The secret behind our bad summers

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Blame God, greenhouse gases or just bad luck.

Summer sucks.

Sorry, but the joy of North Idaho summers seems to have gone up in smoke the past few years, with 2017 hitting the bottom of the once-joyful barrel.

As Press meteorologist Randy Mann noted, it was hot as blazes this summer: 34 days of temperatures reaching 90 or more. That’s 36 percent more scorchers than we see in a typical summer.

The lizard population among us might not mind those sweltering temps, but even the most rabid sun worshipers must agree that having virtually no rain all summer wasn’t a plus. Even if your lawn wasn’t complaining, the forests sure have been.

Which brings us to the biggest downer of what’s supposed to be the most pleasant season of the North Idaho year. With record-setting wildfires wreaking havoc in Montana and British Columbia, a hunk of our summer has been spent trapped in a smoke-filled mess. Recent hazardous-to-your-health air quality readings are the capper. Profanities aplenty and unkind references to Dante’s finest work filled coffee houses and friendly saloons. That is, when customers had the breath to bark.

What’s really frustrating is that there’s no easy target, no clear villain to blame. If the Lord truly works in strange and mysterious ways, we’d ask that He dispense with the practical jokes when we’re supposed to be relaxing and having family fun. And if we’re suffering because of man’s selfishness and cruelty to his environment, the indictment covers us all. That’s much harder than blaming someone else.

Climatologist Cliff Harris always evoked chuckles from Press readers by offering this disclaimer whenever Mother Nature let loose: I’m in sales, he’d say, not production. So don’t blame me.

That leaves just two other options, which cover the vast spectrum of possibilities.

Blame Trump. Or Hillary.

If that makes you feel a tiny bit better about another bummer summer, pile it on.

We blew it

Good journalists working hard under deadline pressure can make mistakes.

That’s what happened late Wednesday night, when one of our editors introduced an egregious error while rewriting a sentence about the tragic shooting at Freeman High School in Washington. One person was killed, not four.

We offer our humblest apologies.

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