Sea smoke is essentially just fog above water, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Samuhel. The occurrence of sea smoke is similar to the steam that appears over a boiling pot of water or a hot bath.
“It happens when the air mass is so cold it makes the water steam like a pot on a stove would,” Samuhel said. Sea smoke is also sometimes referred to as arctic sea smoke, frost smoke, steam fog or sea fog.
In order for sea smoke to occur, the air has to be very cold and the water has to be comparatively warm. As a light wind of cold air sweeps in, it cools the warm air immediately above the water, which makes the air dip below the dew point. The air is only able to hold so much moisture before it condenses into fog, or sea smoke.
I have a lot of favorite commercial signs, so I’ll break them up into manageable categories starting with barbershop poles.
Once upon a time, the working barbershop pole was a common, universal sign. Someone on Pleasant Ave. in Hamburg had one in front of his house. There may have been one at South Shore Plaza; I suspect my dad went to both places. Now they’re almost rarer than a hen’s tooth.
I get excited when I see a barber pole in working order. The first one up is the Varsity Barber Shop in Ann Arbor. The 2012 photo was missing the location data, but I figured it out from the Michigan colors. Varsity is still open.
The next one is from Arcade Barbers in Nickels Arcade, Ann Arbor, possibly my favorite shopping area anywhere. The shop started in 1917.
This one is from a couple blocks from me on a stretch of 55th Street with many tiny basement salons/barbershops. I was excited when this pole appeared and remain surprised it hasn’t been vandalized.
Finally, here’s what happens when you can’t bother with a pole or don’t have a place to hang it.
As an aside, I looked up barber poles on eBay many years ago and found some for hundreds of dollars. Now I see several on Amazon for under $100. Have they made a comeback, or have they never been out of style (or a reasonable price range)?
This year, the weather cooled off in February instead of January, but so far I’ve seen only a faint wisp of sea smoke once. Even though it is mostly above 0ºF, it’s cold enough outside, with frequent fits of snow.
Normally I’d have taken a couple of Amtrak trains to Pennsylvania for Christmas, but 2020 isn’t normal so here I am in Chicago. Normally if I were in Chicago I’d attend Lessons and Carols for Christmas Eve at Rockefeller Chapel on the University of Chicago campus. But it’s 2020, so here we are. I lit my own candle.
Every now and then I get an email updating me on my Google Maps photo statistics. As of today, these photos have 10,000+ views. The surprises? The chicken and the nondescript view of Lincoln Park Zoo’s south lagoon. That so many people are looking at Beaubien Woods. And that the photo of the Rainbow Bridge at Niagara Falls didn’t make the cut as of today. Not looking like it will for a long time.
J. took my bike to GoodSpeed Cycles in Homewood, where I met him after taking Metra for the first time in months. You’re supposed to wear a mask on the train. Most people did. Some, however, sported them on their chins. I’ve never known chins to spew droplets, but there are many things I’ve never known.
I’m getting new but different wheels and new but different tires, WTB ThickSlicks without tread. This will be . . . different. I also asked for new pedals since I knocked off a reflector a while ago. The woman at GoodSpeed is throwing in a new magnet for the speedometer. She didn’t see any problem with fixing the bike. It’ll take up to a couple of weeks to get the parts in (shortages thanks to COVID-19, which is why I’m getting new but different wheels — they’re what’s available). This is setting me back more than half the original cost of the bike, but it’s not optional for me.
Like me, the woman at GoodSpeed isn’t shocked by the theft of the wheels but by the idea the thief replaced them (with bad ones). I’m still gobsmacked by that. As an aside, the imposter front wheel is bent. No wonder someone needed new wheels.
As an aside, I found what I am sure are my wheels and tires on a bike in the Flamingo’s bike room, but that may be a story for another day.