularity, nor wealth, and seem to be proof honesty is for losers who want to wind up crucified, hanging from a cross upside-down like Saint Peter. Yet in the long run, even in earthly terms, who was the loser? In Rome, now, a huge building is called “Peter’s”, while “Caesar” is a name we give to dogs.

I often state “Stand by the Truth and the Truth will stand by you”, but this may not play out in the short term, which at one point in my life had me saying “Righteousness is never rewarding.”

For example, at one point the honest meteorologist Dr. William Gray advised the politically-calculating Vice-president Al Gore that Gore’s ideas about Global Warming were not scientific. Rather than being rewarded for his honesty, Dr. Gray saw his funding cut and was marginalized. Meanwhile Gore received awards and made millions for a movie (that British courts stated could not be used to educate British children with, because it included many falsehoods), ironically titled “The Inconvenient Truth.” In such situations it may seem there is no justice, and that the final Truth is that this world is made exceedingly disagreeable (because otherwise we would not seek a better place). But time will tell. Dr. Gray reached the end of his life with dignity, whereas Gore exudes such a halitosis of corruption one dislikes the thought we breathe the same air. (Not that I expect to be invited to his birthday party and stand in the same room, but we breathe the same air even if I flee to the far side of the planet.)

Gore is no different than the rest of us; he too has a relationship with Truth. In the harsh light of hangovers his eyes must seek their corners, amazed over how far he has fallen to become bloated with power and wealth. Yet none of us compare all that well with Perfection. In our relationships with Truth we all receive pricks to our fat egos, but none has fallen so far as to be beyond redemption; (it is said the thief on the cross next to Jesus walked the avenues of paradise only hours later).

In our relationship with Truth we are always teetering, with our hearts and heads never quite in balance: Our heads tend to be too dry and intellectual even as our hearts are too emotional and impulsive. That is why we need Truth to lend us a hand. We need something better than we are, to refer to. The amazing thing is that Truth is always there, offering.

Lastly allow me to repeat myself and state Truth is bountiful. One may not get the money they desire or the fame they desire or the power they desire, (or the beautiful girl on a Maine beach they desire), but in the end they get the best thing, which is Truth. In our constant and sometimes ludicrous efforts to reform society and change the world, Truth is our constant companion and lodestone, offering us feedback in the form of the harvests we reap, which can defy all odds and amaze us. (For example, Jonah felt preaching about Love to the merciless Assyrians was an exercise in futility and complete waste of time and might even get him killed, yet, (when he finally got around to giving being-an-advisor a shot), he saw, to his amazement, the entire bloodthirsty Assyrian nation repented and reformed [and postponed their eventual downfall by some fifty years.])

Truth has power we can’t imagine, which gives us every reason to study it. Under its beneficent sunshine rivers that barely trickle can rise sixty feet.

In terms of arctic sea-ice we need to stop the silliness of “adjusting” the Truth in a way that denies what we already know, and get back to studying what is actually occurring up there. Even a rank amateur like myself can see hints of mysterious powers, atmospheric waves that move the wrong way or cross the Pole, and these ill-defined shapes may be far more than the swirling aftereffects of storms to the south. I like to toy with the idea they may be hinges capable of pivoting vast atmospheric rivers, trapping cold air in the north with a “zonal” pattern or unleashing arctic outbreaks far to the south with a “meridional” pattern. Such changes make a huge difference to farmers, and understanding such changes would be an advantage to all people, for if farmers in Iowa knew a cold year was coming that would kill their corn, they could plant winter wheat instead. In like manner history informs us that massive shifts can occur to the currents of the North Atlantic, making rich fishing grounds sterile and barren seas bountiful. At the very least fishermen could save a lot of gas used searching for the fish, if they knew such a shift was coming and the fish would be moving.

Considering such drastic changes to the ecology of the Atlantic occurred even before light bulbs were invented, it seems silly to now blame such changes on incandescent bulbs, and to imagine we can move the seas by buying curly ones. Rather than thinking we control the weather we should be more humble and see the weather controls us, and seek to understand it. And such understanding does not come by seeking to replace Truth with adjustments, but rather by studying what actually is occurring, irregardless of whether it is politically correct or whether it confirms some preconceived bias. Arctic research deserves greater funding not because it benefits some political party, but rather because Truth benefits all mankind.

In any case, here we sit, having wasted decades preparing for Global Warming that shows no real sign of manifesting. Billions have been squandered attempting to prove something that isn’t true, deranging our energy infrastructure in the process, and leaving us ill-prepared for the onslaughts of winter. And winter is coming.

The “warming” seen on various charts and graphs is largely due to adjustments, but some warming is genuine and cannot be denied. However it may well be due to a completely counter-intuitive cause: Less energy, due to the so-called “Quiet Sun”, may initially have a warming effect.

Ever since I first began paying attention Alarmists have been pish-tushing solar variations, stating they’re incapable of having much effect. They often point out the variations in TSI (Total Solar Irradience) is roughly only a tenth of 1%. Or one part of a thousand. Yet then these same Alarmists turn right around and and say one part in a million can have a huge effect, when it involves the composition of the atmosphere. They can’t have it both ways.

My own take is that a change of only a tenth of 1% in the amount of sunshine striking the earth may seem small, but is actually a stupendous amount. After all, the sun is no small thing, even though you can cover it with your thumbnail as it crosses the sky. Here’s some trivia from “Cool Cosmos”:

“Compared to Earth, the Sun is enormous! It contains 99.86% of all of the mass of the entire Solar System. The Sun is 864,400 miles (1,391,000 kilometers) across. This is about 109 times the diameter of Earth. The Sun weighs about 333,000 times as much as Earth. It is so large that about 1,300,000 planet Earths can fit inside of it. Earth is about the size of an average sunspot!”

Currently the sun has become more quiet than at any time since the Dalton Minimum (roughly 1790-1830). At times the TSI has sunk to “unprecedented” levels.

The problem I run into, when dealing with the TSI, is that there are variations from graph to graph, and discussions involving things above my head, such as brief drops involving sunspots rotating around and facing the earth (which makes me think a spotless “Quiet Sun” should have a higher rather than lower TSI) and also arguments concerning the sensors used and “adjustments” made to the sensors used in the past. In the end I tend to fall back onto the observations from the Dalton Minimum, before the TSI was measured.

While the start of the Dalton Minimum was fairly quiet, after a decade things became “interesting”: Two of the largest volcanic eruptions of the past millennium occurred in 1810 and 1815, parts of the subtropics experienced summer snows and frosts, and there were extreme variations in the location and amounts of sea-ice, (including the amazing phenomenon of icebergs grounding on the coast of Ireland, that I mentioned earlier.) It seems a “Quiet Sun” had a significant effect, even if we haven’t been able to figure out the practical plumbing of its causes and effects.

One current observation that seems counter-intiuitive to me is that the SST (sea surface temperatures) have become warmer even as the sun has become less energetic. Though the southern hemisphere may now be hinting at some cooling, the northern hemisphere continues well above normal. (Below is the current anomaly map, not showing actual temperatures but rather whether temperatures are above or below normal.)

How could a less energetic sun cause warmer seas? After brooding a bit, it occurred to me that, besides measuring energy with thermometers, we could focus on the energy measured by anemometers. If a less-energetic sun slacked winds, especially Trade Winds, there would be less up-welling of cold water from the sea’s icy depths, resulting in warmer water at the surface, warmer and moister air above the seas, and consequently warmer and moister air working its way to the Pole (where only a small change in moisture jolts temperatures upwards to a far greater degree than the same amount of moisture alters temperatures in the tropics.) This would explain why winter temperatures have been warmer at the Pole, (and much of the slight “Global Warming” we see in honest statistics has been due to winter-warming at the Pole). However in the summer, when above-freezing temperatures at the Pole make slight rises in humidity less influential, the summertime Pole has actually trended cooler than normal by a small degree, which could be caused by slightly decreased sunshine 24-hours-a-day.

The idea that a slight thing like a decrease in TSI could warm the entire Northern Hemisphere may seem a bit preposterous, but if you think of it there are plenty of examples in life of small things having big consequences. Kingdoms can be lost “all because of a horseshoe nail”, a gain of sand can start an avalanche. In terms of meteorology the phrase “tipping point” is often used, (both correctly and incorrectly), and in some cases a hair can make a huge difference. It is like a marble rolling slower and slower up to the peak of a rise, at which point it can either fail to crest the rise and roll backwards, or crest the rise and accelerate forwards. In terms of a computer model and a weather forecast, this can be the difference between a ridge of high pressure being pumped and pleasant weather, or a trough digging and a gale. (Just as an example, there is currently some concern here in southern New Hampshire about winter snows getting off to an early start, and Joseph D’Aleo discussed the topic on his site at Weatherbell, and in the process he looked at fifty “runs” of the European Model, describing how much snow we might get over the next two weeks. Here are 25 of the runs:

Basically what the “runs” state is that we might get two feet of snow or might get none. Not much of a forecast. I suppose it does show storms will be whizzing by, maybe out to sea or maybe to our north or maybe hitting us, (but, because this is November in New England, we already knew that). However what I wanted to emphasize was how small things can make big differences. The reasons the “runs” of the model are so different are caused by quite minor tweaks to the initial data. A “butterfly flapping its wing” can totally ruin a superb forecast.

This is especially true concerning whether the Pacific will generate an El Nino or La Nina. Some sort of “tipping point” is involved, but no meteorologist seems able to pinpoint what it is, for the forecasting is persistently poor. Yet the difference between an El Nino and a La Nina is huge, and has worldwide consequences.

In a La Nina the warm water is “piled up” towards Australia and cold water upwells towards South America, and the world tends to be colder and drier, while in an El Nino the warm water spreads out and cold water sinks, and the world tends to be milder and moister. The Trade Winds are involved, and it is a case where less-is-more. Less winds creates more heat.

In like manner, I suspect a lower TSI might create a less-is-more situation where less heat from the sun initially makes the planet milder. But I stress that word “initially”.

To me it seems that spreading out the heat over a larger area could cause the heat to be lost more efficiently. It would be like your tea being too hot, so you pour it in the saucer to cool it. (Not that I’ve ever done this, but as a boy I asked an old lady what saucers were for.)

(It may not merely be fishermen who own first-hand-experiences that certain Climate-scientists should attend to; old ladies drinking tea may know a thing or two Climate-scientists don’t, as well.)

The spreading-out of milder water not only loses heat to the atmosphere (which then loses heat to outer space), it also moves north to the northern reaches of the Atlantic and Pacific, and melts sea-ice. Alarmists felt the resultant open water in the Arctic Sea would absorb sunlight and cause the “Arctic Death Spiral”, but the open water largely does not appear while the sun is high, but rather appears when the sun is getting low in late August and setting in September. In such situations the open water is not absorbing sunshine, but losing heat to the arctic night. Heat is not merely lost directly, but through the latent heat released during the phase-change from water back to sea-ice, which is far greater during years like this one, which saw more open water, and has already seen much open water swiftly refreeze.


Where some Alarmists suggest that the recent rise in the planet’s temperatures by a few tenths of a degree is a sort of irreversible one-way trend, I tend to see it as an action which will result in an equal and opposite reaction. For example, if you put a small pea on a balance, first it will swing down but then swing back up, as it gradually gets back to a state of poise.

It seems to me our planet is constantly attempting to achieve a state of poise, but constantly subjected to peas that make the balance swing. Even the yearly shift in summertime sunshine from the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern Hemisphere and back north again knocks things out of whack to some degree, but the planet keeps working to bring things back into balance. Because the swings have a certain regularity to them, the balancing-work tends to develop a regularity of sorts, and we speak of “cycles”, whether they be the cycles of seasons, or sunspot cycles, or the supposed 60-year-cycles of the AMO and PDO. But these cycles can also get knocked out of whack by things such as especially explosive volcano eruptions, or even asteroids (not to mention things I know little about, involving an “electric universe”, or the 12,000 year cycle of “magnetic excursions” mentioned on the “Ice Age Now” site, or in scary videos such as this one:

One constant, while considering the blows our planet has received in the past and may receive in the future, is our planet’s toughness and resiliency. It is like a boxer who can be pounded but cannot be knocked out. The idea of a “tipping point” being triggered that turns the planet into a hothouse like Venus is patently absurd, (but the idea of a society being triggered into absurdity is perhaps not so absurd), (and may be happening.) There is a tremendous power dragging the earth back towards equilibrium.

At times I think the swings back towards equilibrium manifest in ways that strike us as anything but peaceful. For example, a summer thunderstorm may not seem peaceful, but gets rid of excessive heat and brings things back into balance. In like manner, when some volcano reduces the amount of heat arriving on the planet’s surface, a “zonal” pattern may shift to a “meridional” pattern with the jet-stream contorting into fabulous loops, yet this may just be the planet’s way of redistributing the heat to get things back in balance.

I think this is what we should be watching for, and may already be seeing, in terms of the “Quiet Sun”. But one thing we need to be wary of may be glimpsed to the old (and now “adjusted”) records I showed earlier, which showed a dramatic increase in sea-ice between a record low in 1960 and a high during the winter of 1962-1963. It was a rapid increase of 1.5 million km of ice. Here is that illustration again:

https://realclimatescience.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Screen-Shot-2017-02-14-at-6.12.59-AM-down.gif

It seems to me that a reappraisal of Vinnikov’s data would be fascinating. What was he witnessing, and what were the causes, and what were the effects? There does seem to be evidence that the world saw quite a dramatic period of cooling at that time, resulting in the “Ice Age Scare” which is so well documented by Tony Hellar’s collection of old Newspaper articles from that time.

https://realclimatescience.com/1970s-global-cooling-scare/

The question I ask myself is, “Could we be on the verge of seeing history repeat?” Personally I loath the prospect, as my circulation is not fond of cold winters. I’m not the hot blooded dude I was in Maine, back when Jimmy Carter was president. However whatever will be will be, and it pays to keep an eye to the north in November.

Currently things look a bit ominous. Three weeks ago (October 11) the waters north of Siberia were wide open and snowcover was just starting to expand in Canada.

Now (November 4) the waters north of Siberia have swiftly skimmed with ice, Canada is largely snow-covered, and many of the smaller lakes in Canada have frozen (blue above but yellow below).

I’m now watching for the large Canadian Lakes and Hudson Bay to flash-freeze. As long as they are open they moderate arctic air, creating a sort of landlocked “maritime effect”, but as soon as they freeze, bitter cold can build. Also the pattern is worrisome due to a persistent ridge up the west coast of North America. That may bring warmth to western Alaska (note less snow there) but it tends to drain cold air into the heartland of USA and eventually effects our east coast. During the worst winters it drags frigid air from Siberia across the Arctic Sea, so I’m watching for the waters north of Bering Strait to flash-freeze as well. During the winter of 1976-1977, back when Jimmy Carter was president, we got stuck in such a pattern from November all the way into February. So I’m keeping my finger’s crossed that the west-coast-ridge breaks down, for now that I’m an old geezer I’m more of a wimp. (However if you’re young and like snow it is something to hope for).

If you are an Alarmist, and are stoically hanging on to the “Arctic Death Spiral” theory, what you should likely do is shift to sea-ice “volume” graphs. The DMI graph currently shows surprisingly low “volume”.

The low “volume” is likely reflecting the low overall extent of the past summer and the fact the new ice is still thin, though it may be indicative of a surge of sea-ice exiting south through Fram Strait (which will be interesting to watch as it approaches Iceland in December.) Also it may have something to do with fewer arctic gales piling up fewer pressure-ridges of ice. Whatever the cause, it helps the cause of Alarmists, especially the young whippersnappers who are looking for a good reason to avoid getting a Real Job flipping burgers to pay off giant loans to a Federal Government that printed money to pay colleges that printed worthless degrees. Who would want to face that? I don’t blame some young people for preferring that the world end in twelve years.

As for the rest of us, who pay the taxes and elect the individuals who perpetuate such shenanigans, we expect the unexpected. Just about the only thing safe thing to forecast is that Alarmist forecasts will prove incorrect, for they involve so much that is not Truth. The best we can do is focus on Truth, and have faith that it can produce some wonderful surprises. The climate can change, and dry gulches can fill with living waters, and deserts can bloom.

Stay Tuned…….And stand by the Truth and the Truth will stand by you.

CHILLED DAWN SONNET

Chilled Dawn: Purple stripes; orange stripes; the mood
Of autumn storm tainting far ocean sky.
The order confused; polite routine meeting rude
Changes: Wet leaves stuck like stamps; from on-high
Torn down-low; from upmost twigs to being slapped
On cold tar pavements; with each dawn later,
Later, too swiftly later. The route south is mapped
Through a wind as shifty as an alligator
Smile, and the geese are a gaggle confused,
And the monarch butterfly fights a head wind,
Flitting south but blown back north. The abused
North is outraged over how summer sinned,
For summer said, “Prosper.” It led us all on
Until we saw why, in the chill of the dawn.

THOUGHTS AFTER MANCHESTER TRUMP RALLY

I have many other things I’d rather write about, and in some ways would rather be in my garden weeding than be writing at all, but politics has a way of shoving its snout in your face, when you live in New Hampshire. I blame this political intrusiveness on the fact we are the first state in the United States to hold its presidential primary. If it weren’t for that event, no one would bother with us, for we are barely over a million people. Neighborhoods in New York City hold more people than our entire state does, and we only have two representatives to congress. There is not much reason to notice us, (and I don’t think it is always an entirely bad thing to go unnoticed).

Not that I haven’t craved fame in my life. Writers do hanker to have their efforts appreciated. However when I look at famous people I sometimes thank my lucky stars I never had to suffer what they are afflicted by. Some famous people are wonderful, but the majority strike me as….well, I’ll just say I don’t admire them.

And when I think back to the “popular kids”, (back more than fifty years ago), who I attended high school with, there were quite a number who I also don’t recall fondly. They may have felt they were “popular” back then, but they were not “popular” in my private estimation, and some were downright mean.

I think it was at that time I developed the habit of steering away from the sort of situations where “popular” people go to be “seen”. Not that I didn’t go to some high school dances, but I was usually drawn by a particular woman, and I tended to have such a miserable time that I eventually stopped going.

At some point I wondered if I was just a coward. I pondered that perhaps I was bigoted towards popular people, who might actually be nice, so, to test myself, I went and sat down at the “popular people” table in the school cafeteria. (Yes, a very beautiful woman did sit at that table, which did play a part in my decision to test my courage.) The “popular” people seemed so astonished to see me sit down that they forgot to tell me to buzz off, and I sat at the “wrong” table an entire week, contributing very little to the conversation, and somewhat astounded by how inane the conversation was. I concluded popular people were very boring, and I went my own way, and did my own thing.

Right at this point (1969) “doing your own thing” became fashionable. As a senior in high school I quite accidentally found myself “popular”. All the things I did because I couldn’t bother be politically correct, such as wear shabby jeans and have unkempt hair, suddenly became politically correct. I’d left school the prior June as an unpopular slouch, and when vacation ended and I returned in September I was abruptly “cool”. I was “hip”. I was the dude others wished they had the nerve to emulate. (That was the summer of Woodstock, and of men first landing on the moon, and of Kennedy driving off the bridge.)

I will not deny that being flattered for being “hip” swayed me to some degree. But all too soon fashion moved on to “Disco”, and abruptly wearing shabby jeans and having unkempt hair became emblematic of being a “has-been”. Flattery’s rosy glow faded to the gray of disillusionment, and I became aware that “doing your own thing” is often done because it is the right thing to do, and not always because it is rewarding.

I should hasten to add that being righteous is rewarding, but not in a way the world pays much attention to. The salt-of-the-earth gain no great wealth nor acclaim for being the backbone of the planet. They are why we are fed and clothed and sheltered. They are why things work, and the fact things work is their only reward. They may never be rich and famous, but they raise children and pay their bills and are the reason life goes on. They just “do their thing.”

When I look back through time it seems to me that times-of-trouble arise in human history when societies forget to value the salt-of-the-earth commoners, and become too enamored and infatuated by wealth, power and fame. It doesn’t matter if one is royalty spurning the commoner, or a Brahman spurning the Untouchable, or Hitler spurning the Jews, or Stalin spurning the Kulak. All hell breaks loose when people snub the very people they depend upon. Rather than loving your neighbor it is like sawing the branch you are seated upon.

The American Constitution was devised by men who thought long and hard about why this problem occurs, and how best to avoid the inevitable repercussions. It is a marvelous document, unique in human history, and most people who state it needs to “evolve” and who seek to “improve” it have not thought nearly as long and hard about human nature as the Founding Fathers did. This is especially true among those who refer to America’s salt-of-the-earth people as “Deplorables” and “Climate Change Deniers” and “Bitter Clingers”, and refer to the American Heartland as “Fly-over Country.” Unfortunately many such people were educated to dismiss the Founding Fathers as “rich, white slave-owners”, and to never themselves think long and hard about the mortal desire for wealth, power and fame, and how such desire can corrupt human endeavors in the manner the “Ring of Power” demented its wearer, in Tolkien’s “Lord Of The Rings”.

It seems to me that one thing that sets the American Constitution apart from other forms of government is a premise, (to some degree unstated), that power corrupts and is a vigorous root of evil. Therefore a framework was devised to keep any one person or group from gaining too much power. The three branches apportion power in a way that keeps power dispersed, and the Electoral College does the same thing. Therefore our constitution is very frustrating to those who want all power in their own hands, wrongly thinking that if there is no opposition there will be unity.

Such a one-sided “unity” is a farce. It is the “unity” of a dictator, a Hitler or Stalin or King George, who has little respect for the salt-of-the-earth commoner. It cannot conceive a commoner may do good by “doing his own thing”, and often seeks to outlaw commoner’s small pleasures, assuming “unity” knows better, (“unity” being the personal preference of a tyrant).

The tyrant sneers at the fact commoners may like to scoot across lakes on noisy jet-skis, claiming it disturbs the peace, and therefore bans jet-skis, but then inevitably goes out on the same lake on a diesel-belching, three-story cabin-cruiser. The tyrant scoffs at the commoner’s hot-rod, and demands they use electric golf-carts, while riding in a sleek limousine. The tyrant snubs roasted ribs at a commoner’s barbecue, and passes laws demanding vegetarian diets, yet holds feasts with apples in the mouths of pigs. The tyrant demands commoners use no hydrocarbon fuels, while scouring the skies in their private jets. Their hypocrisy knows no bounds. They hunt for sport, but call commoners who hunt for food “poachers”. Tyrants demand commoners, who are relatively faithful and respectful to their wives, bend over backwards respecting women, but then are less than respectful themselves. Perhaps their greatest hypocrisy is to demand commoners be honest, while in private stating it is smart to lie.

My personal view is that one never is wise to lie. Lies always backfire in the end. (I even have a hard time with surprise-birthday-parties). Truth has a purity and sanctity so clear and undeniable that, even among Atheists who who can’t stand the use of the word “God”, I can have uplifting, calm conversations simply by replacing the word “God” with the word “Truth.” Yet some believe it is wise to lie.

It isn’t. Even when you are selling something, and seek to attract buyers by pointing out the good attributes of what you are selling, honesty is the best policy. The moment you introduce a lie into the transaction then what was beautiful gets ugly.

A beautiful transaction is when a person has something a second person needs or wants, and is then rewarded for giving the second person what they need or want. Both people benefit. However, when a snake-oil-salesman conducts a transaction guaranteeing a bald man a full head of hair, promising the buyer they will save money because they won’t have to buy a hat to avoid a sunburned scalp, the transaction becomes ugly when the bald man remains bald. Such sneaky salesmen tend to hurry from town more often than they honor their guarantee, and give the money back.

The ugliness gets profound when some deem others “suckers” and “chumps” and “sheeple”, and think a good way to get rich is to gain another’s confidence with a lie, and then never deliver what they promised. If such people succeed with their con-artistry, they think that the money they then ruffle is proof that what they have done is wise, and they build upon a quicksand foundation which assumes success comes from harming others. However what they do does not go unnoticed, by the salt-of-the-earth commoner, or by God.

The average American has long been bombarded by commercials. One once could escape by turning off the TV and radio, and driving on a back road that had no billboards, but now one has advertising logos even on their dashboard and lapels and shoes; their wife’s pocketbook is a portable billboard; and even their little children’s toys are often a sales pitch. Madison Avenue spends billions to find better ways to convince people to want what they don’t need, and of course politicians noticed this phenomenon, and hired Madison Avenue to get people to buy into their election promises. However the average American is not as stupid as some sellers think. Just as mosquitoes developed a tolerance to DDT, and required larger and larger concentrations of spray, until in some places spraying no longer was feasible, lying to the American public required larger and larger audacity, until it finally fooled so few that Donald Trump was elected.

I think Trump won because he simply spoke the Truth. It sounded harsh and impolite to many, but to the salt-of-the-earth commoner it was a breath of fresh air. They had grown weary of being lied-to by bald-faced hypocrites, who basically said, “Trust us,” and then broke the trust again and again and again. And the bald-faced hypocrites? They were terrified, for they could not simply flee to the next town like a snake-oil salesman. Their power, which had seemed made of rock, abruptly seemed made of sand, and the commoners, whom they had mocked as chumps and sheeple, were rising like a tide.

This was actually exactly what the Founding Fathers intended to have happen, as they thought long and hard about how to devise a government. They knew very well that some become so enamored of money, power and fame that they will hurt others to gain such inanimate things, and then will hurt others to keep them. They knew this because they themselves had money, power and fame, and were well aware of the hazards such possessions bring. For example, even though Jefferson owned slaves he was able to criticize slavery, stating, “We hold the wolf by its ear.”

Like bosses everywhere the founding fathers had to deal with sloth and theft among those who worked for them, and were forced to dole out punishment to employees who broke the trust, yet at the same time they were mere “employees” of King George, facing punishments the king felt forced to dole out to them. Perhaps it was because they could see things from both sides, and then gathered together to think together long and hard, that they came up with a Constitution which comprehends that sloth can occur both in employees and in bosses, as can theft. Therefore they attempted to devise a system wherein all people, both rich and poor, could call-out others when they detected sloth and theft. Which is exactly what Donald Trump did, regarding the so-called “elite” in the so-called “Swamp” of Washington D.C.

The response of the so-called “elite” has been telling. Rather than accepting the results of the election, they doubled down on their dishonesty, wasting over two years attempting to inflate a false narrative that the Russians had somehow “stolen” the election, with Donald Trump complicit. They did not want to heed the results of the election, because the electoral college majority was telling them that the public was sick of the elite’s dishonesty, and tired of seeing the elite with their hands plunged up to their elbows in the cookie-jar of taxes. The so-called “elite” were then faced with a choice between democracy, and destroying democracy to cling to power, and many seem to have chosen destruction.

The salt-of-the-earth American commoner can’t help but think, like Queen Gertrude in “Hamlet”, that the elite “doth protest too much, methinks.” The public has undergone weary decades of seeing lies exposed, and seeing the exposure bringing no penalty to the elite. President Clinton was nicknamed “Slick Willy” because no wrong-doing stuck to him; he could lie, “I did not have sex with that woman”, and then, when “that woman” stated the truth, he just laughed it off. Consequently the public became so accustomed to lies they were no longer all that shocked by lies, or by corruption going unpunished, and indeed were so jaded that they rather expect to be lied to. The elite kept up a pretense of morality, thinking the common man consisted of fools to be fooled, but Abraham Lincoln stated “You cannot fool all of the people all of the time,” and it turns out he was right.

Just as an experienced fisherman can scan the smooth surface of a still lake, and spot ripples that tell him where the big fish move beneath the surface, an experienced person can look at the smooth talk of a skilled politician and spot the lies beneath the slick guff. In some sad cases the politician is fooling only themselves. Wise people recognize when a smile is not genuine, and where it may even hide the malice of a murderer. While people avoid leaping to conclusions, and don’t want to be guilty of developing an entire conspiracy-theory from a single, suspicious detail, people do notice when such coincidences pile up. “The List” (of deaths associated with the Clintons) has been kept since the 1990’s:

When Jeffrey Epstein was recently accused of allegedly running a sort of upper class whorehouse staffed by underage girls, cynics in my little town wondered aloud how long it would be before, (because Epstein “knew too much” about Bill Clinton and other “elites”), he would commit suicide under somewhat mysterious circumstances, and be added to “The List.” Then, when Epstein did commit suicide, a new cynical joke could be heard making the rounds among the local folk. It was to facetiously say, with very round eyes, “I know nothing about the Clintons. Nothing! Nothing! Nothing!”

Though spoken in jest, the humor does describe how repellent the elite have become in the eyes of the common man. Call the reaction “fear” if you will, but a common man with teenage daughters or granddaughters cannot think highly of men who attended Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged whorehouses. What is so elite about such depravity? And the fact such privileged people could look down their long, depraved noses and sneeringly label common men “deplorables” calls the very sanity of the elite into question. Do they never examine their own behavior? Or do they see a mirror as a thing only used to make sure their make-up is applied correctly, to hide the ashen hue of their spirits with the falsified rouge of health? (After all, the original “bigwigs” wore their big, faux-healthy wigs to hide their patchy baldness, caused by syphilis.)

I personally am so repelled by the rich and powerful and famous I want little to do with wealth and power and fame. I far prefer the small garden of a small man in a small town. The small pleasures of raising five children cannot be measured in money. Upon the edge of poverty one has a chance to be wholesome, and in that wholesomeness one owns riches surpassing that of billionaires wading in the reek of “The Swamp”.

Furthermore, I’m getting old. Though I likely will work until I drop, I am of “retirement age.” I can’t do what I once did, and must adjust my ambition downwards to some degree. While I don’t abandon the helm entirely like King Lear did, I do hand some batons of life’s relay-race to the young, who have ambitions that see a future I won’t live to see. Not that I don’t plant orchards, but I know I won’t live to see the apples. Rather than overrule the young, I respect their new ideas, for they are the ones who must reap crops I will never witness. Not that I don’t give them more advice than they sometimes ask for, but I have a different attitude toward power than The Swamp’s: I can give power up.

This retiring attitude is something I’m good at, for in a sense I’ve been retiring ever since I stopped going to dances as a teenager. It is part of being a writer, and is also called “withdrawal”. However it also makes Donald Trump a man beyond my comprehension, because he doesn’t retire and he doesn’t withdraw. To be quite honest, he puts me to shame. How does he take on The Swamp with the tenacity and courage he displays? It can only be because God formed him very differently than God formed me, and he is able to derive pleasure and zest from what would be, for me, a living hell.

There are times he makes me feel like a complete sissy. I feel like an anxious mother watching her child climb a tree or tall cliff. I can’t bear to watch, and turn away, not because I don’t admire what Trump is attempting, but because I don’t want to see him fall and be crushed.

I fully expected he would be assassinated by now, and am amazed by his survival and by what he achieves. One of his greatest achievements has been to so alarm the people addicted to wealth, power and fame that they have stopped pretending to be nice. They have thrown off their sheep’s-clothing and revealed themselves as wolves. Of course, some of us knew they were wolves all along, but if we said so we would risk being accused of “having a conspiracy theory”. How could we call a sweet, adorable lamb like Slick Willy a wolf? He had such a nice smile, as did other wolves. But now they are showing their fangs. Formerly they pretended to be part of a two-party-system and to be like Harry-Truman-democrats, but now their dictatorial, one-party-system tendencies towards tyranny are undisguised. Groups like Antifa resemble Hitler’s Brown Shirts, and clearly stand against the two-party-system our Founding Fathers established as a great and noble experiment.

I find their attack upon America deeply troubling. I lose sleep, and find politics bad for my health. Because it will do no one any good if I get sick, I prefer to retire to my garden. I have run my race, and it is up to the young to carry on.

But as I squat and weed, listening to birds sing, and watching thunderheads bloom in the summer sky, a little voice whispers in my conscience. “Have you been intimidated? Are you a coward? Have the bullies of Antifa silenced you?” If you pass by my garden you may hear me muttering to myself, from time to time, as I wrestle with this voice.

I certainly haven’t been silent on the web, concerning arctic-sea-ice and Global Warming. My posts on this site have been viewed by over a hundred thousand people, and my other posts and comments (on sites less obscure than this one) have been seen by millions. I have been part of a process that has exposed the falseness of a false narrative, to such a degree that thinking-people (including some cynical Alarmists) are well aware Global Warming has no scientific basis that justifies it being called a serious threat, and only exists as a political tool used to seize money and power.

Ten years ago there were wonderful and lively discussions involving the actual climate-science involved, but now such discussions have devolved to name-calling. I even heard a wonderful description of arguing-with-an-Alarmist: It was described as being like playing chess with a pigeon. No matter how brilliant your moves are, the pigeon just knocks your pieces over, poops on the board, and then struts around like it won.

To a certain degree one just gets weary of arguing with pigeons. It producing nothing, whereas weeding my garden produces delicious vegetables.

But then I pause, and think my arguments did produce something. It produced a degree of censorship from Google. If you type in “Arctic Sea Ice” on Google, you can scroll down through page after page of search-results, and not see any mention my past posts, though some of my posts have thousands of views. Formerly my posts appeared in the first few pages of search-results for “Arctic Sea Ice”. So my posts did have an effect. They forced some at Google to take off their sheep’s clothing. They think they have “silenced” one party in a two-party-system, (me), but what they have done is to “show their hand”. They cannot claim to believe in the First Amendment and Freedom of the Press when they, in essence, burn books. If they wanted silence they have gone about it the wrong way, for they have been too loud.

Having bragged (to a degree) about having had this effect, I cannot claim to owning much desire to become more deeply involved. Such one-party-system-people have a sort of reek about them, and I do not usually feel comfortable when in the proximity of a skunk, even when it wears a lovely fur coat. I would like to just be done with such nonsense. Let the young carry on with the battle. I have played my part. I’ll just become one of those silent people who do not appear in polls, (because I hang up when a pollster calls me on the phone), but I’ll still vote when the day comes.

But then that whisper occurs again in my conscience: “Have you been intimidated? Are you backing off because you are afraid? What if Donald Trump did that?”

When I heard a Trump Rally was going to be held only 45 minutes from my front door I had no desire to attend. While I like live concerts, I am uncomfortable once crowds get much larger than a hundred. I admire great athletes, but would rather watch them on TV than attend a Superbowl. There is something about a crowd that makes me uncomfortable, perhaps because I’ve seen crowds turn ugly, and also because I have seen involuntary goosebumps of thrill rise on my own arms, and know I am not unmoved by the group-think of a mob. I prefer to stand back and watch from a distance and mull things over. I am a retiring sort, and even these words I now type are words I will mull-over and rewrite many times, before I set them free. Spontaneity is not my middle name.

However when I heard a local branch of Antifa was calling for people to come and disrupt the Manchester Rally, seeking to intimidate people from showing Trump any support, a bit of spontaneity ruffled my feathers. I may be retiring, but I’m not dead yet, and I can’t stand the way Antifa calls Trump a bully for bluntly speaking truth, and then turns right around and behaves in a bullying manner, speaking balderdash propaganda. To argue with Antifa is another case of playing chess with a pigeon. Rather than speaking opposition to their concept of a one-party-system, sometimes it is better to simply show opposition by attending a rally.

However when the day came I was very busy with work at my Farm-childcare, and it seemed unlikely I could get in to the rally. The 12,000 who gained entrance to the arena arrived before 4:00, and I wasn’t off work until 5:30, and it would take me another hour to drive in through rush-hour traffic, and on the radio I heard parking was just about non-existent and that the traffic was especially terrible near the rally. To top it off I was dead tired. I decided to spend my time praying the rally wasn’t bombed, and went to bed before the rally even ended.

The next morning I didn’t bother listening to the news, for I knew networks would report a highly negative view of whatever had occurred. Instead I searched through the web until I found a film of the actual rally. I find it interesting to form my own impressions, and only later to listen to the impressions the media gathered, which they then brazenly state are opinions “everyone” should share.

Quite often I see the media’s impressions are in lock-step, as I switch from network to network, right down to the talking-heads parroting the same exact words, yet their impressions are so different from mine that you would find it hard to believe they were of the same event. The Press takes things so far out of context it becomes downright humorous listening to the “experts”, who make such an ado-over-nothing they resemble people throwing a tizzy over the warped view they see in a circus’s fun-house mirror, as if unaware their views are warped.

At his rallies Trump often states something, and then gestures towards the Press, poking fun at what they will make of his statement, and how his statement will be warped when it appears in the next day’s papers. Where the Press once had the ability to make or break a politician, Trump has emasculated them by pointing out a reality which all now call “Fake News”. He has turned the tables on them, for rather than the Press manipulating the politician, the politician is tweaking the Press, making them prance like puppets, and playing them like a violin.

I feel I have watched a deterioration of the media that has taken decades to manifest; a crumbling of the trust the public has in the news they are told. It began during the Vietnam War, and the irony is that back then it was the Press itself that stood up against the purveyors of propaganda. How times change. Now even events which were accepted as well-researched-truth sixty years ago are called into question by the unrelenting scrutiny of countless, private, investigator-bloggers on the web, and, while there are a lot of paranoid rants and nonsense to be sifted through, some attempts to manipulate a gullible public are exposed by bloggers in ways that brook no doubt. (For example, some horrific pictures of bomb-blasted, weeping children crouching by gory and apparently deceased mothers in Syria were rendered far less heartrending when before-and-after pictures revealed the mother and child laughing as they put on bloody make-up usually used to make triage-training more realistic for EMTs, and then relaxing after the photo-shoot; IE: The entire bloody scene was a scam created to move public opinion.)

It doesn’t matter which “side” one is on, one gets tired of having their heart played as if it were an inanimate violin, and one wearies of what seems to be a general acceptance of lying. Especially exasperating is that, rather than the Press working to make amends for past failures, by working harder to sift through various views and versions of truth, and by honestly seeking to show all evidence, the Press has seemingly abandoned all attempts at objectivity in favor of a total devotion to a one-sided one-party-system. Bias appears to have become a sort of virtue-signaling; reporters appear eager to be purveyors of propaganda, (though their eagerness perhaps demonstrates a child-like and frantic attempt to please Big Daddy, enacted by frightened employees leery of being fired).

As I watched a replay of the Trump rally I did not see anything like what the media described and reported. The media saw racism, because the crowd was 94% white, but the simple fact of the matter is that the population of New Hampshire happens to be 94% white. What the media was seeing was simple demographics, but at times they snarl like wolves at people merely being what people have no control over being. Meanwhile Trump looked glad to see everyone. Right off the bat this made him a mile more likable and winning than the suspicious, hostile media.

Then Trump began to talk about what he has been attempting to achieve, which the media seldom mentions. Instead the media has reported what never happened. They have clogged newscasts with misinformation, focused on how Trump’s election was due to Russia and not his supporters, which is a theory now disproved. The crowd seemed far more interested in what Trump was actually attempting, and untroubled by the three years of false accusations, (both before and after Trump’s election).

Because the media has been such a abysmal failure, in terms of telling the truth, in a sense Trump was doing what the media should do but doesn’t do, as he described his agenda at the rally. As he listed what he was trying to achieve there were some topics I recognized but others I didn’t, and as he described his critics there were some I had heard about but many I hadn’t. However when I thought about “what I already knew”, it occurred to me very little came from the mainstream media. Instead, much I have learned has come through diligent searches of non-mainstream websites. Sad to say, but the mainstream media offers almost no actual information.

For example, concerning the subject of illegal immigration, the media’s focus has largely been upon ideas, and not facts; they discuss the idea that “borders” are racist, and upon the ideas of individuals who feel “open borders” are a good idea, and upon the idea that Trump’s promise to “Build the Wall” is bound to be an abject failure.

To some degree I can commiserate with such no-borders idealism, for it holds the beauty of John Lennon’s song, “Imagine.” However, as a man who has lived long and still works hard “past retirement age”, I can look back across decades of experience and am well aware people have limits; people have to draw-the-line. I’ve seen that, while in a Perfect World there would be no borders, we do not live in a Perfect World.

I may be an old grouch, but once I was young and brimming with idealism, and visited a hippy commune where “everything was shared”. After an evening of profound talk I went to bed, and when I woke the next morning I couldn’t find my pants, (which were new bluejeans). When I meekly brought up the fact I had no pants, it turned out someone else had “shared” them. When I suggested it would be difficult to avoid arrest if I headed out into the world without pants, I was “shared” some pants. They were the most ragged, frayed, filthy, and in-need-of-mending-and-patching pair of pants I have ever worn in my life. This experience awoke me to the fact idealism can get ugly. I said I did not agree “sharing” was a good thing, and wanted my own pants back, which did not go over too well among the idealists at that commune.

It is experiences such as this which turn “Songs Of Innocence” into “Songs Of Experience” (William Blake) and leads to slightly cynical statements such as “If you’re not Liberal when young you have no heart, and if you are not Conservative when older you have no brain.” (Winston Churchill and many others). Many old hippies know exactly what I am talking about, even as many youngsters haven’t a clue.

In the end we come back to the dilemma the Founding Fathers were striving to deal with, when they wrote the United States Constitution. This dilemma boils down to facing the fact we do not live in a Perfect World, and that vices such as sloth and theft occur in the rich and poor alike, the young and old alike, and the Liberal and Conservative alike. In the face of our mortal weaknesses, (whether you call them “foibles” or “sins”), it is obvious a one-party-system cannot succeed, for eventually it will pit the old against the young, the rich against the poor, or masculinity against femininity. Instead a two-party-system must evolve, where there may be some discord and conflict, but good things such as “harmony” and “marriage” are also possible. “Vive la difference”.

Lastly, for a two-party-system to work, there must be a division between the two parties of some sort. There must be “borders”. There must be male and female, rich and poor, Liberal and Conservative, and buyers and sellers. This may not be utopia, (for in the State of God-Realization absolute Unity exists), but we are not God-Realized, and in fact we had darn well better recognize we haven’t realized God yet, or else we are possessed of such arrogance we are doomed to disaster.

Some members of the media bewail what they call “polarization”. Despite a superficial praise of “diversity”, they don’t like the existence of differing views. I think this is what lies behind the dislike some express towards the Founding Fathers, for the Founding Fathers not only accepted the fact views do differ, but devised a system to handle the differences.

If the Press desires to function in a healthy manner it needs to describe both sides of an issue, which involves departing from the idea-world of idealism and descending into the nitty-gritty landscape of facts. But if a Press is captured by bias, it becomes so affronted by differing views that it cannot handle them, and flinches into a sort of reflex of bashing. They leap to conclusions. When covering the situation at our southern border they are quick to report the idea that illegal immigrants are held in “concentration camps” and “drink from toilets”, but are slow to fact-check such distortions. Because the Press offers a dearth of facts, it is up to the president to say there is news the mainstream newspapers are not mentioning, which is what Trump does at his rallies.

I hope you recognize the irony. Fifty years ago the president (Johnson) was the purveyor of propaganda, and people turned to the Press (Cronkite) for news about Vietnam. Now the tables are turned. Rather than the Press, people turn to Trump for news. More news is dispensed by Trump, during a rally, about the situation at the United States southern border, in fifteen minutes, than is heard in months on mainstream media. What’s more, Trump not only reports about his own views, but also about his opponent’s views, and he does so in a cocky, off-hand manner which infuriates many.

I think I see one reason he infuriates some people. In their eyes he over-simplifies, and is breaking their complex system of rules, which happen to be rules that in many ways stifle free speech.

This exposes a second irony. Fifty years ago the people speaking freely and in a refreshing manner tended to be celebrities such as “The Smothers Brothers”. (It is interesting to watch reruns of their old shows from the 1960’s, and to realize what seems so innocent (to us now) eventually caused such a fuss (back then) that they were taken off the air.) Now celebrities tend to avoid causing a fuss, and spend most of their time fussing. They are far too busy virtue-signalling and being politically-correct to dare be so refreshingly incorrect as to bring up the Truth.

There is something about Truth that is refreshing. What’s more, it is something salt-of-the-earth commoners recognize and respond to, whether the speaker is on “their side” or not. It is for this reason that a good debate between two opposing politicians can be a delight to listen to, providing the opponents treat each other with respect, in a sense “loving their enemy”. But when that respect is absent then one sees the recognition of Truth bring about a quite different and somewhat rabid response, where the humorous jibes are absent and instead hatred of Truth manifests.

I saw a bit of such hatred, in a small way, after I watched the video of the Manchester Trump rally. I liked what I had watched, and was musing to myself about the strange similarity between Trump’s performance and an old Smother’s Brothers show: Despite the great differences in political views, there was an impishness and good humor I associate with Truth. Then I checked the clock.

I had found time to watch the long rally because insomnia had awoken me at three AM, and I saw that I still had a bit of time before heading off to my Farm-childcare, so I thought I’d scroll down and check-out the comments-section, which was below the video. I was curious how people had responded.

I was taken aback by the negativity of most of the comments, which were full of foul language and generally bashed supporters of Trump as being racist pigs. It took me a little while before I noticed seven straight comments by the same person, and then scanned backwards and saw that same person was responsible for many earlier negative comments. Further scrutiny showed other individuals were doing the same thing, and that most of the comments were written by roughly ten people, repetitively cranking out the same disproved talking-points, such as Trump being put in office by Russia, illegal aliens being forced to drink from toilets, the electoral college being a dumb idea invented by rich, white slave-owners, and so on. When anyone replied to such comments all ten Trump-haters piled on them, stating disparaging things about their sanity and their mothers, using fairly ugly language.

To me this suggested the ten people were “doing their job”, and I wondered if they might even be paid to do it, perhaps with the money George Soros is so generous with. They didn’t seem to have another job they had to get to, judging from the time-stamps beside their comments. They’d been at their job for hours.

With a second glance at the clock I decided I had just enough time to reply to one comment before work, and I chose a particularly snide comment about how only fools accepted Trump as a leader, because he wasn’t a legitimate leader as he had not received a majority of the popular vote. I pointed out Abraham Lincoln had only received 39% of the popular vote, and headed off to work.

A couple hours later a member of my staff contacted me in great alarm about negative comments appearing on our Childcare’s Facebook page. When I checked, it struck me as humorous. The site contains pictures of small children at play, with innocuous comments such as “Susie looks so sweet” and “Johnie is so cute”, but abruptly the comments switched to “You’re talking through your pie-hole,” and “Parents must be insane to let their children near a fascist pig like you.” However I doubted my wife would see the humor, and sought to find out how the leftists had tracked me down.

It turned out the original video of the Trump Rally had appeared on a Facebook page, and therefore when I replied, in the comments section beneath the video, my Facebook site had automatically appeared by my comment. Yikes! What a mess!

To extract myself from the mess I went back to the original video and deleted my comment, which “disappeared” me from the discussion under the video, and also “disappeared” the nasty replies to my comment from my business’s Facebook page.

However I don’t take kindly to being silenced in such a manner. Such a silence might make Antifa happy, and might make George Soros feel he invested his money wisely and perhaps even clap his hands in glee, but such silencing is unhealthy to those who seek to nourish Freedom of Speech, and understand the refreshing, healing quality Truth has, when spoken aloud.

Therefore I have refused to be silent, and have gotten up early all week to write this essay. Please share it if you like it. I have the sense the coming election will be particularly nasty, and it is particularly important to have all views, even mine, heard.

WEEDER WARS –Part 1–

It doesn’t matter if you don’t call yourself a “farmer”, for even if you merely raise a lone tomato or cucumber on a patio or porch, there will come a day your idyll is interrupted by aphids, or a ravenous tomato-hornworm-caterpillar, and on that day you will understand farming isn’t peace. It is war.

To a certain degree this is life as usual. It doesn’t matter if you are starting a garden or engineering a bridge, “Murphy’s Law” will state “Whatever can go wrong will go wrong”, and you will have to deal with unexpected foul-ups and unintended consequences. In moderation, this is fun, much like the stress of solving a crossword puzzle. Many assume gardening will involve moderation and be fun: There will be weeds but they will be weeded in a leisurely way, with dignity. Nope. Sooner or later it is war; total war.

One aspect of warfare is that not every attack results in victory. More ordinary is for an attack to result in resistance.

In terms of gardening, what this means is that when you pull some weeds, it is seldom a rout, with weeds fleeing in panic. In fact weeds often counter-attack. They think they have every bit as much a right to fertile soil as your tomato. Just who do you think you are, depriving ragweed?

In like manner, just because you put up chicken-wire, it is seldom a discouragement to predators. Just who do you think you are, depriving a mother fox food for her kits? In fact farmers have a wry saying, “If you want to know if there is wildlife in your neighborhood, get some chickens.”

In fact a farm is a lot like a fifteen round fight; you can’t expect to win every round. The problem is that some novices find it appalling, when they are knocked back on their heels and it is fairly obvious they are losing a round. It doesn’t fit their idyllic preconceptions of how gardening should be. A single sweltering day, or single swarm of midges, is enough, for some, and turns their confident advance into a panicky retreat. It is for this reason many gardens that look lovely in April become a thick and luscious bed of weeds by July. The gardener has lost the war.

Back when half of all Americans farmed, people were more reluctant to throw in the towel in the first or second round of the fight, because the consequences of losing were grave. There were no food-stamps, and poor people were not fat. Even if the bank took your farm you didn’t escape farming, for you had to go live on the “poor farm”. Often what you grew was all you had to eat, and people would struggle on despite much adversity, for a few small potatoes was better than none. As hard as such farming was, people were seemingly grounded in basic realities which the modern Socialist has forgotten. Where the Socialist promises to tax the rich and give the poor lots of free stuff, the old-time farmers knew nothing was free. The old-timers knew you “reap what you sow”, and that even such reaping didn’t happen unless you spent month after month fighting round after round.

My early life knew some amazing adventures which some would call “hardship”, and somewhere along the line I stopped taking anything for granted. Certain people I counted upon failed to keep the trust, so I became unwilling to rely on anyone but my foolish self, and God. For the most part my foolish self-reliance generated fiascoes, yet I always seemed to emerge from the rubble older and wiser, and for that God gets the glory.

To some degree my old age and (so-called) wisdom has involved a retreat into a sort of fall-back position. I am more inclined to adopt the attitudes of my great-grandparents than anything modern. In this manner I am like many New-Age idealists (and like Hippies of 1969, dreaming of idyllic communes), but the difference is that I don’t expect an idyll. I expect a fifteen-round brawl.

In dealing with this battle farmers have come up with various sprays: Pesticides and herbicides and fungicides, but what is really needed is a “socialisticide”. Socialists can be pests, when you put the rights of your chickens ahead of foxes, for they complain you are neglecting foxes, (when they aren’t clamoring for greater rights for your chickens.) How is it a people who have never farmed can assume they have authority over people who do? I’d like to spray them all down with “socialisticide”, when I’m in a grumpy mood.

I am saved from this grumpiness by my wife. Somewhat to my own astonishment I recently recognized my beloved is a socialist. But it is for all the right, non-materialistic reasons, based upon the “Book of Acts” in the Bible. Where politicians get insanely rich “helping” the poor, my wife’s brand of socialism sees our marriage’s skinny wallet gets skinnier. To some degree some of her charity is selfish, for “charity begins at home”, and she is big on “family values”. I am often asked to ignore an important farm-job, such as weeding, to attend an event that “supports the family”, such as a grandchild’s birthday.

I am reluctant to procrastinate, when it comes to weeding, for a weed which you can pinch from the soil with ease on Monday swiftly develops a root system by Friday that requires eye-popping effort to remove. My wife fails to understand this, for she rarely weeds. She also fails to understand my panic, when weeds are growing and ignored, and accuses me of caring more for weeds than grandchildren. (Such shots-to-the-heart are typical of Socialists.)

Like most good husbands I chose my battles, and the rest of the time I meekly say, “Yes Dear.” However I felt my tolerance getting stretched to the limit when I was asked to ignore farm matters for “good business practices.” My wife was staging a Socialist event called “A Preschool Graduation” at our Farm-childcare.

Absurd. Of what use is a diploma to a five-year-oId? And how can it compete with weeding the broccoli? Weeding produces a crop, whereas a five-year-old’s diploma produces nothing. (Sadly often a twenty-five-year-old’s diploma produces the same nothing.) However my wife stated diplomas produced “satisfied customers”, and that customers, and not my broccoli, was what truly fed us. I muttered we were teaching five-year-olds to value the wrong things, (in an inaudible manner), and said, “Yes dear” more loudly. My wife didn’t much like my tone.

I was then expected to “spruce up the place”, which involved making the productive farm look like an unproductive suburb. Rather than the important work of weeding , I had to “groom” the farm. I did a fine job, mowing and “weed-whacking ” edges and planting non-edible flowers and clearing trails of fallen trees and putting up balloons and banners, but the entire time my broccoli was screaming, “Help us! Save us!”

Finally the Socialism was done with, the children performed songs and parents were enthralled and diplomas were handed out and people ate a fine meal and the satisfied customers trailed off into the sunset, and I could at long last get down to the real work of catching up with my weeding. Immediately it rained.

Now it just so happens I can’t weed in the rain, because it spreads bacteria and fungus and diseases (especially with beans). Also I had to undergo oral surgery and have the roots of five teeth extracted from my upper jaw, and there were complications, and I was reduced to a diet of soft boiled eggs and gruel, which likely weakened my resistance to a summer cold passing through the Childcare. As my fever spiked at 101 degrees I was glad it was raining, for it gave me a good excuse to set a record for the number of naps a old man can take in a single day. But then my fever dropped and the forecast promised a single sunny day in a very rainy spring. I prepared to leap from bed and attack those weeds.

It turned out a side effect of this particular summer cold is that ones lungs are made hyper-sensitive to pollen, for a while. A number of local folk I spoke with complained about how they could not shake the congestion and hacking cough. I concur, but think they were too stoic and modest in describing how crippling the pulmonary inflammation was. I’ve never had asthma, but felt like I was having attacks. My nose streamed mucus in a way highly annoying to my wife, as she feels a dripping mustache does not lead to “satisfied customers.” My coughing fits can only be described as fits of hysteria; the coughs were so rapid they sounded like a machine gun, and one time, driving twenty miles an hour on a country lane, I nearly went off the road.

But I was not going to let some dumb cough slow me down. I muttered the old motto, “When the going gets tough the tough get going”, and figured some energetic exercise would clear my lungs. After I “hucked a looey” or two of phlegm, I’d be fine. The bell rang, and I headed out to fight the next round.

It was a bit like I walked into an uppercut to my jaw, though in fact it was a wall of pollen. Rather than clearing my lungs, exercise gagged me. My coughing was unproductive, and also embarrassing, for it was a senile “ih-ih-ih-ih-ih-ih”, yet so prolonged I couldn’t inhale. When a fit dropped me to one knee, I imagined a referee began counting, “One…two…three…four…”, and also a sardonic voice in the back of my mind stated, “Well, you are always telling people you want to die with your boots on.”

Fortunately I was saved by the bell and retreated to my corner, which was a shady place out of the sun. And when you are in the shade you can see things you can’t see out in the sun. I could see the air was filled with dust, fine yellow dust, streaming in the wind. Looking down at puddles from recent rains I noted each puddle was rimmed with yellow. Even as they shrank in the sunshine their little coasts were made golden by pollen. The scientist in me concluded that plants that have no use for bees, and pollinate using wind, have evolved some sort of self-restraint. They know better than to release pollen in the rain, when it will be beat down, and withhold the release until the sun shines. And, when it has rained a solid week, this means an amazing amount of pollen gets released when the sun finally shines. The coach in my corner concluded we would be wise to avoid breathing, so I fought the next round sitting on my rider mower, catching up on cutting-the-grass.

Of course, as I sat on my duff on the puttering mower, I could look over at the garden and hear the broccoli weeping, “Help us! Save us!”, and I eventually heard the coach in my corner propose weeding in a pinkie-raised way that required no hacking hoe and heavy breathing. And we did a little of that, as the sun dimmed in streamers of cirrus overhead, and the west darkened with the rising purple of approaching thunder. But what really stuck in my head was the moment I sat in the shade, and looked out to sunshine, and suddenly understood how thick the pollen truly was. I said to myself, “There’s a sonnet in this”.

Midst my misery; my sneezing summer
Cold; my snuffling self-pity; weaker
Than a kitten; glum and getting glummer,
My heart required humor be it’s speaker:
“If we’ve got to die, let’s have our killer
Be pine pollen, streaking yellow in the wind.
These swaying trees aren’t like the miller
Grinding flour steadily, but have grinned,
Held back ammo all a rainy week, and then
Let pollen go like a cavalcade of gold
Dust in the wind. Why gripe you’re choked, when
Sun-stirred breezes make twigs prance uncontrolled?
The green-gold pine pollen’s such a wonder,
Golden against rising purple thunder.”