All Things Must Pass

I’m profoundly glad that I wasn’t home alone when it happened.  Most likely the sad event occurred when we were away for three months.  No-one was present.  Perhaps when our friend Nora came by to water our begonia named Rosie…perhaps it happened then.  I hope so.  It is not a nice thought that something so very important should occur in an empty house, while the snow fell and the winds howled just a few inches away.

Yes, sadly it’s time to tell you that my ever-faithful Radio Shack Indoor/Outdoor Thermometer has passed…but not for good.

You may recall a few blog posts I wrote over the years that celebrated the life of a small thermometer.  But be aware that the unit itself did not fail.  No, it was a single AAA Duracell battery that I placed in the instrument when we bought the house in 2000.  That’s nineteen (19) years of life from a slender AAA!!!

I hate to sound like a Madison Avenue ad-man, but when they say their product has staying power, they are not kidding.

Over the years, as I stood in front of our double-basin kitchen sink, grasping a AAA battery to put in the Radio Shack unit, I found I was wasting my time.  I even suggested in a few posts that this was not a normal battery.  I mentioned the following reasons for its unbelievably long life:

–That I had changed the battery while sleep walking.

–I did it while in a coma.

–Someone had crept into our house while we were away and changed the battery.  (It’s a very common crime in remote camps like ours!)

–That it was an experimental battery developed by NASA and I was a Beta tester.

–It was actually solar-powered (it was placed by a window).

–That the whole experience was a dream.

–Santa Claus does exist.

–That there is a subset of ghosts that are held back from the true afterlife only to replace batteries. (If this is true, why did they ignore my three TV remotes?)


–The whole experience was a dream.

I can discount the final possibility because when I finally found a way to open the unit, I placed a new AAA (Duracell)in the back.  The temperature blinked on.  It now displays the outside temperature only .6 degrees from my flashier Costco wall unit.

So, how has my life changed because of this experience?  It really hasn’t.  But now I can look out at a leafless landscape on May 1, 2019 and see that the temperature is a few degrees above freezing.

That makes me so happy.

Too bad Radio Shack has closed, but I expect to hear from the Duracell people any day now with a lucrative offer to write ad copy.

That makes me so happy.

[The actual AAA battery.  I’m thinking of having it mounted or encased in a plexiglass cube like the moon rocks}

[All photos are mine.]

The Night Of The Living AA’s: Report #3


I’m sitting on the sofa in our screened-in porch listening to the rain falling, heavily and with vigor, on our deck, roof and the new leaves of the maples.  I want another mug of Dorset tea, but that would mean going into the kitchen one more time.

I’m reluctant to do that.  There is something going on in the kitchen that causes me to suffer the most prolonged insomnia and induces the more horrific nightmares when sleep does finally come to my weary and reddened eyes.

I have only myself to blame…

I’ve always wanted to own an indoor/outdoor thermometer.  I wanted one even as a young child.  While the other boys in my neighborhood would be playing catch or stealing apples from the old orchard or riding their bikes around the block singing: “Back in the Saddle Again”, I would be dreaming of owning a device that would let me know what the temperature was both inside my home and outside in the yard. The only problem was that these instruments weren’t yet invented.  If I wanted to know how cold it was, I would have to don a coat and flannel-lined jeans and trudge out to the wall of the garage and look up at the mercury column, inside a glass tube that was attached to a Coca Cola advertisement.

Now, sixty years later, I own three of these wonderful little units.  There’s one in my “man-cave” in the lower level of our house.  There’s one still in the box, just as it was when I bought it at a Costco’s in Jupiter, Florida.

And, there is the one in the kitchen…on the narrow sill just above the sink.  It’s small.  It’s accurate.  And, it simply terrifies me.

I’ve written two posts on this Radio Shack model before (or maybe one blog and a Facebook post, I can’t remember).  So, for those who have been following me over the years, you may know what’s coming next in this particular report.  For those of you who are more recent “followers” of my stuff here on WordPress, then be afraid, be very afraid.  Do not let your children read this post.  If you’re weak of heart or a faithful church-goer, you may want to stop here.

You’ve been warned!

You see, my friends, my wife and I bought this house in 2000.  We used it as a vacation home for a number of years, renting it out to people willing to come to the Adirondacks and get bitten by black flies and deer flies and mosquitoes while enjoying the hiking, boating and swimming that the Park offers.

We were living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan at the time.  It was the perfect weekend get-a-way retreat for us when we felt the need to escape the artistic and cultural life of a vibrant city.  It was only a mere six and a half hour drive (305 miles) from our front door on W. 93rd St. to the driveway at 58 Garondah Road.

Within a month or two of buying the house, I happened to be in the Saranac Lake Radio Shack.  I was looking over the radios and kits of all sorts when I spotted it.  There it was.  An indoor/outdoor thermometer!

Naturally, I bought it and within an hour I had it up and running.  I carefully placed the outdoor sensor outside our kitchen window and behind a shutter…in the shade.  It was this very same thermometer that I glanced at one evening while we making a quick winter trip to use our new L.L.Bean snowshoes, and saw that it was -36 degrees.  This was probably the first time that I began to question why we had chosen to live this far north.

I put in two AA batteries.  It was 2000.  At first, for a year or two, everything went smoothly.  Then, I began to notice something strange…something sinister…something that has grown more terrifying as year came and went.

The indoor/outdoor kept working!

“What’s wrong with thing?” I asked Mariam.  “It should have needed new batteries by now.  Nothing made since 1957 was made to last more that a few years.”

I knew this was especially true of batteries.  Why else would places like Best Buy, Wal-Mart and Radio Shack sell them in packages of sixty?

And, this, dear reader is where the story becomes unnatural…eerie…and downright frightening.  It’s been sixteen years since I put in those two AA batteries…and they are still working!  It’s not my imagination.  I will swear to the good Lord above that I have not replaced those two batteries.  I want desperately to open the back of the indoor/outdoor thermometer and check on the brand, but I am afraid to open the small plastic door.  I’ve seen enough Steven Spielberg movies to know that when you open certain items, unholy things come, like smoke from a clay Churchwarden pipe and the demons of the Other World are released.

I have enough guilt in my heart already…I don’t need to unleash Satan or whatever into this world.  It’s already too violent, religiously insane and terrorizing…and I’m not just talking about Donald Trump here.

But, something is powering my indoor/outdoor thermometer. Something sinister and unworldly.  It certainly can’t be the AA batteries…sixteen years is fifteen and a half years beyond their expected lifetime.

I still want a second mug of Dorset tea.  I think I’ll ask Mariam to go into the kitchen to make it for me.  I can claim my back hurts.

And, it does.  I have an MRI to prove it.

The Digital Indoor-Outdoor Thermometer From Area 51


It’s common knowledge that various agencies under the umbrella of the “Federal Government” have been conducting TOP SECRET experiments in highly secure location inside an Air Force Base in California (or Nevada or some such forgotten region of the Great American Desert).  This place has been known by many “in the know” people as “Area 51.”  I’m sure you are aware that is where the remains of the aliens that crashed in Roswell, NM are kept in a large freezer unit made by Sears.  This crash occurred in 1947 (the same year I was born–but I swear to you on a stack of Bibles from the Westfield Baptist Church that I had nothing to do with the accident nor am I a product of it.

The fact that this is clearly a government conspiracy  is widely known to all rational thinkers.  Myself, I would blame Barack Obama for the cover-up, except for the fact that he wasn’t even born then.  These locked and guarded hangers also hold secrets to scientific evidence of the existence of Bigfoot, UFO’s, the government’s role in starting AIDS, social security, and the proven fact that Elvis is living outside Cincinnati.

Now I have proof that NASA, NSA and the CIA have been running a series of covert experiments in my very own kitchen.  I wrote a short post on FB about this about two years ago (before I discovered WordPress and other ways to annoy you).  No one took notice (except my niece in Maine) about my suspicions then…but with my wider audience, perhaps someone out there can respond to my discovery.

The facts of the case are simple: We bought this house in 2000.  A few months after we closed, I went to the local Radio Shack in Saranac Lake.  It looked like any other Radio Shake, lots of things with wires, mountains of batteries and only one salesassociate.  But I did find something on the rack that attracted me.  It was an Indoor/Outdoor Thermometer.  A guy knows when he needs certain things and this was one of those things I knew I needed.  My wife (being a woman) thought that maybe I didn’t need this thing.  Now, looking back on that day, perhaps she saw something I failed to see.  Women and intuition and all that.

So, I buy the thermometer and load two AA batteries in the unit.  I found a tiny shelf near the sink (see illustration) where it fit perfectly.  There was a nearby window where I could put the outdoor sensor.  So, now I had the best of two worlds: I could wash dishes and check the outside temperature at the same time! 

And, now the mystery (paranormal activity?  government experiment? ) has become serious enough that it is causing me problems sleeping and concentrating.

You see, I have absolutely no recollection of ever-changing the batteries!  None!

One doesn’t have to possess the mental abilities of Stephen Hawking to do the calculations.  This Indoor/Outdoor Thermometer has been giving accurate readings, on the same pair of AA batteries, for 14 1/2 years!  This is not physically possibly.  Now, as you know I taught science for 35 years.  I know a test tube from a flask.  I never totally ‘got’ physics but I do know that the drain on batteries for merely reading the temperature is low.  But, this…this is unreasonable.  Especially given the fact that a few C batteries in our holiday wreath lasted about 6 days.

I can also attest to the accuracy of the Indoor/Outdoor Thermometer.  It’s readings are to be trusted–just like those of Madam Zelda’s readings at the Franklin County Fair.  Ok, there was one fluke–only one error.  Back in the late ’90’s I checked the Indoor/Outdoor Thermometer one February night and the digital reading was -36 F.  Now, I know that not at all possible…not here in the Adirondacks in the middle of winter.  No way.

I’m tempted to open the back and check the brand of the batteries, but in truth, I’m afraid of what I might find inside the small white plastic box.  Something made of Thorium, Einsteinium, Praseodymium or Dysprosium maybe.  Anyone of those might prevent me from fathering a child when I’m 74 or maintaining my jet black (natural) hair.  I know at least two of them would cause parts of my body to glow in the dark–but that part is not for minors or gentle eyes.  Other side effects of some of these newer elements have been shown to cause adult listeners to hum along with Miley Cyrus or go out to old vinyl LP stores and find unopened copies of Captain and Tennille albums.

Or, even worse, there could be a micro treadmill inside the Indoor/Outdoor Thermometer operated by artificial cyber-ferrets.

Whatever!  I’m not going to open the back and look.  I’m hoping the batteries just rotted away and the electricity is being provided by some chemical interaction between Lithium oxidation and plastic polymers.

Me?  I’m just going to continue to wash the dishes and watch the digital numerals go up and down with the temperature.

Up here in the Adirondacks, they usually just go down.  So, I have a simple job to do.

[Note: If my blogs and FB posts suddenly stop, it probably means I got bored one night doing dishes and decided “I’m goin’ in there.”]