ever look like they have compound fractures...
TOLD YOU I'D BE BACK. So it's been hot, and this household was
without power for nearly five days and nights. It wasn't the heat
that did us in; it was the derecho, a recurring
phenomenon that usually strikes in the midwest more than the
midatlantic. Thunderstorms that act like hurricanes of
thunderstorms. We took pictures you probably don't want to see, so
they're not here. I've asked Lake to explain what all this doesn't
have to do with Global Warming, and he has promised to find some
time in his fully committed schedule to do so. I thank him for that,
as well as for filling in like lightning (pun intended) with a post
I couldn't key myself but only describe on my iPhone on the porch.
Kudos to Brizoni for posting it promptly and flawlessly.
Another big thank you to the tireless soldiers of the Atlantic City
Electric Company. Somewhere between 200,000 and 300,000 South Jersey
residents were shut down by the derecho storms. From the first, the
trucks kept going by on their way to trying to fix the catastrophe.
Unlike their Con-Ed counterparts in New York, they didn't seize the
occasion to threaten a strike. They did everything possible to
rescue us from the isolation, darkness, dread, and dry plumbing that
accompanied the 98 degree, un-air-conditioned heat. I was never mad
at them once. I saw their trucks everywhere in our shut-down town,
and I knew it would take longer to hunt down the demons and gremlins
that complicated the rural blackouts.
My only victory was convincing my wife to decamp to safer ground. I
grew up with heat as bad as this, on exactly this same terrain. She
hasn't the constitution for it. Heat punishes her more than it does
me, and I feared for her life. I stayed because we presently have no
means of conveying all the dogs in one vehicle at one time. The
State of New Jersey has just made it illegal at a thousand bucks a
pop to transport dogs without "dog safety belts," which in the case
of sighthounds can result in hanged dogs. For the same reason that
you can't give them leads attached to stakes in the ground. Their
explosive acceleration breaks their necks.
So it was me and the dogs and cats and the heat and the darkness. More than
that, the stillness. Opening windows doesn't help. There is no
breeze when the air is a heavy, oppressive blanket. I had my iPhone
and a car to charge it with, a battery-powered radio, and the
experience of being a marsh rat native. I laughed off the help
offered by my/our friends and my wife's family up north, who were
concerned about me. I chuckled when one of the wittier among them
observed the irony of being powerless less than three miles from a
nuclear power plant whose plume of steam we watch every day. I
thought I was prepared for the vigil.
But I wasn't really. When you're truly married, parsimonious,
battery-saving texting isn't enough. When the iPhone is no longer
hooked to wifi, it gets slow and suddenly there's only one bar,
which makes distance somehow a killer. Conversations with my wife
broke up. Texting was the only recourse. I drained my entire battery
trying to send one picture of my Bengal cat to a friend in Ohio who
was trying to kid me into a better mood. Worse, the home that is
your chief comfort becomes a gray memory of itself. All its life
functions have stopped. It does not tick, hum, illuminate, or warm.
Yes, I said warm. Stifling, airless heat is not warmth. It's a kind
of arrest. The animals sense it. They hunker down in hushed alarm.
They know something is wrong, most of all with you. Because they
realize, maybe more than you do, that the physical ability to
withstand such conditions is not entirely about experience. They
know, they see, they smell that your stamina is not what it needs to
be. They can feel your batteries fading too fast.
This isn't resentment or self-pity. It's context. Driving home the
fact that I'm getting old. This was nothing like the ordeals of
those who man the outposts in Afghanistan or Iraq. They're brave,
resolved, and heroic. I was just experiencing a solemn, and too
utterly still, confrontation with my own mortality. Despite all the
lies you tell yourself about what kind of man you still are, you
might not actually be up to this middling ordeal.
What did I do? I listened to SportsTalk radio in Philadelphia.
Continuously. All day long, all night long, even when I was
nominally sleeping. What can I tell you? Karl Marx was wrong.
Religion is not the opiate of the masses. Sports is. While the
Mainstream Media and the New Media were relentlessly chewing over
the SCOTUS decision on ObamaCare, SportsTalk was even more
relentless in chewing over the sorry plight of the Philadelphia
Phillies. At times I thought it was such madness that I mulled
turning off the radio, but the illusion of connectedness has become
our new cultural mania, and I am as afflicted with that as I have
always been with all the sins of my age. I did not want to endure
the silence of no voice
talking at me in the darkness.
So much of what goes on anymore is talking for the sake of talking,
listening for the sake of not feeling utterly alone. The truth
behind Facebook and Twitter and texting and the vulgar chatter of
sitcoms and romcons and reality TV and 24/7 cable news.
Lowpoints. I listened to the ultimate radio whore Michael Smerconish
waxing irate about Penn State, even though I know his whole mind
would fit in my vest pocket. He's a man of isolated obsessions --
the Mumia case, killing bin Laden (which caused him to endorse Obama
over McCain after a career as a Republican functionary and become,
since, a leftist apologist in an endlessly disgraceful process of
self-justification), and now Penn State. I read on my Kindle, while
it lasted, almost half a novel by one Michael Walsh, co-founder
apparently of of Breitbart's Big Journalism site, with the result
that I have experienced in the past week every conceivable (and I
must say repellent) sin
against good writing by someone who is supposedly on my side
politically. I discovered that the iPod, which I belatedly
discovered was fully charged, brought no comfort of any kind; when
there was decent FM radio, the real thrill was sharing the
experience of listening to music you liked with all those others in
the radio audience. It's hollow when it's only you and you know it.
Then the power came back on and I emerged from the prison of
semi-solitary confinement. My thoughts.
I love my wife.
I love George, Dave, Marge, Sue, Jay, Mike, Lake, and all the
others who cared about what might be going on down in this sorry
neck of the woods for the past six or seven days.
Ignore all the political crap being published in any venue this
week. It's a vacation/ordeal week (depending on whether you have
electric or not), the conservatives will eventually stop bickering
about Chief Justice Roberts, who is an asshole, and it's perfectly okay for
Romney to keep his powder dry for the time being.
All's well that ends well. The dogs and cats are over their fears,
and life resumes.
If we don't defeat Obama in the fall, life as we all used to think
we knew it is definitely, absolutely, completely over.
ALL the media suck. Even the part that's supposed to be on our
One more thing. Night always HAS pushed up day. It's possible I'll
have more thoughts later. Why I'm not as popular as I think I ought
Time to let the
professionals have their say, don't you think?
It's summer here in the US, and the only thing hotter than the
day outside is the air emanating from rabid environmentalists.
That's right, who do we have to blame for these soaring
temperatures? Ourselves, of course.
The whole Anthropogenic Global Warming cause has been on the
ropes over the past two years, so much so that they needed to
rename it Climate Change. Why? Because while the rate of
production of that evil trace gas, CO2 -- at about 0.04% of the
atmosphere's composition -- has continued to rise unabated (thank the Chinese), the so-called
global temperature has leveled off. On top of that, the second
round of Climategate emails showing the truly appalling scientific
practices of certain dendrochronologists and IPCC authors have
made the public rightly distrustful of these activist scientists.
But when a hot summer rolls around, the global warming meme
surges forth once again. Recently, the University of
Nebraska-Lincoln issued a press release about this being
the worst drought on record...in its 12 year data set. With a bit
of historical perspective from the NOAA itself, one can see just
how much worse it was in 1934, long before we supposedly wrought
such global destruction.
[Images: Come back to these. Editor's office still too hot for the html needed to show them AS images. Can't guarantee your safe return to the post from the links. But they ARE the goods.]
The most careful of the green bloggers and journalists are
treating this one a bit more subtly. Of the large volume of
articles I've skimmed, I've noticed many of them doing something
sneaky. They're saying things like, "This is what global warming looks
like." They're not coming right out and saying that this
heat IS global warming, just that this is what the catastrophic
effects of AGW would look like. Why be subtle? Because they can be
turned aside by a single phrase, one that we should all
incorporate into any debate about global warming:
Weather is not climate.
It's as easy as that. They've been screwed before by equating
bad weather to climate change when blizzard conditions follow
(strikethrough: Al Gore's) ManBearPig's climate summits and
various IPCC conferences. They know how bad the press can be when
the wholly unpredictable weather doesn't match their chosen
narrative. So now they're trying to use bad conditions (hot or
cold, stormy or fiery) to simulate their dire predictions about
the end of life as we know it.
The large scale variations in climate over decades and
millennia simply have nothing to do with the day to day highs and
lows. Weather is chaotic, truly unpredictable, and sensitive to
the smallest of initial conditions. Climate is stable,
oscillating, and affected by things like volcanic eruptions, the
precession of the poles, the activity cycle of the sun, and
(believe it or not) distant supernovae. In the long term, yes, the
climate is warming -- that's what planets do after an ice age.
Frankly, I've been happy to hear 'global warming' come up
recently when referencing the weather. Why? More and more
frequently, the person mentioning it is joking: "How about this
global warming, eh?" in the summer and "So much for global
warming" in the winter. Writing this on my back porch under
absolutely perfect summer conditions makes me take a deep breath
and smile. The crazy green movement is spinning its wheels, the
hard science is falsifying their predictions every season,and the
seasons keep marching on.
[ED NOTE: I thought Lake was too young to remember when summer was
hot and it made everything sexier. Video was his choice, not
ADDENDUM: The missus came home, full of reminders that
heat and volatile summer weather and sex are nothing new but in
fact eternal. Some examples:
Well, it goes on and on. And on. But the new Occupy the Millennium
dream is different, isn't it? Lots of copulating and no babies and
no passion -- er, no heat.
Let's all be as cool as the surgical instruments used to extract
the unfortunate by-products of what prior generations might have
called romance and you call "hooking up." Good luck to you with that.
Global Warming? I hardly think so. Global Freezer Burn is more
The earth you kids will inherit isn't worth inheriting. Whatever
Fahrenheit you choose to measure.
Tuesday, July 03, 2012
After the Archduke
This is Lake, posting by proxy for RL. He called me this afternoon and described Friday's storm as the worst he'd even seen, and now his power, water, everything are out until at least this Friday. Mrs. RL consented to staying with a relative, so RL is now sitting in the hot darkness, getting scowled at by sighthounds and thinking about the Supreme Court decision.
Thank God for the iPhone, which he can charge in his car. He's not completely cut off, so he was able to relay the outline of this post to me. It's an extended metaphor, an apt analogy for the current stakes in the coming battle for nothing less than the future of civilization.
The year was 1914, 98 years ago last week. Archduke Ferdinand's assassination causes European diplomacy to fall to hell, and the stage is set for The Great War (before we knew enough to number them, as the saying goes). Two countries, France and Germany, with two plans. France's Plan XVII set out to strike a dagger into Alsace and Lorraine, leaving Paris undefended. Germany, meanwhile, enacted the Schlieffen Plan (which Hitler later plagiarized with devastating results). They sliced through Belgium to approach Paris from the North and West. Within weeks, the French were repelled and back where they started. As the Germans hit the Belgian border to sweep into France, they were met by seven French armies and some British divisions. With Britain's later full support, Paris came to be defended and the battle lines were drawn from the North Sea to the Swiss border.
Thus, the Western Front, one of the most horrific battlegrounds in history. Generals with 19th century battle plans and a knowledge of the US Civil War were armed with 20th century weapons -- machine guns, tanks, mustard gas. 15 million lives were chewed up in the war that neither side wanted to continue. Of course, we now know it as the preliminary movements leading to World War II, Hitler, the Bomb, all of it.
As RL painted the picture for me, reminding me of this history as my high school teachers never could, he referenced Barbara Tuchman's The Guns of August, a detailed description of the events and a deep analysis of the "misconceptions, miscalculations, and mistakes" that wrought the atrocious war. The Wiki page is detailed and serves as an excellent primer.
So this is the analogy. The Supreme Court decision to uphold Obamacare touched off powder kegs on both sides, with each claiming some kind of victory. Obama popped his head up to acknowledge the "win," but he must see that he's in deep trouble over this when it comes to the election. Battle lines are being drawn, and this is one we *can't* afford to lose, much like the Allies in the trenches of the Western Front.
What InstaPunk has been saying right here for the last four years.