John Corson's Blog

for March 22, 2021


Here's the thing: When Spring rolls around that means window washing, general house cleaning, power washing, edging, general yard work and cutting the grass.

Now this has become a yearly tradition. In fact, the grass cutting is a given. The last week in March, weather permitting, I usually clean the windows - all fifteen of them - inside and out. That is about the only "inside" work I do other than the usually helping around the house like vacuuming, washing dishes and the like. But Spring, and of course summer, affords me the opportunity to get out and do things around the house.

I don't mind the spring months, especially March, April and the first part of May. But sometime after the 20th of May somebody the in cosmos turns on the humidifier full blast and we start talking about "Heat Indexes". A heat index is the combined temperature and water vapor in the air (humidity) that tells us what the temperatures "feel like." For instance, if the temperature is 85 degrees and the humidity is 70% the dew point is 74 degrees and the Heat Index is 93 degrees. That is what it feels like to the skin outside.

I always determine the real "feels like" temperature by the dew point. If the Dew Point is over 70 degrees you start to feel miserable. I call it "The misery index." Any dew point over 75 degrees keeps me inside. To heck with it. Let the grass grow over the house for all I care.

Well, between now and May 20th or (with a little luck) May 30th, yard work becomes the norm. The general sprucing up of the yard and readying it for the next six months takes about three weeks and I will have cut the grass maybe but once (certainly no more than twice). But without fail, the grass, after the second cutting starts to grow like madness. By the end of May I will be cutting the back yard three times a week and the front twice. We have a different type of grass in the front as opposed to the back and the grass out back, along with the water and sewage lines underneath, tends to force that grass to grow all too fast. There were times last year when I swear I could stay outside for about four hours and literally watch the grass grow under my feet. When it rains, within a day afterwards, I cut the grass and have gone back out the very next day and cut again (although it could wait until the next). Two-and-a-half days growth is the norm in the back yard and with 70+ degree dew points all summer long, I lose weight! If I could fast one day out of every five with the heat, humidity and grass cutting, I could loose 25 pounds by the end of summer easily.

When the late sparing and summer roll around, you will probably read a few blogs with nothing but grass cutting complaints. Just skip lines if it becomes to unbearable, but I just thought I would warn you now.

Today is - to me  - a very beautiful day. The skies are slightly overcast, but thin enough to let the light from the sun in. It is cool with the temps around 62 degrees. It's just right for me, folks. And in case you are wondering, the humidity is 61% which means the dew point is 48 degrees. I only look at the dew point and here is why: The dew point is defined as the temperature at which a given volume of air at a certain atmospheric pressure is saturated with water vapor, causing condensation and the formation of dew. Dew is the condensed water that a person often sees on flowers and grass early in the morning. Dew point varies depending on the amount of water vapor present in the air, with more humid air resulting in a higher dew point than dry air. Furthermore, the higher the relative humidity, the closer the dew point to the current air temperature, with 100% relative humidity meaning that dew point is equivalent to the current temperature. In cases where dew point is below freezing (0°C or 32°F), the water vapor turns directly into frost rather than dew.

While perception varies between people, and people on some level can acclimatize to higher dew points, higher dew points are generally uncomfortable because the humidity inhibits proper evaporation of sweat, making it more difficult for a person's body to cool down. This is my problem in the summer. When the dew point is above, say, 65 degrees, I can't wear a shirt without perspiring, even if the wind is blowing at around 20 MPH.

I go by a standard of measurement that many other meteorologists use when forecasting the weather. Take it for what it's worth. Dew points ...

Below 50 degrees - Perfect
Between 50 and 54 - Invigorating
Between 55 and 59 - Comfortable
Between 60 and 64 - Getting sticky
Between 65 and 69 - Uncomfortable
Between 70 and 74 - Tropical and Oppressive
Between 75 and 79 - Unbearable
80 and above - Get naked & stand in front of the A.C.

The average July dew point around here (unless that rare cold front pushes through and lasts for more than a day) is usually 71 to 72 degrees. I said average. That means sometimes it's over and sometimes it's under. There were three days last year when we actually hit 80, and at least fifteen days when we were over 75. I would not be caught dead outside with those dew points. It is really bad when you have night time dew points in the mid 70's because that means the temperatures are at least in the mid 70's or above! In case you are wondering, the ultimate calculation of dew point to humidity and temperature, keep in mind the temperature never drops below the dew point. You see a dew point of 70 degrees and likewise the temperature at 70 degrees means the humidity is 100%. That means the atmosphere is fully saturated and it will be raining. If it is not raining, you certainly won't see very well as it will be foggy. Regardless you don't want an 80 degree temperature and a 79 degree dew point at night because you will feel like you are suffocating! - No joke. And along the Atlantic coast with a south-west wind blowing in the tropical moisture from the Gulf of Mexico makes for the felling that you are in Hell.

Well I hope you enjoyed your lesson in East Coast Virginia meteorology. Maybe this will prepare you for my moods in the summer and you can determine if you want to read my rants. Just look for the dew point readings each day for the Hampton Roads, Virginia area and you can figure me out.

In case you are wondering what is going on at the minute just let me say that while I type these words, I am listening to WCRB in Boston on internet radio and they are playing Aaron Copeland's Appalachian Spring. This is the work that contains the familiar music line entitled "Simple Gifts", an old Shaker tune containing the words:

’Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
’Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
’Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.

I love that little tune. It is quite heart-warming and just right for this time of year and for the beautiful day I am experiencing right now.

Appalachian Spring is a ballet with an entirely American theme. It was scored for a thirteen-member chamber orchestra, and was created upon commission of the choreographer and dancer Martha Graham with funds from the Coolidge Foundation. When it premiered in 1944 at the Library of Congress, Martha Graham dancing the lead role. The set was designed by the American sculptor Isamu Noguchi. Copland was awarded the 1945 Pulitzer Prize for Music for his achievement. I wish I could have been there to see this premiered

Anyway, now the piece is over and WCRB is playing a Mozart piece and it is hard to adjust to this change. Going from Americana and Aaron Copeland to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is like going from the Air Conditioning inside on a very hot day to going outside in the head and humidity. A SHOCK!

Tomorrow I have a full day. As you know through my fast missives Tuesday is full of office and administrative work at church, followed by Bible Study and then checking up on some of my members, many of whom have not been around since Coronavirus hit last year. By the time I get home tomorrow evening, I should be sufficiently tired enough to where all I want to do is eat supper, watch a little TV and go to bed. I will try to squeeze in a daily moan or two on these pages so that you will know I am still alive and still need to communicate to the four of you.

Speaking of four, I truly hope that I am not just writing to me as if this were a personal diary. If you read this post or have read any of my musings and rants, drop me an email and let me know I am getting out there. I'd really love to hear from someone. And I promise that I will respond. Just click the image below....

Until later ...

Blog for March 21 Blog for March 23


Blogs are about the blogger. It's as if he or she merely toots their own horns about the things they do, say and love.

My life is boring. I read, I watch Glenn Beck and Mark Levin. I listen to Andrew Wilkow. I engage in some conversation with those who are willing to listen (they being masochistic and enjoy killing themselves with my banter).

I plan on just laying out the things that bother me and the things I love. Nothing in-between. I hope you find whatever I put here amusing.