WOOF! Watchdogs of Our Freedom

Debunking “DEBUNKED,” exposing CONSPIRACY THEORIES, and dissing other IMPACTFUL Trends!

In Hardcore lexicography forum on January 30, 2021 at 10:06 pm

In which WOOF’s editor in chief, Old Bugler, expresses his up-to-the-minute-if-frustratingly-excursive views on nothing but 100% guaranteed genuine news, mostly in the annoyingly officious third-person, as befits his station!   

Your humble editor has long held that English matters—a theory decreasingly popular even among English teachers, and evidently deplored by readers who deem your editor’s opinion pieces (and almost everything else WOOF has to offer) unacceptably magniloquent. Your humble editor, just to make the case plain at the outset, feels differently.  It was the estimable William F. Buckley Jr. who once reproved such critics by remarking that he loved English and never apologized for using it. As an analogous defense, Buckley recalled attending a performance by the avant-garde jazz pianist, Thelonious Monk, writing, “He struck some really, sure-enough bizarre chords, but you know, it never occurred to me to walk over and say, Thelonious, I am not familiar with that chord you just played. So cut it out please.”

The analogous Thelonius Monk

Rudolf Clausius, obviously steeling himself as he prepares to invent entropy.

That said, this screed is not directed against your editor’s lexicographic critics, nor even those countless purveyors of junk English (aka descriptivists) with whom we occasionally contend. True, descriptivists (here defined as subscribers to the popular theory that English should consist of whatever is meant by whichever Philistines are currently debauching it, provided enough of them are debauching it the same way at the same time) are always on the march. And while it remains our view that descriptivism represents a menace, and one that conservatives do well to oppose in the name of lingual and cultural preservation, it requires a level of paranoia greater than even we possess to suppose its proponents premeditatively subversive. Promoting junk words like “irregardless,” “snuck,” or the ever-popular “impactful,” or, for that matter, struggling to mollify the grammatically clueless by substituting inapposite mush like “their” for the singular pronoun “his,” simply because its antecedent may or may not be male, hardly rates a charge of sedition.  Rather, such botherments amount to that mundane combination of intellectual sloth and rampant nitwittedness that is nowadays widely shrugged off as “entropy,” even around office water-coolers where not one of the assembled discoursers could pick Rudolf Clausius out of a line-up.

Ominous paralogisms….

The Liberal Establishment (FILE PHOTO)

None of this would especially perturb your editor, at least in the moment, were it not for what Leonard Piekoff might call ominous parallels. In the lexical realm, distinctions should be drawn between trends that are merely pestiferous (i.e., descriptivism), and those that conservatives, at least, should deem authentically ominous. Authentic ominousness, in this case, radiates from the establishment’s relentless campaign of verbal sabotage meant to bludgeon our native tongue into unnuanced puerility, while at the same time–and always with that snobbish hauteur endemic to meddling liberals–demanding our acquiescence to the bludgeonings.

The Origin of Speciousness…

The origin of these assaults is not mysterious–they spring mainly from the brows of alembicated Ivy League faculty who, for want of any less vexatious avocations, preoccupy themselves with the coinage of abject drivel, pronouncing its acceptance vital to social awareness, promoting it with a militancy befitting so lofty an objective, and leaving it to their sycophants in media to goad public-spirited Americans into walking around babbling it.  Adding insult to injury, no sooner are we browbeaten into adopting one of these imperiously decreed neologisms, and no sooner habituated to scrupulously applying it as prescribed, than it is superseded by some newer and ostensibly more correct neology, whereupon anyone so laggardly as to employ the previously mandated usage invites denunciation as hopelessly, perhaps even obstructively, unwoke.  This practice is dastardly, and demands opposition. To submit means living life consigned to a kind of sociocultural treadmill upon which participants scramble ceaselessly to maintain both balance and pace while attempting to snag and assimilate an endless flurry of alien terminologies–terminologies rendered even more alien by a shared lack of vocabular lineage.

Transability, and other breakthroughs…..

Actually, Alexandre is what we would describe as male, although he evinces a certain Gender Non-Binary ethos.

Indeed, one might reasonably infer that the rules for minting such gibberish mandate the disallowance of any phrase bearing any sort of etymological pedigree. In this spirit we are bombarded with rubbish like the imaginary pronoun “Ze/Hir,” which we are solemnly instructed to substitute for such embarrassingly gender-specific artifacts as “he” and “she;” as well as TERF, (the currently approved condensation of “trans-exclusionary radical feminism”).  In other cases, distinguishable prefixes and suffixes are mashed into such bizarre combinations as “transabled,” which appears to be the adjectival form of “transability.” For guidance, we turn to Quebec-born academic, Alexandre Baril, an expert on Intersectionality (don’t ask) who recently lectured the University of Ottawa’s Congress of Social Sciences and Humanities on the subject of “transabilism”–so his views must be reliable. Transability, according to Dr. Baril, is “…the desire or the need for a person identified as able-bodied by other people to transform his or her body to obtain a physical impairment,” or, in other words, the masochistic impulse formerly known as self-mutilation, the practice of which seems to be trending amelioratively nowadays, at least in Ottawa.

Transability offers a socially enlightened view of rendering oneself disabled, thus self-injurious behavior is no longer judged or stigmatized by open-minded progressives–although, presumably, transabled people may occasionally go too far.

Buffy Saint-Marie–one good looking Native Canadian, unless she’s  Canadian American, or perhaps a Canadian Native American?

O, Buffy, what art thou?

In some cases, creating suitably confounding phrases with which to replace longstanding and readily comprehended ones makes the use of recognizable English  unavoidable. When this problem crops up, the rule seems to be that any resultant phrase must subvert whatever meanings were formerly ascribed to its components. For example, “native American” for generations denoted anyone born and raised in the United States, but is nowadays repurposed to supplant “American Indian.” An earnest attempt to extrapolate logically from this phrasing leaves your editor perplexed as to whether the pulchritudinous Piapot folk-songstress, Buffy Saint-Marie (who hails from Saskatchewan), should be considered a “Native Canadian,” which would clearly necessitate reclassifying all native-born Canadians who do not claim Indian ancestry as something else entirely, perhaps yet to be determined. Your editor warmly solicits Miss Saint-Marie’s views on the matter, should she care to express them. Views expressed by Justin Trudeau, Suzanne Cowan, or other non-Native Canadian native Canadians will be disregarded as inauthentic.

Third wave babel…

We don’t know what magic words Houdini spoke when he made elephants vanish, but they didn’t catch on.

Recently, however, a third method of lexical nullification has emerged. Your editor admits overlooking its advent, a dereliction he attributes to the tactic’s sneaky dissimilarity to previous anti-communicative salients. This third-wave assault on meaningful discourse  bypasses the invention of new words, as well as the dismemberment of old ones. Instead, its purveyors are satisfied to slyly tweak certain common words or phrases discoverable in most dictionaries. This is accomplished first by blurring and then craftily distorting the term’s established denotation, most often redefining it as an apodicticity. An apodicticity is a semantic absolute denoting an unarguable, incontestable truth.  Put in more accessible terms, the third-wave’s technique is like injecting previously unimpassioned locutions with anabolic steroids. Suddenly imbued with dispositive powers, these words become the “last word” on any matter under dispute. When spoken or written by ordained functionaries of the liberal establishment, they acquire a nearly talismanic power. They become secular incantations–magical mantras by which all competing views are rendered as invisible to the public as, say, Houdini’s elephant. 

A peculiar form of genius…

Cable-network ninnyhammer (FILE PHOTO)

Once refitted and empowered as a talisman, the mutated phrase is sure to gain popularity among left-wing news babblers (excuse the redundancy), the vast majority of whom are certain to find its magical powers irresistible. What cable-network ninnyhammer could resist the allure of a word or phrase so powerful, he need only blurt it robotically whenever evidence or arguments adversarial to the liberal cause emerge, and in so doing appear to have confounded, confuted, and decisively repulsed his deluded adversaries?

The Devil (FILE PHOTO)

Mainstreamed in its new, apodictic form, the term is soon comprehended by viewers (and readers) to deliver an editorial deathblow, instantly destructive of all countervailing arguments. The phrase issues so often in its corrupted context from the mouths of trusted celebrities like Oprah, Shep, Christiana, Mika and Joe, and whichever cluster of termagants currently haunts The View–that its jiggered acceptation is soon established as authentic.  Say what you will of progressivism’s dunderheadedness, it requires a peculiar form of genius to engineer such a stratagem, or perhaps merely the luck of the Devil, who is, after all, the original progressive.  

Debunked! 

An example is overdue. Your editor proposes “debunked” as the word most representative of the third-wave’s modus operandi, at least for the time being. This past simple tense and past participle of the verb “debunk,” was originated by William Woodward in his 1923 novel, Bunk. Woodward defined it as a verb meaning “taking the bunk out of things.” It found a broader audience when the mischievous Harold U. Faulkner published “Colonial History Debunked” in Harper’s Magazine of December, 1925–following which, Faulkner’s revelations were themselves largely debunked.

H.L. Mencken–journalist, essayist, satirist, cultural critic, lexicographer, rascal.

H. L. Mencken was not amused. In his useful tome, The American Language, he approvingly cited a letter to the editors of the London Daily Telegraph, dated March 2, 1935, in which the writer opined: “The origin of ‘debunk’ is doubtless the same as that of American jargon in general — the inability of an ill-educated and unintelligent democracy to assimilate long words. Its intrusion in our own tongue is due partly to the odious novelty of the word itself, and partly to the prevailing fear that to write exact English nowadays is to be put down as a pedant and a prig.” Even today, this lends understanding to the word’s popularity among liberals, not to mention numerous complaints directed at our website.

Look! On ABC! It’s an ice box–no! It’s a record! No, it’s a journalist!

Naturally, descriptivists have fixated on debunked with fetishistic intensity, but the most ardent abusers of this frumpy locution are those unblushing agents of deception whom we persist in calling “journalists,” excusably misnomered by that same power of habituation that impels pop stars to call their latest releases “records,” or a large number of Americans to call refrigerators “ice boxes,” or aluminum foil “tin foil.” But by any name, the DNC operatives currently monopolizing our news media cannot say “debunked!” often enough, and quite naturally their liberal viewers (and a distressing number of non-liberals) have taken to blurting the word as though its very enunciation mandates the immediate abandonment of whatever argument, hypothesis, study, or point of view, occasioned its utterance.

The magical whammy…

And therein lies your editor’s concern. After all, quarreling with debunked because it was excogitated by a novelist during the roaring ’20s, or because more concise synonyms are available if sought, would seem an arbitrary, even mean-spirited endeavor. Until recently, debunked ambled along as a relatively inoffensive usage, but as distorted by today’s mainstream media it functions as a kind of magical whammy.  In this capacity, it is a prime example of a term uprooted from its original acceptation, disrated into a makeshift verbal truncheon, and now widely understood to constitute a verbal coup de grâce, certain to quash any contention inconvenient to the mainstream template.  Its newfound utility is that–like all bumper-sticker indictments– “debunked” now drubs the ear (or eye) with a sort of goonish thud–like a kick to the crotch, dissuasive mainly because the shock deprives the recipient of his wits.

POW! You’re debunked!

Maybe they should try not being sinistral?

Pick any current political dispute and scrutinize whichever sources are given primacy by Google’s calculatedly sinistral algorithms and you will find yourself awash in debunkings. One might assume that exposing the falsehoods in a multitude of topical disputes would benefit everyone, but closer examination reveals a startling unilateralism at odds with the law of averages. An alert Googler, regardless of his politics, will soon perceive that nearly every source debunking anything even marginally political, debunks arguments, data, or news stories that conflict with the progressive narrative.

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Dear Vladimir: WOOF’s Open Letter to Vladimir Putin

In "Owww--right in the breadbasket!" forum on April 21, 2022 at 9:30 pm

Dear Vladimir: Remember us? Maybe not. For reasons that continue to confound our understanding, we never seem to make the top-ten conservative blog list. But we know you secretly follow us on Twitter because whenever we tweet anything even lambently critical of you, we are swarmed by brigades of your pre-programmed bots unanimously denouncing us–of all people– as nothing better than scurrilous minions of the progressive Left.  Fanatically loyal, if only within pre-programmed limits, your cyber-spatial sycophants have even stooped to labeling us atheistic, crypto-liberal, paleo-Trotskyite, egalitarian scum, (which always strikes us as tautology, and also hurts our feelings.)

It isn’t as though we haven’t made efforts to like you, Vladimirovich.  Truth be told, back during your “Pooty-poot” phase, when you dressed like a cowpoke at the Crawford Ranch and “W” deluded himself into supposing he’d descried your soul, we too were hoping you’d turn out to be a regular guy. But you don’t get to be a bottle-cap colonel in the KGB by being a regular guy, do you! In our heart of hearts we knew that all along.

Here you appear to be showing President Bush some judo moves. Too bad he didn’t pay better attention!

Not that ordering the poisoning or shooting or bludgeoning of uncounted victims makes anyone a bad person. As conservatives, we go to great lengths to factor national traditions and societal habitudes into our evaluations.  Such analyses encompass various cultural preferences for the administration of violence. For example, we Americans–often to a fault–prefer shooting one another. The English display a rivaling tendency to stab each other, mostly with kitchen knives; but Russia exhibits an historic propensity for dispatching undesirable or inconvenient persons by sneaking  poisons onto their menus.

Of course many Americans, like Laura Bush, still prefer a good sock in the nose.


Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn during a chill in his literary career.

True, death by firing squad, or, less ceremonially, by “collecting one’s nine grams,” (you’ve probably read Solzhenitsyn, right?) reached fever pitch in Stalin’s era, and will always have its place.  But here we must compliment you on your determination to reach into Russia’s storied past and revisit more traditional methods. Leaving aside the growing opinion that Stalin poisoned Lenin, poisons either killed or helped kill a significant succession of Russians, long before communism killed millions more.

Rasputin and the Romanovs–not a flattering portrait of any of them.

But previous Russian leaders were not as deliberate as you, Vladimir, and often as not, their efforts were embarrassingly botched.  Rasputin, whose poisoning was almost impossibly bungled, downed a platter of cakes and a few bottles of wine all infused with generous doses of potassium cyanide. When this had no visible effect, and still more poisoned wine proved no less agreeable to the Mad Monk, he was shot several times with a revolver, but continued to sit upright, blinking benignly. Eventually, witnesses insist, he got up and dashed into the courtyard where additional pistol fire knocked him down. Tightly bound against the risk of revivification, Rasputin was lugged to the Neva River and dropped through a hole in the ice. An autopsy later revealed he’d drowned.

Rasputin after being repeatedly poisoned, shot, and drowned.

But you’ve had fair success with this sort of business, and we are loathe to reprehend your methods. Your introduction of deadly radiation and nerve agents conflates a time-honored methodology with a catchy modern flourish. Still, your chronic reliance on assassination dims its sparkle and risks monotony–can you not see that? Also, plausible denial, which always features you at your impish best, becomes less plausible as the bodies and evidence stack up.  Perhaps you believe the very impudence of your straight-faced dissembling adds a roguish touch to such events, but really, Vladimir, there ought to be limits.leaving aside the uncountable victims of Cossack raids, Kulaks starved by Stalin, and political prisoners frozen in Gulags, fully one third of those specifically assassinated by Russian leadership died during your time at the top.

Sergei

In 2003, for instance, Sergei Yushenkov was gathering evidence he said proved your government was behind a spat of apartment bombings in 1999.  You were Prime Minister at the time, remember? Sergei was gunned down outside his Moscow residence.

Yuri–passport revoked?

Also investigating apartment bombings that year was Yuri Petrovich Shchekochikhin,  crusading Russian journalist, lawmaker, and author. Yuri was also  investigating organized crime and political corruption in government and the military. His last non-fiction book, Slaves of the KGB, was about people roped into becoming Soviet informers by people like you, Vladimir. We know how you often say you miss those days. Anyway, Shchekochikhin fell ill in 2003 just before visiting the USA.  He died 16 days later of what most neutral experts deemed radiation poisoning.  Family requests for a medical examination were denied.

Anna–following the Rasputin model.

Soon afterwards came the  assassination of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya.  In 2004, she was shot dead in an elevator at her apartment complex, but only after she survived an Aeroflot flight during which she fell violently ill and passed out after drinking polonium-laced tea served by her flight attendant. Unanticipatedly, Politkovskaya recovered in hospital, so shooting her sort of followed the Rasputin model, minus drowning, of course. 

Most shooting victims, however, got shot with no mephitic prologue. Stanislav Markelov was a human rights lawyer known for representing various critics of yourself, Vladimir. He was shot by a masked assailant near the Kremlin, where he died along with reporter Anastasia Baburova, a civil-rights journalist from Novaya Gazeta, shot down as she attempted to assist the dying Markelov.

Anastasia and Stanislav–two more random, unsolved Moscow murders. Walking near the Kremlin seems very unsafe.


Do svidaniya, Boris!

Your arch rival Boris Nemtsov was shot dead right in front of the Kremlin days before he was due to lead a protest against you. Five Chechens were speedily sentenced for his murder–so speedily that no one remembered to ask about a motive. Despite the swiftness with which justice was served in this case, Vladimir Kara-Murza, another pesky opposition leader, started blaming you, Vladimir– but Kara-Murza soon collapsed into a coma. His subsequent organ failures were attributed to poisoning, but he got better and was soon well enough to be poisoned again, which he was. But he recovered again. Some guys, right?  For that matter, double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with nerve agents in England in 2018 – and they both survived. Perhaps these were more on the order of admonitory poisonings?

Alexander Litvinenko dying in hospital–evidently polonium 210 isn’t good for your complexion, either.

In 2006, Alexander Litvinenko, former KGB agent turned Putin critic, died in London three weeks after drinking a cup of polonium-210 flavored tea. A British inquiry found that Litvinenko was killed by Russian agents. Word from the Kremlin was that you were personally managing the investigation, Vladimir, but it must have gotten away from you.  And to make matters worse, Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky, formerly your supporter, began investigating on his own time and churlishly fingered you for Litvinenko’s murder.  Berezovsky claimed he’d amassed volumes of evidence inculpating you. Some people will just turn on you like that. 

But Berezovsky became so jittery about what you might do to him that he fled to London. It didn’t help; he was found dead in his hotel bathroom. Even though Berezovsky died with a noose around his neck, coroners couldn’t assign a cause of death, which is another way of saying: he definitely didn’t hang himself.  Next, your longtime journalistic critic Natalie Estemirova was investigating Berezovsky’s death  when she was abducted outside her home and shot to death in a nearby woods. No one has been convicted of her murder.

Natalie Estemirova, in happier days.  

Sergei Magnitsky, ESQ. Just look at those beady eyes!

In November of 2009, the respected lawyer Sergei Magnitsky began investigating fraud among Russian tax officials in cahoots with the crooked police force. When British-American businessman William Browder asked Magnitsky to probe the issue after Browder’s business became a target of corruption, Magnitsky was himself arrested and charged with fraud.  While in jail he apparently fell down a lot, walked into some walls, and died. To alleviate the impression that police had falsely charged an innocent man (and then beaten him to death while denying him medical attention), the government granted Magnitsky his day in court–in late 2013–four years after he was pronounced dead. Fortunately, he was found guilty.

Evidently, Forbes looks the same in Russian.


Paul Klebnikov was the chief editor of the Russian edition of Forbes. Say, Vladimir, we bet back when you were in the KGB and the USSR was fully pestiferous, you never thought you’d live to see a Russian edition of Forbes, huh! But anyway, Klebnikov  started writing about corruption in the Kremlin, not to mention drug use. He got treated to a Hollywood-style drive-by shooting in which a fusillade from a passing car left him bleeding from four bullet wounds.  Rushed to the hospital by an ambulance crew who forgot to bring oxygen, Klebnikov survived the ride and might have survived the shooting had the elevator to the operating room not mysteriously malfunctioned between floors. 
Remember when Denis Voronenkov, former Russian Communist Party member, began sharply criticizing you after fleeing Russia in 2016?  Yeah,  he got shot too–right in front of his hotel bar in Kyiv where he’d just cautioned reporters for the Washington Post that, “For our personal safety, we can’t let them know where we are.” He probably shouldn’t  have let the Washington Post know, either.

“This is how we found him, Lieutenant! These nice ladies are performing the autopsy now!”

NEWS ITEM: After RT TV anchor Abby Martin criticized Putin’s military invasion of Ukraine, she was assigned to go there and report back. She refused the assignment, proving she’s actually much brighter than anyone previously suspected.


Former Russian press minister Mikhail Lesin was a major player in establishing Russia Today (RT) Television. He reportedly reached out to the FBI with concerns about your government, Vladimir, but died days later in his Washington DC hotel room–a victim of blunt force trauma to his head.  We get it; nobody at RT is worth the price of a bullet, and besides, shooting Abby Martin (left) would be a crime against art. And for that matter, even Vasily Zaytsev would probably miss her brain.

A web compilation of a few of your alleged victims, Vladimir–except the last guy on the bottom right is Akhmad Kadyrov, and he got blown up by a bomb. Not your MO and we don’t think you did it. If you did, in fact, do it, please excuse the omission.

Well, the list goes on and on, Vladimir, as you know better than anyone, and to catalog a host of additional deaths, disappearances, and botched assassination attempts would discourteously belabor the obvious. Besides, our readers complain that WOOF articles are too long anyway, so let’s hasten the terminus by changing the subject, toward which end we’ve prepared a masterfully cunning segue.

But first…we feel a fraternal obligation to mention  fellow blogger Alexei Navalny, who is currently in Russian prison. 

Despite stiff opposition from the Kremlin, Alexei Navalny keeps freedom of the press alive in Russia.

It would be mean spirited to say Alexei is in prison because he makes you mad simply by telling his readers that your party is full of “crooks and thieves” and accusing you of “sucking the blood out of Russia,” imposing a “feudal state” and arrogating total power to the Kremlin. That’s extreme language! The kind of talk that could get a a nerve agent put in your underpants!  But instead, Alexei is only in prison—sentenced for failing to maintain contact with his police monitor on a previously trumped up charge. Of course, that was impossible for him to do because he was in the hospital at the time, recovering from having a nerve agent put in his underpants. But the law is the law, we always say.

On the military front, you recently had your chief defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, visit you at the Kremlin for a kind of performance review, after which the Sun in England wrote, “MYSTERY surrounds Vladimir Putin’s defence chief after he was struck down by a ‘massive’ heart attack ‘not from natural causes.'” WOOF couldn’t confirm the Sun’s story, (nor espouse its syntax) but we went two-and-a-half weeks without any show of Shoigu, and suddenly Shoigu supposedly showed up, shakily reading from note cards on Russian TV, but saying absolutely nothing new.

In happier days.


Is he real, or is he Memorex?

Imagine our relief when Shoigu showed up in livelier, subsequent broadcasts! This must mean he either never had a heart attack, or got better after having one, or perhaps made the necessary adjustments to avoid having another one. He may have taken measures to guarantee his continued health upon learning that that 22 more of your generals are under close arrest for their performance in –you know– the liberation of Ukraine, or whatever.  These generals can’t all have heart attacks, can they? That would just be weird–are you losing it, Vladimir? We think you’re made of sterner stuff. To prove this, however, you will have to do some wily maneuvering–especially considering the way things have been going for you in Ukraine. And–um–speaking of Ukraine…(see what we did there?)

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Deadly CLICK BAIT: Can we SURVIVE?

In "Apocalypse NOT" forum on February 14, 2022 at 4:59 pm

The headline, according to Molly Glick at Popular Science is: “The Great Lakes are Higher Than They’ve Ever Been, and We’re Not Sure What Will Happen Next.” We felt compelled by this horrifying news to click immediately on Molly’s story to find out how long Michigan. e.g., had, before the raging white caps engulfed it completely, battering Detroit to ruins, or at least those portions of it that are not already in ruins.

A suddenly formed “Meteotsunami” (explained somewhere below) threatens the Motor City. It may become as high as 12 inches before crashing into the defenseless metropolis.

If we’d paused a moment longer we would have concluded without need of further mentation that everything in the title before the conjunction was baloney, and everything following the conjunction was apodictic. Why then, bother clicking? Because like millions of other gobsmacked American browsers of the Internet, we fell victim to DEADLY CLICK BAIT! Well, okay, it’s only deadly if it scares you to death, but it could happen.

La Glick

Let’s face it, unless Molly Glick kept exact scientific measurements from the time the Lakes were formed, in other words from the end of the Last Glacial Period around 14,000 years ago, she cannot possibly hope to know whether they are “higher than they’ve ever been,” while it is indisputably true to say she isn’t sure what will happen next, a point her article drives home eloquently. An additional truth that is hard to dispute rationally, is that the personnel at places like “Pocket” on Firefox, Yahoo, and My Feed at Microsoft Edge, are culpable of unbridled sensationalism pitched skillfully at the most basic fears of the politically correct. 

Lakes different from oceans, expert claims!

Glick explains that: “A storm on Lake Michigan isn’t the same as a storm on the ocean: There are different atmospheric factors and water-flow patterns that determine its ferocity.” This might lead one to ask whether  we should be concerned with additional differences–including those that do not necessarily correlate with record water levels.  After all, the Edmund Fitzgerald went down when levels were comparatively normative.

But it turns out that we should actually be worried about our Native American and, we suppose, Native Canadian, brethren and sistren (read: Indians), because the danger to Native Americans in particular ramifies from problems with freshwater levels, sort of, anyway.

As the savvy reader will have already seen coming, “Living at Superior’s southern edge, the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community…rely on it [the Keweenaw Bay], for tourism revenue, drinking water, and fish for the tribal hatchery.” It might also be inferred that higher waters are disastrous for all of these concerns, but no!  It transpires that  “A full lake is good news.” On the other hand, if the levels spill over, this could spell disaster. The impression now looms that conditions “could” prove “dangerous,” and momently, too, but wait–it’s already happened. It happened most recently during the (apparently infamous) 2018 “Father’s Day Flood” during which seven inches of rain pounded the area in approximately three hours, which may account for Glick’s subsequent observation that, “The 2018 Father’s Day flood was linked to heavy amounts of rain.”

Bury our hearts on flooded Father’s Day!

If only some process existed for making the peninsula drier arid more sun parched, the torrents might have been averted. Apparently, though,  no such solution is in the immediate future. It seems the excessive rains themselves triggered an aftermath afloat with fecal material, and E. coli bacteria, prompting the Michigan Health Department’s shuttering of several swimming spots along the state’s Upper Peninsula. It seems also to induce umbrage in journalist Glick who notes the department “didn’t offer to test the tribe’s domain” for specific contaminants, leaving the “community” to “take matters into [its] own hands,” but the tribe appears to have managed this ably, and, one might venture to say, responsibly.There follows  a relative glut of data on the significance of ecological “sustainability” to the tribes’ reliance on fishing for food, recreation, and income; not a word of which should anyone doubt, except insofar as it seems extraneous inasmuch as no additional disaster has thus far befallen anyone.  But, a local Indian environmental activist tells of ongoing beach monitoring resulting in two closings of reservation beaches for pollution, possibly unrelated.

Possibly unprecedented…

Native American Beach Patrol on the job.

Glick quotes the activist as calling this “unprecedented” in Keweenaw Bay history “as far as she knows.”  But, as far as WOOF knows, nobody was measuring for such concerns previously. But so far as such closings are concerned, the activist predicts that these beach closings “likely won’t be the last, given that the region is becoming more unstable by the day.” But no means off measuring or actual measurements indicating quotidian destabilization are adduced, which is regrettable given how compelling they must surely be.

Monitoring the Keweenaw Bay area for signs of instability is vital to a safe environment.

Tribes, cities, and wildlife managers…

Across the 5,241 miles of Great Lakes shoreline,” writes Glick, “tribes, cities, vacationers, and wildlife managers are grappling with devastating flooding and erosion.” And even though we felt vaguely cheated by the absence of photos depicting, say, area vacationers or cities “grappling with devastating flooding and erosion,” we could see it all in our mind’s eye. We also felt momentarily vindicated in our rush to click on Glick and her version of events, seduced as we were by pics of towering Great Lakes waves lashing shorelines…an obvious harbinger of the end of days–the inevitable backlash assignable to humankind’s abuses of Gaia’s sacred tenets.  It remained only to ascertain how swiftly our doom would ensue.  But wait!

WOOF couldn’t locate any current photos of Native Americans being devastated by floods, but these plucky youngsters are certainly prepared for all eventualities!

Even though Glick leads off by reminding readers that all along our nation’s coasts, “rising seas are creeping inland at a steady pace,” (which is probably why New York will be submerged by 2012), that pace is “not observable” where the coastal areas bear on our great inland seas. In fact, despite all the photos on Yahoo of torrential freshwater waves crashing over coastal ramparts and violating formerly untrespassed acreage, it turns out ecosystemic tantrums of this sort are almost entirely “cyclical.”

Bouncing above and below…

Despite all the devastating flooding and erosion “wildlife managers are grappling with,” it turns out that the “five Great Lakes fluctuate naturally by season…” although Glick hastens to argue that “over the past four decades, [the Lakes have] bounced both above and below historic records.” To emphasize the urgency, Glick calls on “experts,” (although not by name), all of whom apparently “suspect” that global warming, or “climatic change” as Glick rather more slyly couches the matter, is at least “partially” causing these seasonal shifts, but she admits that “the complex nature of the water, [makes it] hard to isolate human factors from the rest of the turbulence.” This last sentiment, we gather, represents a consensus of Glick and the “experts,” none of whom seems to have considered the possibility that climate change itself might  well prove isolatable from human factors.

The author writes that “to understand how much the Great Lakes have seesawed,” (no, not seaweed, seesawed)  one must review the statistics conscientiously compiled by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ranging from 1860 until the present.  But according to Army measurements, it turns out monthly averages of the water levels have “stayed within a modest six-foot range of their typical levels.”  But then Glick exclaims that these measurements are unreliable because the pattern of spikes since September of 2014 shows the Great Lakes have “broken and re-broken” the majority of such long term records.  So are the are the Army’s findings calculatedly bogus, simply wrong, or sloppily misstated by Glick? We can only wonder.

Further complexities…

Foolish Grosse Pointe Shores residents tend their pools, even as the ticking time bomb of Lake Saint Claire looms in the background!

Glick further insists that as of last June and July, Lakes Superior, Erie, Ontario, and “the sixth Great Lake,” (Lake St. Clair, in case you were wondering), each raged in excess of centuries old highs, surging in defiance of those evidently meaningless Army observations, threatening, one assumes, all life in Grosse Pointe Shores, among other equally vital localities, while  Lakes Michigan and Huron towered three feet above their monthly average, placing Chicago and Milwaukee in imminent peril of watery obliteration, even as tensions ran as high as the tides in normally somnolent Port Huron. In fact,WOOF has not fully satisfied itself that all threatened Canadian townships remain viable, as communications may have been lost.

And again, just as we are verging on solidarity with our global-alarmist brethren, we are reminded that no dire meteorologic events are blameworthy in these instances. According to Chin Wu, an engineer at the University of Wisconsin with suspicious connections to the Army Corps of Engineers, whose unduly sanguine fallibilities we encountered  above, “Some of these patterns are inherent to [sic] the cycles that shape the Great Lakes.” Wu is further quoted as saying,“the Great Lakes are very complex,” which, we submit, explains everything.

When weather doesn’t go as planned…

Greg Mann, Great Lakes Weather Planner.

Except, perhaps, for why the Lakes are overflowing. So why are the Lakes overflowing, or, alternatively, why will they if they do? The answer is still global warming, because, as Greg Mann, Science and Operations Officer of NOAA’s National Weather Service Forecast Office points out, things are just too cold. Hence, says Mann, the extreme cold led “directly to extreme ice cover from 2013, 2014, and 2015.” Prior to global warming, it seems “competing atmospheric processes, like evaporation and precipitation, “usually” kept the Great Lakes system regulated, so there was less freezing.”But when one of those reactions doesn’t go as planned the water builds up too quickly.” In  other words, put less Gnostically, things were considerably colder than expected, (or as planned, in Mann’s phrase), creating a lot more ice than expected, and then, when the weather got warmer come Spring, it all melted and became lots more water than anyone expected–(or planned).  

Exactly what happened…

Even Glick gets the point, writing, “That’s exactly what happened,” (except she obviously feels morally and politically obligated to inculpate a “polar vortex” in the incident. [As many readers will have cognized years ago, even the lengthiest and profoundest climatic freeze may be cited as evidence of global warming, so long as one attributes the circumstance to a polar vortex.]  They are cussed things.   Months later, Glick notes, “the ice thawed into the lakes, just as the heavy spring rains arrived.” This may not be a meteorological term, but “duh?”

Embedded symbolism…

Now, Glick comes into full voice, suddenly channeling for Michigan residents everywhere, for whom, she writes, there is “also a symbolic importance embedded in Michigan’s coasts.” In case you don’t feel comfortable taking Glick’s word, she cites no less an authority than Nick Assendelft, public information officer at the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, who opines that “Locals take ownership of and advocate for the Great Lakes’ protection; it’s in the DNA of Michiganders to have a connection with water.” One of our humble editors vouches for that. He is a Michigander, and upon reflection, he feels connected to water, especially since, if separated from it, he cannot expect to survive much more than three days, perhaps because he is 60% composed of it.

“It’s in the DNA of Michiganders to have a connection with water.”

But in no less than metaphorical terms, Glick analogizes the perceived horrors of global warming to the predicament of the average Lake Huron cottage dweller who sees his beachfront shrinking. If in doing so she appears to confuse sand with ice, we can forgive her in view of the graveness of the issues.

Receding ice cover….

But wait This could be a good thing in another way, since, as  Mann explains: “Reduced precipitation and low ice cover can speed up evaporation, causing levels to bottom out.” “In fact,” Glick admits, “before the recent stretch of highs, the Great Lakes experienced its longest sustained period of below average waters. [What?] In spring of 2013, Lakes Huron and Michigan reached the nadir of a fifteen-year plunge, posing a challenge for industries like shipping and hydropower.”  So you might begin to think that more ice, less evaporation, and higher water levels are better for the planet than all that dryness and ebbing tide, but wait!

A Great Lakes “Meteotsunami” makes landfall. (They’re much bigger than they look.)

High waters mean that “Meteotsunamis” may “randomly materialize in the Great Lakes.” These are abnormally large waves “lasting anywhere between a few minutes and two hours.” These “storm-driven waves” sound horrifying, although somewhat less so after Glick tells us they average about one foot in height. Still, “an abnormally tall meteotsunami” once struck Chicago’s shoreline and killed seven people, possibly abnormally sound sleepers. Anyway, all that happened in 1954, decades before the invention of global warming. Still,”from that data, experts can try to learn if climate change is gaming the Great Lakes system,” although, “they still won’t be able to draw any solid correlations.” Worst luck!

“Moving forward…”

Eric Anderson, folk singer. (We couldn’t find a photo of the ‘physical oceanographer.’)

“Moving forward,” says Eric Anderson, a physical oceanographer at NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, “there’s no telling what the lake waters will do. They could wax and wane as they have over the past century, with slight deviations from global warming and regional cold snaps.” How does one certify, we wonder, a “slight deviation from global warming”–or even clearly define one?  Moreover, the Army Corps of Engineers boldly forecasts “a wide range of short term outcomes for each of the Great Lakes,” meaning, exactly, what?  Overall, they’re expecting a “similar situation across the lakes for the next six months,” says John Allis, chief of the Detroit District Great Lakes Hydraulics and Hydrology Office, without specifying what a situation similar to a “wide range of outcomes” will look like, or how on earth such a prediction can ever be deemed incorrect. 

“There is still time, brother!”

So when, you may ask, will we have a definitive take on the damage–if  any–Great Lake fluctuation may visit upon us, and the part global warming may play? If you guessed “50 years,” you must be psychic.  Lord, save us from the grip of these 50-year predictions (that never seem reduced to 49 or 47 years as time passes) and the temptation to click on these yellow-journalistic headlines leading to these blah, indeterminate articles composed of blah, ill-defined utterances by the usual parade of putative experts.

And Lord preserve those who actually set sale and confront conditions in which hurricane force winds blow across the Lakes come autumn, churning their waters into towering mountains of battering force as cold and warm air masses collide   It’s been going on for centuries, gentle readers. Mainers call it “the witch of November,” and as Hillary Clinton might say, there’s nothing new here.

 

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