No Love Of Joy: Yet Another Author Claims Statistically Significant Temperature Change

The end is probably not nigh.

Update This originally ran 28 May 2013, but given Shaun Lovejoy’s latest effort in Climate Dynamics to square the statistical circle, it’s necessary to reissue. See the Lovejoy update at the bottom.

My Personal Consensus

I, a professional statistician, PhD certified from one of the top universities in the land—nay, the world—a man of over twenty years hard-bitten numerical experience, a published researcher in the very Journal of Climate, have determined that global temperatures have significantly declined.

You read that right: what has gone up has come back down, and significantly. Statistically significantly. Temperatures, he said again, have plunged significantly.

This is so important a scientific result that it bears repeating. And there is another reason for a recapitulation: I don’t believe that you believe me. There may be a few of you who are suspicious that old Briggs, well known for his internet hilarity, might be trying to pull a fast one. I neither josh nor jest.

Anyway, it is true. Global warming, by dint of a wee p-value, has been refuted.

Which is to say that according to my real, genuine, mathematically legitimate, scientifically fabricated scientific statistical scientific model (calculated on a computer), I was able to produce statistical significance and reject the “null” hypothesis of no cooling. Therefore there has been cooling. And since cooling is the opposite of warming, there is no more global warming. Quod ipso facto. Or something.

I was led to this result because many (many) readers alerted me to a fellow named Lord Donoughue, who asked Parliament a question which produced the answer that “the temperature rise since about 1880 is statistically significant.” Is this right?

Not according to my model. So who’s model, the Met Office’s or mine, is right?

Well, that’s the beauty of statistics. Neither model has to be right; plus, anybody can create their own.

Statistical model

Here’s the recipe. Grab, off the shelf or concoct your own with sweat and integrals, a model. The more scientific sounding the better. Walk into a party with “Autoregressive heteroscedastic GARCH process” or “Coupled GCM with Kalman-filtering cloud parameterization” on your lips and you simply cannot fail to be a hit.

Don’t despair of finding a model. They are as dollars to a bureaucracy: they are infinite! Thing is, all models, as long as they are not fully deterministic, have some uncertainty in them. This uncertainty is parameterized by a lot of knobs and switches which can be throw into any number of configurations.

Statistical “significance” works by tossing some data at your model and hoping that, via one of a multitude of mathematical incantations, one of these many parameters turns out to be associated with a wee p-value (defined as less than the magic number; only adepts know this figure, so if you don’t already have it, I cannot tell you).

If you don’t get a wee p-value the first time, you keep the model but change the incantation. There are several, which practically guarantees you’ll find joy. Statisticians call this process “hypothesis testing.” But you can think of it as providing “proof” that your hypothesis is true.

Funny thing about statistics is that you can always find a model with just the right the set of parameters so that one, in the presence of data, is associated with a wee p-value. This is why, for example, one scientist will report that chocolate is good for your ticker, while another will claim chocolate is “linked to” heart disease. Both argue from a different statistical model.

Same thing holds in global warming. One model will “confirm” there has been statistically significant cooling, another will say statistically significant warming.

Say What?

The global temperature (as measured operationally) has certainly changed since the 1800s. Something, or some things, caused it to change. It is impossible—as in impossible—that the cause was “natural random variation”, “chance” or anything like that. Chance and randomness are not causes; they are not real, not physical entities, and therefore cannot be causes.

They are instead measures of our ignorance. All physical and probability models (or their combinations) are encapsulations of our knowledge; they quantify the certainty and uncertainty that temperature takes the values it does. Models are uncertainty engines.

This includes physical and statistical models, GCMs and GARCHes. The only difference between the two is that the physical models ties our uncertainty of temperatures to knowledge of other physical processes, while statistical models wed uncertainty to mysterious math and parameterizations.

A dirty, actually filthy, open secret in statistics is that for any set of data you can always find a model which fits that data arbitrarily close. Finding “statistical significance” is as difficult as the San Francisco City Council discovering something new to ban. The only evidence weaker than hypothesis tests are raw assertions and fallacies of appeal to authority.

The exclusive, or lone, or only, or single, solitary, sole way to check whether any model is good is if it can skillfully predict new data, where “new” means as yet unknown to the model in any way—as in in any way. The reason skeptics exist is because no know model has been able to do this with temperatures past a couple of months ahead.

The Dramatic Conclusion

There isn’t a soul alive or dead who doesn’t acknowledge that temperatures have changed. Since it cannot be that the observed changes are due to “natural variation” or “chance,” that means something real and physical, possible many different real and physical things, have caused temperature to take the values it did.

If we seek to understand this physics, it’s not likely that statistics will play much of role. Thus, climate modelers have the right instinct by thinking thermodynamically. But this goes both directions. If we have a working physical model (by “working” I mean “that which makes skillful predictions”) there is no reason in the world to point to “statistical significance” to claim temperatures in this period are greater than temperatures in that period.

Why abandon the physical model and switch to statistics to claim significance when we know that any fool can find a model which is “significant”, even models which “prove” temperatures have declined? This is nonsensical as it is suspicious. Skeptics see this shift of proof and rightly speculate that the physics aren’t as solid as claimed.

If a statistical model has skillfully predicted new temperatures, and of course this is possible, then it is rational to trust the model to continue to do so (for the near horizon; who trusts a statistics model for a century hence?). But there is not a lot that can be learned from the model about the physics, unless the parameters of the model can be married to physical concepts. And if we can do that, we should be able to create skillful physical models. Good statistical models of physical processes thus work toward their own retirement.

Ready for the punch line? It is shocking and deeply perplexing why anybody would point to statistical significance to claim that temperatures have gone up, down, or wiggled about. If we really want to know whether temperatures have increased, then just look. Logic demands that if they have gone up, then they have gone up. Logic also proves that if they have gone down, then they have gone down. Statistical significance is an absurd addition to absolute certainty.

The only questions we have left are—not whether there have been changes—but why these changes occurred and what the changes will be in the future.

Lovejoy Update To show you how low climatological discourse has sunk, in the new paper in Climate Dynamics Shaun Lovejoy (a name which we are now entitled to doubt) wrote out a trivially simple model of global temperature change and after which inserted the parenthetical words “skeptics may be assured that this hypothesis will be tested and indeed quantified in the following analysis”. In published comments he also fixated on the word “deniers.” If there is anybody left who says climate science is no different than politics, raise his hand. Anybody? Anybody?

His model, which is frankly absurd, is to say the change in global temperatures is a straight linear combination of the change in “anthropogenic contributions” to temperature plus the change in “natural variability” of temperature plus the change in “measurement error” of temperature. (Hilariously, he claims measurement error is of the order +/- 0.03 degrees Celsius; yes, three-hundredths of a degree: I despair, I despair.)

His conclusion is to “reject”, at the gosh-oh-gee level of 99.9%, that the change of “anthropogenic contributions” to temperature is 0.

Can you see it? The gross error, I mean. His model assumes the changes in “anthropogenic contributions” to temperature and then he had to supply those changes via the data he used (fossil fuel use was implanted as a proxy for actual temperature change; I weep, I weep). Was there thus any chance of rejecting the data he added as “non-significant”?

Is there any proof that his model is a useful representation of the actual atmosphere? None at all. But, hey, I may be wrong. I therefore challenge Lovejoy to use his model to predict future temperatures. If it’s any good, it will be able to skillfully do so. I’m willing to bet good money it can’t.

The Somebody-Might-Get-Hurt! Fallacy

Hey, it could happen.

Word is our beneficent government, which loves us and would not see us fall into harm, is working on a design for a system of chains to anchor both citizens and illegal aliens to the earth. Why? Because gravity might reverse itself.

That, dear reader, despite its rank absurdity, is a true statement. Gravity might reverse itself. And if it does, we’d be in some pretty deep kimchee. So the government would be well justified in shackling us to the ground.

What we have is an actual possibility, a non-zero probability, of a unimaginable calamity. The ill effects of the calamity would be so awful that nobody could calculate them. Why, they’d be costlier than the entire Federal debt times two. It would be so horrific that the hosts of NPR to raise their voices.

Yet the whole thing is obviously absurd.

This is the Somebody-Might-Get-Hurt! fallacy, a.k.a. the What-About-The-Children! fallacy, a.k.a. the We’re-All-Going-To-Die fallacy, the Better-Safe-Than-Sure! fallacy. It is the only fallacy comes with an exclamation point (technically it should also be written in italics to emphasize its dire nature).

The only time this fallacy is written about soberly is when when it appears in scientific literature, where it is called the Precautionary Principle.

The old joke used to be that a sweater was defined as an article of clothing that a child put on when its mother got cold. Now it’s the same joke but “mother” has been swapped for “government.”

The problem lies in the nature of contingency. All physical events, such as gravity reversing itself, the climate spinning out of control and forcing the atmosphere to resemble an Easy-Bake oven, plastic bags tainting the water supply turning us all into three-armed mutants, dust in air causing hearts to seize up solid, and on and on, are all contingent.

Contingent physical events are not logically necessary. It is a rock-solid undefeatable fact of the universe that what happened could have happened differently, and thus that what might happen could be virtually anything. Mountains might grow legs and dance, goats might swell to terrible size and begin goring the populace, progressives might become tolerant of dissent. Anything that can be imagined might happen.

And therefore, the costs incurred from these mini-apocalypses might be astronomical, they might be incalculably large, almost infinite disruptions.

The means you can always threaten doom and use your lurid fantasy to justify almost any action that would “Save the planet!”

Because of these indisputable truths, the Somebody-Might-Get-Hurt! fallacy is an informal and not a formal fallacy, much in the way that the No True Scotsman and Slippery Slope informal fallacies are also not rigorous proofs your enemy’s argument are false. So it never does any logical good to tell the government that its latest ban is silly. They can always retort truthfully that unimaginable evils await unless they have their way.

Still, the Somebody-Might-Get-Hurt! fallacy is an informal fallacy, which means it can be answered.

When your mother used to tell you to put on a sweater or come out of the water, the natural retort was I am not cold. What that does is reject the premise used by your mom in building her threat. Or you might have been cold but were having too much fun so you said, “Oh, mom. Just five more minutes!” That rebuts the cost. You have to do the same thing with the government.

Yes, you admit, transfats might be killing more people than old age and so should be banned. But if they so deadly, where is the evidence of their effects? The probability of widespread death, given all observation, is apparently near zero. And then it’s none of the government’s business what kind of fats I want to eat.

Just like your mother, the government is not likely to buy that last argument. Everything is their business. They say. Since you are not intelligent enough to figure out for yourself the best way to live, the government, bristling with well credentialed experts, feels it must step in and do the job for you.

This is why instances where somebody invokes the Somebody-Might-Get-Hurt! fallacy turn into shouting matches. Either the argument is over the premises which drive the probability of the calamity, or its over who’s business the effects of the calamity are.

The only chance of winning against somebody beholden to the fallacy is ridicule. You won’t change your opponent’s mind, but you might convince enough others so that you outnumber your opponent.

But the smart money is on the government.

How Teachers Learn To Identify Weapons From Non-Weapons

Civilians are too stupid to realize these are guns

Yet another “educator” has confused the difference between a weapon and the fantasy of one.

A 13-year-old boy from New Jersey was suspended from school for two days last week and forced to undergo a five-hour long physical and psychological evaluation after another student accused him of making “gun motions” with a pencil.

The seventh-grader said he was simply twirling a pencil with a pen cap on the end but another student, who was bullying him earlier in the day, yelled out, “He’s making gun motions, send him to juvie.”

And so he was carted off to a shrink and made to swear he didn’t have homicidal tendencies. Though how the kid didn’t want to wring the neck of Vernon Schools Superintendent Charles Maranzano is unknown. Maranzano justified the school pretending the pencil was a gun with the words “We never know what’s percolating in the mind of children, okay, and when they demonstrate behaviors that raise red flags, we must do our duty.”

This level of brain damage is rare—I mean in Maranzano, not the boy—and usually the result of “experiments” with progressive totalitarian ideologies in college, an always present danger when young adults are packed off to remote schools without parental supervision. As it is Maranzano was left permanently damaged and suffers from femininism.

This is not a typo. Feminism, which Maranzano does not appear to have, is the delusion that woman are everywhere superior to men because of Equality. On the other hand, Femininism is when a man starts acting like a female, when he becomes utterly feminine. Symptoms are when the stricken sees deep meaning in phrases like “Somebody might get hurt” and “We never know what’s percolating in the mind of children“. Sufferers will carry expensive electronica to trendy coffee shops simply to be seen there with these high-status items (think jewelry and handbags).

The worst manifestation, and a sign the disease has progressed past the hope of a cure, is when the afflicted sees a boy who is not acting sufficiently like a girl and then seeks to “right” the situation.

Once upon a time, not that long ago when our nation still knew sanity, people used to realize that “gun motions” with a pencil were not guns. Neither were drawings of guns actual guns. Nor were Pop Tarts with bites out of them guns. Nor forefingers. Nor was anything that was not a gun a gun.

Now, of course, in a time where reality itself has been given its walking papers and the few who still honor it are hounded from polite society, femininism runs unimpeded.

This originally appeared in slightly different form in an article I wrote about how Fred Astaire sat plinking signs in Manhattan on Eight Avenue in the old days with a .22. I wrote correctly, “If this happened today, the nation’s collective hand-wringing would be so grievous that there would be nobody left who could grip their chopsticks.”

Femininism can only be contracted when an individual is surrounded by heavy concentrations of those who have the disease. Places like the federal bureaucracy, television news studios, the San Francisco City Council, increasingly the military, and, its natural incubation grounds, teacher colleges.

Here is the transcript I discovered from a teachers college showing how educators learn to differentiate weapons from non-weapons. “P” is a female professor of educational studies and “T” is a student.

P: “Now what is that, Mr Hillcrest?”

T: “It’s a stick figure holding some blob of an object.”

P: “No! It’s a weapon, Mr Hillcrest. A deadly weapon!”

T: “But it’s just a draw—”

P: “Don’t you care about the children! This is a weapon! This is used to kill, Kill, KILL!”

T: “But…”

P: “Do you want blood on your hands, Mr Hillcrest? This is a vicious, vile weapon! It cannot be tolerated!”

T: “I guess it could be, maybe at a stretch, considered…”

P: “Bodies! Mr Hillcrest. Dead bodies. Created by weapons like this! Now what is it!”

T: “It’s a weapon.”

P: “Good boy. I see that you are principal material, Mr Hillcrest. Now take a look at this chewed Pop-Tart.”

Today is day 5 of Happy Week at How am I doing?

Lawyer Argues We Should Ignore Inconvenient Laws

The law is for squeebs

Ilya Somin calls himself a lawyer, and he probably is one, too. Therefore what he says about the law must be right.

Convinced by Somin’s arguments, I will later this week head off to Sweden and set up shop on the streets. Why? Well, as embarrassing as it is to admit, I am unemployed. And I’ve heard Sweden has a heck of a welfare system. Once I make it past the border, they’ll have to take care of me. Give me food, a comfortable place in which to eat it, dignity. It’s their responsibility since they have more than I do.

Of course I will be breaking the law by crossing Sweden’s border, and they may seek to call me an “illegal immigrant” or even, Heaven forfend, a criminal. I prefer the term “undocumented worker,” incidentally. And I might even try to find work, if somebody will offer it to me. The Swedish government had better not try to kick me out, either, else I’ll sick Somin on them. Then—look out!

Somin would tell those mean hateful racist Swedes “Illegal Immigration is Easily Justified Under a Weak Presumption in Favor of Obedience to Law.” He says, “If obeying a law is inconvenient and violating it is unlikely to harm anyone, [most people] believe that violation is morally justified.”

“Strict compliance” of laws we disfavor “would be annoying and inconvenient”. And this includes all those “violations of various federal regulations that ordinary citizens and small businesses routinely run afoul of.” He forgets to mention that ordinary citizens have no idea of the number and extent of federal laws, which increase yearly in number, reach, and severity of punishment. But everybody knows crossing a border without permission is illegal.

From this he concludes, “If you apply this theory to illegal immigration, it becomes clear that illegal immigrants have a much stronger case for violating immigration laws than native-born citizens do for their routine violations of the speed limit and various petty federal regulations.”

Far as I can tell, his “theory” is that you only have to follow those laws which you don’t find annoying and inconvenient. And that you can ignore those laws which you have concluded won’t harm others.

The anarchist in me likes this. Piracy has always had an appeal. “A short life but a merry one!” is my cry. Besides, if Sweden leaves me to rot in this country, full of progressive head hunters gunning for heretics like myself, it would (Somin’s words) consign me to poverty and oppression “through no fault of [my] own, merely because [I was] born on the wrong side of a line on the map.” And that’s just not fair.

Hey! Sweden! You rich so-and-sos. Gimme! And make it quick.

Update My jet lag is making me miss the obvious. Somin likens illegally crossing borders to speeding. He forgets that speeders get tickets, and that repeat offenders lose their licenses or even go to jail. Somin is a lawyer.

Science for the State; Or, Lysenko Lives

Bette Davis eyes

Bette Davis eyes

Jim Fedako (who wrote this piece; send him email) is a business analyst and homeschooling father of seven who lives in Lewis Center, OH.

It sometimes seems that every regime needs to find its justification in science. Ideology is fine, to a point. But the final arbiter of legitimacy resides, or so it seems, in science. So what of science?

The Soviet Union had its ideological foundation in dialectical materialism—that edgy methodology that combines, you guessed it, dialectics and materialism. In essence, so the theory goes, matter moves from one state to another in an endless ascendancy from the lower to higher.

I know, blah, blah, blah. Just a load of muddled nonsense. But it was the Soviet religion. And everything had to be justified through it.

So in the 1920s, along comes this quack by the name of Lysenko. According to Wikipedia, he rejected

Mendelian genetics in favor of the hybridization theories of Russian horticulturist Ivan Vladimirovich Michurin, and adopted them into a powerful political-scientific movement termed Lysenkoism.

Helena Sheehan picks up the story noting that Lysenko

subsequently became famous for the discovery of “vernalisation,” an agricultural technique that allowed winter crops to be obtained from summer planting by soaking and chilling the germinated seed for a determinate period of time.

More muddled nonsense. But since Lysenko and his nonsense—er, theories—fit the nonsense that is dialectical materialism, he became a sweetheart of the state bureaucracy.

And as Lysenkoism grew in power and prestige, so did the pressure on those who dared object. Alternate theories were rejected and proponents forced from positions and jailed, and sometimes even sentenced to death. Mendelian genetics was pushed from the halls of academia into the hushed-hushed backrooms where no one listened, except spies for the state.

There were two other results of Lysenkoism worth noting: food shortages and waste. But, hey, what’s a few cracked eggs among friends, especially when the omelet is for the state?

The key to my opening statement is not that science needs to justify the state. The key is that the state needs to find the science that will justify its (the state’s) existence.

So the state creates its justifying science and, lo and behold, that very same science justifies the state. In Lysenko’s words,

Long live the Party of Lenin and Stalin, which discovered Michurin for the world and created all the conditions for the progress of advanced materialist biology in our country.

Glory to the great friend and protagonist of science, our leader and teacher, Comrade Stalin!

Does any of this sound familiar? In the 1930s, the state adopted Keynesian economics. It did not do so because the system made sense. No, the state adopted Keynesian economics because it justified the state and the state’s profligate ways.

Keynes was the Lysenko of the Roosevelt administration. The state declared Keynes a genius and worked to control his opposition. No Siberian Gulags, just academic ones. But the chilling result was the same here as in the Soviet Union. The state’s science became the science, and science and state lived happily ever after. For a while anyway.

When Stalin died, Lysenko was first discredited by Khrushchev.

Nevertheless, Lysenko was to find favour again, and at that with Khrushchev, for his researches into composting and breeding dairy cows with high butter fat, themes both dear to Khrushchev who wanted to raise the USSR’s milk output.

In the end, the Soviets finally recognized that Lysenko was a fraud, though it took a half a century.

Here in the United States, it took us almost the same amount of time to begin to question Keynesianism. And just like Lysenkoism, Keynesianism fell out of favor only to subsequently return to favor once again—nothing like more butter fat to whet the appetite of the political class.

Of course, Keynes is gone—his long run ended years ago. But Keynesianism lives on through its adherents. And Paul Krugman is the most visible one we have today.

But Krugman is just another Lysenko—peddling nonsense that justifies the state. As one of its most prominent and vocal proponents, Krugman is an influential activist for the political class and the status quo. So, of course, he is blessed by the state.

Most importantly, Krugman is willing to see more than a few eggs cracked in order to serve up a state-sized omelet—I think he calls his special omelet the Laureate, but I am not certain of that.

Every state needs justification. And the justifiers are always welcomed and cheered by the state. So we should not be shocked that a false science—a science that props up the state—is embraced by the state and associated sycophants.

But we must always remember that in the end, the nonsense is revealed for all to see, with the proponent receiving his due discredit. But how long do we have to wait? And what will be the final result? Only time will tell.

Boys’ Toys V. Girls’ Toys: Researchers Still Trying To Prove They’re The Same

Not quite the one I saw.

Not quite the one I saw.

Last Thursday I was at the warthog park at the butt end of 57th street on the East river, reading and enjoying the rare sunshine. Nannies and moms (mostly nannies) filtered in with their charges, mostly babies and kids under four or five.

The toys kids are bought come in fads. It was marbles in my day, and card games when my kids were young (those special packs with monsters on them). The kids in the park, those who could walk, all had the same green plastic mini-scooter.

The park has benches around the edges and in its interior are a couple of raised areas of dirt and sand which are bounded by brick. A statue of a warthog is in the middle.

One boy, helmeted naturally, started tooling around and around and around the park solely for the sake of tooling around. Soon another boy joined in. Later a third boy came but he started circling in the opposite direction. The first pair of boys, a Tall one and a Young one, came to the Third boy. Tall said, “Do you want to be friends?” Third said, “Yes.” And Tall, excited as he could be, said to Young, “He wants to be our friend!”

Meanwhile, some girls had come, too. They were off in a corner of the park opposite where I was, sitting near their nannies and playing with some bright plastic thing I couldn’t make out.

The boys circled and circled until Tall had the happy idea of crashing full speed into the brick and tumbling onto the dirt. Young saw this and copied. He flew backwards onto the cement, whereupon he started laughing and laughing. This was the funniest thing he had ever done in his life. He was doubled over in mirth.

His nanny (I’m guessing) came over thinking he was hurt. When Young saw her he popped up and took off on his scooter. And then Third came and crashed.

The Tall crashed again. Full speed into the brick—bam!—and thrown off. Then Young, then Third, and so on, for quite a while. Sometimes they would fall into the dirt, sometimes on the cement, but always they would fall laughing.

After a while, probably because of exposure to one too many movies, they started crashing and falling in slow motion, complete with explosion sound effects, exaggerating their demise, limbs everywhere.

It was time for me to go, and I noticed as I left one of the girls in the corner was standing waving her finger at another of the girls, a mean look on her face. The girls never took part in the crashes.

And now I read of “scientific” “research” which tells me I didn’t see what I saw, or that if I did see what I saw, it was partly my doing. Toy choices of children, we are told, “don’t actually reflect innate preferences” but the preference of their parents and society. I am part of society.

Boys and girls aren’t different, scientists say, but they are genderfied into thinking they’re different by society. Why, hasn’t research “shown” that there are “no sex differences in the preferences of babies for looking at objects versus faces”? And thus, since myopic girl babies and myopic boy babies tend to look or not look at the same things in a constrained unnatural setting, that because therefore that I have eight inches and seventy pounds on my mate, plus a whole different set of plumbing, must mean nothing. At least in the sense that these manifest dimorphisms could possibly play any role in our behavior.

Now since this is Happy Week (Day 2) at, I won’t tell you what I think of the minds of researchers anxious to deny the absolute incontrovertible unalterable fact that males and females are different. Boys and girls know they don’t look like one another, and they know they act differently. It is therefore profoundly cruel to attempt to erase, ignore, or medicate away these natural incommensurabilities.

Since I love my enemies, even the enemies who drug boys to make them behave more like girls, I won’t suggest that they should be flogged for their crimes. No, sir. Next time I see an “educator,” I will hug her and tell her that I love her, even as I remind her that she is complicit in spreading the most pernicious pig-ignorant harmful lies and that she is contributing mightily to the downfall of civilization.

Alchemy Hour

It’s Happy Week here at seven full days1 bursting with smiles, bonhomie, and the unadulterated love of my fellow man, no matter how wicked—but no! Joy begins as of now. So, without more and further ado—at last, at last!—some news worth cheering.

Announcing the brilliant opening of Alchemy Hour, Clothiers to the Stars! in Maplewood, New Jersey.

The store was built and is owned and run by my Number One son (same first name as his old man, who in turn had the same first name of his old man, who in turn, etc., for many generations) and his lovely wife Julia.

It's that time.

It’s that time.

Now you know Yours Truly. But unless you are one of the half-million (plus or minus, give or take) who have read Mine Tomorrow: Polon Percival and the Political Ploy, you won’t know my son. Where his old man is industrial grade vinegar, Number One is cherry blossom honey. Organic, naturally. And if his father’s muscular mix of English-Austrian (German)-Irish-Polish blood gave him the love of endless argument, an infusion of a Dutch-Danish corpuscle cocktail produced mellowness and jollity itself in his offspring. In other words, don’t hold me against him.

Julia sings opera and knows a good half dozen languages and has exquisite taste in clothing. You know how seriously we take clothing here, so I mean this as high praise. For instance, do not do this; at least, not anywhere within eyeshot of me.

I’ve seen, many times, Julia suggest an outfit to someone who would look at it and say, “No way.” Until the someone put it on and realize it was perfect. Plus, the shop has many unique items from south of the equator. Julia is from Brazil and makes trips there to bring back exotic stock. She also has lined up several super secret sources of seamstresses who make their own wares. You won’t be able to find at Macy’s what you can discover at Alchemy Hour.

Stop by when you’re in town and let Julia fix you up with something unexpected and astonishing. You can follow them on Twitter (@shopalchemyhour) or on Facebook.

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1Somebody count and see how long I last.

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