Pinch of Salt Graphic (English)

Is it September already? A look at the mid-day thermometer in Long Beach, and you'd have reason to think so.

A heat wave in June? What's up with that?

True, we did actually cross over into summer on Tuesday, June 20. At 9:24 p.m., to be exact. That was the summer solstice, when the tilt of the earth gets us North Americans as close to the sun as we get. (It is the longest day, too — or at least the longest time the sun is above our horizon.)

But 90 degrees in June? That's not supposed to happen.

We're supposed to have cloudy skies and cool temperatures in June. It's called June gloom, for goodness sake. It's all about the marine layer, where the Pacific Ocean spreads its reach skyward, then inland for most of the day.

As an early riser, I can report we're still having some June gloom, at least along the coast. I almost literally run into the low clouds as I get close to Belmont Shore, coming from my north Long Beach home.

But the gloom is burning off earlier and earlier. And at my house far above the Maginot, I mean I-405 line, the temperature starts rising early in the a.m.

I've said before that my abode is old, as in built during the post-World War II boom. Back then, they didn't believe in insulation, much less air conditioning. And hey, this was temperate (if sunny) Southern California. There wasn't any need for air conditioning.

And when I moved in nearly two decades ago, that was still true. I put in a couple of ceiling fans in the bedrooms, and we were good.

At least we were good for a decade or so. Then the two weeks of heat in September started expanding — high temps hit in August or stretched into October. Instead of a couple of weeks of swelter, we were looking at a month.

Portable fans were the solution. I've got a window fan in the bathroom, and something that looks (and sounds) like an airplane engine in the bedroom window. It was great when they started making those tall, skinny oscillating fans for the living room — we could actually walk around it instead of moving the box fan to get by.

You should know that Maria is some kind of warm weather organism. She gets goosebumps if it's colder than 70 degrees, and is only truly happy when it hits 78 or so.

And she's complaining that it's too hot.

I'm stubborn, though. I refuse to even consider air conditioning — except for that window unit in the guest bedroom. Son John put that in back when it was his room, and I'm too lazy to take it out. More than one visitor has appreciated my laziness.

Instead, I've invested in even more fans. There's one, sometimes two, in every room now, and they are running more often than not these days.

I fear that my rationale for avoiding air conditioning — takes too much electricity to operate — is running out of steam. I'm not looking forward to the next electric bill, where I'll see just how much it costs to run all those fans 24/7.

On Monday, an outfit called the California Independent System Operator Corporation issued a statewide Flex Alert, meaning that California's electricity grid was being stressed, and people should cut back on using appliances. Monday was June 19. Do you remember ever hearing of a Flex Alert in June? Me neither.

But I'm not worried. I've been assured that there's no such thing as climate change. All of this high temperature stuff is — wait for it — just hot air.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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