The Pencil Today:


“You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” — Bob Dylan


Okay, so we’re in the midst of a more-than week-long run of high temperatures in South Central Indiana. Each day’s high during this streak has been about 30 degrees above the normal. Monday, the high was a full five degrees greater than the previous record for that date.

Think about that. Usually, when record highs are set they beat the old record by a single degree, and if the heat wave is amazingly severe, perhaps two.

Five degrees.

Except for the deluded and deranged among us (in other words, Republicans) who deny the evidence of climate change, everybody’s talking global warming.

Lois Nettleton Schvitzes in The Twilight Zone Episode “The Midnight Sun”

Here’s where my professional contrarianism kicks into high gear. Generally, during weather extremes I caution people not to see the anomaly as evidence of the norm. In other words, just because today’s remarkably hot, it’s not proof the climate is changing.

Besides, climatologists see global warming as a half-degree, a degree, or maybe two-degree uptick in the average temperature over a period of years. It’s the sustained rising of temperatures that’s dangerous, not the odd heat wave.

But this thing is making me think twice. The new battle cry to replace global warming should be global weirding.

I admit this is anecdotal but something I heard this morning on the radio gave me pause. Apparently, a huge storm system parked over Texas produced thunder so severe that it caused seismic instruments to jump.

Now think about that.

Fine-tuned, delicately balanced sensors that measure the very slightest rumpling from deep within the Earth’s crust recorded thunder claps. These instruments are not supposed to be affected by outside clutter. Yet the needles flicked because of thunder

What in the hell kind of storm is that?

Storm Batters Kentucky Earlier This Month

I’m in a hurry this morning and I can’t spend the time researching this. Maybe seismographs record thunder claps all the time. I don’t know. I’ll get on it tonight after my Book Corner shift.

For now, though, I just might be beginning to think 2012 is the year we justifiably get the crap scared out of us by nature.


So, Dan the Jeweler, Crystal Belladonna, and I were gabbing of this and that at the Book Corner yesterday. Somehow the conversation turned to the year 1969. And somehow it turned to public porn.

Why don’t I just give you the dialogue from memory?

Crystal Belladonna (rummaging through the magazine shelves, weeding out old issues): Look at this — November 2011. What’s this doing here? It’s 2012, isn’t it?

Me: Why no. It’s 1969. Man, I’m gonna go to that big Woodstock thing in New York. And I can’t wait for the moon landing.

CB: Wise ass.

Dan the Jeweler: Do you remember where you were during the moon landing?

CB: I wasn’t even a twinkle yet.

Me: It was a Sunday night. I was staring at the moon just on the odd chance that I could see something, like the Command Module rocket firing or something.

CB: Geek.

D the J: Believe it or not, that night me and my friends were at an outdoor pornographic movie. We left it and drove around to look for a TV so we could watch the landing.

CB: I know just what outdoor theater you’re talking about!

D the J: It was on Route 46, on the way to Ellettsville. It was an outdoor pornographic theater for years. Right next to a trailer park.

CB: Yeah, yeah! Whenever my mother would drive by it at night, I’d strain my neck to see the screen.

D the J: Yep. The fence had gaps in it.

CB: Uh huh!

D the J: It was near a railroad crossing and when a coal train was going by, traffic would be backed up all the way to Bloomington.

CB: Yeah, my mother would always wonder why I’d be saying, “Ma, could you move the car up just a bit?”

D the J: It’s not there now.

CB: No, they knocked it down. There’s an old people’s home there now.

Who says people don’t have a rich sense of history anymore?

3 thoughts on “The Pencil Today:

  1. John Bergman says:

    “Global weirding.” That puts it very nicely, because the weather and storms have been more intense, but in a decidedly weird way. Take some advice? Copyright that sucker, as it’s a good, catchy, all-around buzzword for what’s happening on many different fronts.

  2. I’m with John. Whenever I use it, or at least when I remember, I’ll add (h/t Big Mike at

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