Monday, June 10, 2013


It's time to address the issue of the heat in the Great Sonoran Desert, specifically in Phoenix, Arizona, where I live.

I walked the three blocks to our mailbox today to mail a disc back to Netflix.  And I walked back.  So that's about six blocks.  It was 105 outside and I was warm when I got back to the sanctuary of fans and air conditioning in my house.  But it really wasn't that bad (he said).  

Now let me point out that the relative humidity at the time was (wait for it) . . . 4 percent.  That's FOUR PERCENT!  The big black grackles striding around in yards and streets were doing a lot of complaining but I wasn't.  I noticed several were near my front yard where the sprinkler had been running.  One of them let out a blood curdling scream as I stepped outside.  He must have thought I was going to scare them away from the moisture.

Phoenix gets an average annual rainfall of about 8 and a third inches.  That's annual, as in the whole year.  The wettest month is March with 1.07 inches of rain.  The dryest month?  You had to ask, didn't you.  This one.  June, which averages 9 one-hundredths of an inch.  That's why we're all waiting for July and August.  Nearly an inch falls in each of those two months when the curiously named Monsoon Season blows in.

Now most people think of the Monsoon as a drenched period of time when it rains constantly.  Actually that's not true here.  The monsoon means that the wind direction shifts from the southwest to the southeast.  That brings in moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, apparently.  But it also can bring the mighty Haboobs, which are humongous dust storms. Actually the start of the monsoon season in Phoenix usually brings the dust storms first and later on the moisture.

The National Weather Service, in its infinite wisdom, decided back in 2008 that the monsoon season will start every year on June 15th and end on September 15th.  Never mind low pressure and high pressure systems.  Before that the local t.v. weathermen used to tell us that the season began when there were three consecutive days when the dew point reached 55 degrees or higher.  (Actually some of them probably still tell us that.  Take THAT, National Weather Service.)

Well so much for our science lesson for today.

I'm sure that many of you have been criticized for keeping cluttered, messy areas where you spend most of your time.  Yup.  Me too.  But I stopped all that (well most of it)  (O.K. some of it) when I posted a sign in my room.  As the old Catalyst's public service for today, I post a picture of it here for all of you to see.  I can't give you permission to print it for your room because I bought it at an art sale.  But what you do on your own time is between you and whatever you're calling your moral conscience these days.

Of course you could do the right thing and contact the artist at to purchase your own copy.