I Imagine Weird Stuff

There are some individuals who claim a sixth sense, an ability to know or see into the future, to have knowledge of what is to come. A nifty skill to possess, to say the least; at times I have felt prescient; although, not in any useful manner, just inklings or a feeling of ill ease. This morning I awoken with a thought about the future but not a knowing, merely a short story idea. Let us see if it has legs, shall we.


Uhg, this sharp pain in my spine is unrelenting.

Something soft just brushes my face rousing me from a second sleep. It is the fluffy tail of my Felis Catus; Nala is informing me that I am late for her breakfast. Painfully, I manage to sit upright on the edge of my mattress and slowly take stock of my surroundings. It is still dark. I make my way across my bedroom like a drunken sailor, take a position in front of my toilet, and wait. Recently it has become difficult to initiate a stream. Nala clambers in after me and takes her position sitting on the rim of the tub, watching with that disturbing silent curiosity so common with felines. These are our initial morning stations and symbolize the start of yet another day. The next ritual to be completed is first, Nala’s feeding, and something we both take seriously. My every move is followed with the utmost interest by my furry companion as I collect, wash, and refill her food bowls with care and love; however, I require a verbalization from my cat as payment, something she is loath to willing give. Therefore, we play this little feeding game, my withholding the two bowls, one filled with the moist Tuna and Chicken in a savory sauce, and the other containing a ¼ cup of dry cat food until I hear the proper response. When the dainty “meow” is uttered, dishes are placed on the appropriate spot to conclude our morning dance.

With Nala’s attention focused on her raison d’être, I am free to pursue mine. I go to my desk, open my laptop, and power it up. I check email first, hopeful of a missive from one or both of my daughters but alas nothing but the usual solicitations. I open Facebook to read what my virtual friends have been up to, peruse what comments they have made on my posts, and to respond if necessary. Nothing except several obligatory thumbs up. Next, I open CNN and check the News. Strange, the page looks new, redesigned with a vastly different layout, I do not like it; however, since my input was not solicited or offered I cannot complain, well I could complain but no one will listen so I brew a pot of hazelnut.

Nala by this time is satiated and has assumed her spot on the couch. She prefers to nap on the seatback central rail right behind and to the left of my head, curled up into a little fluffy ball, and dreaming her little cat dreams.

The news is full of headlines that shock me alert.

“President Pelosi attends reunification ceremonies in the capital, Seoul, Korea.”, “CNN”, “Asia”, “By Yoko Wakatsuki and Ivan Watson”, “Updated 3:27 AM ET, Thu January 18, 2021”. < wwwdotcnndotcom /2021/01/17/asia/japan-korea-reunification/index.html >

The article went on to say that the new government would adopt a blend of both former countries political philosophies, in a joint statement the new President of the unified State of Korea said “Democratic Socialism will allow both the economy and society to be run democratically—to meet public needs, not to make profits for a few. To achieve a more just society, many structures of our government and economy must be radically transformed through greater economic and social democracy so that ordinary Koreans can participate in the many decisions that affect our lives.”

My tenuous grasp on reality slipped even further as I continued reading other headlines equally odd and unusual. There could only be but one answer, this was a joke, a ruse. Someone was playing an early First of April prank on the entire world, a fooly of galactic proportions. Assuming this was all a farce, I opened a more staid publication, The Washington Post; surely, this bastion of responsible online journalism would not stoop to such burlesque.

However, there it all was; in a scant four years, the American political landscape had dramatically altered, and for the better, I thought as I read about the downfall of the Forty-fifth President, the change in leadership of both Houses of Congress. Brought about by a sweeping Democratic wave in the 2018 MTEs, the subsequent Impeachment of Trump and Pence, their indictments, and their removal from office.

How is this possible, had I entered a time warp? I had not jumped to the right; I remain decidedly left. Sunspots, I recall reading somewhere that the occurrence of extreme solar activity, flares, or coronal mass ejections (CME) can cause strange anomalies on Earth. That must be it; this is the ‘bread and butter’ of many a science fiction story and as plausible as any answer I could think of at that moment.

Somehow, the future has been revealed to the readers of online media. The question is; is it true or just a CME induced anomaly destined to be as fleeting as the ice that now forms on the landscape outside my sliding glass doors, soon to be gone with rising air temperatures. I prefer the workings of my imagination to the realities of the day to day and for a short time, the pain of the dagger protruding from the center of my back has lessened. Hey, whatever works, dude!

Lessons for a Cold Day

Braving arctic-like cold is not my idea of fun, I usually avoid going beyond the confines of my apartment door when winter’s icy chill reaches the single digits but yesterday was Market Basket day.

Most of my regular travelers canceled, so I had the van to myself and therefore the ride to Westford was peaceful and quiet, no verbal diarrhea to disturb my thoughts.

The driver came earlier than his customary 10:00 A.M. and told me he would be back at noon to pick me up for the return trip so I had ample time to peruse the isles. A good thing too because through the generosity of my sister-out-law, Saint Laura Scanlon, I had extra cash to spend on those items I usually do not add to my cart.

Market Basket’s meat counter has a policy of marking down items that have not sold within a certain period, called Manager’s Specials. These select cuts of meat are usually not within my budget but not this day. Wednesday, being a mere two days after the big holiday witnessed a bonanza of Mgr. Specials and I indulged my carnivorous proclivities. I even added a container of organic Shiro Miso that I have had my eye on but always passed on because of its $9.00 price tag but not this day!

I finished early and went to the coffee shop to read the copy of the Boston Globe I had purchased and sip my cuppa while I waited for the van. Headlines about that mendacious kleptocrat playing golf soured my stomach and increased the pain in my spine and I contemplated the possible relationship between the two.

The lovely ladies of The View, playing on the duel TV sets in the Café, signed off but the van was nowhere in sight. Jonah generally keeps a meticulously accurate schedule, he has never once deviated from his appointed rounds in the years that he has been driving us to Market Basket. Alarm bells began to sound in my mind’s ear when the clock at the head of the center isle struck 12:20 P.M.

Having no cell phone I calculated my options, I could wait until half past the hour and try to find a payphone but the chances of locating one of those obsolete devices was slim to none, so I decided to sit and wait. By half past twelve I began to feel nauseous and began thinking ‘if I were a payphone where would I be’ I checked the front of the store and made my way pushing my bounty along with me to the Service counter at the other end of the cavernous store. Explaining my predicament to the woman behind the glass; she responded by pointing to a phone adjacent to me and said, “Just dial six and then your number.”

Of course, my brain being what it is, could never remember my own phone number let along ones that I have on speed dial, so first I dialed “911” thinking ‘Information’ but getting “please state your emergency” instead. I had to answer a host of embarrassing questions from the female officer for my faux pas, and then tried dialing “411.” This time I was connected to the automated voice information system; however, the machine could not comprehend a thing past “Acton, MA.” I never got through, I was stuck at Market Basket like a cheesy character in a Rod Serling episode of the ‘Twilight Zone,’ well at least I would not starve.

As I stormed back to the Café to ponder my fate, the van arrived; however, not my familiar driver. As it was explained to me on the ride home, Jonah’s van had a mechanical problem and he had been forced to bring it to where ever it is that malfunctioning vans go for repair.

The driver seemed to know me, although I could not recall his name and we chatted about banal topics e.g. the weather, the Holidays, and then he told me about his eight grandchildren. A fascinating man possessed of an interesting life story to tell. Imagine having grandchildren almost old enough to have children of their own, I wondered what that is like.

Driver X helped me unload my booty but I still had to haul it up three flights of stairs and me with an already vociferously complaining spine.


Lesson of the day:

Never let your optimism get the better of your pessimism.

Consider obtaining a cell phone.



Chapter I, Achmid

Just in time for the Holidays, here is a little present for the readers of this blog. The origin story of Achmid Huchmid. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you!


Notos, A.K.A. Achmid Huchmid, is a Jack Frost-ian type spirit. However, where Frost brings icy sidewalks, frosted windshields and ice patterns on windows, all associated with cold air masses, Huchmid brings sultry, hazy, hot days and increases in electric bills. This is due, in large part, to the obligatory use of Air Conditioners during his visits, because honestly; when the weather is hot and sticky that is not the time for Duncan Dicky. Now Duncan Dicky is a personal friend of mine who I am loath to see disappear but when Achmid Huchmid is around Duncan is nowhere to be found, outside of a home with Central Air that is. Now you may think these whimsical characters do not really exist but to the contrary, I assure you that they do, though they are none too friendly towards us humans.

Take Jack Frost for example; hails from Northern climes, Arctic and Polar regions, seen mostly during the winter seasons in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, alternating depending on the tilt of the planet. It is likely you have experienced his practical jokes if you have ever slipped and taken a dixie while walking down your front stairs, driveway, or sidewalk because of an invisible coating of ice, sometimes referred to as black ice, although I question the political correctness of that term. Yup, that is the particular calling card of one Mr. Jack Frost.

Jack Frost is the personification of cold, ice, snow, sleet, and all other forms of freezing cold weather. Jack has a variant, that being known by the name, old man winter, the character that is responsible for frosty weather, for nipping the ears, nose, and toes at such times, turning the color of the foliage in autumn.

Jack Frost is reportedly a friendly spirit, but he has a very dangerous side due to his propensity to return a verbal insult by covering the perpetrator with snow or turning them into a frost covered pile of ice; so take care what curses you utter concerning the sprite Mr. Frost. He is mischievous and carefree, happiest when he is unconfined by rules. He flourishes with no obligations. He is the being that your parent or spouse warns you of, on cold winter mornings when you leave for school or work, imploring you to bundle up, put your hat on, and asking you where your mittens have gotten too.

His roots may originate from Anglo-Saxon and Norse winter customs but he has become fully Americanized in recent years. [2]


Achmid on the other hand originated in the air masses associated with the Equatorial and Tropical areas of our planet. Hot, humid air was first documented in Greece around 400 BC by Hippocrates, who noticed that health could be tied to the source of the winds flowing into a city, although the science behind Hippocrates’ writings on the subject are totally without merit.  Our sprite Achmid is much older and traces his lineage back to ancient Egypt. He is a cousin of Shu (/fu/ meaning “emptiness” and “he who rises up”) one of the primordial gods in Egyptian mythology, a personification of air, one of the Ennead of Heliopolis. Like the air, Shu was considered to be cooling, and thus a calming influence, and a pacifier. Due to his association with air, calm, and thus Ma’at (truth, justice and order), Shu was portrayed in art wearing an ostrich feather. [3]

Well, they say family traits skip a generation and that does appear to be true in Achmid’s case because he could be the poster child for all things un-cooling. At the end of the Old Kingdom there occurred a terrible weather disaster when Tefnut and Shu argued, and Tefnut left Egypt for Nubia, a more temperate clime, and did not return until Achmid convinced her that heat just was not that sexy without moisture to make it humid.

However, I digress; our Achmid is a sprite of the air. The south wind to be precise; the south wind is a hot, fiery wind, concerned with power, energy, and excitement. It is said that when the south wind blows, go to a windy place and light a candle in a lantern or glass jar and say:

“Spirit of the south wind,

That brings the fiery heat

Bring passion and excitement into my life

And fill me with your energy.” [4]


Now I am quite aware of the incongruity of this incantation, beseeching the South wind, a wind that blows hot air, makes us hot and sticky, causes Duncan Dickey to seek out cooler locals, and generally raises our electric bills to assist ones love life. Why would anyone want that kind of weather? Well if you are someone who enjoys the company of females then you know the sublime pleasure of watching a woman wrapped in a loose fitting garment stroll by on a hot summer’s eve. The gentle movement of her shape, curves, prominences, and symmetries are the things that drive passion and excitement.

You see dear reader just writing about warm, moist air causes my mind to wander and I beg your pardon while I return to the topic at hand; where and how Achmid Huchmid originated and what his role is in our story.

From this data we can surmise that Achmid originates in the equatorial regions of the Middle East and after a lengthy period of time moves off the coast of North Africa and begins his long, solo journey across the Atlantic ocean, picking up copious amounts of moisture along the way.



2. “Jack Frost”, Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 9 May 2016. <http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Frost#cite_note-1>

3. “Shu (Egyptian god)”, Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 10 May 2016,”< http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shu_(Egyptian_god)>

4. Franklin, A. (2005) “Working with Fairies: Magick, Spells, Potions & Recipes to Attract and See Them”, Career Press, 2005.

Kathleen from Nozirev

Recently, I decided that I simply had to deal with an issue with my Verizon hardware; it began with incessant beeping, early last month. Therefore, I was forced to call that black hole of darkness, or what I euphemistically refer to as “Phone Support.”
I was informed that the beep indicated that the battery located inside the bowels of the installed wall device that makes the doo-hicky-thingy work for Verizon Wireless devices was dying.
However, I strongly suspect it is how Nozirev, a Deep State public monitoring organization, is keeping tabs on what retirees are doing in their spare time. All these installed devices are an attempt to develop a means to tax seniors for all the “Free time” we have, on which Republicans have hitherto been unable to generate an income. Especially, since the Reverse Mortgage scam did not work out too well, despite all the aging star power brought in to sell it.
Anyway, the phone rep I spoke with said that I needed a new battery and that he would ship one out to my residence within two weeks. It has been nearly four weeks and still no frickin’ battery.
I called again this morning when the lines opened around 08:30 A.M. but found myself listening to that gawd awful on-hold muzac, on-hold anyway, and growing angrier by the minute.
I grew hungry while waiting and made myself a sausage, cheese, and fried egg sandwich on a butter croissant, the flaky ones from Donelan’s while holding the phone in one hand.
Still on hold and munchin’ away one handed, and periodically checking Facebook, I got the idea to visit Verizon dot com and see if there was something helpful there. O’course I cannot remember my password so I was forced to do the whole ‘Forgot Password’ dance to finally get to ‘My Verizon.’ Nothing helpful at all there except concerted and repeated efforts to sell me something, anything, so regardless of my verbal threats into the device that promised to record my conversation with no one, I continued to wait single handedly, while my single-handedly prepared breakfast made its inexorable way through my gullet. Thankfully, I had also made coffee single handedly and enjoyed the clarity of mind that only a cuppa caffeine can render.
It was about this time, while still on hold that I discovered the well-hidden and obscure link to “Online Chat.” I immediately hung up and began a comfortable two fisted, typed conversation with Kathleen.
When she typed the obvious, “Your battery is running low.” I unfairly typed an acerbic reply, “Your brilliance amazes me, now what can be done about it?”
Ultimately, anyone who is employed by Verizon, or who subscribes to Verizon, deserves what he or she gets; however, I started my IT career in the early 90’s doing technical phone support at Lotus Development Corporation, so I understood the difficulties Kathleen faced and modified my behavior accordingly.
Kathleen, for her part, handled the angry curmudgeon on the other end of her phone line with grace, alacrity, and aplomb. She placed my order for a new $48 battery (with shipping but still ouch) and we cordially concluded our business by wishing each other a Happy Thanksgiving. Additionally, I refrained from my usual denunciation of Turkey Day as a dishonorable celebration of would be invaders, thieves, usurpers, and murders; I just went my way, two handed.

The United States of Oligarchy

After eight months in office what has Forty-five and his Republican enablers in Congress accomplished for the American People?

Threatened repeatedly to take away our health care or change the law in such a manner as to make visiting a physician more expensive than people can afford.

Isolated the Nation we love from the rest of the world and diminish its standing among our allies.

Equated Nazis with anti-protesters and refused to clarify his statements until public outcry forced him to do so.

Conducted bombastic twitter battles with the god king leader of North Korea, as if verbal abuse will reduce tensions in a nuclear standoff.

Stated his intentions to give huge tax breaks to the wealthy when there are men, women, and children starving in the homeland.

Dismissed a Federal investigation as fake and fired the Director of the FBI.

Called our most revered institution, the Fourth Estate, liars, and Fake News when Journalists report the truth about him, his family, and his Administration.

Thinks that he knows more about the environment than 97% of all scientists who work in the field of climatology.

Spends his time bullying NFL and NBA athletes because he disagrees with their constitutional right of free speech.

Obsessed with eradicating every initiative of his more qualified Black predecessor.

Of course there is one thing that the Republicans can claim to have accomplished since assuming control of all three branches of Government; they confirmed a new Supreme Court Justice to the Bench. Of course they had to deny the rightful nominee a hearing and deviate from the accepted Constitutional norm to do so but what is the point of being a collection of wealthy, old, privileged white men if you cannot ignore the Law?

For some reason that escapes all logic, individuals who do not represent my interests are governing my Nation, neither do they act in the best interests of the whole Nation. They govern for a very low percentage of people in the US, the corporatists and the obscenely wealthy. That form of government is commonly referred to as an Oligarchy. Therefore, they should add one more thing to their very short list of accomplishments, changing the name of our Nation from the United States of America to the United States of Oligarchy.

Waiting for the Fog to Lift

“Areas of fog before 9am. Otherwise, cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly sunny, with a high near 80. Calm wind becoming east around 5 mph in the afternoon.”

I began my morning Facebook session at 05:00 A.M. It was still dark but I could see by the village parking lot lights that it was very foggy outside. O’course none of that matters to Nala, whose early morning needs are simple, food for which she does not like to wait. Mine are a bit more complex. I need to get to the Wood’s Plaza CVS but prefer not to risk life and limb in doing so; I will be forced to wait until the Sun burns off the fog. I would not wish to ruin some motor vehicle operators day by crashing my body into his or her shiny, two to four thousand pound automobile, getting it all messy with my viscera because they could not see me walking along the highway.

“Waiting,” it is what the marginalized are expected to do! If you do not have a personal conveyance device at your disposal, you are expected to wait, patiently. I have no issue with waiting; I am quite proficient at it. I usually bring whatever book I am currently reading to pass the time. It suits me.

Some people express great annoyance with waiting, delays, or loss of time due to things beyond their control. What is that about? Do they really believe that their time is more valuable than the next persons? Are they in a hurry to get to the end of their day, week, month, year, or life?

I am thinking a great deal about waiting this morning, while I wait for the fog to lift. It is helpful to me to read what others have written on the subject of waiting.

“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” ~ Joseph Campbell

I like and respect Mr. Campbell, I imagine that he has a very old soul.

“Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” ~ Joyce Meyer

Ms Meyer, on the other hand I have my doubts about; although, this quote of hers does have wisdom in it.

“The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.” ~ Bertrand Russell

Mr. Russell, now he is a classic!

“The opposite of talking isn’t listening. The opposite of talking is waiting.” ~ Fran Lebowitz

Ah, I love the wit of Ms Lebowitz, I wish everyone was so blessed.


The machinations of government are painfully slow, as our notoriously impatient Forty-five is realizing of late, with his having to deal with his own Party’s inability to execute his wishes. I am certain that having to wait to get your authoritarian legislative agenda through Congress is a real drag, regardless of how heartless the initiatives might be.

Reportedly the president does not read, if he did perhaps waiting would be easier for him, not that I give a furry rat’s arsehole about Mr. Trump’s discomfort, I do not. I only mention it here because I too have had to endure the seemingly endless interval of bureaucracy’s languidness, e.g. sidewalk installation along Great Road.

I recently posted my intention to apply for the open volunteer position on the Acton Sidewalk Committee having learned of their inability to meet quorum when I attended their meeting last Monday. I filled out the required paperwork and submitted it on Tuesday of last week. Yesterday I received a response asking me if I could attend the Volunteer Coordinating Committee meeting so that they could meet with me “to discuss your interest and qualifications.”

I responded informing the chairperson that I would make arrangements to take the Cross Acton Transit (CAT ) to the Acton Memorial Library (AML) and wait there until the start of the meeting at 07:40 P.M. but that I would require a ride home, as it would be full dark by meeting’s end. I also requested that the Chairperson confirm with me that a ride had been secured or accept the withdrawal of my application, which he did, offering to drive me home himself if I would be willing to wait until the conclusion of the committee meeting.

This dissertation is of course leading up to a point, I hope. You see the irony of the story is that I would not have to wait for the morning fog to lift, take the CAT and wait at the AML, or ask and wait for a ride home at night if there were sidewalks installed along Great Road.

While not directly under the purview of the Sidewalk Committee, the members can make recommendations and certainly have more influence on the outcome than one, single, solitary, peripatetic individual.

Chapter X  El Niño and Stuff

Now that the weather has calmed a bit and Hurricane Irma is winding down in the deep South I thought it only appropriate to share a chapter from my novel THE ENVIRONMENTAL WARS: ANTEBELLUM.

This particular chapter attempts to explain our complex weather in the larger context of climate related phenomena associated with planet Earth’s two greatest Oceans.



Chapter X 

El Niño and Stuff









Having returned home after an extended voyage around the globe, steering warm air masses to where they are destined to go, Achmid Huchmid enjoys some time with his wife Folletti, at their home in Coarha More on Valentia Island, Killarney, CO Kerry.

The two elementals are sitting in the front room of their little stone cottage sipping a cuppa in front of a toasty-warm fire and enjoying each other’s company.

“It is good to have you home again m’Lord; you were gone for such a long time on this trip. I do wish Fionna and Miriam were home from University so that we could all be together again. But at least I have you all to myself.” Folletti comments to her traveling mate. Fionna is now in her final year at Oxford and Miriam has just begun classes at Newcastle University, innovative research is conducted there on renewable energy storage. Folletti begins their conversation using her favorite affectionate appellation for Achmid that she has used throughout their twenty-two years together.

“She wants to study batteries?” This aloof comment was almost disdainful and Folletti strongly objected.

“Achmid, the major impediment to the world weaning itself off of fossil fuels and the adoption of renewable energy sources is the ability to keep the lights on when the Sun isn’t shinning, the wind is calm, or when any of the other clean sources of power are not, at the moment available. What Miriam desires to study is innovative and cutting edge energy technology and of immense value. I should think that you would be aware of that.” Folletti’s Italian temper is up and Achmid knew it. If he desires a pleasant stay at home, he’d better smooth things over.

“I only meant that Newcastle isn’t Oxford. I’d hoped that Miriam would have followed her sister’s example and applied to a more prestigious University.” If Achmid thought this was being diplomatic, he was sorely mistaken; he’d just brought up a sore spot for Folletti. The rift between herself and her elder daughter Fionna had not lessened with the passage of time.

“Oh you mean like Fionna wasting her time studying Philosophy while the Planet burns itself into a dark, black cinder?” Folletti disagreed with her eldest daughter’s choice of Schools. She wanted her Muse daughter to Major in the subjects of science or engineering to better position her to assist gifted young scientists in the fields of clean energy or ecological agriculture. But Fionna had other ideas and the estrangement is a painful issue between mother and daughter. Achmid decides to change the subject since he is just digging himself in deeper by following this current conversational vein and so he let there be silence for a time until he tries again.

“Folletti, this last trip was over long, now that you mention it. I haven’t seen such strong oscillations in the weather patterns of the Pacific Ocean in millennia. I have been moving all the warm air that I can, and believe me the human species makes my job more difficult than it needs to be.” Achmid Huchmid, Lord of the South Wind, complains about his day to his spouse Folletti Windknot just like any other husband after a long hard day at the office.

“Well dear, I’m sure you did your best; what else can you ask of yourself? Would you explain the intricacies of the El Niño and La Niña to me again; I can never keep them straight in my head.” Folletti asks knowing that allowing Achmid the opportunity to expound on the weather will soothe and comfort them both; besides the fact that she loves listening to him speak about his passion.

“During warmer years, El Niño, which means The Little Boy, or Christ Child in Spanish, by the way?” Achmid begins his dissertation of the current weather affecting the globe.

“I know what it means; I can speak Spanish with equal fluency as you. Just go on will you?” Folletti responds irritably.

“I’m just trying to explain the origins of the oscillating warm and cool weather events that you asked about. Now may I continue or would you like to snip at me some more” Achmid replies.

“No, please continue.” Folletti conciliatingly replies.

“Fishermen off the coast of South America recognized El Niño in the 1600s. They noticed the appearance of unusually warm waters in the Pacific Ocean due to its affect on their catch, lowering it significantly. The name was chosen based on the time of year, December, during which these warm waters events tended to occur. El Niño is the term given to large-scale ocean-atmosphere climate interaction linked to a cyclic warming of sea surface temperatures across the central and east-central Equatorial Pacific. The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a naturally occurring phenomenon that involves fluctuating ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific. The warmer waters essentially slosh, or oscillate, back and forth across the Pacific, much like water in a bathtub. For much of the globe, this weather phenomenon is a governing force causing variations in regional climate patterns. The pattern vacillates between two states: warmer than normal central and eastern equatorial Pacific Sea Surface Temperatures or SSTs (El Niño) and cooler than normal central and eastern equatorial Pacific SSTs (La Niña).

Often, sea surface temperatures are used to identify this vacillation, when the surface ocean temperatures responds to the warming of the sub-surface temperatures a warm phase of the ENSO cycle ensues. The same cycle occurs, only opposite, for the cool phase of ENSO. When temperatures in the ENSO region of the Pacific are near average it is known as ENSO neutral, meaning that the oscillation is neither in a warm nor cool phase.” Achmid expounds his expansive weather knowledge gleaned from millennia of observing weather phenomena.” 31

“What is the result of this warm water event? Folletti asks.

“In normal years, the surface air pressure in the equatorial region of the Pacific is higher in the east than in the west, which means that easterly winds blowing from the Americas to Australia and South East Asia prevail. In cooler years, La Niña however, surface air pressure in the equatorial region of the Pacific falls in the east and rises in the west, so the pattern reverses: westerly winds blowing from Asia to America prevail. They include warmer temperatures over western and central Canada, and over the western and northern United States. Higher precipitation events are likely over portions of the U.S. Gulf Coast and Florida, while drier conditions can be expected in the Ohio Valley and the Pacific Northwest. The presence of El Niño can significantly influence weather patterns, ocean conditions, and marine fisheries across large portions of the globe for an extended period of time.” 31 Achmid continues his weather lecture knowing the intricate relationships between air temperatures and Sea States all too well.”

“That’s fascinating darling, but what have wind and wave got to do with weather?” Folletti asks knowing her comment will infuriate her weather centric mate.

“The converse La Niña episodes represent periods of below-average sea surface temperatures across the east-central Equatorial Pacific. During a La Niña event, the impact on the Global climate tends to be opposite those of El Niño events.” Achmid continues, ignoring Folletti’s attempt to provoke him.

“During a La Niña year, winter temperatures are warmer than normal in the Southeast and cooler than normal in the Northwest.” Achmid thought that the conversation was over and he could return to his book but Folletti had other ideas.

‘So what difference does it matter which way the wind blows?” Folletti asks knowing the response her question will elicit.

“What difference does it matter? What difference does it matter? Have you learned nothing in the twenty-two years you have lived with the South Wind, m’Lady? Achmid feigns irritation at Folletti’s question.

“Oh well, I’ve picked up a few useful things along the way.” Folletti replies, keeping her motives to herself, she encourages her mate to continue.

“Well ya see El Niño episodes dramatically affect the world’s climate. As the air above the equatorial Pacific warms each spring it creates massive rain clouds, in a normal year these would fall on Asia as the Monsoons that nurtures the harvest. However, in an El Niño year the monsoons weakens and instead heavy rain falls on the Americas causing catastrophic flooding. I remember an episode during the Seventeenth Century of an El Niño event that lasted from 1638 until1661. 33 During that period, the affected areas saw the weakest monsoon seasons in East Asia for the past two millennia. When the monsoons fail so does the rice crop and thousands if not millions died as a result of the famines that followed. Wars follow famine as the people of Asia and the entire world, for that matter, during the Seventeenth century could tell you if they were still alive but they can’t because they are all long dead. So you see my luscious Windknot the direction of the wind matters greatly in the lives of the humans you profess to love so much.” Achmid provided a detail recounting of his experiences with the weather phenomena known as ENSO (El Niño Southern Oscillation)

“So what is this North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) I’ve read about?” Folletti asks not letting Achmid off the hook so easily.

“Oh well ya see, climate is so much more complicated and interwoven than humans like to think that it is, to them they are only interested in what is occurring outside their front door, when in reality there is a complex and intricate dance happening, the like of which they have no idea. The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) 34 is a wide-ranging pressure seesaw that drives winter climate over much of North America, Europe, and North Africa. The phases of the NAO are defined by higher- or lower-than-normal levels of air pressure over regions of the North Atlantic Ocean. These pressure variations affect weather all around the Atlantic basin by altering the force and location of the jet stream and the storm tracks that follow it.” Explains Achmid to a now enthralled Folletti.

“But does this have any relationship to our changing climate?” Folletti asks.

“The variability of the NAO decade-to-decade has been greater, swinging more randomly, during the late twentieth century than in the early 1800s, suggesting that variability is linked to the mean temperature of the Northern Hemisphere.32 Ya know that this indicates a connection between anthropogenic warming of the planet and these weather fluctuations. When the Industrial Revolution began and atmospheric temperatures began to rise, the NAO took on a much stronger pattern in longer-term behavior. I believe that these variations are the direct result of mankind burning of fossil fuels, the releasing CO2, and the release of other green house gases into the atmosphere. ” Achmid said.

Dropping into Achmid’s lap Folletti continues to tease Achmid unmercifully. “Oh my love, did you know that you’re beginning to pick up idiomatic speech patterns, you just used ‘ya’ instead of ‘you’” and then she proceeded to plant a rather wet kiss on his mouth. “So what was the cause of the big change back at the beginning of the sixteen hundreds then?” Folletti persists.

“As I recall that was during the ‘Little Ice Age’ a time when the planet cooled due to a reduction of the Sun’s output called the Maunder Minimum, when there was a dearth of sunspots observed and an increase in volcanic activity around the globe.33 And I do not use the term ‘ya’ except when I say ‘got ya!’” Achmid playfully tickles his wife at areas of her body that he knows she’s sensitive, eliciting gales of laughter mixed with loud screeches from Folletti, who clearly loves the attention.

The meteorological discussion is put on hold while the two engage in causing each other’s temperatures to rise, the Huchmids have always been a passionate couple and this is just an extension of their love and deep bond for each other.

“I’ve missed you, dear heart!” Achmid states emphatically as he carries Folletti upstairs to their bedroom.

“Oh and I’ve missed you, m’Lord!” Folletti responds, her arms around Achmid’s powerful neck.

Later while the two sprites in human form languish next to each other, satiated but not spent, they chat as lovers often do when the lovemaking is momentarily paused.

“Folletti, listen, I am sorry for my insensitive comment about Miriam’s University. I’m sure her studies there will be very fruitful and important.” Achmid’s apology is well received. He knows the importance of those three little words and how far they can go in maintaining a long-term relationship like theirs. “How has business been, you haven’t mentioned anything about your investments since I returned?” Achmid asks, generally interested in his wife’s dealings.

“Thank you for that. They’re doing remarkably well, actually. Wait, about which group are you asking, the solar panels, wind farm generators, or the batteries to store the sun and wind generated energy? Or are you referring to the new Sustainable Agricultural methods?” Folletti responds with just the slightest hint of a boast.

“Either, both or all; tell me about everything you’ve been doing while I’ve been away.” Achmid responds eager to hear what his wife has been up to during his long voyages.

“Well the Muse Corps is yielding some fantastic results. We’ve got members installed at almost every major university campus and research facility in the United States and European Union but the greatest breakthrough came with the discovery of a separate community of Mousai located in Asia. Once we tapped into that resource some wonderful things began coming out of China and Japan.” Folletti’s excitement is palpable as she talks about her activities managing the Muse Corps over the past several months.

“Do tell me about the farming issues, I’ve witnessed a disquieting amount of conflict occurring around the Globe that looks agriculturally related in that it’s motivated by water shortage.” Achmid asks of Folletti.

“Well I know that you are aware that the Earth’s temperature is rising as a result of increased atmospheric concentrations of CO2 and Methane. Agriculture is a source of methane and nitrous oxide emissions, two prominent greenhouse gases. Modifying agricultural practices can reduce emissions of these gases, and reduce atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide by sequestering carbon in the soil.

World agriculture faces a changing production environment due to shifts in global climatic conditions. Climate models predict wide-ranging impacts on local temperature and precipitation patterns, with broad implications for crop yields, crop-water demand, water-supply availability, farmer livelihoods, and consumer welfare.” Folletti begins.

“Ermph, which would explain the many water conflicts I’ve witnessed of late. I watched the destruction of two dams on the Rio Bravo while on my way home. It looked rather violent I’m afraid. Achmid recounts his observation of the explosions in New Mexico.

“Climate change will affect field crop and livestock yields worldwide, which will lead to changes in food and fiber consumption, prices of agricultural commodities, and farm incomes. Adaptive farming strategies can help growers reduce the costs of climate change. Farmers can respond to climate-induced shifts in relative profitability by changing crops, rotations, production methods, and amount of cropland cultivated. Altering the extent and intensity of irrigation has been proposed to mitigate the effect of a changing climate.” Folletti outlines the issue for Achmid although he has seen it first hand during his travels.

“Have you developed any concrete technologies or strategies to offset the problem?” Achmid cuts to the crux of the issue.

“Technology has improved Farming a lot and Homo habilis has brought the human species a great distance, once he realized he had opposable thumbs but right now modern man, even with the benefit of those thumbs, can’t quite grasp the central point. Mankind looks at the species on the land as commodities, purely for personal gain, a concept that is currently described as ‘ecosystems services’ that for my part I find that a very grimy little term. It holds the notion the plants and animals are merely saleable items and indentured to our market system. We view ourselves above nature. It is an anthropocentric view of the world. Thinking that human needs supersede all others, it is what has brought us to this state in the first place.” 35 Folletti answers, clearly passionate about this viewpoint.

“You are a treasure my dear, do you know how wonderful you are? You may just save your humans after all. Achmid states his bias emphatically.

“There is a growing movement emerging, questioning the role of the agricultural establishment in promoting practices that contribute to these social problems. Right now, this movement for sustainable agriculture is garnering increased support and acceptance within mainstream agriculture. Not only does sustainable agriculture address many environmental and social concerns, but it offers innovative and economically viable opportunities for growers, laborers, consumers, policymakers and many others in the entire food system. But the best change humanity can make and perhaps the simplest is to change their dietary habits, forego eating meat, and switch to a plant based diet.36” Folletti replies.

“But, the problem persists, _why? Achmid asks.

“The problem is humanity itself. The entire population needs to get behind these efforts not just a few Activists or Regenerative Agriculturalists, who more often than not are labeled as kooks or worse. It would seem like there is a force at work actively trying to deny the problem of anthropogenic climate disruption. Some malevolent entity is actively working against our best efforts. Achmid I fear that another Zuozhuan Zhouli has arisen and is countering the best efforts of the Mousai.” Folletti states her fears.

“Oh that would be bad indeed. Do you have proof that another elemental or member of the Unseen Court is involved in disrupting the Corp’s efforts?” Achmid asks.

“No, nothing that’s concrete. Mostly it is my observations of what has taken place in the US, in their Congress. The Americans have consistently refused to cooperate with International efforts to curb Fossil Fuel emissions and due to their refusal to sign the Kyoto Accord, not to mention their withdrawal from the Paris Accords, so little has changed. I’m beginning to think that we have to get a Muse installed close to one of the US Legislators. A member of Congress, one who is actively denying Climate Change; he would be the recipient of Muse to affect his thoughts and actions.” Folletti doesn’t realize it yet but she has just stated the truth of the issue and its resolution. The ramifications of her statement will change the Huchmid family forever.



  1. “What are El Niño and La Niña?” National Ocean Services Revised: January 22, 2016 <http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/ninonina.html>
  2. “North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO)“ NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) February Global Release: Thu, 17 Mar 2016 <ncdc.noaa.gov/teleconnections/nao/>
  3. Parker, G. “Global Crisis: War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century”, “Blame it El Nino?” Pgs. 14 – 25, by Geoffrey Parker
  4. “Study links swings in North Atlantic Oscillation variability to climate warming” Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), January 13, 2009 <http://www.whoi.edu/page.do?pid=83537&tid=3622&cid=54686&c=2 >
  5. “The ‘Wild’ Farm: Regenerative Agriculture at Village Farm” Permaculture, Monday, 11th January 2016 , Rebecca Hosking <http://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/wild-farm-regenerative-agriculture-village-farm>
  6. “Climate Change, Water Scarcity, and Adaptation in the U.S. Fieldcrop Sector”, United States Department of Agriculture, by Elizabeth Marshall, Marcel Aillery, Scott Malcolm, and Ryan Williams, Economic Research Report No. (ERR-201) 119 pp, November 2015<http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/err-economic-research-report/err201.aspx>