If you think March’s weather has been fucked up, you’re right.

You see this picture up here? That’s a mapping of the Land Surface Temperature anomaly for the week of March 8 – 15, 2012. It basically shows all the spots in North America where the temps were either abnormally high or low. Needless to say, March has been a record smashing month for anomalous temps.

The unseasonable warmth broke temperature records in more than 1,054 locations between March 13–19, as well daily lows in 627 locations, according to Hamweather. Cities as geographically diverse as Chicago, Des Moines, Traverse City (Michigan), Myrtle Beach, Madison (Wisconsin), Atlantic City, New York City, and Duluth, (Minnesota) all broke records for high temperatures in recent days.

The intensity and scope of the heat wave is clearly visible in this map of land surface temperature anomalies. Based on data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on the Terra satellite, the map depicts temperatures compared to the average of the same eight day period of March from 2000-2011. Areas with warmer than average temperatures are shown in red; near-normal temperatures are white; and areas that were cooler than the 2000-2011 base period are blue.

via Historic Heat in North America Turns Winter to Summer : Image of the Day.

And it’s not just that a bunch of records were broken, but that they were broken in some particularly amazing ways:

Records are not only being broken across the country, they’re being broken in unusual ways. Chicago, for example, saw temperatures above 26.6°Celsius (80°Fahrenheit) every day between March 14-18, breaking records on all five days. For context, the National Weather Service noted that Chicago typically averages only one day in the eighties each in April. And only once in 140 years of weather observations has April produced as many 80°Fahrenheit days as this March. Meanwhile, Climate Central reported that in Rochester, Minnesota. the overnight low temperature on March 18 was 16.6°Celsius (62°Fahrenheit), a temperature so high it beat the record high of 15.5°Celsius (60°Fahrenheit) for the same date.

Emphasis added. Here in Ann Arbor we broke several high temps with several days getting into the low 80’s. Usually in March we range in the low to mid 50’s during the day. Spring-ish weather, but not friggin’ late June to early July weather like we’ve been having.

Today we’re back to normal with the high only supposed to reach 50° which is right around where we should be. The next several days are also going to be a little more normal so things appear to be settling down here at least. It was very weird having to turn on the A/C in the apartment for a couple of days in friggin’ March.

Pssst! Hey buddy! Wanna buy some Tide? Top quality detergent cheap!

The face of black market laundry detergent: Patrick Costanzo.

I’m rarely surprised by things people are willing to steal, but I have to admit that I was taken aback by learning that there is apparently a black market for laundry detergent. Specifically, for the Tide brand as thieves are making off with it by the, literal, cartload.


Tide has become a form of currency on the streets. The retail price is steadily high — roughly $10 to $20 a bottle — and it’s a staple in households across socioeconomic classes.

Tide can go for $5 to $10 a bottle on the black market, authorities say. Enterprising laundry soap peddlers even resell bottles to stores.

“There’s no serial numbers and it’s impossible to track,” said Detective Larry Patterson of the Somerset, Ky., Police Department, where authorities have seen a huge spike in Tide theft. “It’s the item to steal.”

Seriously. I am just flabbergasted by that. I mean, I could maybe understand it if you were strapped for cash and were stealing it to do your own laundry with, but to resell on the black market? From the sounds of it the crooks are only going after Tide and none of the alternatives mainly because Tide is the most popular and recognized brand. There’s even a company developing some sort of anti-theft alarm system for bottles of Tide that’s being tested in CVS stores. Did you get that? AN ALARM SYSTEM FOR LAUNDRY DETERGENT!

“These are criminals coming into the store to steal thousands of dollars of merchandise,” said Detective Harrison Sprague of the Prince George’s County, Md., Police Department, where Tide is known as “liquid gold” among officers.

He and other law enforcement officials across the country say Tide theft is connected to the drug trade. In fact, a recent drug sting turned up more Tide that cocaine.

“We sent in an informant to buy drugs. The dealer said, ‘I don’t have drugs, but I could sell you 15 bottles of Tide,’ ” Sprague told The Daily. “Upstairs in the drug dealer’s bedroom was about 14 bottles of Tide laundry soap. We think [users] are trading it for drugs.”

Police in Gresham, Ore., said most Tide theft is perpetrated by “users feeding their habit.”

I had to double check to see that this wasn’t a parody story in The Onion. Especially after reading this:

“They’ll do it right in front of a cop car — buying heroin or methamphetamine with Tide,” said Detective Rick Blake of the Gresham Police Department. “We would see people walking down the road with six, seven bottles of Tide. They were so blatant about it.”

But it’s no joke. That mugshot back at the top of this entry? That’s Patrick Costanzo who was busted for stealing $6,300 worth of Tide powder (video at the link). He’s no first timer either. Police say Patrick hit the same Walmart some 28 times to steal Tide and a bunch of other crap. He’s also not alone. That store reports thefts of Tide totaling over $25,000!

Just when you think life can’t get any stranger you find out folks are buying their illegal drugs with stolen laundry soap. I’m still trying to understand how this works out well for the drug dealer. I can only assume he must be able to resell the Tide for more than what the drugs were worth and yet still less than what it goes for in the store (otherwise why would you buy it from him?). I’m not sure if that says more about the price of Tide or the price of drugs.

I had the weirdest dream last night.

In the dream I’m in bed and I wake up. While sitting up and stretching I happen to look down at the night stand (that I don’t have) next to the bed and see a fairly large sized package sitting next to it as though someone had delivered it to my bedside during the night. For some reason this doesn’t strike me as being in any way odd and I just assume that I must have picked it up the day before and put it there before going to bed. Looking at the label it seems that it has something to do with the death of my biological father. The impression (because so much in dreams tend to be impressions) is that it’s his death report, but the box is way too big for just a bunch of papers.

I slide down onto the floor dressed only in my boxers and proceed to open the package and it does contain some paperwork about my father’s death, but it also includes a large container filled with preservation liquid of some sort and what appears to be the partially dissected head and shoulders of my dead father. Part of one side of his skull has been removed revealing the right hemisphere of his brain and a strip of flesh from the left side of his face has been cut away revealing musculature and the bottom of his left eye socket. Additionally the entire corpse has been carefully cut straight down the middle so it can be folded open to reveal a cross section of everything down to just before his lungs would start. Considering the man has been dead for over 36 years the corpse is in surprisingly good shape and while I’m a bit surprised at finding it in the package I’m more fascinated at seeing a man who’s face I can barely remember and being able to peer inside his head. I do think it odd that I received his head and shoulders when he died of cancer of the colon, but I’m also relieved that I didn’t get the part of his anatomy that killed him.

For reasons that only make sense in a dream, I proceed to open the container and lift up the corpse so I can fold it open to get a better look at the internals because I’m strangely fascinated by them and can’t resist my curiosity. It’s at this point that my wife stirs in the bed next to me and I suddenly realize that I’m examining the corpse of my dead father on the bedroom floor in my boxers and the utter absurdity of it all hits home. In a panic I try, and fail, to put the corpse back in the container without splashing preservation fluid all over the carpet and as I do so the corpse starts to fall apart in my hands. The left side of its brain falls out in the container splashing fluid all over the place, then the right eye falls into my hand, and the tongue is getting in the way of folding the body closed again. Plus it all won’t fit back into the container properly because there was barely enough room in it to hold the body in the first place and with all the random parts falling out and taking up room the bulk of it doesn’t want to go back in, but my wife is waking up and I desperately want to close the thing up and get it out of her sight so as not to upset her. I end up smooshing everything back into the container and getting it closed with quite a bit of fluid spillage and the body looking even more grotesque than it did when I first opened the package. It’s about that time that Anne wakes up, rolls over to the edge of the bed and asks me what I’m doing. She’s just starting to register on her face what’s on the floor in front of me when I literally wake up.

What the fuck was that all about?