It’s been usually cold here in Tennessee.  It’s been unusually cold in much of the country (see the video below), and in Europe as well.  Naturally, the global-warming fanatics can’t bring themselves to admit that we’re seeing a cooling trend.  Riiiight … three years in a row of record-breaking cold is just an anomaly, and never mind that Al Gore’s beloved computer models didn’t predict any of this.  Frankly, I’m pretty sure nothing could convince them to give up their quasi-religion.  Temperatures could drop for the next 20 years, and they’d still be insisting the planet has a fever and calling for more cap-and-tax schemes — especially Gore, since he’s set himself up to make millions from carbon credits.

After a decade in Los Angeles, I’m enjoying experiencing a winter that feels like winter.  We’re even supposed to get up to three inches of snow tonight.  My daughters are so excited, they had a difficult time going to sleep. Alana, my four-year-old, has already announced that she plans to build a snowman, have a snowball fight, build a snow fort and go ice skating, all in one day. 

I think it would be more amusing just to drive around (carefully, of course) and see how the other drivers handle the snow.  It probably wouldn’t be as much fun as in previous decades; too many people have moved here from other parts of the country, including the snow states.  When my friend Bob moved here 25 years, he called me the first time it snowed — a wee little bit — to tell me he saw people abandon their cars and walk home.  They couldn’t handle the pressure.

Some people can’t even handle the pressure of riding in the snow.  About 15 years ago, I drove across North Dakota and Minnesota on a comedy tour, sharing my car with a young comedian from Seattle.  Snow was a foreign substance to him.  We had to drive through snow several times, usually on two-lane roads that hadn’t been plowed, and every time the wheels lost traction for a nanosecond or so, he gasped and grabbed the dashboard with both hands. 

When it was no longer amusing, I finally said, “Lonnie, I’ve been driving in this stuff for 20 years.  I’m not going to spin out.  And look out the window, for chrissakes … there’s nothing for us to hit.”  Then, since he seemed far too young for a heart attack, I jerked the wheel and fishtailed a bit on purpose, just for fun.

Not that winters have always been fun for me.  Perhaps it was karma getting back at me for scaring Lonnie when, two winters later, my normally-reliable Toyota Camry started to die on me one night as I was heading to a gig in Green Bay, with the temperate on its way to -45 degrees.  Yes, you read that correctly … 45 degrees below zero.  I’d like to say the weather surprised me, but it didn’t — I had checked the forecast before driving up from Chicago.  In fact, I called the club owner and urged him to cancel.  He said, “Don’t worry about it.  People up here are used to cold weather.  They’ll still come out.”  Stupidly ignoring my better judgment, I made the trip.

About 10 miles from the hotel, my interior lights started to dim.  I began pleading with the car, calling it pet names, promising it all the oil and gas it could drink if it would just get me to the hotel.  The lights continued growing dimmer, both inside and outside.  I could barely see where I was driving.  It occurred to me that people die in these circumstances.  This was before cell phones, and there wouldn’t be much chance of flagging down a passing motorist — only idiots and comedians drive in -45 degree weather.

The car began to shudder and shake and finally quit on me four blocks from the hotel.  I zipped my parka all the way up to my nose to form a peephole, grabbed my suitcase, and began running.  By the time I reached the hotel doors, my shivers had degenerated into near-convulsions.  I had to blink several times per second to keep my contacts from freezing.

I called the club owner and told him I needed a ride.  He sent an employee to pick me up.  When the show began, there were nine people in the club, playing pool in the bar.  None of them had a ticket for the show, but the club owner said they could stick around and watch for free.  Four of them wisely declined, saying they wanted to leave before their engine blocks froze.  So I performed for five people.

On the local TV news that night, a reporter showed that he could toss a glass of water into the air and it would land as chunks of ice.  The hotel had the heat all the way up, so it was several degrees above freezing in my room.  I slept in my clothes, with both a sweater and a sweatshirt.  I still woke up shivering.

The next day I called to have my car towed to a local garage.  The mechanic told me it would be at least Tuesday before he could even look at it — there were dozens of dead cars ahead of mine.  Lovely.  The club would only cover the hotel for the two nights I was performing, so I would be paying for two or three nights from my own pocket.  Meanwhile, it warmed up a few degrees, so we had nearly a dozen people attend the Saturday-night show.

My car wasn’t brought back to life until Wednesday.  The damage was about $350, wiping out most of my paycheck from the club.  The extra hotel bill wiped out the rest.  I spent three days shivering in my room, watching TV and reading books.  At mealtimes, I ran back and forth to a diner a few blocks away.  The food was mediocre.  I didn’t care.

A couple of weeks after I returned to Chicago, I received a notice from my bank — the club’s check had bounced.  I tried to call the club, but the number wasn’t in service.  They were out of business.  Between the car repair, the hotel bill, gas, and the days away from my hourly-wage job, I figured it cost me about $1,000 to perform two shows for fewer than 20 people.

Now that’s cold.

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8 Responses to “It’s A Cold One”
  1. Missy says:

    I don’t know about this Lonnie character from Seattle. What kind of Seattle-based comedian doesn’t know about driving in the snow?! I’ve been over the Cascade mountains dozens of times, driving through snow so heavy you feel like you’re flying through hyperspace, just to get to that one-nighter (in the dive bar, where they leave the TVs on, with a dozen people or fewer).

    Somewhere in the Seattle area, not sure exactly where. Does it snow in the city, or only in the mountains? They get snow in the mountain resort areas near L.A., but never IN L.A.

    Yes, the TVs turned on, the jukebox still going in the other room, people playing pool in the back of the room … those were the days.

  2. Alexia says:

    Just once I would love to be in one of those warmer states when it snows so I can watch everyone freak out – I’ve been in MI my whole life so I drive in anything and it would be way to much fun!

    And I think I’d be hunting down that club owner after all of that!

    I sure thought about hunting him down. Not worth it, ultimately.

  3. Danny says:

    Um, the record snowfall could easily be the result of global warming. Increased snowfall is probably the result of record moisture levels caused by global warming. It’s a feedback system. 2009 was one of the wettest years in recent record ( I think since 1964).

    Also, I really enjoyed your documentary and have made many people watch it. I was already paleo before it but this is more proof. Thank you!!!

    But global warming can’t explain three years of record-cold temperatures and no rise whatsoever since 1998, which is what we’ve seen. Go paleo.

  4. Danny says:

    1. Wondering what three years you are talking about and how these three years immediately debunk everything ever?

    2. 1998 had an El Nino.

    3. Temperatures have been rising actually – although surface temperatures have varied, this does not mean global temperatures have decreased. Most of the heat goes into the water. The heat content rose even if the surface temperatures varied.

    Clearly, since global warming does not exist, we all should pollute so much more so we can produce beyond our wildest dreams. We shouldn’t clean or dispose of any waste, even if its toxic as the Earth as an unlimited sink function and can handle anything. ever.

    go paleo

    Well, this is a big topic, but let me try to be brief.

    It depends on whose numbers you use. Much of the “rise” in temperatures is due to measurements near urban heat islands and aren’t reliable. And it’s not “global” warming anyway, since there’s been zero detectable rise in most of the southern hemisphere.

    Even if temperatures have gone up, there’s absolutely nothing unusual about that … not the rise, nor the pace of it. The world entered a little ice age a few hundred years ago (one of many over time) and we’ve been slowly emerging from it, which makes a rise over 100 years no more unusual than the rise from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. We are likely, given the lack of sun spot activity recently, heading into another cooling spell. I’m sure the alarmists will keep playing with their data to try to hide it, but we’re definitely not getting warmer now.

    (You remember the Climategate email that said “The fact is we cannot explain the lack of warming in recent years, and it’s a travesty that we can’t.” That’s a global-warming scientist talking, not me. He didn’t write “It’s because of the El Nino year.” He specifically said they couldn’t explain it … and boy, was he upset.)

    But it’s your last point that I really want to address. The environmentalists have done a brilliant job confusing global warming with pollution. Great strategy … if you don’t want to buy into our tax-and-cap schemes to stop global warming, you must be pro-pollution. But they’re two completely different issues. I’m very much against pollution. But CO2 is not and never has been a pollutant or a toxin, any more than nitrogen or oxygen. More than 95 percent of it is produced by plants and animals and warming water. You’re producing CO2 right now. So is your dog. There are limited resources in the world, and every dollar we spend to try to reduce CO2 is a dollar we don’t spend to clean up the actual pollution.

    And if you track temperature and CO2 throughout earth’s history, it’s clear that temperature goes up, THEN CO2 goes up, not the other way around. This makes perfect sense; when the earth warms, probably because of sun-spot activity, there are more plants and animals and the warming oceans release CO2. Again, even the global-warming alarmists have to admit this has been the case throughout history … but they want us to believe that THIS time (just this one time), CO2 will cause temperatures to rise instead of the other way around.

    Check the YouTube lecture in this post:

    http://www.tomnaughton.com/?p=180

  5. Danny says:

    1. The urban heat island theory is a failed one. The microscale and local scale factors far outweigh the mesoscale factors of an urban heat island. Two recent studies that tested temperatures on calm and windy nights (if urban heat island’s exist, then the windy nights should show a significantly lower temperatures) in 270 cities around the world concluded that there was no significant difference in temperatures. Ground temperature measurements also predate urban sprawl, allowing for researchers to see how the sprawl only slightly affects the overall magnitude of warming but not the direction.
    2. There actually quite enough information to suggest warming in the southern hemisphere. The rate of warming is just much greater in the high altitudes of the North Hemisphere. The southern ocean and its heat uptake is most likely the cause of this. Changes in wind could also explain what is considered cooling in the Southern Hemisphere regions.
    3. “The Little Ice Age” is often used incorrectly by skeptics. Temperatures are cherry-picked from a few select regions, which showed uncommon cooling (basically Canada, north Europe and some Russia). However, the middle-east, central North Atlantic, tropical Eurasia and most of the rest of the world showed warmth. Also, the claim that it was much warmer in the Medieval era follows the same logic – cherry-picked regions that show cased unusual warmth. Globally, we are actually warmer today.
    4. Global warming deniers will also try to hide the fact that any correlation between the sun and global warming ended in about the mid 1970’s and that this claim continues to be debunked as of recently (both Erlykin and Benestead did two different reports in 2009). Also the claim that Mars is warming is based on two photos taken two decades (70’s and 90’s) apart that showed a lighter planet in the 70’s than in the 90’s. Using a circulation model, it was concluded from these two photos that Mars had increased in temperature. However, the photo was taken just after a dust storm, which deposited bright dust on dark dust, thus giving the appearance of an increase in surface albedo. The same brightness was observed in 2006. The error is mistaking weather at the time of the two shots as climate. There actually is no evidence that Mars has warmed.
    5. Yes I do remember Climategate (I hope so, otherwise my memory is going). Trenberth was referring to an article that he had published at the time. The article, published in Current Opinion on Environmental Stability (part of the Current Opinion peer-reviewed journal), actually concluded that global warming does exist. However, what he was complaining about was our current ability to always know where energy is going. In fact, the article concludes with him explaining his frustrations with observation systems – not claiming that global warming is not happening.
    6. If you knew the definition of pollutant, you would know that CO2 is a pollutant – and so can O2. Both are produced as waste products from organisms. But the main problem is the concentration of C02. The concentration of carbon dioxide is where the problem is and this will only continue as acidifying oceans absorb less CO2 and the rate of oil consumption grows. It reminds me of the paleo diet. Keeping carbs/co2 at a natural level (I don’t really consider low-carb, low per se but at a natural level) leads to optimum performance. At 300 carbs/380 ppm, well you have a problem. I’m also not trying to say that other compounds don’t contribute, I was just answering CO2 directly.
    7. It’s a feedback system. The apparent lagging is caused by climate sensitivity. CO2 has an amplifying on the atmosphere.
    Go paleo

    Seems to plenty of warming going on in our corner of the universe.

    http://www.livescience.com/environment/070312_solarsys_warming.html

    The takeaway is that no one can fully explain any of it, any more than they can say what causes climate change on Earth. The scientists who pretend they understand all the variables involved in climate are either fooling themselves or intentionally fooling the public. They’re intellectual relatives of Ancel Keys.

    To show just how few of the variables we know and understand, some researchers plugged data from 100 years ago into Al Gore’s beloved computer models and asked them predict the 20th century. They weren’t even close. Bottom line is that nobody knows nuthin’, as the saying goes.

    Watch the YouTube videos I mentioned earlier and read “Heaven and Earth” by Ian Plimer, or the epilogue in Crichton’s “State of Fear.” Then tell me if you still believe there’s something unusual going on with the climate. If the planet is warming (which I doubt, given three years of record cool summers and record cold winters), that proves nothing … except that the planet is warming, which it has done many times in the past.

    Even if the theory is completely correct, the honest researchers admit that if we enacted every single draconian measure called for by Kyoto, it would reduce the supposed warming by 1/30th. Bjorn Lomborg is correct; there’s no use wasting trillions of dollars in this way. The money would be better spent dealing with the predicted effects, if they ever manifest.

  6. Neil Fraser-Smith says:

    Just to cheer you all up, it’s 90F here in sunny Queensland, Australia. We are just back from the beach. Now, what exactly is ‘snow’.

    As best I can tell, it’s white stuff that lands on your sidewalk, then melts a bit in the afternoon, then freezes again overnight so the next morning you slip and land on your @$$ while retrieving the newspaper.

  7. Danny says:

    1. The warming of other planets is a pretty weak theory. Pluto has an orbit of 248 years and neptune has an orbit of 164 years. These planets are literally approaching their summer season and this is probably the only summer we will see of theirs in our lifetime. These observations have nothing to do with long-term climate but seasonal changes. Jupiter’s warming is the result of an inner-mechanism.

    2. Also, I am by no means pro-Al Gore, even if we share common-ground on a theory. He got many of his facts wrong and I do not believe the warming is happening at his determined rate.

    3. I have read the book.

    4. http://www.complex.org.au/tiki-download_file.php?fileId=91. This is Ian G. Entig’s literature review. Reminds me of something Sally Fallon would do.

    5. I agree that preventive measures might be unneccessary as we are most likely in overshoot mode. Oh well.

    Well, I guess that’s the trouble with the whole issue. Scientists can critique each other’s claims back and forth, and many of the critiques are valid. I presume you’re disgusted by the idea of stitching together thermometer data and tree-ring data (cutting off the tree-ring data at exactly the point it become problematic), whether or not you agree with the general theory.

    As I found out while researching Fat Head, pretty much everyone with a research grant has an agenda, there’s a LOT of cherry-picked data across the spectrum, scientists routinely fall in love with their own positions and ignore or rationalize evidence to the contrary, etc.

    So I’m back to my original position: Nobody can honestly say we know all the factors that drive climate change, and nobody can honestly say (or prove … or disprove) that we’re currently warming the planet. Since the planet has warmed and cooled many times before, I don’t see any reason to panic over the current warming trend, if indeed we’re still in one. Not sure how old you are, but when I was high school, the scientific consensus was that we were heading into another ice age. I’ve lost track of how many doomsday scenarios have been predicted by the supposed experts during my 51 years, but not a one of them has actually happened. So I’m always suspicious.

    Regardless, I hope we find an alternative to fossil fuels for all kinds of reasons, not the least of which is that I don’t like enriching repressive regimes in the Middle East. And I believe we will … probably something no one has even thought of yet.

  8. April says:

    My boyfriend’s uncle lives in San Antonio, and he said that one time it snowed 3 inches so they just shut the whole city down because they didn’t know what to do! As a lifetime Michigander that cracked me up.

    They cancelled school here when it snowed a couple of inches.

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