SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska
Column: Humor

The sun has perished and an evil mist shall hover over all



August 01, 2017
Tuesday PM

Ketchikan, Alaska -
Yeah, that missive from Homer - about an eclipse and not necessarily the Ketchikan weather -  is a little doomy gloomy.

jpg  Dave Kiffer

But it seems relevant to Ktown this summer. As does the following.

"The longest eclipse in the Saros Series 145 will occur on June 25, 2522 and last for 7 minutes and 12 seconds."


That is 500 freaking years in the future. How the heck do we know that? And for how long? Seriously?

We don't really know whether or not it will be even be sunny next week, for Al Roker's sake!!!

Yeah, I get that astrophysicists are really smart dudes and dudettes. Sitting in their dark little rooms in Pasadena and Boston, mainlining Mountain Dew, staring at pictures of the cosmos that look like Jackson Pollock went crazy with only his black and white "action" drips.

I watch Neil Degrasse Tyson on TV and I think "wow, that is one smart guy" and suave and handsome too!

And it's true that astrophysicists are a lot smarter than meteorologists, who can't even tell us whether the sun will come out tomorrow, let alone how long it will be out on June 25, 2522. Haven't they ever seen "Annie?"

Which, of course, begs the question, why don't we have astrophysicists do the weather here, rather than on Jupiter?

Think about it.

Which is more important to know? What the weather is going to be like tomorrow or whether there will be a seven minute eclipse in 2522?

The sharpest tools in the shed are spending all this time pondering events that will happen long, long, long after we are dead. Shouldn't they be turning this specificity to real world problems, like "is it going to rain on my Labor Day beach party?"

I'd give out a Nobel Prize to know that.

But, as usual, I digress.

I've been thinking about celestial events lately because everyone is talking about the Great Eclipse of 2017 that is happening in the next couple of weeks.

Normally smart, frugal Ketchikan people are even making plans to go south to see the total eclipse, the first one to hit the United State mainland since Jimmy Carter was president, and the last one to hit the continent until 2020 something, when Barron Trump will no doubt be president.

Local folks are going to spend serious bank to fly south and watch the moon blank out the sun for something like five minutes. Really?

You can just stay in Ketchikan and watch the clouds blank out the sun for five weeks at a time!

Which brings me to real point of all this jibber-jabber.

Someday Ketchikan will be the center of a similar global pilgrimage. Only in reverse.

I predict (like an astrophysicist, not a meteologist) that hundreds of thousands of people will come to Ketchikan (well before 2522!) to view an event rarer than the rarest eclipse.

It will be the first day in centuries when the clouds will part for six or seven minutes and the sun will come out!

Sure, sure, I know you are thinking that - as usual - I am exaggerating - as I often do when it rains a bit more than normal in Our Fair Salmon City.

Clearly the endless Chinese Water Torture that is life in Ketchikan has caused me to go bonkers and start ranting and raving wildly.

Au contraire!

I have been ranting and raving wildly for decades, mes amis!

Rain or shine!

But this time there is actually a bit of science behind this rant.

How do I know this?

I am just about the only person in Alaska who thinks that global warming really is a "thing" and not just some fake news made up by liberal tree hugging whale fondling Greenpeacers.

Really, it will happen.  And when it does, our globes will not warmed into feeling like the Palm Springs of the north coast.

That's the real problem with global warming.

My mother used to always say that "Ketchikan Welcomes Global Warming" and after this revolting excuse for June and July there is a certain pleasantness in contemplating a Ketchikan that is about 10 degrees warmer and maybe about 100 inches drier.

Only that's not what's gonna happen in these here parts.

The eggheads in the dark rooms imagine that global warming will lead to the desertification of everything, but that's not what the projections say. The numbers say that at least one place in North America will not get hotter and drier. That area is the coast from Nanaimo to Cordova. Apparently, all the bad weather, like that stuff we have been getting this summer, will concentrate right around us!

It will be wetter, windier and little bit colder here!

Well, that's something to celebrate, eh?

So, one could surmise, that summers like this current one are likely to become the norm rather than the outlier. June, July and August will just meld into the "downpourapalooza" that we already know as September through May. Eventually, the clouds will cover us permanently as if we are some sort of Neptunian gaseous state.

Speaking of which, I just love the phrase "gaseous state."

Someday I want to get an advanced degree from "Gaseous State University."

You think I already have.

But I digress, again.

Anyway, someday these little drizzle storms that we already have will just sort of mix together into weather patterns of relentless clouds and rain, lasting for weeks, months, milleniums.

The good thing is that we will eventually corner the entire North American fresh water market (and you thought oil has a valuable commodity). The bad thing is that we will have to keep living here in order to do it.

Meanwhile, about once every 144 years, the clouds will break and the sun will come out for about five minutes, leading to an event rarer than even eclipses. And that will lead all the "event" groupies to come to Ketchikan to "witness it."

So how did I come up with this number?  By combining astrophysics (a whole bunch of gnarly, complicated, kick ass equations) and meteorology (throwing a dart at a chart on the wall).

I won't bore you with the actual equations, just I won't trust you to toss the dart. But you can rest assured that I have approached this predictorial process with all the usual due diligence that I approach anything.

Every 144 years, the clouds will part and people will stream into Ketchikan to view the rarest of the meteorological rare.

A sunny "few minutes" in the rain forest.

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Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
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Dave Kiffer ©2017

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