“Spring” … And 16 Degrees Tomorrow Night

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Jean Valjean’s got nothing on me.

Perhaps you’ve already read my tale of woe regarding the Winter That Will Not End?

Well, it’s not ending.

Another “winter storm” – pantheonic name not yet conferred (perhaps it will be Zeus this time? Or Snow Farts From The Ass of Zeus?) is on its way. Already, the weather has turned to shit. Again. Two brief days of moderate weather – meaning, warm enough outside to let the damn fire go out inside and rely on the mostly useless “heat” pump, which mostly pumps cold air and sucks electricity doing it. Gone, just like that. Rewind to early Feb. Or mid-January. Or December. I can’t recall a time before the cold anymore.

It is, simply too got-damned much to bear.

There is no point to owning a garage full of motorcycles and an old muscle car. They have not moved in nearly half a year. What good are they to me – as other than a form of torture? Kind of like showing a cripple your YouTube movies of  water-skiing. Or Hugh Heffner (current, late-stage Heff) the latest bunny spread.

What’s the point?

There are other reasons for my pain; the weather merely provides the coupe de grace.

I find myself mumbling to myself, like the becoming-aware “Final Five” cylons on Battlestar Galactica:

There must be some kind of way out of here… .  

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  1. Love

    Love, friendship, respect, admiration are the emotional response of one man to the virtues of another, the spiritual payment given in exchange for the personal, selfish pleasure which one man derives from the virtues of another man’s character. Only a brute or an altruist would claim that the appreciation of another person’s virtues is an act of selflessness, that as far as one’s own selfish interest and pleasure are concerned, it makes no difference whether one deals with a genius or a fool, whether one meets a hero or a thug, whether one marries an ideal woman or a slut.

    Romantic love, in the full sense of the term, is an emotion possible only to the man (or woman) of unbreached self-esteem: it is his response to his own highest values in the person of another—an integrated response of mind and body, of love and sexual desire. Such a man (or woman) is incapable of experiencing a sexual desire divorced from spiritual values.

    Man is an end in himself. Romantic love—the profound, exalted, lifelong passion that unites his mind and body in the sexual act—is the living testimony to that principle.

    There are two aspects of man’s existence which are the special province and expression of his sense of life: love and art.

    I am referring here to romantic love, in the serious meaning of that term—as distinguished from the superficial infatuations of those whose sense of life is devoid of any consistent values, i.e., of any lasting emotions other than fear.

    Love is a response to values. It is with a person’s sense of life that one falls in love—with that essential sum, that fundamental stand or way of facing existence, which is the essence of a personality. One falls in love with the embodiment of the values that formed a person’s character, which are reflected in his widest goals or smallest gestures, which create the style of his soul—the individual style of a unique, unrepeatable, irreplaceable consciousness.

    It is one’s own sense of life that acts as the selector, and responds to what it recognizes as one’s own basic values in the person of another. It is not a matter of professed convictions (though these are not irrelevant); it is a matter of much more profound, conscious and subconscious harmony.

    Many errors and tragic disillusionments are possible in this process of emotional recognition, since a sense of life, by itself, is not a reliable cognitive guide. And if there are degrees of evil, then one of the most evil consequences of mysticism—in terms of human suffering—is the belief that love is a matter of “the heart,” not the mind, that love is an emotion independent of reason, that love is blind and impervious to the power of philosophy.

    Love is the expression of philosophy—of a subconscious philosophical sum—and, perhaps, no other aspect of human existence needs the conscious power of philosophy quite so desperately. When that power is called upon to verify and support an emotional appraisal, when love is a conscious integration of reason and emotion, of mind and values, then—and only then—it is the greatest reward of man’s life.

    To love is to value. Only a rationally selfish man, a man of self-esteem, is capable of love—because he is the only man capable of holding firm, consistent, uncompromising, unbetrayed values. The man who does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone.

    [In The Fountainhead] the hero utters a line that has often been quoted by readers: “To say ‘I love you’ one must know first how to say the ‘I.’”

    [Selfless love] would have to mean that you derive no personal pleasure or happiness from the company and the existence of the person you love, and that you are motivated only by self-sacrificial pity for that person’s need of you. I don’t have to point out to you that no one would be flattered by, nor would accept, a concept of that kind. Love is not self-sacrifice, but the most profound assertion of your own needs and values. It is for your own happiness that you need the person you love, and that is the greatest compliment, the greatest tribute you can pay to that person.

    One gains a profoundly personal, selfish joy from the mere existence of the person one loves. It is one’s own personal, selfish happiness that one seeks, earns and derives from love.

    A “selfless,” “disinterested” love is a contradiction in terms: it means that one is indifferent to that which one values.

    Concern for the welfare of those one loves is a rational part of one’s selfish interests. If a man who is passionately in love with his wife spends a fortune to cure her of a dangerous illness, it would be absurd to claim that he does it as a “sacrifice” for her sake, not his own, and that it makes no difference to him, personally and selfishly, whether she lives or dies.

    The practical implementation of friendship, affection and love consists of incorporating the welfare (the rational welfare) of the person involved into one’s own hierarchy of values, then acting accordingly.

    To love is to value. The man who tells you that it is possible to value without values, to love those whom you appraise as worthless, is the man who tells you that it is possible to grow rich by consuming without producing and that paper money is as valuable as gold.

    When it comes to love, the highest of emotions, you permit them to shriek at you accusingly that you are a moral delinquent if you’re incapable of feeling causeless love. When a man feels fear without reason, you call him to the attention of a psychiatrist; you are not so careful to protect the meaning, the nature and the dignity of love.

    Love is the expression of one’s values, the greatest reward you can earn for the moral qualities you have achieved in your character and person, the emotional price paid by one man for the joy he receives from the virtues of another.

    Your morality demands that you divorce your love from values and hand it down to any vagrant, not as response to his worth, but as response to his need, not as reward, but as alms, not as a payment for virtues, but as a blank check on vices. Your morality tells you that the purpose of love is to set you free of the bonds of morality, that love is superior to moral judgment, that true love transcends, forgives and survives every manner of evil in its object, and the greater the love the greater the depravity it permits to the loved.

    To love a man for his virtues is paltry and human, it tells you; to love him for his flaws is divine. To love those who are worthy of it is self-interest; to love the unworthy is sacrifice.

    You owe your love to those who don’t deserve it, and the less they deserve it, the more love you owe them—the more loathsome the object, the nobler your love—the more unfastidious your love, the greater your virtue—and if you can bring your soul to the state of a dump heap that welcomes anything on equal terms, if you can cease to value moral values, you have achieved the state of moral perfection.

    Like any other value, love is not a static quantity to be divided, but an unlimited response to be earned. The love for one friend is not a threat to the love for another, and neither is the love for the various members of one’s family, assuming they have earned it.

    The most exclusive form—romantic love—is not an issue of competition. If two men are in love with the same woman, what she feels for either of them is not determined by what she feels for the other and is not taken away from him. If she chooses one of them, the “loser” could not have had what the “winner” has earned.

    It is only among the irrational, emotion-motivated persons, whose love is divorced from any standards of value, that chance rivalries, accidental conflicts and blind choices prevail. But then, whoever wins does not win much. Among the emotion-driven, neither love nor any other emotion has any meaning.

    Let us answer the question: “Can you measure love?”

    The concept “love” is formed by isolating two or more instances of the appropriate psychological process, then retaining its distinguishing characteristics (an emotion proceeding from the evaluation of an existent as a positive value and as a source of pleasure) and omitting the object and the measurements of the process’s intensity.

    The object may be a thing, an event, an activity, a condition or a person. The intensity varies according to one’s evaluation of the object, as, for instance, in such cases as one’s love for ice cream, or for parties, or for reading, or for freedom, or for the person one marries.

    The concept “love” subsumes a vast range of values and, consequently, of intensity: it extends from the lower levels (designated by the subcategory “liking”) to the higher level (designated by the subcategory “affection,” which is applicable only in regard to persons) to the highest level, which includes romantic love.

    If one wants to measure the intensity of a particular instance of love, one does so by reference to the hierarchy of values of the person experiencing it. A man may love a woman, yet may rate the neurotic satisfactions of sexual promiscuity higher than her value to him.

    Another man may love a woman, but may give her up, rating his fear of the disapproval of others (of his family, his friends or any random strangers) higher than her value. Still another man may risk his life to save the woman he loves, because all his other values would lose meaning without her. The emotions in these examples are not emotions of the same intensity or dimension. Do not let a James Taggart type of mystic tell you that love is immeasurable.

  2. The Big Lebowski – Lujon / Slow, Hot Wind

    His gaze. Swept over me now. Some days. It’s too warm to fight. A slow hot wind

    There in the shade. Like a cool drink waiting. She sat with slow fire in her eyes. Just waiting. Some days. It’s too warm to fight. A slow hot wind

    Sarah Vaughan – Slow, Hot Wind

    Sergio Mendes / Brasil ’66 – Slow Hot Wind

    Henry Mancini – Lujon / Slow Hot Wind


  3. I think the radio said it was 16 F this morning at 8am. That means it was even colder before the sun came up. Then again that was probably a lake front temperature which would make it 10-13 where I am.

    However the state intellectuals will tell us this winter was warm and most of the boobus will believe it.

    State intellectuals promised me a warm climate by now. Where is it? Chicago was going to have date trees and other things. Where’s the warmth? Bunch of liars. All of them.

      • Dear Eric,

        I’m old enough to confirm your recollection. I was already in college then.

        The real kicker?

        Some of the very same individuals who were warning of The Coming Ice Age later started warning of Global Warming.

        Hence the ambiguous term Climate Change. Either way, you’re covered.

    • People’s memories are incredibly short.

      I can remember, as very young kid, hearing all about the Coming Ice Age back in the ’70s… then in the ’90s, it was all Global Warming All The Time. Now it’s “climate change” – for the inconvenient reason that the climate continues to, er, change.

      Do the boobs really believe climate ought to be static?

      • Right on Eric. Global cooling / coming ice age was taught in 1972 in my college geology 200 class as a foregone scientific conclusion.

  4. Here’s a working survey site.

    Being from Upper Great Lakes America, I say: 1b aunt as ant; 2a been as bin; 3a bowie knife as bo; 4a carmel as car-ml; 6a centaur as sen-tar; 22a poem as one syllable pome; etc.

    If you print the survey out, you can freak Americans out by correctly guessing where they grew up based on their pronunciations of these words.

    “Charm is the ability to insult people without offending them; nerdiness the reverse”

    “The best way to measure the loss of intellectual sophistication – “nerdification,” to put it bluntly – is in the growing disappearance of sarcasm, as mechanic minds take insults a bit too literally.” – N Taleb

    • Dear Tor,

      That’s a very interesting quiz.

      Haven’t taken it, but just skimming it tells me that it’s probably quite revealing about one’s subcultural background.

      • A divergent subculture, I would argue.

        Who here, could accurately place Keanu Reeves in his subculture class, based on speech patterns and behavior they’ve observed him exhibit? No matter how many times they’ve seen him in The Matrix and other assorted media?

        Keanu Reeves is a Canadian actor. born in Beirut, Lebanon, the son of an English-born costume designer/performer, and a Hawaiian-born American.

        Keanu has English, Native Hawaiian, Chinese, Irish, and Portuguese ancestry. Keanu stated: “My grandmother is Chinese and Hawaiian, so I was around Chinese art, furniture and cuisine when I was growing up”.

        Reeves’s mother was working in Beirut when she met his father a geologist who earned his GED while imprisoned in Hawaii for selling heroin at the Hilo Airport.

        His birth father abandoned his wife and family when Reeves was three years old, but Reeves knew him until he was six. They last met on the island of Kauai when Keanu was 13.

        Keanu moved around the world frequently as a child and lived with various stepfathers. After his parents divorced when he was two years old, Keanu’s mother moved the family to Sydney, Australia and then to New York City.

        In New York his mother met and married a Broadway and Hollywood director. The couple moved to Toronto, Canada; they divorced when Keanu was seven.

        Keanu’s mother then married a rock promoter when he was twelve years old, when Keanu was sixteen the couple divorced.

        Keanu’s mother subsequently married her fourth husband, a hairdresser, that marriage lasted until Keanu was thirty years old.

        Grandparents and nannies babysat Reeves and his sisters, and Keanu grew up primarily in Toronto. Within five years, he attended four high schools, including the Etobicoke School of the Arts, from which he was expelled.

        Keanu stated he was expelled because “I was just a little too rambunctious and shot my mouth off once too often. I was not generally the most well-oiled machine in the school.”

        Keanu excelled more in hockey than in academics, as his educational development was challenged by dyslexia. He was a successful goalie at one of his high schools and earned the nickname “The Wall”.

        Reeves dreamed of playing hockey for Canada but an injury ended his hopes for a hockey career. After leaving De La Salle College, he attended Avondale Secondary Alternative School, which allowed him to obtain an education while working as an actor. He later dropped out and did not obtain a high school diploma.

        In January 2011, on the BBC program The One Show, Reeves spoke of his English ancestry via his mother, mentioning his happy watching of The Two Ronnies comedy show amongst others when younger, and how his mother imparted English manners that he still has today.


  5. Off-Grid Home Solar Power Systems – $1995 (Arlington)

    How I built a solar panel for $100 – You can too


    2 Solar panel kits – 60 watts each

    Commercial heater 3PH 480v – $300

    Reiker rc 400 sq ft room heater/ceiling fan $250

    Elec Heater- uses 1200W Halogen bulb – $65

  6. Interesting side note – the tonal quality of Stradivarius violins has been linked to the denser tighter hardwoods produced during that last big mini-ice age. Perhaps we’ll receive some “bennies a century or so down the road.

    In all seriousness, that period also coincided with the Plague of Europe, and a general time of great hardship and loss of life. With our JIT inventory systems, hair-trigger sensitive agricultural production schemes, and diminishing natural resources, especially fossil fuels, it’s quite possible that century or so less sunspots might “do the job” that the Club of Rome has famously failed at…

    • Conversely, the Medieval Warming, that preceded the mini-Ice Age, was noted for: Greenland being green, vineyards w/wineries in northern England, and high enough crop yields on mainland Europe to afford the time and money to build most of the cathredals there.
      It probably was warmer then than the watermelons (AlGore &c) have been predicting for the 21st century. More people die of cold than of heat.
      Also, re Strads – I heard recently that some scientists had isolated a fungus that they said would treat wood to make it vibrate/react to vibration like that Stradivarius and competitors used.

  7. SunSpot Activity – 1645-1715 Unexplained Solar Minimum

    Detailed analysis of levels of radioactive isotope carbon-14 (whose abundance increases during periods of low solar activity) in tree rings confirms that during the conspicuous solar calm that lasted from 1645 to 1715 sunspot activity was greatly decreased.

    The last previously observed solar peaceful interval and Earthly cold was between 1450 and 1540.

    1645-1715 was the coldest part of the “Little Ice Age” in the Northern Hemisphere. During this time of a quiet sun, the Thames River in England froze over during winter, Viking settlers abandoned Greenland, and Norwegian farmers demanded that the Danish king compensate them for their lands that were overrun by advancing glaciers.

    Why is the sun going quiet? – Predictive January 2014 Article

    “I’ve been a solar physicist for 30 years, and I’ve never seen anything quite like this,” says Richard Harrison, head of space physics at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire.

    Is Our Sun falling silent? – Predictive January 2014 Article

    Cycle 24 Sunspot Prediction

    – Cycle 24 was the lowest peak sunspot cycle activity in 100 years. The peak has already occurred, activity is slowing, it’s only going to get colder. Possibly much much colder as in “Mini Ice Age” colder.

    • The Vikings never abandoned their settlements in Greenland (no longer Viking, by the end), those either died out or went native (it’s just that, eventually, one of the less and less frequent voyages there never found any settlers – but the previous one never took all the settlers away). And the River Thames (not “Thames River”) used to freeze in occasional harsh winters even outside the cold period; the difference that stopped that after the early nineteenth century seems to have been a combination of an urban heat island effect from London’s increasing population and a faster, more constrained river flow from embankment works.

  8. This is the worst, overall, winter in the 23 years I’ve dwelt in the Appalachians near you, Eric. 2009-10 was worse for snowfall, but even that one was largely over by the end of February. This winter has been, on average, much colder than any I can remember.
    If this is a sign of a coming Maunder Minimum-type “mini-ice-age,” which it may very well be, I’m going to look seriously at moving too, Eric. If this is truly a “one-off,” I can probably hang in there. We usually always get a good Jan/Feb thaw, with temps near 70s for a while, but not this year. Also, we usually get very quick melts from these “Spring” snow falls. Not this week…
    It’s kind of a trade-off: a bit more Winter for tolerable Summers. Last year’s Summer was more “tolerable” than any I can recall, but this Winter takes the cake for intolerable.

    • It does, DR.

      We’ve been in SW for 10 years; in Northern Va. for most of my life before that. This is unprecedented – and (for me) unendurable.

      I am once again looking at the rapidly dwindling pile of firewood in the main room and contemplating with dread having to spend another two hours loading the truck down at the woodpile, then carting the wood into the house. It’s either do that – and at least, be warm in the house – or turn on the worthless heat pump and be cold (and broke).

      I do love the area and it’ll be hard to leave – and I truly do not know where I would go – but I do know I can’t abide spending – what? – four months out of every year utterly miserable.

      • Why doesn’t your heat pump work? I know people who have them (though there are many different kinds, of course) and they heat homes here in NE Wyoming without problems. Maybe it is not working right?

          • Well, yes. That’s how they work – by sucking heat out of a source at ambient temperature and dumping it into a warmer zone. It sounds as though your problem is that yours doesn’t suck.

            • Hi PM,

              I know the principle, but the heat produced is not “cozy warm” – if that makes any sense. Part of this, of course, is that we keep the house at 70-75 using wood…. and maintaining that temperature with a heat pump gets very expensive, very quickly.

              I have heard the latest units are more efficient, but the older ones are really not what you want if you are dealing with temperatures much below 32 degrees F.

          • My heat pump is worthless when the temperature drops below 40. We keep the house warm with a combination of heat pump, gas heater, and mostly wood burning in the wood stove.

            • The heat pumps are one of the few things I hate about our house. Why? They’re awful at producing heat. But they do produce a lot of chilly wind through the vents – and the noise they make at least drowns out thoughts about how got-damned cold it is. Until the electric bill comes.

              Sane people – smart people – in this part of the world have propane/oil (or wood). We have wood, too. The stove usually does a fine job of keeping the house toasty and allows me to rarely use the heat pumps at all. But when it gets really cold (teens, lower than that) you have to keep it burning like a blast furnace and feed it almost nonstop – every 2-3 hours – to maintain the warmth. The house is just too large – and probably not insulated sufficiently (for this kind of cold).

              It is a lot of work. Gets old after three months. Infuriating after four. Not to mention, expensive. I can’t keep up with cutting/splitting enough wood myself for a winter this long and hard. I’d have to spend the whole summer cutting/splitting. I’ve had to buy two $400 loads of wood so far this season. This really puts the arm on wood as far as being an economical way to heat. If the heat pumps actually did pump heat (and not just lukewarm) at this point, I’d crank them up since the price difference is about the same.

              I think, if this type of winter recurs regularly, that it’s going to result in a major exodus from this area. People won’t want to put up with it – and many won’t be able to afford it, either.

              I’m in both categories.

          • eric, your description of heat pumps is just about how I would describe the new “high efficiency” furnace in my house. I’ve lived in two houses in the last ten years, each with brand new “high efficiency” furnaces that replaced older ones, they suck.

            They run all the time and create too much of a draft in the house as a result. With their higher output of air-flow they make it feel colder in the house than it really is.
            On top of all that, my bill is not really a whole lot lower than it was before the furnaces were installed.

            I miss the instant and Very warm effect from my old “low efficiency” furnaces. They actually made the house feel warm and a person could get warm from standing on or near a heat vent, which was quite the opposite of the new furnaces.

            I do not think there will be a major exodus from northern areas because of the cold, very few people can bring money to the table when it comes time to sell their rapidly depreciating house, and, they don’t want to “just give it away”… And, it’s only going to get worse:

            Is This The Top Of The Real Estate Bubble 2.0?


            What a fine trap most people are in.

            • Amen, Helot – on both counts.

              We bought our house here in ’04 for $270k. Ten years later – after having bought 10 more acres of land (about 16 total) put on a new roof, redone both bathrooms and a ton of other work to the main house, the workshed (concrete slab in place of dirt, electricity added; all new siding) as well as a major rehabbing of the 1.5 level (main and loft) “guesthouse” – which was on the verge of collapse due to carpenter ants and other rot – I doubt we could sell for $320k. Might not even be able to get $300k for it.

              But at least we’ve only “broken even” – or lost $20k or so.

              Most people have lost a lot more than that. And can expect that to get worse.

          • I suspect that a lot of this is because your expectations do not meet the reality. Trying to keep a whole house at 75 degrees or more would be very expensive anywhere in the north. I don’t attempt to keep the whole house warm, just happy if it stays above 45 or 50 degrees in unused areas like the store room. I use oil filled “radiator” type electric heaters to provide warmth where I’m working, then leave them on a low setting when I move to another area. My bedroom is never heated above 60, and I seldom leave any heat on in there at night unless it will be -20 or below outside. The bathrooms are only heated to 60 just prior to a shower. No area is heated above 65 degrees during the winter. I simply put on more clothing. My highest electric bill came just this month, $132. Don’t have a “heat pump,” or gas furnace or any other heat source except my wood stove. I use that seldom, mostly when I have company during the winter or if the electric goes out. That doesn’t happen often either.

            The point is that I am very comfortable, and do not dread or hate the winter like so many seem to. It’s a matter of one’s expectations and willingness to adapt and make do. Remember that I came from the So. Calif. desert, and never had experienced real cold before. I had to adapt or spend the rest of my life miserable. I chose to adapt.

            If you insist on running around in summer clothes, and keeping the whole house heated to 75 degrees or more… then yes, I suspect you’d be much happier in Florida. Each to his/her own. 🙂

            • That’s just the problem, Mama. It’s not supposed to be like Wyoming in SW Virginia!

              My bitterness flows from having been gypped. If I’d moved to a known cold-winter area, then of course it’d be absurd for me to bitch about being cold.

              But we moved here in part because the climate – up to now – has typically been temperate and mild. Winter was heretofore roughly from late December through early-mid Feb. – about two months of fairly cold (daytime temps typically in the mid-high 30s; with usually at least a few days each week in the mid-high 40s/50s) weather and that’s about it. By this time of year, one could – usually – wear shorts, or at least, not have to wear a jacket or multiple layers to stay warm. It is 19 degrees outside right now. Snow covers the ground.


          • Well son, all I can tell you is that I’m sorry, but the reality is that all things change. The human race has only survived because people have the capacity, and usually the motivation, to adapt to those changes and most often even take advantage of them in some way.

            Moving to a different climate area is one adaptation, obviously. Expecting things never to change is not. 🙂

            And, interestingly, it is 33 degrees outside here this morning, and 63 here in the office with no heat on now anywhere in the house. A very nice spring day in Wyoming. I suspect that the 8 inch log construction of the outer walls of the house help a great deal. 🙂

            • Oh, I comprendo… !

              But that doesn’t mean I’m gonna smile about it!

              I just hate winter. I hate snow. I hate ice. Being cold. It sucks.

              Can’t ride – or at least, it’s no fun to ride.

              Can’t do stuff outdoors – or at least, it’s no fun (for me) to do stuff outdoors.

              I’m a shorts and T shirt kind of dude.

              I’d head to CA if it hadn’t been ruined…

          • 63 degrees in the office? You are a hearty person MamaLiberty. I wonder if people run at different operating temps, a hotter spark plug, if you will?

            I’m fine with 63 inside – If I’m doing something – but if I’m just sitting for awhile, I’d be tempted to put on my cover-alls.

          • RE: “We bought our house here in ’04”

            Oh mang, right at about the peak of the last bubble.
            Or, make that, right at the peak of the first phase of the mega-bubble, a.k.a. the mother-of-all-bubbles.

            I am sooo glad I learned about Austrian Economics and all about the housing bubble prior to 2004. I almost took about the same route. The social pressures were so very intense then. The allure so enticing.

            It was all about ‘How-much-a-month’ and managing debt.
            Still is. That’s the surprising thing.

            At least it was probably satisfying putting your back into it and doing all those things to the property?

    • DR, we’ve been in this house since ’85 and this winter we’ve used more propane than any other year. It’s been a cold beatch. Draw a line straight south from the east line of the Tx. panhandle and one extending east from the line that goes east west from EP and that’s about where we are. Except for ice storms, 4 good ones so far and one good snow of about 6″, it’s been mighty dry too. Yesterday we had rain(.04″), blowing wind and temps of around 50. Yesterday afternoon up into the night we had S wind blowing over 35mph and dirt rolling for hours. Last week we had one of the worst dust storms I’ve seen and I grew up during the 8 years it didn’t rain in west Tx. A good book is The Time It Forgot to Rain about the 50’s drought. When I was a kid I thought everybody had a couple-three rains a year that rained all sorts of aquatic creatures since tornadoes were part and parcel of every storm. It would get night time dark in the middle of the day from blowing dirt. Houses filled with it and cars were sandblasted ruining the glass in them as well as the engines. Livestock….what livestock? I can remember people from the city saying it got so dark the streetlights would be on all day. Streetlights? Oh yeah, I recall seeing some in big cities.

      Seriously though, I have asthma and had to put wet rag over my face in the house the dirt was so bad last week. We squeaked by not losing our fruit this week but we could have a killing frost anytime. At least I didn’t have to go outside through a window and get a shovel to move the dirt so the door would open. The NWS had a great photo of the storm moving in to Lubbock.

  9. Au Printemps – Jacques Brel

    In spring, in spring. Your heart and mine are repainted with white wine. In spring, in spring. Lovers pray Our Lady of Good Times. In spring

    For a flower, a smile, a vow, for a glance. All the girls, laughing, will give you their kisses and hopes. See all those fickle beating hearts. Revealing and offering themselves to onlookers. See all those hearts, like cigarette butts,
    Going up in flames, laughing, for the girls in the subway

    While laughing, all of Paris will turn into kisses, sometimes even during a big night. See all of Paris turning into pastureland. For herds of lovers with naughty shepherdesses. See all of Paris rejoicing. And blessing those new marriages under the sun

    While laughing, all the earth will turn into kisses that’ll speak of hope. See that miracle, because it is the last one.
    Still presenting itself with no need for us to call for it.
    See that miracle that had to happen. This is the first and only chance of the year.

  10. Bevin,

    12°C-20°C weather sounds good here.

    Isn’t Taiwan’s weather more moderate than the northeastern USA? On the map it seems to be more like Savanna, Georgia than mountainous areas of Pennsylvania.

    • Dear Mith,

      Yes, I guess it does.

      I should have been clearer. Local temperatures this year are much lower than in past years, and they have persisted longer into spring than in past years.

      By local standards this winter is abnormally cold. Just as by local US East Coast standards this winter is abnormally cold.

      Very true about what being acclimated to certain conditions. When I lived in NYC for a year back in 1970, I remember colleagues talking about how that winter was nearly at an end. “It’s going to be as high as 50 degrees tomorrow!” One said to me excitedly. I remember responding in kind without irony.

      12 degrees Celsius is 54 degrees Fahrenheit

    • Forgot.

      Yes, Taiwan is significantly warmer than Eric’s neck of the woods.

      But there is an invisible divide. The south half of the island is nearly subtropical. The north half not so much.

      And here’s the killer. Humidity. Winters are both chilly and damp. A friend from Sweden even complained. “Why is it so damned cold???” It’s the combination. Very unpleasant.

      • It’s not an invisible divide, not quite. It shows up in the appearance of the vegetated and/or agricultural areas, particularly from the air.

        Curiously enough, I once looked into this, as part of checking out how effective the U.S. oil embargo on Japan was. It turns out that, if the Japanese could only have seen it coming in time, they could have made up their really killer shortfall (fuel for their armed forces’ vehicles in China) by planting kerosene trees in the subtropical part of then-Japanese Taiwan where those could grow (albeit at the expense of food production for the natives, which the Japanese wouldn’t have minded much). The catch is that those trees need 15 or 20 years to mature enough to be tapped properly (like rubber trees), but the odds are that even with 10 years in hand there would have been a fair bit of yield. Only, 10 years before 1941 there wasn’t yet a strategic vulnerability from having exposed and arguably over-extended forces in China…

        That Swedish thing: the odds are that it is like Americans complaining that it is cold in the U.K. in winter, because they are referring not to outside conditions but to what it is like inside houses that were never built for real cold and/or are draughty from being built to supply ventilation for coal fires that aren’t there any more – I gather U.S. houses are far warmer in winter, and they are used to that. For what it’s worth, most accommodation here in Australia is similarly too flimsy for winter from being built around ideas of summer conditions; I have just now started wearing several layers of clothing indoors rather than starting up the expensive electrical heating before the very depths of winter (and yes, we get humidity issues too, where I am in Melbourne).

        • We just dodged the fruit tree bullet with 32.7° this morn. We had no fruit last year and we’re not out of the woods yet. My buddy on the plains lost his fruit night before last with 25°. 2 weeks ago or more we had a typical for us, a 93° day but then a high in the 40’s the next. An 87° day last week followed by one that didn’t get out of the 30’s. What a yoyo it’s been. We had more water freezing this year than any I remember. I don’t envy anyone 14° but that would sure have been well above much of our weather this winter, right here in the heart of Tx. Ah, but NOAA says more of and probably worse drought(worse than 5″?) this year with exceptionally high temps. I’m sure Roseanna would have had something to say about this. And I have 5 cats in my lap. You’d think it was really cold….and it’s not.

  11. What Eric’s describing is not confined to the Eastern Seaboard of North America.

    It’s the same here in the offshore region of China on Taiwan.

    The temperature has been in the low teens (Centigrade) recently, with occasional spikes into the mid 20s.

    • It’s vile.

      The extreme shifts, especially, are making me nuts. Literally 70 (and shorts) on Saturday… snow and 16 tonight (into Tues morning).

      And 16 would be seen (in these parts) as brutal cold for mid-January. But it’s nearly April.

      No wonder my marriage is falling apart!

      • Your marriage is falling apart because of the cold? That seems odd.

        That said, I’m sick of the cold too. We’re supposed to get 3-6 inches of snow tonight. Ick. I’m so done. Ready for it to get warm for awhile. In a few months we’ll probably be complaining about the heat;)

        • David wrote, “Your marriage is falling apart because of the cold? That seems odd.”


          Give it twenty years and You’ll get it, mang.

          I didn’t “get it” at 19 either.

          It’s funny how time changes everything.

      • RE: “No wonder my marriage is falling apart!”

        Mang, those words have been hanging in my mind like metal suspended in oil.

        A bouquet of roses has no effect.
        Ten days of cake, bounces off her like like bullets hitting Superman.
        Gold rings, emerald jewels, sapphire earrings, it’s just forgotten junk to them. it’s enough to blow any mans mind!
        Is it any wonder the stereotype is, a 40 yr old woman hitting on an 18 yr. old guy?

        Inset video, ‘Who’s Afraid of Vagina Wolf”

        The question I wonder is, where were these 40 yr old women when I was 18!? …Ah well, I guess us married fucks have the odds against us?
        We’re Freaking Dooomed! Ha!

        • One day, you find out that they weren’t really happy after all – and may have never cared about you all that much to start with.

  12. Excellent day for yard work. It did get cold out though. I started the morning out in shorts and a t-shirt. At around three it started getting cold and so I switched to my winter jump suit. It’s 8pm now and I just came in about thirty minutes ago. Temperature outside is 29!


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