Sunday, February 14, 2010

Deep in Denial About The Suck

One of the suckiest things about living in Bend is the dumb-ass way the locals delude themselves about how hard Bend sucks.

Case in point: Yesterday the local daily newspaper, in a front-page story about solar power, made the rather astonishing claim that Bend has "more sun than Florida."

Say what?

After picking my jaw up off the floor I decided that, in the interests of scientific accuracy and fair and honest blogging, I shouldn't simply assume the assertion was full of shit; I should make some effort to check it out.

So I went to the Web site (an invaluable repository of all sorts of economic, demographic and climatic information about thousands of cities) and looked at the sunshine chart for Bend, just to refresh my memory.

Then I looked at the sunshine charts for Miami, Orlando, Jacksonville, Tallahassee and St. Petersburg.

The chart for every one of those five Florida cities shows sunshine substantially ABOVE the national average for most of the year. The Bend chart shows sunshine substantially BELOW the national average for almost all of of the year, except for a period of about six weeks in midsummer.

In fact, the curve showing Bend's sunshine is almost exactly the same as the sunshine curve for Portland, which is notorious for its gray, rainy climate.

The newspaper story didn't explain the basis for the "more sun than Florida" claim. Perhaps, in some obscure technical way, it's legitimate. For example, there might be more sun in an open field in Bend on a typical summer day than there is inside a sealed crypt in Florida on a typical summer day. Or there might be more sun outdoors in Bend on a sunny day than there is 40 feet underwater in Florida on a cloudy day. I can't be sure.

But my strong suspicion is that "more sun than Florida" is just one more load of Chamber of Commerce bullshit which the paper passed on without question, and which -- like "300 days of sunshine" -- will be added to the local folklore and help Bendites continue to live in denial of the fact that this town truly, deeply and profoundly sucks.

ADDENDUM: At the top of the post is a chart that Jack Elliot obtained from Dr. Vignola at the U of O. Evidently Central Oregon gets more solar energy than Florida by some arcane measurement process. I'm still not persuaded that Bend truly gets "more sun than Florida" by any reasonable human standard.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Groundhog Forecasts 18 More Weeks of Suckiness for Bend

According to German folklore, if a hibernating groundhog pops out of his burrow on Feb. 2 and sees his shadow, he'll go back inside his burrow and winter will last six more weeks. If he doesn't see his shadow, there will be an early spring.

We in Bend always get a laugh out of the Groundhog Day tradition, because no matter what the frickin' groundhog does on Feb. 2 we KNOW the weather here is going to stay sucky until the middle of June.

Nevertheless, for the record, let it be stated that Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his burrow on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, PA this morning and saw his shadow, meaning the rest of the Northern Hemisphere will have six more weeks of winter.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Seven Days of Sunshine, 24 Days of Suck

The Sunshine Count for the first month of 2010 is in. By Blackdog's unscientific, but fair, reckoning, there were seven days of sunshine -- i.e., days on which the sun shone most of the time -- in January. On the other 24 days, Bend was its usual gray, gloomy, dreary, dismal, drizzly self.

The first and last days of January were nearly cloudless. In between were scattered five days that I considered sunny enough to count as "days of sunshine." I was being generous on two or three of them.

Bend needs to rack up a total of only 66 non-sunny days to give the lie to the absurd "300 days of sunshine" claim, and it's more than a third of the way there already. I'm betting it will hit the mark by the end of March.

January Totals:

Days of Sun: 7
Days of Suckiness: 24

YTD Totals:

Days of Sun: 7
Days of Suckiness: 24