Friday, November 30, 2007

About those tropical storms/hurricanes...

Seems there is some disagreement about the categorization of depressions as tropical storms/hurricanes.

Decisions to name storms draw concern (Emphasis added.)

Some meteorologists, including former hurricane center director Neil Frank, say as many as six of this year's 14 named tropical systems might have failed in earlier decades to earn "named storm" status.

"They seem to be naming storms a lot more than they used to," said Frank, who directed the hurricane center from 1974 to 1987 and is now chief meteorologist for KHOU-TV. "This year, I would put at least four storms in a very questionable category, and maybe even six."

I made mention of this a short time ago (What the hey!?). Several of this year’s named storms were outside the tropics when they formed or far out to sea and quickly moved northward in to the cooler waters of the North Atlantic where they rapidly lost energy. One or two existed for just a couple of days.

Most of the storms in question briefly had tropical storm-force winds of at least 39 mph. But their central pressure — another measure of intensity — suggested they actually remained depressions or were non-tropical systems.

Improved technology has allowed meteorologists to make observations outside of shipping lanes and flight paths where they might have missed previously.

A case in point is Tropical Storm Chantal, a short-lived system that formed in late July south of Nova Scotia and moved toward the northeast, out to sea.

Some meteorologists say the storm was never a tropical system at all, because it formed well out of the tropics. Others say it wouldn't have been named before the 1999 launch of the QuikSCAT satellite, which measures surface winds and alerted forecasters to Chantal's organization.

"Without QuikSCAT, Chantal might never have gotten named," said Jeff Masters, a meteorologist and founder of The Weather Underground Web site, a popular resource for tracking hurricanes.

As the technology to observe storms has grown better, the definition of a tropical storm has remained unchanged. Such systems have a center of low pressure with a closed circulation, organized bands of thunderstorms and winds of at least 39 mph. Storms are upgraded to hurricanes when their winds reach 74 mph.

There has also been a change in the procedure for naming storms.

In earlier years before widespread satellite coverage, the hurricane center placed more emphasis on measurements of central pressure than wind speeds in designating tropical storms and giving those systems names, Frank said. Central pressures and wind speed are related, but the relationship isn't absolute.

Frank said he prefers using central pressure, because it can be directly measured by aircraft dropping an instrument into a tropical system.

If a reconnaissance plane had measured a wind speed above 39 mph during Frank's tenure, the system would not automatically have been named. His forecasters might have waited a day to see if the central pressure fell, he said, to ensure that the system really was a tropical storm.

That practice probably would have prevented some systems, such as Tropical Storm Jerry, from getting named this year, Frank said. After being upgraded, Jerry remained a tropical storm for less than a day in the northern Atlantic.

These changes have made comparisons of current numbers with those of the past virtually impossible. Yet those who espouse the Global Climate Change continue to predict increased intensity and frequency of hurricanes and tropical storms as a result of Global Warming. If you don’t know where you’ve been and you change the rules, how do you know where you are going?

The apparent change in the philosophy of naming systems has rankled some longtime hurricane watchers. Jill Hasling, president of Houston's Weather Research Center, said comparing the number of tropical storms and hurricanes today with the historical record is almost impossible.

But Read, of the hurricane center, believes wind speeds are the true indicator of a tropical system's status. Now that more accurate wind measurements are available, it only makes sense to use the best technology to quickly determine if a system has reached tropical storm strength, he said.

Inconsistencies with the data have plagued scientists trying to determine whether global warming has increased the number or intensity of hurricanes.

In fact, there are reasons to believe that historical storms have been overcounted as well as undercounted, said Judith Curry, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Before satellites, scientists had few ways to tell the difference between tropical systems and non-tropical storms. As a result, some non-tropical storms probably were named.

"The bottom line is that, yes, we do have errors in tropical cyclone counts," said Curry. "But it is not clear whether this adds a net negative or positive bias to any trend."

It’s a crap shoot folks. As Mark Twain once said, “There are lies, damned lies and statistics.”

When some group or organization starts touting the number named storms as proof of climate change take their data with a grain--no, a shaker--of salt.

Louisville stuns RU 41-38 on late FG

Rutgers R.small

It was a tale of two games. The first 29 minutes belonged to Rutgers as the Scarlet Knights built a 28-10 lead over the Louisville Cardinals when Ray Rice waltzed into the end zone from 6 yards out to cap a 6 play, 51-yard drive. It was Rice’s third rushing TD of the night. But, Brian Brohm had one minute in the half to work some magic. He needed only 49 seconds and five plays to get the ball into the end zone for the Cardinals and reduce the lead to 28-17 at the half. Worse, the 52 yard scoring pass to Patrick Carter shifted the momentum of the entire game.

In the second half the Louisville defense stiffened just enough, held RU to just 10 points, and allowed the offense to exert itself and get the Cardinals back into the game. In the second half, the Rutgers defense seemingly collapsed and the offense stopped opening holes for Rice. The Cardinals scored the final 17 points with Art Carmody kicking a 33-yard field goal with 20 seconds left to win the game 41-38.

RU Offense:
Rice ended the game with 120 net yards rushing on 30 carries and the three TDs. He had almost 100 yards in the first half. Mike Teel proved his thumb problem was heeled as he completed 21 of 32 passes for 265 yards and 2 TDs. Sophomore Kenny Britt (12 catches for 173 yards and 2 TDs) and Junior Tiquan Underwood (4 catches for 63 yards) surpassed the 1,000 yard mark for receiving for the year.

RU Defense:
The defense looked inspired in the first half. In the second they just looked tired. Missed tackles and containment assignments on the edges allowed some big running plays by the Cardinals. They did sack Brohm five times and made several tackles for losses, but the big plays were killers.

Louisville Offense:
Freshman Bilal Powell rushed for 103 yards on 13 carries and Junior Brock Bolen had 117 yards also on 13 carries for the Cardinals as they ran through and around a suddenly porous RU defense. Brohm was 12 of 22 for 227 yards including that 52 yard strike to Carter to end the first half scoring. Senior Art Carmody set a NCAA record for career points by a kicker when he booted a 41-yard field goal early in the first quarter and won the game with a 33-yard kick with 20 seconds to play. It was the first time in his four years that he had kicked a game winning FG with time running out.

Louisville Defense:
Much maligned during the season and beaten badly in the first half, they came out and played some very good football in the second half. They left nothing on the field and stopped RU from scoring too many points giving the offense a chance to win the game.

Rutgers falls to 7-5, 3-4 in the BIG EAST, as they head to Toronto for the International Bowl on January 5th. Louisville evened its record at 6-6, 3-4 in the BIG EAST.

The full story and stats here and here.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

RU is Bowl Bound
and Terry and I are going, too!

Rutgers R.small
The Rutgers football team will be playing in the International Bowl at the Rogers Centre in Toronto on January 5th. Their invitation and acceptance was announced this evening prior to the final game of the season against Louisville. I saw this on the internet during the first few minutes of the game and went to the RU web page to read the press release and immediately ordered a pair of tickets. No one is sure who the opponent will be except that it will be a team from the MAC. The current thought is that it will be Ball State (7-5, 5-2 in the MAC), but the invitations await the conclusion of the MAC Championship this weekend.


So a cowboy, an Indian and a Muslim are sitting in the airport...


So, I mortised in the 12 hinge plates for the “French” doors going into the utility room yesterday. I stood on my feet for 3 hours to do so I felt some pain in the left foot that has been bothering me for a couple of months now (plantar fasciitis?) and the right ankle that has pestered me off and on for close to a year(sprained during construction when I missed a step on the work site). I used the utility knife to score the outer edges and the chisel to remove the necessary wood to fit the plate in flush with the edge of the door. There was plenty of pressure on the arms and wrists while I did this but I never felt any pain from anywhere but my lower extremities—until I was finished.

As I tried to don my coat to go outside I felt a stab of pain in my right clavicle. That’s the one and only bone I have ever broken (if you discount the nose) and that happened back in the winter of ’66-’67, senior year in high school. I’ve always had a tiny lump where the healing occurred but yesterday that area felt inflamed. Touching it would create shooting pains. I couldn’t lift my arm up to put on a hat let alone put my coat on the way I normally do. I gulped some ibuprofen in the hope it would help. It didn’t. I had trouble sleeping during the night because every time I turned on my side the pain would jar me awake.

The shoulder pain remains with me this morning but something curious has happened. I have no pain in my left foot at all today—or in my right ankle. It’s as though I have a limited quantity of pain within my body and right now it’s all centered in the shoulder. If it doesn’t clear up in a day or so I just may have to go see the doctor, but I’m holding out as long as I can. I won’t baby it and if it’s just a muscle problem, it may work its way out with only the ibuprofen as an aid. The only thing I won’t be doing is shouldering my rifle to fire at anything…unless it (a deer) happens to walk into the yard, then all bets are off.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Doors.

I mentioned the other day that I was constructing doors for the basement. Yesterday Terry and I hung the 3-foot wide door the leads into the workshop. Hanging doors was one of the tasks I did not participate in while we were constructing the Aerie and I can think of only two doors that I hung in our previous home. I installed those doors when I finished the basement about 25 years ago. They were both “prehung” jobs that I picked up at Channel (remember them?) and were hollow core to boot. Here I had to create the jam, or frame, as well as the door. This sucker is made from inch and three quarter pine flooring material and weighs a ton. It does swing nicely on the three hinges.
Basement door 01
I’m pretty happy with how it turned out so far. All that’s left is to install the trim around the frame, add a door stop trim around the edge of the door and then sand and seal it.

Meanwhile, across basement is what I’ll call a double door that will lead into the utility room. It will be constructed of the same material but will consist of two 2-foot wide panels that will swing like French doors. One side will have a blot to keep it stationary unless it must be opened to get something in or out while the other will be the primary swinging door. Everything for that door as been cut and the hinges mortised in place on both doors and frame. Tomorrow I’ll find out if I left myself enough wiggle room to fit it in the rough opening. If not, it will either mean a trim to the joiner or the belt sander. (I think the sander is the better bet. The joiner is in the garage and even at 2-foot wide, those panels are heavy and don’t want to haul them up to the garage and back for an 1/8 of an inch or so.)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


It was 35 degrees and rainy when I woke this morning so I decided to go get myself a hole saw, some 6d finishing nails and a few other odds and ends to finish the doors. I had to go to Wally World (hole saw but no 6d nails) and two hardware stores before I got almost everything I needed. I opted out of making the drive to Painted Post (Home Depot) or Horseheads (Lowes) since I didn't want to burn up the fuel to get the few items I still need.

By the time I got home, the temps had dropped and it was spitting snow. Now there are clear skies and a cold north wind blowing. I checked the rain gauge and found there was 1.25 inches of rain in it since Sunday.

I was amazed at how empty the parking lots at the stores were until I remembered every able bodied male and quite a few women were probably out looking for a deer. They will be happy to have the clear skies, I'm sure.

Me? I'm headed back to the basement for the afternoon. Maybe tomorrow I'll go sit in the woods.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Woodworking: Lost Tool Corollary to Murphy's Law

So this afternoon I spend a few hours in the basement putting the hinges on the larges door; the one that goes into the workshop. Lots of chisel work was involved and it got a bit detailed because I chose a hinge with a rounded "corner" instead of one with a squared off corner. But I got that done. Only six more hinges to go!

I then went looking for my hole saw so I could drill out the opening for the doorknob and latch. No luck. I can't remember if I chucked the cheap POS I had or if it's still at the Bolt Hole. In any event, I'll probably be heading over to Sears tomorrow to see if they have one on the shelf. If they don't, I may have to swing up to Lowes in Horseheads. to look for something like this:

hole saw

If I do buy a new set (a good one can go up to $80-90) you can be sure I'll find my usable, but cheap POS hole saw when I go to put the new set away. It's part of Murphy's Laws.

Post Week 13 Polls
and Opponents for Week 14

Well, the latest polls are out and as expected there has been a shakeup at the top. I mean, what would you expect when both the #1 and #2 teams lose. I therefore present the Top 25 (plus a few) from the AP Writers’/Coaches’/BCS Polls plus their opponents in this week’s contests if any. (An “NR” means the team was not ranked in the top 25 of that poll.)

#1/2/1 Missouri (11-1, 7-1) Fresh off their victory over Kansas, the Tigers will be playing for the Big 12 Championship against #9/8/9 Oklahoma this weekend.

#2/1/2 West Virginia (10-1, 5-1) The Mountaineers have wrapped up the BIG EAST Title but still have a game to play against Pittsburgh. For some reason, I don’t think the #2 Curse will strike White, Slayton, Devine and Company.

#3/3/3 Ohio State (11-1, 7-1) The Buckeye season has been over for two weeks and still they climb in the pools. I hope they do not go any higher than #3 after this weekend, however. I really do not want to watch them in National Title game when there are so many more exciting teams out there. Let them go to the Rose Bowl and be happy about it.

#4/4/4 Georgia (10-2, 6-2) The Bulldogs are one of those exciting teams. Yeah, their season is done and they’re not even playing for their own Conference’s Championship, but right now they could be far better than OSU.

#5/7/7 LSU (10-2, 6-2) The Tigers should have fallen further in the polls in my opinion even if both loses were in triple overtime. They play #14/15/14 Tennessee this week for the SEC Championship.

#6/5/6 Virginia Tech The Hokies beat Virginia fro the ACC Coastal title and will now go up against #12/12/11 Boston College for the ACC Conference crown.

#7/6/5 Kansas (11-1, 7-1) The Jayhawks were #2 last week before Missouri shut them out in the first half. Their season is over…for now.

#8/9/8 Southern California (9-2, 6-2) The Trojans will be playing UCLA this weekend. If they win, they will be the PAC 10 Champs.

#9/8/9 Oklahoma (10-2, 6-2) The Sooners will be playing #1/2/1 Missouri for the Big 12 Championship.

#10/11/10 Florida (9-3, 5-3) The Gators’ season is over which means we will have to wait for a bowl game to see Mr. Wonderful, Tim Tebow, in action again.

#11/10/12 Hawaii (11-0, 8-0) The Warriors, WAC Champs, will be playing an out of conference game against Washington Huskies (4-8, 2-7 Pacific 10) this week. They’ll need the win to complete their undefeated season and possibly get a BCS at-large bid.

#12/12/11 Boston College (10-2, 6-2) The Eagles take on #6/5/6 Virginia Tech for the ACC Title. BC defeated Virginia Tech in Blacksburg 14-10 on October 25. Since then the Hokies have won four straight while BC is 2-2.

#13/13/13 Arizona State (9-2, 6-2) The Sun Devils will be playing intrastate rival Arizona this weekend. Should they win and IF (it’s a big “if”) UCLA manages to defeat USC then ASU will be PAC 10 Champs.

#14/15/14 Tennessee (9-3, 6-2) By defeating Kentucky for the scaty-eight millionth time, the Volunteers were able to edge out Georgia (whom the beat earlier in the year) for the SEC East title and will, therefore get to play LSU for the Conference crown.

#15/14/15 Illinois (9-3, 6-2) The Fighting Illini are couch potatoes again this week.

#16/17/16 Clemson (9-3, 5-3) The Tigers’ season has ended. They will await the bowl committee’s assignment.

#17/18/20 Texas (9-3, 5-3) The Longhorns have dropped quite a bit on the heels of their loss to Texas A&M. They will now be playing in one of the lesser bowls.

#18/20/17 Oregon (8-3, 5-3) The Ducks play intrastate rival Oregon State (7-4, 5-3) this week. Unless Brady Leaf can get it together real soon, expect the Ducks to disappear from the Top 25.

#19/16/18 Wisconsin (9-3, 5-3) The Badgers will be sitting it out along with Illinois and Ohio State. Seems to make a good case for a Big Ten Championship Game to me. All they need to do is add one more team but I don’t suppose they would invite the Northern Iowa Panthers (12-0, 6-0 Gateway Conference, and currently ranked #1 in the FCS Coaches Poll) to join any time soon.

#20/24/23 Cincinnati (9-2, 4-3) Te Bearcats ended their season with a 52-31 victory over Syracuse (2-10, 1-6). They now await their bowl assignment.

#21/19/19 Brigham Young (9-2, 7-0) The Mountain West Champs will play San Diego State (4-7, 3-4) in a game that was postponed by fire earlier this year.

#22/21/22 Virginia (9-3, 6-2) The Cavaliers’ season came to a halt with their loss to Virginia Tech this weekend. They will await the phone call telling them where and who they are playing in the bowls.

#23/21/24 Auburn (8-4, 5-3) The Tigers will be on the sidelines this week as they wait for their phone call from the bowl committee.

#24/23/25 Boise State (10-2. 7-1) The Broncos are a victim of a weak WAC and a very strong armed Colt Brennan (Hawaii). They await their phone call. Personally, I would love to see them matched up with either Illinois or Wisconsin. I really think they could take either.

#25/NR/21 South Florida (9-3, 4-3) The Bulls finished their season in Pittsburgh with a 48-37 victory. They will be watching from the sidelines this week waiting for the phone to ring.

NR/25/NR Arkansas (8-4, 4-4) The Razorback knocked off LSU last week but it may have been too little too late to save Coach Houston Nutt’s job . The rest of the team will be on the sidelines this week waiting for that phone to ring.

No Hunting Today.

It's 35 degrees and raining here at the Aerie. The cloud ceiling seems to be at around 2400 feet and since the Aerie is at 2100 feet that means the clouds appear to be right above your head when you step outside. Some stray wisps are even swirling about below the Aerie.

With two deer in the freezer, I've no desire/need to go courting pneumonia so I believe I'll be sitting this opening day out. But the rifle is sitting next to the door with a box of ammo, just in case.

If I get the energy, I may head to the basement to finish hanging some doors.

Now, this looks like it might be fun to watch.

`Tin Man' re-imagines `Wizard of Oz'
No dancing down the yellow brick road for Zooey Deschanel, star of Sci Fi Channel's new Emerald City adaptation, "Tin Man." And no warbling "Over the Rainbow" a la Judy Garland, either.

"It's postmodern, more like Indiana Jones than a fairy tale," said Deschanel, whose Dorothy — the role immortalized by Garland in "The Wizard of Oz" — is a disaffected, motorcycle-riding waitress called DG.

Based on L. Frank Baum's novel "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," which inspired the 1939 film classic, Sci Fi's six-hour "Tin Man" is not a musical but a brooding, special effects-driven fantasy.

As a kid, the flying monkeys scared the bejesus out of me more than the Wicked Witch ever did.

The miniseries will be airing Dec. 2 through Dec. 4 on the Sci-Fi Channel.


Japan launch 'prince fish' catch-and-eat drive

Fifty years ago Mayor Daly of Chicago presented the Japanese Crown Prince a gift of the Illinois state fish…the bluegill. The Crown Prince brought them home and began a breeding program in the hope folks would have a new food source. What could go wrong? How about the prolific little buggers are eating up many native species. That’s really quite a common occurrence in such situations.
Emperor Akihito, a fish expert, brought the bluegill from the United States a half-century ago when he was crown prince, hoping to offer a new source of food to Japan.

But the bluegill, once celebrated as "prince fish," has turned into a nuisance in Japanese rivers and lakes by feeding on native species, leading the emperor to offer unusually personal comments of regret earlier this month.

They are trying to encourage people to eat the bluegills they catch. A web site (not linked in the article, possibly because it’s in Japanese) offers tips in filleting and cooking what is called a “pan fish” in the USA for obvious reasons. Simply gut and scale the little buggers and put them in a cast iron skillet with a bit of oil and you’ve got some of the sweetest tasting fish you’ll ever have. Yeah, you can fillet them and make fish cakes out of the meat and maybe a dozen other recipes, but a pan fish was meant for the pan, gol darn it!

Now, about that horrid economy…

Retailers buoyed by strong holiday start

It would appear that another doom-and-gloom story circulated by the MSM has fallen by the wayside. Soon the “experts” will be dragged out and questioned as to how the consumer can be so dumb as to be out there purchasing things and driving the economy onward and upward in such dire times…and they will never see the contradiction in that meme.

And it’s not just the US consumer that’s doing the shopping. Folks are flocking from all over to take advantage of the "weak" dollar.

Forget the climate! Britons scent U.S. bargains

Along those same lines, the Canadians are crossing the border in droves to shop in the US malls. I forget where I saw the story yesterday, but the locals are complaining about the lack of parking in many shops along the border because all those Ontario plated cars are taking up the spaces. I’m sure the retailers are ecstatic about that little development.

Despite the dire predictions... would appear folks had a much easier time traveling this holiday than expected.

Thanksgiving travelers face little delay

But of course! After a week of hearing how bad things were going to be people either cancelled their plans (but only a few appear to have done this) or built in the extra time needed to clear security before their flights departed. Oh, there were a few weather delays but the vast majority of travelers seem to have gotten where they want to go with little difficulty. (Except for that one guy they found at the end of the article who was upset about having to wait an extra 12 hours for a flight from Atlanta to San Jose because he missed the check in time by 1 minute. )

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Disc World on TV.

This is the movie on TV that I gave up watching football to view.

Cetainly different than watching Christmas Story...again.

It's a half hour in and we've met Susan, Lord Downey, the Auditors, and Mr. Teatime. And the story line is incredibly close to the book. Love it!

Only one problem: It runs for 4 hours on the tube.

UPDATE: They followed the story nearly word for word. It was great! The fella, Marc Warren, that played Mr. Teatime did so in a manner that allowed you to see him for the twisted psycho he is.

RU Men's BB went 1-1 this week.

Rutgers R.small

This week in Rutgers’ Men’s basketball was one of mixed results.

Tuesday they played Dartmouth at the RAC and came away with a 55-50 win. RU had to overcome a 9-point halftime deficit to do so, however. Juniors Jaron Griffin and Anthony Farmer led the Scarlet Knights with 11 and 10 points respectively.
The full story and stats can be found here.

Sunday afternoon, the Scarlet Knights traveled to Jersey City to play St. Peter's in the JC National Guard Armory. It was the first time a game had been played in the armory since St. Peter's played there in 1974. The Knights couldn’t find a way to slow the Peacocks’ Wesley Jenkins and Todd Sowell who scored 26 and 22 points, respectively, as they lead the Peacocks to a 65-58 victory. Freshman Corey Chandler lead Rutgers with 16 points, while JR Inman had 11 and Hamady Ndiaye had 10 for the Scarlet. Inman also had a pretty good day on the boards picking up 13 rebounds.

The full story and stats can be found here.

Rutgers is now 4-2 on the young season. Their next game will be against Princeton Saturday, December 1 at the RAC.

More Deer Huntin'

Oh man! Tomorrow is opening day of rifle season for deer here in PA. Hunters have been streaming into the camps around the area while some have stayed over from the bear season of last week. You can hear them sighting in their rifles all day yesterday and again today.

The weather tonight is supposed to deteriorate with freezing rain turning to all rain by morning. I’ve got tags for two deer—a buck and a doe. While I don’t have to travel anywhere—I’ve 17 acres at the Aerie (most of it's very, very sloped) and another 20 adjacent acres that I’ve been told I could hunt on. Then again, I’ve already got two deer in the freezer and I’m feeling no pressure to even carry my rifle outdoors.

If I do go out, I’m hoping pressure on surrounding lands will push a deer or two my way. Pennsylvania requires at least three points on one side for a buck to be legal. That’s one of the reasons I picked up a doe permit. If I don’t fill either tag, I won’t feel badly.

Week 13 Results

Yet another wild weekend in college football. The schedule makers had to be pleased with all the Top 25 matchups that occurred and all those pre-title game title games that were played. You had teams playing for division titles so they could play for Conference titles. You had intrastate rivalries and a few interstate ones as well. Teams had a great deal to play for and, realizing there were a limited number of games (if any) left they went all out. There were upsets and barn burners. Numbers 1 and 2 lost, as did numbers 7 and 9. Only one team remains undefeated--Hawaii but they have one game left on their schedule before Bowl Season begins. Guys set personal records, team records and NCAA records. What a weekend!

#1/1/1 LSU (10-2, 6-2) The Tigers got beat by the Arkansas Razorbacks (8-4, 4-4) in triple OT 50-48. Did anyone check to see if Darren McFadden was wearing red and blue tights? I know he had a cape in there somewhere. McFadden ran the ball 36 times for 206 yards and 3 TDs. He completed 3 of 6 pass attempts for 36 yards. (But he didn’t catch a pass. THAT must be his weakness!) The Razorbacks compiled 513 net yards (385 on the ground) to LSU’s 413 yards. It was the second game this season the LSU Tigers have lost and both went into triple overtime. LSU’s national title hopes got crushed but they still will play for the SEC title having clinched their division’s crown prior to the game.

#2/2/2 Kansas (11-1, 7-1) The Jayhawks lost their undefeated season AND their chance for a Big 12 title 36-28 as they were totally out played by the #3/4/4 Missouri Tigers (11-1, 7-1) in the first half of their matchup. Todd Reesing led a strong Jayhawk comeback in the second half and finished the night 28 of 49 for 349 yards and 2 TDs. Unfortunately, he threw two interceptions in the first half that led to Missouri TDs and got sacked for a safety in the final minutes of the game. The Tiger’s Chase Daniel proved to be the better quarterback in this game. He was 40 for 49 for 361 yards and 3 TDs as the Tigers used short passes to control the ball and eat up the clock. Kansas became the sixth #2 ranked team to be defeated this year. They’ll be no rest for the victors, however, as Missouri moves on to play in the Big 12 Championship against Oklahoma on Saturday.

#3/4/4 Missouri Tigers (11-1, 7-1) were winners over #2/2/2 Kansas (11-1, 7-1) 36-28. (See above.)

#4/3/3 West Virginia (10-1, 5-1 BIG EAST) routed the Huskies of #20/21/20 Connecticut (9-3, 5-2) by 66-21 to clinch the BIG EAST title. The Mountaineers’ Patrick White was 9 of 13 for 107 yards and a TD but he also ran the ball 16 times for 186 yards while freshman Noel Devine ran 11 times for 118 yards and a TD. (I don’t know whether to love his parents or hate them. But I do wonder when he celebrates his birthday.) Steve Slayton only ran for 54 yards but scored 2 TDs. The 54 yards pushed him over the 1,000 yard mark with 1,042 for the year. White also surpassed the 1,000 yard mark finishing the day with 1,144. As a result White and Slaton became only the third pair of teammates to surpass the 1,000 yard mark in consecutive seasons. WVU rolled up 517 of their 624 net yards on the ground. The Mountaineers will finish their season this weekend against Pittsburgh but, while they should hope NOT to be ranked #2, they seem destined for a shot at the National Title.

#5/5/5 Ohio State (11-1, 7-1) Sat home and watched TV this week and saw their chances of a shot at the National Title improve. Personally, I don’t think they’ll be moving into either the #1 or #2 slot and will probably be leapfrogged by Georgia.

#6/7/7 Georgia (10-2, 6-2) Beat Georgia Tech 31-17 but lost their chance t battle for SEC title when Tennessee proved victorious over Kentucky. (More on that later.)

#7/6/6 Arizona State (9-2, 6-2) dropped their Thursday night game to #11/12/11 Southern California (9-2, 6-2) 44-24. In doing so, the Sun Devils also lost their chance for a Pac 10 Title and a trip to the Rose Bowl. The Trojans came to play and you really had to feel Rudy Carpenter’s pain as the USC defense teed off on him time and again sacking him six times. Carpenter managed to finish 21 of 30 for 240 yards and a TD but his counterpart, John David Booty, was 26 of 39 for 375 yards and 4 TDs.

#8/8/8 Virginia Tech (10-2, 7-1) beat #16/15/16 Virginia (9-3, 6-2) 33-21 for the chance to meet Boston College in the ACC Title game this weekend. Sean Glennon was 13 of 19 for 260 yards and a TD while his partner in the Tech QB slot, Tyrod Taylor ran for 2 TDs. Tech’s Brandon Ore ran 31 times for 147 yards.

#9/10/9 Oregon (8-3, 5-3) The Ducks dropped their game to UCLA (6-5, 5-3) 16-0. Their bright season has fallen apart since Denis Dixon tore his ACL. Neither team mustered much offense as the Bruins had just 220 net yards and the Ducks a pathetic 148. Strange as it seems, however, should UCLA upset USC and Arizona top No. 7 Arizona State the same day, the Bruins (6-5, 5-3) would get the Rose Bowl bid. That’s an unlikely scenario but this season…well, you never know.

#10/9/10 Oklahoma (10-2, 6-2) beat the Oklahoma State Cowboys (6-6, 4-4) 49-17 behind the running of tailback Allen Patrick. Patrick carried the ball 29 times for a career high 202 yards and 2 TDs. The Sooners’ Freshman QB, Sam Bradford, was 11 of 15 for 150 yards and 4 TD. He now has 30 TD passes for the season and sets a new NCAA record for a freshman. And there’s still the Big 12 Championship game against Missouri to play.

#11/12/11 Southern California (9-2, 6-2) defeated #7/6/6 Arizona State (9-2, 6-2) 44-24 putting themselves in position to win the PAC 10 title should they defeat UCLA next week.

#12/14/12 Florida (9-3, 5-3) The Gators beat up on Florida State (7-5, 4-4) 45-12 behind Tim Tebow and Percy Harvin. Harvin carried the ball 16 times for a career high 157 yards after missing the last two games due to migraines. Tebow ran for 69 yards and 2 TDs on 13 carries and was 19 of 28 for 262 yards and 3 more TDs. How did these guys lose three games?
#13/11/13 Texas (9-3, 5-3) The Longhorns lost to Texas A&M (7-5, 4-4) 38-30.

#14/13/15 Hawaii (11-0, 8-0) The Warriors’ perfect season remains intact after a win over #17/17/19 Boise State (10-2. 7-1) 39-27. Hawaii becomes the WAC Champions and the only team that is undefeated. Colt Brennan was 40 of 53 for 495 and 5 TDs—and he ran for another. Brennan has now thrown for 125 touchdowns in his career, a new NCAA record which he will surely add to against Washington next week and in whatever bowl game the Warriors appear. It took Brennan 36 games to set the record, surpassing Ty Detmer’s 122 TD tosses. It took Detmer 46 games to set that mark. Hawaii’s Devone Bess caught 15 of Brennan’s passes for 181 yards (a school record) and 2 TDs. He and Brennan have hooked up 39 times for scores—tying another NCAA record which seems doomed to fall in the coming weeks. If Hawaii is left out of a BCS game, someone’s head should roll.

#15/16/14 Boston College (10-2, 6-2) hadn’t beat Miami (Fla.) since Doug Flutie threw a “Hail Mary” pass back in 1984. That’s 15 losses to the Hurricanes in a row. Well, that streak is over. In a warm up for the ACC Championship game against Virginia Tech this week, the Eagles downed Miami (5-7, 2-6) 28-14. Matt Ryan was 26 of 43 for 369 and 3 TDs but threw 2 INT and the Eagles lost 2 fumbles. The turnovers kept the game close. BC defeated Virginia Tech in Blacksburg 14-10 on October 25. Since then the Hokies have won four straight while BC is 2-2.

#16/15/16 Virginia (9-3, 6-2) lost to #8/8/8 Virginia Tech (10-2, 7-1) 33-21 and thereby has been relegated to the ACC sidelines and must wait until the bowl play begins.

#17/17/19 Boise State (10-2. 7-1) The Broncos travelled to #14/13/15 Hawaii (11-0, 8-0) and became a 39-27 victim of the Brennan machine. Boise State is now 52-4 in the WAC since joining the conference in 2001. They had won 17 straight WAC games, with their last loss coming in 2005 at Fresno State. The Broncos had won five straight WAC titles and appeared in a BCS bowl game last year when they went undefeated.

#18/18/17 Illinois (9-3, 6-2) The Fighting Illini, like their Big Ten brethren sat this week and watched TV. Some movement in the polls will likely result in Illinois moving up a slot or two.

#19/19/18 Tennessee (9-3, 6-2) The Volunteers and the Kentucky Wildcats (7-5, 3-5) played in what seemed like “The Game That Never Ends” to determine who will face LSU for the SEC championship, Tennessee or Georgia. The Volunteers blew a 17 point lead in regulation allowing Kentucky to tie the game 31-31. The teams then played four overtimes to decide the outcome. They traded TDs in the first OT. Neither scored in the second (Tennessee’s Ainge was intercepted, Kentucky’s Lones Seiber had a field goal attempt blocked). They traded TDs in the third OT but neither made the 2-point conversion. And finally, in the fourth OT, Erik Ainge threw for a 40-yard TD to Quintin Hancock and a 2-pt conversion to Austin Rogers and, while Kentucky got a TD from a Derrick Locke 2-yard run, they failed to convert. The final score was 52-50. Erik Ainge was 28 of 45 for 397 yards and 7 TDs. Andre Woodson was 39 of 62 for 430 yards and 6 TDs. (They really should put the OT stats in a separate category.) Anyway, Tennessee gets to play LSU for the SEC Title.

#20/21/20 Connecticut (9-3, 5-2) The Huskies took it on the chin (in the case of Rudy Carpenter you can take that literally) 66-21 as #4/3/3 West Virginia (10-1, 5-1) tried to prove it belongs in the National Title game.

#21/22/22 Clemson (9-3, 5-3) edged intrastate rival South Carolina(6-6, 3-5) 23-21 on a last second 35-yard field goal. It was the fifth straight loss for the Steve Spurrier coached Gamecocks who had been 6-1 at one point in the season.

#22/20/21 Wisconsin (9-3, 5-3) The Badgers are another Big Ten team that sat back and relaxed this week.

#23/23/25 Brigham Young (9-2, 7-0) The Cougars beat Utah (8-4, 5-3) 17-10 as BYU came from a 10-9 deficit in the closing minutes on a Harvey Unga 11-yard TD and a 2-point conversion. It was the Cougars 15th consecutive victory in Mountain West play. The win also clinched the Mountain West title for the Cougars who still have one game remaining against San Diego State.

#24/NR/24 Cincinnati (9-2, 4-3) The Bearcats beat up on hapless Syracuse (2-10, 1-6) 52-31. Ben Mauk threw for a personal-best 431 yards and four touchdowns in the victory. It’s the first time since 1953 that Cincinnati has had a nine win season. Last year, while playing for Wake Forest, Mauk broke the humerus of his throwing arm trying to recover a fumble in the opening game of the year against Syracuse. Syracuse’s Andrew Robinson helped make a game of it for three quarters finishing 29-for-47 for 419 yards and three TDs. Cincinnati had allowed just 10 touchdown passes all season. But Robinson was sacked 11 times. This is the second time in three years that Syracuse has had ten loses and just the second time in school history. The Bearcats got their 39th turnover (they lead the nation in that statistic) in the third quarter on a fumble returned for a touchdown that boosted their lead to 42-31 with a bit over six mines left in the period.

#25/25/26 Auburn (8-4, 5-3) downed Alabama (6-6, 4-4) 17-10 when Brandon Cox scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak with 3:58 left in the game to go ahead 17-7 and then recovered an onsides kick after a Leigh Tiffin 49-yard field goal closed it to 17-10.

NR/NR/23 South Florida (9-3, 4-3) roughed up Pittsburgh (4-7, 2-4) in a wild affair that ended 48-37. After a slow start that saw the Panthers take a 14-10 halftime lead, Matt Grothe ran 80 yards for a TD on the first play from scrimmage in the second half and then the Bulls defense went to work. They returned two interceptions for touchdowns and returned a third 60 yards to the 1-yard line. That too resulted in a TD. Pitt QB Matt Bostick threw for three TDs and freshman running back Lesean McCoy ran for three TDs for the Panthers. It was Pittsburgh’s third straight losing season under coach Dave Wannstedt. With one game to play (West Virginia), Pittsburgh’s McCoy now has 14 touchdowns, breaking Tony Dorsett's Pitt freshman record of 13 in 1973. McCoy is 20 yards away from joining Dorsett (1,686 yards in 1973) and Curvin Richards (1,228 yards in 1988) as the only Pitt freshmen to gain more than 1,200 yards in a season. McCoy had 55 yards on 18 carries and has 1,180 yards, 81 yards off the Big East freshman record of 1,261 yards by Rutgers' Terrell Willis in 1993.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Colder than a witch's...

The thermometer took a nose dive last night. The sky was crisp and clear with not a cloud to shroud the full moon or to blanket the earth and hold any sort of heat close to the surface. As a result it was down to 15 degrees this morning at 7 AM. It's still quite cold as noon rolls around. Even the sun isn't warming things much and it's just 30 degrees on the covered porch.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Holy Moly!

Friday afternoon #1 LSU dropped an exciting game to unranked Arkansas by a score of 50-48 in triple overtime. So much for the national title hopes and aspirations of the Tigers. Twice this season LSU has been in the #1 slot. Both times they were shot down in in triple overtime. Kentucky did it the first time 43-37. (The Wildcats were ranked #17 at the time.) Luckily for the Tigers, their lead in the SEC West is such that they will still play for the SEC Championship. The question is which team meets them in the title game. Georgia is currently atop the SEC East but it's conference play is over. Tennessee has one more conference game to play and if they win, they get to play LSU; lose and the Bulldogs are it. Who do the Volunteers have to beat? Why Kentucky, of course.

#13/11/13 Texas lost to Texas A&M 38-30. The loss gives the Longhorns a 5-3 (9-3 overall) record in the Big 12 and eliminates them from division title hopes...I think. Oklahoma leads the division with a 5-2 (9-2 overall) record. They beat Texas earlier so even if the Sooners lose tomorrow they will still be judged to have a better record than Texas. But the Sooners play Oklahoma State which has a record 4-3, 6-5. I'm guessing that should the Cowboys prevail, the Sooners are still in the title game on the strength of their better overall record. But it could be time to look at the second, third and even fourth tie breakers. All three teams would be 5-3 in conference. Oklahoma would have a 9-3 overall record and victory over Texas. Texas would have a 9-3 record overall and a win over Oklahoma State. And Ok. St. would be weak 7-5 over all but would have a victory over Oklahoma in its pocket.

I almost forgot, we still have #14/13/15 Hawaii (10-0, 7-0) against #17/17/19 Boise State (10-1. 7-0) coming up tonight. They are playing for the WAC title.

That’s one.
Upset that is.

The Thursday night upset bug bit #7/6/6 Arizona State in the butt last night as the #11/12/11 USC Trojans mugged Rudy Carpenter and crew 44-24. Carpenter got knocked to the ground time and time again as the Trojans’ defense recorded six sacks and limited the Sun Devils to just 16 yards on 35 attempts.

With the win, USC puts itself in position for a Rose Bowl berth. All it will take is a win over UCLA next week and one Oregon loss. The latter seemed unlikely a few weeks ago but with Dennis Dixon out for the year, the Ducks will have a tough time against both UCLA and Oregon State. Either or both could take Oregon out of the picture.

Mein Gott!

I sure do hope that all those foolish brave souls who headed out to do their shopping on Black Friday bundled up last night for their camping in the parking lots. As I mentioned, a cold front swept through yesterday afternoon and the temperatures plummeted in its wake. Yesterday morning at the Aerie it was nearly 50 degrees at 7 AM today it was just 20 degrees.

Those pushing (yeah, like in drugs) Global Climate Change said their would be dramatic swings in the extreme ranges but this is ridiculous.

The little birds and the grey squirrels are hitting the feeders hard. And I'm thinking of lighting a fire.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


The nephew (Brian), his girlfriend (Vicky) and my Mother-in-Law are on their way back to NJ after a very filling Thanksgiving dinner. I sincerely hope they have an uneventful drive. I'm too stuffed to do much except watch some football on TV and maybe take a nap. They plan to drive down to Atlantic City tomorrow for a view of the boardwalk and a visit to the casinos. Vicky is from Tempe and, while she has lived in Charleston, SC, she has never experienced the Jersey Shore. (Not that Atlantic City is representative of the Jersey Shore or anything.) I would take her to Long Beach Island or maybe Wildwood. But, Brian and my Mother-in-Law have an established history of going to AC for a little gambling on Black Friday and they want to continue in this vein.

This morning there were clouds and showers sweeping through the area and early in the day we spotted a full rainbow to the northwest of the cabin as the sun rose behind the Aerie.

I took them everyone on a little road tour of northern Tioga County as Terry prepared our feast showing them the town of Wellsboro and then going up to Ive's Run on Hammond Lake, and the overlook at the Hammond/Tioga connector. We saw Bald Eagles at both spots. For Vicky, this was the first time she had ever seen an Eagle in the wild. I had just mentioned to them that there were eagles nesting in the area when I spotted the first one on a tree limb overhanging Crooked Creek at Ive's Run. The other two were soaring over the waters of Tioga Lake and we spotted them from the overlook.

below us in the channel between the lakes was a huge raft of mergansers. When I looked down, they spooked and all of them churned up the water and beat their wings in quick retreat out of the deep canyon like channel into Hammond Lake. A very impressive display as there must have been a hundred or more birds down there.

Weather today was -- changeable. The day started with a scattered shower or two but lots of blue sky peeking through the clouds. Then the wind started increasing. We had some showers around two PM but if you didn't like the weather you only had to wait a few minutes. A cold front was moving through and that accounted for the changes. The temperatures that reached as high as 57 degrees at noon had dropped to 38 degrees by 3:30 and are forecast to drop into the low 20s tonight.

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving.

Here at the Aerie we are looking forward to turkey and venison with yams, stuffing, mashed potatoes, string beans, corn and carrots, cranberry sauce, cole slaw, and rye bread. Dessert will be apple, pumpkin and pecan pies toped with whipped cream and/or ice cream. Wine and champagne will be drunk with diner. Glenlivet for afterwards.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Weather Report.

before I left yesterday, a good portion of the snow had melted in the Aerie yard but there was still some in the woods. Today it is all gone as the temperature reached 54 degrees this afternoon. Mix that with a little light drizzle over the past 36 hours and it goes along way toward explaining the fog.

We had 0.5 inches in the rain gauge yesterday from the melting snow. We're rapidly making up for the poor performance of summer. October was wet and now so has been November.


Made it back to the Aerie after a night in NJ at the Mother-in-Law's. I hit the road at 7 AM and traveled a short distance up the Parkway to the I-78 exit then headed west to Route 24 'til I got to I-287. Took that north to I-80 and headed back to PA. The beginning of the trip was during the height of rush hour traffic and congestion was the rule but once on I-80 west bound I was headed against the flow and almost all the congestion ended in the vicinity of the Rockaway Mall and Route 15. From then on it was just tractor trailers, long distance drivers (Ohio, Maine, Maryland, Virginia, DC, etc.) and me.

Here's one of the reasons I made the trip:
2007 Yaris
It's my daughter's "new" "used" car: a 2007 Yaris with approximately 6750 miles on the odometer.

If my truck had an 8' bed I could probably haul the little Yaris home. As it is, it almost would fit in the 6.5' bed of the Tundra.

It took us nearly three hours to get all the paperwork done and get out of the dealership. Way more time than was needed and almost a full two hours more than it took fro me to dot all the 'i"s and cross all the "t"s when I bought the Tundra last month. I'll blame part of that on NJ vs PA, but part just seemed to be too many people involved: car salesman, financing person, warranty salesman, cashier, etc. I think we talked with five different people and had to sign the same papers twice on several occasions. (They also had to "inspect" her trade-in--a 1996 Cavalier--even though they were giving her next to nothing for it. It still ate up 15 minutes of our time.)

Oh, the dealer is on the east bound side of Rt. 22 just west of the Parkway. And we drove there at 4 in the afternoon. I forgot about the madness (and it is near total) along that stretch of 22 not having been on it at that hour for about 8 years. But I survived! (Although I did have some concern about being rear-ended while I waited to make the U-turn to the east bound side of the highway. My brand new truck's ass end was sticking out into the fast lane and despite having my signal on I could imaging some yahoo thinking he was driving the Indy 500 creaming me.)

I probably saw more cars yesterday afternoon and this morning than I would see if I parked my butt on the stop light at THE corner down in Mansfield for a week.

The other reason for making the trip was, of course, to see my daughter. because of her work schedule she won't be able to make the drive to the Aerie with her cousin and their Grandma this afternoon.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

In NJ *sigh*

I survived the drive into NJ and am currently at my Mother-in-laws house (which is where my Daughter resides) between Routes 27 and 1. Everything was fine coming east on I-80 until I got around Stroudsburg. Then things started to build slightly but it was still moving until I hit the hills in Allamuchy. There, for some reason, there is always one tractor trailer that doesn't know how to use the truck lane on the far right. Invariably a slightly (but not much) faster semi pulls out to the left of slowpoke #1 and they block two lanes of the four lanes. Today I hit the jackpot. Three semis and a charter bus from Peoria were strung across ALL the lanes of traffic and creeping up the hill at 40 miles an hour.

Once passed the blockade, things went well for a bit until I fell behind a truck laying down a smoke screen that would have done my Dad proud. (He drove a smoke truck in the North Africa and Italy campaigns during WWII. His smoke obscured the movements of the allied troops from enemy eyes.) When I finally caught up to this "smoker" I saw it wasn't exhaust but a locked up axle or something. So much smoke was coming from one of the rear axles that I felt sure that if he stopped he might have burst into flame.

Once at Mother-in-Law's, I met up with my daughter and we drove over to the car dealership on Route 22 to close the deal on a used Yaris. Of course it was at 4:00 PM in the afternoon and the rush hour had begun. The traffic was moving but very heavy and we had to make a U-turn across the broad island of Rt. 22 to change direction from westbound to eastbound. The number of cars I saw in the 5 minutes I sat at in the U-turn lane far surpassed what I see in a week out in PA or even in the four hour drive between the Aerie and the Bolt Hole.

We succeeded in making it to the dealer and spent nearly three hours filling out paperwork. That was both a bad thing and a good thing. It was bad because I can't believe it takes that long for them to finalize all the paperwork involved in selling a car and taking one as trade-in. Yet taking so long was a good thing because it meant that most of the traffic was over when we left to return to the Mother-in-Law's for dinner.

Tomorrow I get to make the 4 1/2 hour drive back to the Aerie but I'll be doing it as soon as the sun comes up and I can get a cup of coffee. With luck I'll avoid the heavy traffic from the holiday goers. The Mother-in-Law has to await the arrival of her grandson (my nephew) and his girlfriend before they can drive out to the Aerie. They should be able to head west around 1 PM. My daughter will be unable to come out for Thanksgiving dinner because of her work schedule.

On the road to *spit* NJ today

Fog or no fog, I'll be saddling up to drive into that hell-hole of congestion known as New Jersey today.

The daughter's 11-12 year-old Cavalier has terminal transmissionitis and so she has picked up a 2007 Yaris. Things being what they are, she needs me to provide a down payment. The only way to get it to her is for me to hand deliver it. So, I'll take the 250 mile ride down I-80 but I'm staying overnight which means driving back on the day before Thanksgiving. *shudder* The Delaware River toll booth should be backed up to Morris County. Yeah, my nephew, his girlfriend and Grandma will be taking that same drive later in the afternoon but he's young and foolish. I should know better and except for my daughter's emergency I WOULD know better. Hell, I'd much rather be at the Aerie with a tumbler of Glenlivit on the rocks or even helping Terry clean up for company than be on the road the day before Thanksgiving.

I'll probably swing past my sister's place for some furniture while I'm there. I'd hate to have to go back too often.

Morning Weather Report from the Aerie

The temperatures have been climbing all night and have soared to 35 degrees as of 7:00 AM. Despite considerable winds the snow that fell on Saturday-Sunday has been rotting and producing a thick fog. Visibility is pretty low at the 2100 foot elevation but if it weren't for the wind, it would be pea-soup fog for sure. (Reminds me of the time my sister-in-law and I had to walk from Lake of the Clouds to the train depot atop Mount Washington. We tag teamed the rock cairns that marked the trail. One would venture out to spot the next cairn while on would stay within sight of the previous one. In that manner we leapfrogged our way to the peak to catch the first--and last--train on the cog railway heading down that day.)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Week 12 Poll Postions
and Opponents for Week 13

Week 12 is in the books and the new poll standings are out. There's a lot at stake this week as teams play for division and conference titles. There are many, many games between the Top 25 teams so expect quite a bit of movement in the polls next Sunday.

I’ll give the AP Writers’/Coaches’/BCS Standings. If a team is not in the Top 25 of one or more of the polls I’ll enter an “NR” in that slot.

1/1/1 LSU (10-1, 6-1) The Tigers remain everyone’s ##1 team for another week. This Friday, they play at home against Arkansas (7-4, 3-4) to close out the regular season and then must face either Georgia or Tennessee in the SEC title game.

2/2/2 Kansas (11-0, 7-0) The undefeated Jayhawks have the unenviable position of the dreaded #2 slot. On Saturday they host #3/4/4 Missouri (10-1, 6-1)

3/4/4 Missouri (10-1, 6-1) The Tigers play at #2/2/2 Kansas on Saturday for the privilege of facing Oklahoma for the Big 12 Championship.

4/3/3 West Virginia The Mountaineers are in the catbird seat. This week they play Connecticut for the BIG EAST title. Win that game and while they will still have to play Pittsburgh, they stand a good chance of being #2 when the smoke clears in two weeks time and that will earn them a shot at the National Title.

5/5/5 Ohio State (11-1, 7-1) The Buckeyes’ regular season is over. They are the champs of the Big Ten. They are going to the Rose Bowl…maybe. In this wacky world of college football nothing is certain. They could still end up #2 with a shot at the National Title if some crazy (or maybe not so crazy) things happen above them.

6/7/7 Georgia (9-2, 6-2) The Bulldogs are currently leading the SEC East but they play out of conference this week at Georgia Tech (7-4, 4-4) which gives Tennessee (8-3, 5-2) a chance to slip past them into the top spot. All for the chance to play LSU for the SEC title.

7/6/6 Arizona State (9-1, 6-1) The Sun Devils currently sit atop the PAC 10 standings but host Southern California (8-2, 5-2) this Thanksgiving and Arizona a week later. They need to win out to ensure a title.

8/8/8 Virginia Tech (9-2, 6-1) The Hokies travel to Virginia (8-2, 6-1) whom they must beat to garner the ACC Coastal Division and a chance to face Boston College for the ACC crown.

9/10/9 Oregon (8-2, 5-2) Number 2 just last week, the Ducks must travel to UCLA (5-5, 4-3) this Saturday and host Oregon State (7-4, 5-3) the week after. They must win both to have a shot at the PAC Ten title. And without Dennis Dixon (done for the year with a torn ACL) that might be impossible.

10/9/10 Oklahoma (9-2, 5-2) hosts Oklahoma State (6-5, 4-3) whom it must defeat to stay at the top of the Big 12 South. If they stay there, it’s on to play either Kansas or Missouri for the Big 12 title.

11/12/11 Southern California (8-2, 5-2) travels to Arizona State (9-1, 6-1) on Thanksgiving night. Should they win, they might just end up as the PAC 10 Champs again.

12/14/12 Florida (8-3, 5-3) The Gators are playing out of conference as they host Florida State. I wonder when they will let South Florida play for the state’s bragging rights?

13/11/13 Texas (9-2, 5-2) The Longhorns play at Texas A&M (6-5, 3-4) for the champeenship of Texas and maybe, a chance at a Big 12 South crown should Oklahoma stumble.

14/13/15 Hawaii (10-0, 7-0) The Warriors host the Boise State broncos (10-1, 7-0) in a game for the WAC title. It’s their first real test of the season. Guess we’ll get to see just how healthy Colt Brennan is this week.

15/16/14 Boston College (9-2, 5-2) The Eagles are already the ACC Atlantic champs. A win at home over Miami (Fla.) (5-6, 2-5) will just give the faithful something else to celebrate.

16/15/16 Virginia (9-2, 6-1) host Virginia Tech (9-2, 6-1) to see who is going to be the ACC Coastal champs and who will play Boston College for the ACC crown.

17/17/19 Boise State (10-1. 7-0) The broncos travel to Hawaii (10-0, 7-0) to see who is the WAC champs.

18/18/17 Illinois (9-3, 6-2) The Fighting Illini have finished their regular season and are waiting to see which bowl game they will be playing.

19/19/18 Tennessee (8-3, 5-2) The Volunteers play at Kentucky (7-4, 3-4). If they win, they will be the SEC East champs and get to play LSU for the SEC title. Lose and Georgia is in.

20/21/20 Connecticut (9-2, 5-1) The Huskies play at West Virginia (9-1, 4-1) for the BIG EAST title. (Yeah, WVU also has to play Pittsburgh, but should the Huskies win it won’t matter.)

21/22/22 Clemson (8-3, 5-3) The Tigers play out of conference at South Carolina (6-5, 3-5) for bragging rights in SC.

22/20/21 Wisconsin (9-3, 5-3) The Badgers season is over. They finished in fourth place in the Big Ten and should be headed to a bowl game.

23/23/25 Brigham Young (8-2, 6-0) The Cougars host Utah (8-3, 5-2). Win and are the champs of the mountain West Conference despite having to play at San Diego State in a game postponed by forest fires.

24/NR/24 Cincinnati (8-2, 3-3) The Bearcats play at Syracuse (2-9, 1-5) this week as they try to improve their bowl position.

25/25/26 Auburn (7-4, 4-3) The Tigers face off against Alabama (6-5, 4-3) in a major rivalry game.

NR/NR/23 South Florida (8-3, 3-3) The Bulls play at Pittsburgh (4-6, 2-3) to close out their regular season. It’s a chance to improve their bowl bid.

"All In A Good Cause"

More harm has been done in the name of a “Good Cause” than perhaps out and out aggression.

Orson Scott Card wrote an Op-Ed piece recently examining the IPCC report that recently shared the Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore. In it he exposes the fraudulent and secretive science that forms the foundation of the committee’s report and recommendations. It is worth reading: All in a Good Cause by Orson Scott Card.

Precisely why some investigative reporter hasn’t done the leg work to disassemble this hoax is a wonder.

To Blog or Not to Blog

That is the question!

Tell me you can listen to this and not have 1) our toes a-tapping and 2) the tune running through your head when he's done.

(h/t to Miss Cellania)


With this morning’s snows came a small flock of Evening Grosbeaks. At first the half a dozen birds simply sat in the tops of the poplars in front of the Aerie but, as they watched me shovel the deck and the chickadees, nuthatches and titmice visited the feeders, they too decided to sample the sunflower seeds.

Male evening grossbeak
Male Evening Grosbeak.

Female evening grossbeak
Female Evening Grosbeak.

This is the first time in a long time that Terry and I have seen this species and a first for the Aerie. Just last week, members of the Tiadaghton Audubon Society were wondering where these lovely birds have been.

Snow report

Snowed most of the night and it's still coming down lightly right now. Total accumulations at the Aerie are in the 6-8 inch range though the TV reports depths of 8 inches in the neighboring town.

Missing Mtn Found!
With the snow letting up (not ending!) you can see the ridge in the background that was "missing" yesterday.

5+ inches on deck rail
Snow can pile up quite nicely on the broad deck rail in the absence of any wind.

I'll have to refill the feeders soon. And dump the thistle. It's probably stale by now which is why the finches aren't using it as much as they should.

Grill awaits better days
The grill awaits better days as the blue sky attempts to break through the cloud cover.

Today's opening day of bear hunting season here in PA. Much of the hunting is done by driving through a patch of woods to get the more or less nocturnal bear on its feet and moving toward a group of hunters who are on stand hoping to ambush the bruin. With todays fresh snow, the hunters might be able to see the bear more easily and spot the tracks of any bear that might have left the hunting area; sneaking past both drivers and standers.

Me? I'm going to have to dig out the snow shovel and clear the deck.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Still snowing

While the amount of snow falling decreased during the mid-day hours, it never really stopped. At sundown we had about 3 inches on the rail of the deck. Warnings trailed across the bottom of the TV screen saying accumulations in the southern part of the county will amount to 4 to 8 inches while we will have 4 or 5 before morning. It is supposed to stop by 5 AM.

And the temperature at the Aerie never got above 32 degrees today.

[UPDATE: Terry watched this evening's news where they forecast 5-7 inches for the mountain tops. We aren't on the "mountain top" as that is at 2400 feet and we are only at 2100 feet. Still, we're close enough to that level.]

Mark Steyn:
World should give thanks for America

If you’ve got a few minutes, go over and read from Mark Steyn’s weekend column.

He starts off with some humor but soon gets down to the brass tacks of his piece which seems to be that the reason so many around the world (and even within our own borders) look askance upon our fine country is that we’ve been around so long.
But Americans aren't novelty junkies on the important things. The New World is one of the oldest settled constitutional democracies on Earth, to a degree the Old World can barely comprehend. Where it counts, Americans are traditionalists.
We know Eastern Europe was a totalitarian prison until the Nineties, but we forget that Mediterranean Europe (Greece, Spain, Portugal) has democratic roots going all the way back until, oh, the mid-Seventies; France and Germany's constitutions date back barely half a century, Italy's only to the 1940s, and Belgium's goes back about 20 minutes, and currently it's not clear whether even that latest rewrite remains operative. The U.S. Constitution is not only older than France's, Germany's, Italy's or Spain's constitution, it's older than all of them put together.

Americans think of Europe as Goethe and Mozart and 12th century castles and 6th century churches, but the Continent's governing mechanisms are no more ancient than the Partridge Family. Aside from the Anglophone democracies, most of the nation-states in the West have been conspicuous failures at sustaining peaceful political evolution from one generation to the next, which is why they're so susceptible to the siren song of Big Ideas – communism, fascism, European Union.

Add to the longevity factor some pride in who and what we are and the desire to be somebody—in a national sort of way and you really send some away scratching their heads.
So Americans should be thankful they have one of the last functioning nation-states. Europeans, because they've been so inept at exercising it, no longer believe in national sovereignty, whereas it would never occur to Americans not to. This profoundly different attitude to the nation-state underpins, in turn, Euro-American attitudes to transnational institutions such as the United Nations.

But on this Thanksgiving the rest of the world ought to give thanks to American national sovereignty, too. When something terrible and destructive happens – a tsunami hits Indonesia, an earthquake devastates Pakistan – the United States can project itself anywhere on the planet within hours and start saving lives, setting up hospitals and restoring the water supply.

Yeah. That’s got to hurt some European pride. Instead of swooping in to scoop up the booty, loot and pillage the natural resources of an inflicted and powerless country, the US armed forces are more likely to offer real aid like hospitals, medical care, water purification and the like. While the European nations have none of the manpower to do the same and so whip out the checkbook and write a check—usually for a tiny fraction of what the US is doing.

Rutgers Men’s BBall falls to Florida 88-63

Rutgers R.small

Despite having four players score in double figures, the Scarlet Knights, led by JR Inman’s 17 point effort could not overcome the two time national champion Florida Gators who had five players in double figures.

The RU squad hung in there in the first 15 minutes of the game and the score was tied at 31 with 5:52 left in the opening half. That’s when the Gators went on a 17-2 run to close out the stanza and effectively put the game away.

Freshmen guards Mike Coburn and Corey Chandler as well as Junior guard Anthony Farmer each had 10 points for the Knights.

The Gator’s were led by Marreese Speights’ 18 points

In dropping this final game of the Blue Ribbon Challenge, Rutgers fell to 3-1. They will return to the friendly confines of the RAC to play Dartmouth on Tuesday night.

Florida improved its record to 4-0.

The full story and stats can be found here.

RU slips past Pittsburgh 20-16
plus a look at the BIG EAST bowl chances

Rutgers R.small
Rutgers eked out a victory over Pittsburgh 20-16 in their final home game of the season yesterday. Mike Teel threw for a 56-yard touchdown to Kenny Britt before his troublesome sore thumb limited his playing time and Ray Rice ran for 112 yards and one TD while Jeremy Ito nailed two field goals for the other RU points. It was a near thing as the Panthers had the ball in the closing moments only to be called for offensive pass interference in the end zone on what could have been the winning score and they then were intercepted with mere seconds to go.

The Scarlet Knights improved to 7-4 overall and 3-3 in the BIG EAST while Pitt fell to 4-6 and 2-3 in conference play.

The full story and stats can be found here.

In other BIG EAST play West Virginia downed Cincinnati 28-23 and Connecticut defeated Syracuse 30-7 setting up a virtual title game this weekend. South Florida rolled over Louisville 55-17 in the other BIG EAST matchup of the week.
The remaining BIG EAST schedule:
UConn at West Virginia on Nov. 24
Cincinnati at Syracuse on Nov. 24
South Florida at Pittsburg on Nov. 24
Rutgers at Louisville on Nov. 29
Pittsburgh at West Virginia on Dec. 1

The Bowl picture:
Five BIG EAST teams are currently bowl eligible.
UConn 9-2 overall 5-1 in the BIG EAST
West Virginia 9-1, 4-1
Cincinnati 8-3, 3-3
South Florida 8-3, 3-3
Rutgers 7-4, 3-3

The winner of the UConn/West Virginia game will more than likely be the league champion and move on to a BCS bowl. (There is a tiny chance of that not happening, but it’s very, very unlikely.) Last year the BIG EAST was 5-0 in bowl games. It would be nice to see them do it again.

Snow at the Aerie

Woke up this Sunday morning to 28 degrees at 8 AM (hey! there was lots of football last night!) and snow falling. When I checked with I found that they are reporting a current temperature of 34 degrees with a high of 38 for today. The snow is supposed to stop with total accumulations of 2 inches or so with the possibility of more at the higher elevations. The Aerie is at a higher elevation (2100 feet) which is why our temperatures are usually around 5 degrees cooler. (I’d love to know where they ( have their reporting station.)

Winter Wonderland
Winter Wonderland (?)

With no breeze to speak of, the powdery snow adorns the trees and goldenrod stalks. There’s another hill out there in the distance that is hidden by the snowfall.

Week 12 Results

Week 12 Results

Hoo-boy. Another wild weekend in college football land. It's a good thing there were so many teams with the week off. As it was two Top 5 teams fell to unranked opponents.

I’ll be using the AP Writers’/the Coaches’/ and the BCS polls in that order. NR means a team doesn’t show in the Top 25.

#1/1/1 LSU (10-1, 6-1) traveled to Mississippi (3-8, 0-7) No upset here. LSU wins 41-24 to remain #1

#2/2/2 Oregon (8-2, 5-2) Arizona (5-6, 4-4) I wrote: “Dennis Dixon and crew should be fun to watch.” Well, they might have been but the Thursday night Upset Bug bit #2 Oregon this week as Dennis Dixon’s weak knee took him out of the game early allowing Arizona to breath easily in the second quarter as they scored 21 points. Dixon looked fine on a 39-yard TD run but just a series latter his knee gave out and he crumpled to the turf untouched. Antoine Carson returned an interception of the Ducks’ back-up QB Brady Leaf and a punt for TDs for Arizona. Arizona wins 34-24.

#3/3/4 Oklahoma (9-1, 5-1) Oklahoma didn’t even come close against Texas Tech (7-4, 3-4) as the Red Raiders prevented a Sooners’ season sweep against the Lone Star state. The Sooners had previously taken down North Texas, Texas, Texas A&M, and Baylor. Oklahoma dropped this one 34-27 after they lost Sam Bradford, their starting QB, early in the first quarter. Back up QB Joey Halzle nearly pulled it out but Graham Harrell, the Raiders QB had a great game throwing the ball. Harrell threw for more than 400 yards for the 10th time this season. In this game he completed 46 of 72 attempts for 421 yards for 2 TDs.

#4/4/3 Kansas (11-0, 7-0) The Jayhawks remain undefeated beating Iowa State (3-9, 2-6) 45-7. Next up is Missouri.

#5/5/6 West Virginia (9-1, 4-1) The Mountaineers edged Cincinnati (8-2, 3-3) 28-23 in a game with National Title implications—if WVU can get passed UConn next week.

#6/6/5 Missouri (10-1, 6-1) The Tigers beat Kansas State (5-6, 3-5) 49-32. Next week they play Kansas.

#7/7/7 Ohio State (11-1, 7-1) The Buckeyes put themselves in the Rose Bowl and maybe back in the hunt for a National Title game with a win over Michigan (8-4, 6-2) 14-3.

#8/9/9 Georgia (9-2, 6-2) The Bulldogs beat Kentucky (7-4, 3-4) 24-13 to stay ahead of Tennessee atop the SEC East.

#9/8/8 Arizona State (9-1, 6-1) The Sun Devils were idle this week. Next up on Thanksgiving Day: #11/13/11 USC.

#10/10/10 Virginia Tech (9-2, 6-1) The Hokies hosted Miami (Fla.) (5-6, 2-5). VT is now tied with Virginia for the ACC Coastal Division with a match between the two scheduled for November 24.

#11/13/11 Southern California (8-2, 5-2) The Trojans were idle this week. Next up on Thanksgiving Day: #9/8/8 Arizona State.

#12/11/13 Texas (9-2, 5-2) The Longhorns (idle this week) have beaten just about everyone else in the state (TCU, Rice, Baylor, Texas Tech), now they travel to play Texas A&M (6-5, 3-4) on November 23rd.

#13/12/16 Hawaii (10-0, 7-0) The Warriors of Hawaii played without Colt Brennan for all but two plays. Backup Tyler Graunke stepped in and threw for 358 yards and 2 TDs while Dan Kelly kicked a 45-yard FG with 11 seconds left to win over Nevada (5-5, 3-3) 28-26.

#14/14/12 Florida (8-3, 5-3) The Gators feasted on the Florida Atlantic Owls (5-5, 4-1) at the Swamp this week, 59-20. Tebow has now thrown for 20 TDs and run for 20. One more record for the sophomore QB.

#15/16/15 Clemson (8-3, 5-3) The Tigers dropped a close one to Boston College Eagles (9-2, 5-2) in a battle for first place in the ACC Atlantic Division. BC is in the ACC Championship game.

#16/17/14 Virginia (9-2, 6-1) Idle this week, the Cavaliers can take the ACC Coastal Division by defeating Virginia Tech on November 24.

#17/15/18 Boise State (10-1, 7-0) The Broncos used that Smurf Turf to their advantage against Idaho (1-10, 0-7) 58-14. The Broncos final game is for all the WAC marbles at Hawaii on No v. 23.

#18/18/17 Boston College (9-2, 6-2) Managed to defeat Clemson (8-3, 5-3) to win the ACC Atlantic Division and will face Virginia or Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship game. (Although they do have to play Miami (Fla.) next week.)

#19/19/20 Tennessee (8-3, 5-2) The Volunteers squeaked past Vanderbilt (5-6, 2-6) 25-24. The Commodores missed a long field goal in the closing minute.

#20/21/19 Illinois (9-3, 7-2) The Juice Williams led Fighting Illini beat Northwestern (6-6, 3-5) 41-22.

#21/25/22 Cincinnati (8-3, 3-3) The Bearcats lost a close one to #5/5/6 West Virginia (9-1, 4-1) 28-23.

#22/20/23 Kentucky (7-4, 3-4) The Wildcats lost to #8/9/9 Georgia (9-2, 6-2) 24-13.

#23/23/21 Michigan (8-4, 6-2) The Wolverines dropped this one to #7/7/7 Ohio State (11-1, 7-1) 14-3.

#24/24/25 Wisconsin (9-3, 5-3) defeated Minnesota (1-11, 0-8) 41-34.

#25/NR/24 Connecticut (9-2, 5-1) The Huskies took care of business against Syracuse (2-9, 1-5) 30-7. Next up for the Huskies: West Virginia in Morgantown.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

6 to 1

I think I'm goin' to Iceland.


We had a visitor on the porch this afternoon.

White-breasted Nuthatch

This white-breasted nuthatch tried to use the sliding glass door as a shortcut through the kitchen and out the front. Nope. That won't work.

He thumped in to the glass pretty hard but after about 15 minutes was able to fly off on his own.

Woodworking: Doors for the basement

I spent the last couple of days turning some left over pine flooring into doors for the workshop and utility room in the basement. The flooring is tongue and groove, 1-1/2 inches thick and about 5-inches wide. Enough was left over from the flooring of the upstairs bedroom and loft to construct three doors 80" tall. The doors are 36" wide for the workshop and two 24" wide for the utility room.

The doors are exactly like the one we built for the entrance to the attic off the loft.

Workshop door
The workshop door, 36" wide by 80" tall is ready to have the hardware installed.

2 doors for the utility room
Two 24" wide door panels are glued up and the braces have been screwed on the back side of the doors.

These doors are only slightly thicker than a paneled door I might have purchased at Lowes or Home Depot, but because they are solid--that is there is no recessed panel structure--they are pretty heavy.

While I was working at cutting these to length and riping a couple pieces to obtain the correct width, I ended up covered in sawdust. All I could think of was how clean Norm Abrahms shop always is and how there is never any sawdust on his flannel shirts.

I definitely need to get myself a shop apron and a really good vac/dust removal system.

More trouble for the "settled" science
of ACC*

(*Anthropomorphic Climate Change)

Over at Ace of Spades the Purple Avenger has posted this:

NASA: Arctic ocean changes may not be due to global warming which links to this report: NASA Sees Arctic Ocean Circulation Do an About-Face which contains some interesting observations.

Coupled with the item on la Nina I posted about yesterday I can’t help but think things will get very interesting in the next couple of years.

Is there a warranty with the Nobel Prize? You know, just in case it really is all hooey?

[BTW: The temps at the Aerie stayed right at 28 degrees all night and there was a dusting of snow on the ground this morning. As noon approaches it has warmed all the way to 33 degrees.]

Friday, November 16, 2007

But the science is settled. Isn't it?

Looks like the Aerie is not the only cool cold place today.

Al Gore Wrong Again
On October 14, 1997, Vice President Al Gore said, “For those who argue that global warming is already changing the world’s climate, this year’s El Nino weather front is more than enough evidence”, the audience was told by Gore. In the next day, a report by the San Francisco Chronicle said: “Gore links El Nino to Global Warming”. The Vice President stated at the summit that growing frequency of El Nino episodes could be connected to the gradual heating of the atmosphere caused by emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Ten years later residents in Argentina and Brazil are wondering if this winter will ever end. Buenos Aires recorded this Thursday (November 15th) the lowest November temperature in 90 years. Temperature in the Downtown weather station reached 2.5C. Since records began more than a century ago, only two days had colder lows in November. It was in 1914 (1.6) and 1917 (2.4). And ninety years ago the urban heat island effect was much less pronounced than nowadays. In Brazil's southernmost province Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil temperatures fell to 2.3C. In Sao Joaquim Monday's (Nov., 12) the temperature was -1.2 C with frost.

The culprit is a developing la Nina, a cooling of the water in the eastern Pacific along the South American coast, that some climatologists believe could indicate a return to the la Nina dominated situation that dominated from 1947 to 1977. El Ninos, a warming of East Pacific waters, have been more common since then. Some climatologists believe the el Ninos may have caused what the IPCC calls "global warming".

But I thought ALL climatologists unequivocally blamed greenhouse gases for global warming? That it was all man's fault?

If you scroll down through the comments, pay attention to the freeze warning someone copy-and-pasted for South Carolina and Georgia.

[BTW: It never did get above 31 degrees here at the Aerie today. The average high for this day is 47 degrees.]

Brrr! (once more)(yet again)

The wind has been blowing out of the north-northwest all night and bringing with it what is perhaps THE major export of Canada--cold air. (Yeah, I know that Canada supplies the US with a great deal of natural gas used to heat homes and such. It's just their polite way of making up for all that damn cold air.)

It was 34 degrees just after midnight according to my max-min indoor-outdoor thermometer and dropped to just under 30 degrees at 10 AM. Any water on the deck from yesterday's rain has frozen.

It's overcast and windy (not breezy) and raw. You can smell snow in the air but we're just supposed to get flurries. A peek at the automated weather maps shows lake effect snow showers streaming southeast off Lakes Erie and Ontario.

The chickadees, titmice, nuthatches and goldfinches are hitting the feeders pretty hard and they have been joined by a bevy of gray squirrels.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

National Ammo Day is
right around the corner

November 19th is National Ammo Day. I may have to go out and buy a couple boxes for the Super Redhawk. I haven’t had it out to fire in a couple of years what with having damn few places in NJ to pull out that six-shooting bad boy and then being in transition with everything in storage at the Bolt Hole in NY the nanny-state where I was technically not supposed to have it at all. Yeah, a couple boxes of .44 Magnum (just so I can work on strengthening my wrist) and then I’ll have to find myself a place to go shoot.

(I’m going to have to get something lighter to plink with or maybe for personal defense—maybe both. I might even see about getting a carry permit. Maybe in April when buy a gun day rolls around.

No need to purchase any rifle ammunition. Only fired once so far this season and twice last year. Didn’t even get to use the bench rest for practice this summer so I’ve got scads of .270 and .30-.30 ammo. I did buy more sabotted bullets and powder for the muzzle loader this fall but didn’t see a damn deer during the entire week. Ergo I only had to make one “shot” when I dumped my load. (That sounds kinda scatological, doesn’t it?)

One thing I will have to get before spring is a couple of dozen arrows. Over the years, practice with the bow (which I do do or I won’t go hunting with it) has taken its toll in bent shafts from hitting one arrow against one already in the target and the occasional flyer that hits the backstop. I’ve only split one arrow Robin Hood style but have damaged two or three knocks in the last three years. Right now, I’ve got about a dozen arrows with mismatched fletching and it plays havoc with my groupings. I wonder, do arrows count as “ammo”?

Evening Weather Update

We left the aerie at 9:45 AM to drive east to Deposit, NY and the Beaver Mountain offices. It was snowing like crazy at the time and an inch of wet snow was on the ground. It had rained much of the night. At the bottom of the hill (the Aerie is at 2100 feet, the major road in the valley is at 1400 feet), the temperature had risen enough that, while there was some wet snow falling, it was not accumulating on the ground.

It rained much of the way to Beaver Mountain and a goodly portion of the way back. On checking the rain gauge when we returned, I found we had had 0.9 inches of rain at the Aeire since yesterday.

The temperature is dropping again and we may be in for some snow showers for the next two or three days.

A Visit by A Gore Disciple

This is long but I have to say it.

Last night’s speaker at the TAS (Tiadaghton Audubon Society) was a young woman from Germany here in the states to study grassland sparrows out of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Her talk was one of the slide show presentations of Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth about climate change as caused by man.

I had promised to behave and did so …mostly. I only interrupted a few times. The bulk of the audience either agreed with all/some of the questionable evidence and predictions being made or just wanted to be polite, so I kept my mouth shut unless something seemed too unreal.

A number of the TAS members (whom I never see at the monthly meetings or on bird walks) had seen the movie and so were able to answer questions posed by the presenter or, as Terry so aptly put it, were able to shout, “AMEN!” at the appropriate times. (Actually it was more likely that they would shout, “Exxon/Mobil!” when the time came to blame some corporation for all the “deniers”, “Skeptics” and “not reputable” scientists out there still combating the True Believers. Yeah, at times it was like a camp revival meeting. Not having seen IT, I felt I missed out on some of the insider’s—I don’t want to say “jokes”, more like angst.

The talk and slide show were well done and I tried not to get upset with the messenger. She was an invited guest, an ornithologist from Germany, a sincere, caring woman—even if she was a fanatical proselytizer for The Cause. (Although, with the group that sat in that room last night, she didn’t have to work hard for converts.)

The talk began with a little introduction to the affects of Climate Change and Global Warming on birds and their habitat. The problems that arise when birds that have linked their migratory and breeding times to the sun light hours suddenly find that their food or other factors are operating on a different schedule due to temperature/moisture level changes brought about by CC & GW. As much of this is pretty well documented in species here in North America and Europe, this portion of the program was, to me, more appropriate to the venue and a historical perspective at the same time. There was some predictions being made about where species might relocate or which ones might find themselves painted into the corner of the extinction room, so to speak. Again these topics were appropriate to the venue and the speaker’s background.

But then she made a statement about the predictions that started my blood to boil. She said something to the effect that they (the scientists studying the birds and creating computer models of their future) can’t really create accurate models because of the number of variables involved. Well, duh! I took a biological modeling course in the early ‘80s (before personal computers would have made it a great deal easier to do my home work!) and as part of that course I worked to build a computer program of white-tail deer populations. I was amazed at the number of variable that had to be considered. And when you thought you had accounted for all the major ones (you usually were safe in ignoring what you viewed as a minor factor) one of the minor factors would turn out NOT to be so minor and would take your model and spin it on its ear. It was a Murphy’s Law of Computer Models. So when she admitted that the models couldn’t account for all the variables…to me that was like saying , “We’re about to build a house but it might be a bit shaky because we haven’t been able to understand how to create a solid foundation yet.” Then she went on to try and build the house of Climate Change As Caused by Man.

She spoke of the melting of the Arctic Ice and the thinness of the polar ice. She showed slides of the Larsen B Ice Shelf collapse in 2002 in which an area of ice the size of Rhode Island broke off and disintegrated within a 35 day period. Larsen B Ice Shelf Collapses in Antarctica) (I thought to myself: The ice shelf is unsupported from below as it floats on the sea. If it extends far enough out it would have to break off eventually. This particular ice shelf has been pushed forward by the accumulating snows in the interior of Antarctica for thousands of years. That it should break off now is certainly serendipitous for those who wish to use this as evidence of Global Warming. Heck, given an infinitely long 2x12, if I were to slowly push it over the edge of a cliff, it would eventually break off at the cliff’s edge.) Then she said the summer temperatures in Greenland were 13 degrees Celsius warmer than average.

That’s when I finally cracked. “Thirteen degrees warmer than what?” She didn’t know, she said, but obviously it was pretty warm. Just look at the melt water in the picture. But she did admit she would have to find out for future presentations. (Someone else in the audience said it didn’t matter since 13 degrees C was a heck of a jump.) I shook my head and shut up again as I realized I might be the only one looking at this data presentation with a non-partisan eye.

She went on to say that the IPCC report that said that said oceans would rise only 1 meter were only taking into account the expansion of water due to temperature rise and that Al Gore’s call for a 6-7 meter rise would occur took into account the melting of all the ice on Greenland, the Arctic and all the mountain glaciers of the Northern Hemisphere, a melting, she said, that was well underway. The presenter went on to say that recent findings of what happens with the melt water on the surface of glaciers as it funnels down through crevasses to the inner and lower parts of the ice where it lubricated the flow of the glacier were alarming. (Funny, I thought to myself. Glaciologists have long known this to be the cause of kames, eskers and other glacial till deposits. Just because it’s now being measured on existing glaciers it’s become “alarming” evidence of Global Warming?)

She showed a graph allegedly showing the rate of melting of glacial ice. But the graph was not presented in such a way as it could be read. The x-axis was rotated toward the viewer about 60 degrees and tilted downward. Just one of the many little tricks used to distort the information the graph may contain.

A map of Florida that is slowly inundated to show what would happen should Greenland melt was put on the screen for its obvious shock value. (No indication of altitudes above sea level was given. You’re supposed to assume it’s the 6-7 meters that Gore predicts.)

She had graphs showing the fluctuation of temperatures for the last 650,000 years and an overlay to show atmospheric CO2. While the two lines were remarkably similar, she admitted that CO2 fluctuations follow those of temperature—except in the latest instance. Here, CO2 rise seems to be preceding temperature rise. It wasn’t quite the “hockey stick” graph but it was pretty close. Then she made two more statements that had me shaking my head and muttering to myself. First, she said it doesn’t matter which comes first, CO2 or temperature. (It sure as hell does if you’re trying to prove cause and effect!) Then she extended the graph of CO2 to the year 2050 based upon our (the world’s) current output, recent growth and computer models. (What? You mean those models that you said had to many variables to be reliable predictors of species movements are now accurate enough to predict temperature rise and Global Change?)

Results of temperature rise were discussed vis-à-vis heat related deaths (using the data from the recent heat wave in Europe that “killed approximately 35,000 people, mostly elderly”) and drought (with special mention of the US southeast and southwest followed by a slide of a raging forest fire). *sigh* The implication being made was that if the flooded coastlines don't get us, we'll all burn or be dehydrated to death.

Opposition? What opposition? Nothing but a bunch of hired hacks.

Then we got into the smearing of any dissenters. (This is where things got a bit like a revival meeting as those that saw Inconvenient Truth became the Greek chorus.) First up was Siegfried Frederick Singer. who does have a bit of an unusual background and invites all sorts of questions if you look no further than this Wikipedia entry. Then the guns were turned upon Exxon and Exxon funded groups and studies. Big Oil seems to be a favorite target whether it’s for producing too many greenhouse gases (even though the speaker railed against coal as the prime source of CO2), not enough heating oil for homes or gasoline for automobiles or high prices for what it does produce. Exxon might as well adopt the Target logo.

Having dismissed the easily named and unsympathetic critics it was time to move on to all the other “non-reputable” scientists. (Unless you’re a backer or an acolyte, you are “non-reputable” for all “reputable scientists believe” that “there is no debate.”) As proof of the position take by “reputable scientists” a slide was put on the screen as the speaker said a study was done of articles in peer reviewed journals (none of which were named) and it was found that every one—EVERY ONE—of the 928 articles studied supported Anthropomorphic Climate Change (aka Global Warming As Caused by Man). Zero percent of the articles looked at thought otherwise. Remarkable! Meanwhile, in “popular journals,” 58% of the 636 articles studied were critical of ACC. Again no names of the “popular” publications were provided. You want to talk about cherry-picking your data! Unbelievable, but there were members of the audience who ate it up! You see, those “popular” articles were by people/groups funded by…wait for it…EXXON! *groan*

Now, for the big finish.

The speaker went on to what we can do to prevent all this death and destruction that lies on our very doorstep. First though she assured us that we have the ability and technology in the developed nations to fend off this scourge. All that is lacking, she said, is the political will. Yes, it will cost money, but we have plenty of it. Look at what happened with hurricane Katrina and New Orleans. It would have cost $14 Billion to rebuild the dikes prior to Katrina, she said. Instead we’re spending $200 Billion to rebuild the city. (Hey, if the water’s going to rise 6-7 meters, maybe we shouldn’t be doing that! And she showed a map of the US with every county in which a Katrina refugee (her word) relocated shaded in gray. It was almost all gray, of course as there was no indication of how many ‘refugees” went to each county. But that’s not important. We can’t, she said, relocate all those folks from low lying coastal areas.)
Back to the money. We have plenty, she said. Just look at the Iraq War and its daily cost. (Of course! Got to get something in here that is anti-war no matter how subtle!)

Okay, what can we do to stop the warming?

The temperature increase must be kept below 2 degrees Celsius. To do that we need to reduce our output of CO2 and other Green House Gases globally by 50% by 2050 and in industrial nations they must be reduced by 90% over the same time frame. (No indication of what this will mean to our life styles at all.) Changes must be made in the way we live at home, in our schools, our churches, our communities, the state, the world.

We must call or government representatives and insist they get on the ball to combat this most important threat.

We need to insulate our homes and make them more energy efficient. Our means of transportation must also be more efficient users of energy and must eventually move away from green house gas emissions as much as possible. Industry too must become more efficient in its use of fuels and reduce its emissions drastically. A pie chart showing our source of energy in PA was flashed on the screen.(Did you know we were one of the worst polluting states in the union? Only Texas and California produce more GHGs. Who’d have thunk it?) Coal is the major source of energy and of CO2. “No new coal fired plants should be built without CO2 sequestration.” (Since the Supreme Court has ruled the EPA can/must regulate CO2 and other green house gases as air pollutants despite being a natural component of the atmosphere, I don’t think that’s a problem anymore.) We must learn to use renewable energy such as hydro, wind and solar just as many towns in Europe are already 100% renewable. Of course, there was no mention of the use of nuclear power. (35% of Pennsylvania’s power comes from nuclear plants.)

You really can’t argue with many of the ideas for conserving energy and reducing pollution, and I think that’s the goal. Since that part of the program sounds so reasonable, everything else must also be reasonable including the call for $50 Billion from each nation per year, to combat climate change. (Of course, the poorer nations can’t possibly afford to do that so the money will have to come from…anyone? Buehler? Yep, the developed “rich” nations.)

Finally, the speaker closed with one of her favorite quotes about how you can’t achieve anything if you don’t try, but even in merely trying you’ve achieved a great deal…or something like that. I was total unfocused as to what it said when I saw who said it: Noam Chomsky. Afterward I thought, “How fitting.”

[As a side note, it was raining when I started typing this up this morning and the temperature was just around 35 degrees at the Aerie. It’s still around 35 degree at 9:30 AM but it’s snowing to beat the band outside and accumulating quite nicely. The weather gurus still insist it isn’t snowing when I check the site or the TV.]