Camp Shack Meteorological and Tectonic Administration on the job

Forrest Johnson

The Camp Shack Meteorological and Tectonic Administration of the National Union of Friendly Americans (CSMTA-NUFA) is busy gauging the movement of the continents in relation to the realignment of the stars toward their summer positions in the skies.
Following the tectonic schedules is one of the few constants on this watery, molten-core, very fragile living planet. The ramifications of mankind have rendered our home even more fragile now that we have populated the planet like bugs. All creatures are at our whim and fancy these days, which in the long run may prove a bad partnership for every newt and walrus, every wolf and bumblebee. So far, at least, we haven’t been able to force tectonics or the orbits of planets and the stars to bend to our whim and fancy.
But you never know.
On to the latest long-term weather forecast.    
Our latest skyward calculations have revealed the sun is rising higher into the sky every day. Here it is, the first week of March, a few weeks before the spring equinox, and the giant gaseous orb located 93 million miles from us is radiating capable heat toward us as if it were a warm, early October day. In celestial terms, the sun is just as high in the sky now as it is in early autumn.
Our blanket of snow and the lingering yet waning polar influences help offset the warming, but it won’t be stopped. We now know that. Warming isn’t just spring and summer any longer on this planet full of gases both good and bad.  
The good news is that the tectonic plates are currently on-schedule, and we in North America should arrive at the doorstep of northern Africa in another billion years or so. Those of you who like to keep appraised of the arrivals and departures of the various continents can do so by standing in a precise location in Lake County noted by range, township, section, and quarter, triangulating the position against the movement of the path of the sun’s center on the celestial sphere and dividing that number by the square root of the relevant social security number.  
It has been well established that all weather starts with the sun. Truth be told, CSMTA-NUFA has no control over the sun, the stars, planets, nebulae, constellations, galaxies, black holes, asteroids, abject political thought, ignorance, the production of high fructose corn syrup, or the failed capitalist theory that the stock market and worker productivity actually have something to do with each other.
The Machine That Runs The World, kept out in the shed with its miles of electric cable, blinking lights, lasers, wheels, conveyor belts, solar panels, steering wheels, and turn signals, is merely a metaphysical device meant more to soothe the soul than turn the planet. It makes a lot of noise when we wind it up and let ’er rip at full capacity, but truth be told, it’s more a symbol of an age that needs such grandiose things in order to feel wanted in a larger historical perspective.
Shack economists have found that on sunny days the machine spits out calculations that reflect a general upturn of the market. When the sun is hidden by cloud cover, the market goes down. The market is no more fickle than that. The machine—or the stock market, for that matter—wasn’t built to do much of anything other than look like it could do quite a bit. What a metaphor.
CSMTA-NUFA has accepted the fact that it can’t predict the weather. We man the telescopes and weather balloons, take precise measurements of tectonic movements, precipitation, and temperature, take careful calculations of boredom and happiness. We go through the motions but fully understand that the crazy, mixed-up world of barometric pressure and the Coriolis Effect, sleet and snow, angst and irrational behaviors are simply beyond the tracking and prognosticating capabilities of our “pre-driven” BOB 900 computer. The BOB 900 is a mere fraction of its larger cousin, the BOB 9000, but we needed something a little more compact than a unit the size of a grain elevator.
We’re not operating a mission to outer space here, just the day-to-day affairs of a hunting shack located miles from the nearest road. When we found BOB 900 in the pages of the NASA surplus equipment catalog, we knew we had to have him if for nothing else but to catalog recipes and cocktail ingredients.
And like the Machine That Runs The World, we fully realize that having BOB sitting on the table spitting out data is another symbol of an age that needs such things in order to feel wanted in a larger historical perspective.
Like all entities with artificial intelligence and a flag decal on their lapel, BOB believes he can manage everything within sight of his lone, red eye, that he has all the answers and therefore is not willing to compromise his principals no matter the facts.
There’s a little bit of BOB in all of us.
We won’t allow him the inkling that we’re a vulnerable species, so we like to mess with him by limiting his perspective, by positioning him in awkward situations.  
We covered him in a blanket one day, much to his chagrin, and carried him to the dimly lit outhouse, shoved him face first right up to the rough-cut pine wall. He carefully studied the initials carved into the wood grain and assumed we’d shipped him to a dark desert landscape of lava flows and shifting sands. His best guess was somewhere in Peru. He later complained that he would’ve figured out his exact location if we’d allowed him to use his bifocal.
He’d proved our point.
BOB is limited, as we all are, to making judgments of the world around us within the bounds of our immediate surroundings. When we feed the meteorological data to him, we know we might get an accurate weather report about as often as we might get accurate information from a fortune cookie.
The same holds true of the human race.
Still, that doesn’t deter CSMTA-NUFA from releasing a 90-day forecast.
BOB for all his haughty self-importance hit it on the head: “Our best guess is that spring will be, on average, warmer than winter, though it will be, on average, cooler than summer.”
And next year, we all now know, will be warmer still.