It’s that time of year again.
The days are mellow but at night, there’s a bit of a nip in the air. OK, really more of a wholehearted bite.
Autumn in Wisconsin — hard cold winds straight off the Canadian prairies sweep summery days away.
Experienced walkers in these parts know how to stay the course during the cold winds. Put on your heaviest boots & take on some ballast – – drop a half-dozen rolls of quarters in your coat pockets, maybe a couple pints of Captain Morgan, the favored antifreeze in these parts.
Wax the ear flaps on your Stormy Kromer hat to cut wind resistance and head into the headwinds.
People are using to weaving, here in the city that leads the country in excessive drinking, so tacking & jibing with the wind comes pretty naturally.
Signs in the park remind dog owners that during High Wind days, any breeds smaller than a St Bernard should be double-leashed and aviation wheel chocks are recommended when they stop by a fire hydrant.
Who knows where the summer’s heat is carried off to – – I seem to recall an old Chippewa legend — when the North Wind blows into town, all the sunshine’s warmth is swallowed & carried to Capistrano.
Or perhaps I’ve got that muddled somehow. But modern science offers an equally crazy story to explain the change in seasons.
This old planet wobbles along on a bent axle or tilted axis, something like that?
“Wobble & Tilt” should be a carnival ride, or cop lingo for an inebriated pedestrian, but it’s scarcely appropriate behavior for a mature planet.
And recently I’ve become hopeful that scientists will buckle down and stabilize this situation.
The Big Red Ball. Photo by Jeff Miller / UW-Madison
Last month, apparently lacking adult supervision, those crazy kids at NASA deliberately crashed a spaceship into an asteroid. (Some articles called it a “moonlet” which makes me feel bad, like we’re picking on the little guy.) The idea was to see if they could change the asteroid’s course as a kind of test run for a planetary defense system.
So I’m thinking, once NASA has practiced up a bit, crashing spaceships & changing orbits, etc. perhaps they can correct Earth’s wobble & tilt problem?
Redirect some pointless wandering rock to smack into Earth. Nothing over the top like last time, when they wiped out the dinosaurs, just a smack on the wrist with a ruler, so Earth straightens up and flies right. Haley’s Comet is due for a visit in 2061, they should have it all worked out by then.
These same science types are working on jaunts to Mars, where temperatures during the tourist season average -81 degrees F.
We laypeople may not know much about space travel. But we do know, that those sorts of scientists, interested in the Red Planet, and eighty one degrees below zero, are not from around here.
No one from Wisconsin is much interested in traveling somewhere colder. The Wisconsin science types are mostly in Madison, huddled around a plasma magnetosphere called The Big Red Ball.
Our planet has a magnetosphere of course, so at least we’re protected from solar winds, even if it doesn’t help with the Alberta Clippers or the Arctic Cold Fronts.
The Big Red Ball, at the U of Wisconsin, kinda looks like a Hollywood mad scientist thing – – covered with magnets, wires, gauges, and pretty sure a 48-cup stainless coffee maker. And it cranks out 500,000 degrees F. or 5 million K, something like that, basically “real hot,” a miniature sun. And the scientists really don’t care if they discover a darn thing — as long as the funding holds out, the lab is nice and toasty.
And that reminds me, time for cinnamon raisin bread toast and hot coffee, gotta go.