Chill Monday

There’s not a word for this one.  No longer warm doesn’t get it.  Cool doesn’t work either.  Cold just sort of sneaks up on it.  “Freezing our asses off” is closer still.  But no combination of words I could come up with come anywhere near describing what is quickly turning into one of the coldest winters in decades.

But, then, we already knew it would be happening because of two simple indicators.  You may remember when we flew out old Beechcrate back from the Northeast during the monsoons this summer that rain and crappy weather forced us to head all the way west to Mt. Carmel, Illinois, before turning south for Texas?  One of our overnights was in Lancaster, Ohio, and it was there that a long-term resident driving the local cab warned us.  It had something to do with worms and squirrel behaviors.

imageThe second major “Oh, crap, THAT!” was when the Sun started to go out. Well, maybe not quite, but you get the idea:   Since the sun heats this-here rock, when you get a major decrease in Sun output, which is what Cycle 24 has been so far (major dud), there’s less heating.  The good news is that sun spots came up to their projected (paltry) levels in the month just finished, but I’ve been calling it the “Ure Minimum” for months, now.  Please, try not to be surprised, alright?  Yes, that’s the new Sunspot chart just out this morning…

Of course the THIRD hint might have been all the volcanic activity which was spewing suspended particulates that even Beijing (with it’s crappy air quality) would have to envy.

imageSo this morning, it’s down to 19-degrees in our little corner of East Texas, and we may be one of the warmer spots around.   It was 11-below zero this morning in Chicago.  My consigliere up in Columbus is waking up to a heat wave: 4 above zero.

Still, the tropical East Coast is still warm enough for another few hours while the chill meanders eastward:  Hartford is looking at the mid-50’s.  Ditto NYC.  But it does give national media something to talk about.

But that’s going to end later on today when both cities collapse into DFC (dead frigging cold) such that by this time tomorrow NYC should be down around 14, or so.  Already, Canadians have been reporting “frost quakes“.”

Despite all the cold weather, this is probably one of the safest days to fly somewhere that you’ll find:  Aircraft performance is a function of density and THE best operating conditions for any airplane are super-cold temps, lack of moisture and so on.  On a hot summer day, the old ‘crate might eat up 1,200 feet of runway getting on the ground.  On a morning like this morning, I could probably do it in 480-feet.  Airplanes, unlike people, do great in cold weather. 

“Power to the People”

On the other hand, the US power grid is heavily stressed, with everyone turning up their EBs to “mother” (electric blankets as high as they will go).  Which gets me to the latest communiqué from “warhammer”

George,

National security entails much more than a ready military. A nation must be prepared to prevent and, when prevention fails, absorb attacks, accidents and failures affecting our critical national infrastructure, e.g. the power production systems and transmission grids, water purification and distribution systems, information transmission (phone, Internet, television, mail), health networks, food production/distribution and interstate commerce, to name a few.

So while this piece of news is interesting . . .[link: Double Threat: US grid vulnerable on two fronts”]

. . . it is not really news at all to our most worrisome of adversaries or U.S. leadership.

The grid is unarguably America’s most glaring Achilles heel, and the DC crowd most certainly knows it. Surely the nation’s leadership has taken measures to insure the U.S. critical national infrastructure can function at the most basic levels in the event of attacks, accidents and failures.

If not, shame on them and woe be to the rest of us.”

Not that we will have to wait long for all this to resolve.  The UK Independent story under the headline “Is it 1914 all over again? We are in danger of repeating the mistakes that started WWI, says a leading historian…”  is certainly thought-provoking.  How would WW I have played out with nukes?  And is there an Archduke Ferdinand equivalent bopping around the Middle East? 

The great thing about morning’s like this?  Your flash goggles can double as snow-glasses.

More after this…

Cheney Out, Hill In

Citing family matters, she’s out of the running for a senate seat from Wyoming.

On the other hand, Hillary Clinton is passing out free bumper stickers.  They read “Ready for Hillary” 2016.

The are about as close as you will ever see to a stick-on IQ indicator. 

Meanwhile, was this Political Climber Lady’s Monday and I missed the memo? 

Invoking Harry Potter

Yes, amazing as it is (from a marketing standpoint) the Japanese have now started to toss in Harry Potter references in their escalating war of words over the Senkaku Islands where there may be oil.

At this rate, as the soldier-gathering builds on both sides, and appealing to the youth demographics is ratcheted up, we expect within a month we’ll be seeing references to Sesame Street figures, next…Both sides are giving each other the Big Bird, already, are they not?

I have to go pinch myself with the ViceGrips now…  (Yeeouch!  All better, now…)

Data Week for Markets

A mixed to so-so opening for markets this morning as everyone (including me) is waiting for the government to stop pushing back the release dates on things like the employment situation report which won’t be out until Friday of this week.  WTF ever happened to timely reporting?

Friday will be the 10th.  Last year, the December figures came out on January 4th.  That was the third working days after New Years 2013.  This year, the report will be out seven work days after New Years.

Remember: This isn’t from government shutdown impacts, claim what they will.  The :”shutdown” still left 83% of government workers working.  So this is just a pisser and inexcusable, as I see it.  Or, is this how complexity begins to fall apart? 

Balance of trade tomorrow morning, so the market will likely be up a few points this morning.

Meltdown?

The big betters are still laying ‘em down on both sides of the Fukushima meltdown question with articles like “Fukushima Meltdown: Global Denial at Work.”

Unemployment Benny Push

With Congress back to work, the administration is trying to get unemployment extension action.  But, I don’t call them the “fools on the Hill” for nothing.  Look for them to re-earn the label shortly.

More after I thaw the layer of ice off my coffee…

Would it be exceptionally poor taste, even for me, to have a spontaneous “It was SO COLD, my  [blank, blank, blank…]” contest?

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