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Admiral Fowle’s Piscataqua River Tidal Guide
(Not for Navigational Purposes)


Thurs, Sept 23

1999—The $328 million Climate Orbiter crashes on Mars because Lockheed forgot to use the metric system. 1998—The New York Fed bails out broke hedge fund LTCM, establishing a suicidal precedent. 1990—As Dan Quayle speaks at a $2,500-plate fundraiser in Portland, Ore., the Reverse Peristalsis Painters protest by vomiting red, white, and blue mashed potatoes. 1975—Already…

Wed, Sept 22

2003—“A year from now,” Richard Perle says, “I’ll be very surprised if there is not some grand square in Baghdad that is named after President Bush.” 1987—Navy Reserve Capt. Timothy J. Dorsey shoots down a Navy plane during a training exercise. Its crew survives with injuries. Dorsey’s career is unscathed: daddy’s an Admiral. 1975—Disabled ’Nam…

Tues, Sept 21

2014—A spokesman for the Islamic State  calls U.S. Sec. of State John Kerry an “uncircumcised old geezer.” 2001—CIA chief George Tenet tells the V.P. his Iraq/al-Qaeda link appears to be fiction. Dick “Dick” Cheney continues to repeat it. 1989—The Chase Manhattan Bank accepts for deposit a check sent as a prank by Spy Magazine. Endorsed…

Mon, Sept 20

2006—“The devil came here yesterday,” says Hugo Chavez at the UN, “and it smells of sulfur still today.” 2001—George W.[MD] Bush declares a War on a noun, viz., Terror, before a joint session of Congress, which somehow takes him seriously. 1968—A U.S. military spokesman in Saigon says Agent Orange has no harmful effects on human…

Sun, Sept 19

2014—Iraq War veteran Omar J. Gonzalez jumps the White House fence and runs into the East Room. 2001—George W.[MD] Bush tells CIA chief George Tenet to look for links between S. Hussein and al-Qaeda. Lacking credible evidence, he suggests Dick “Dick” Cheney as a source. 2001—The U.S. goes to war against Afghanistan—what could go wrong?…

Sat, Sept 18

2001—Five journalists receive letters laced with anthrax. Five people die, the perps remain unknown. 2001—Complying with a White House request, EPA head Christine Todd Whitman says it’s safe to breathe the air at “Ground Zero.” It isn’t. 1987—The N.Y. Times reports the FBI’s been spying on public library patrons. 1980—Cuban Arnoldo Tamayo becomes the first…

Fri, Sept 17

2011—Wall Street gets Occupied. 2002—President George W.[MD] Bush says, “… fool me once, shame on—shame on you. Fool me…you can’t get fooled again.” 2001—President George W.[MD] Bush gives the CIA secret authority to do…secret stuff. It’s classified. 1980—“Operation Reptile:” in Paraguay, a team of Sandinistas whack Anastasio Somoza with an RPG. 1967—The Mount Washington Cog…

Thurs, Sept 16

2016—MSNBC, CNN, and Fox treat Donald Trump to a free 1.5 hour infomercial consisting mostly of a live shot of an empty podium. 2001—Dick “Dick” Cheney vows to work on “the dark side.” His only side. 1976—Unelected Vice President Nelson Rockefeller is photographed giving “the finger” to students at SUNY Binghamton, N.Y. 1975—After winning by…

Wed, Sept 15

2008—Lehman Bros. drops 90 percent; the Dow is down 500 points. 2007—Laura Bush condemns Myanmar’s crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators. Hours later thousands march in D.C. against the Iraq War; 190 are arrested, many are Iraq vets. 2004—D.C. cops on a 911 call find Cynthia Ore, 28, in the bathroom of Rep. Don Sherwood (R-Pa.), 63….

Tues, Sept 14

2019—Thieves steal a solid gold toilet from Winston Churchill’s birthplace. 2008—At his gym, Lehman Brothers CEO Richard Fuld gets punched in the face by a complete stranger. 2005—At the UN, during the World Summit, the Leader of the Free World passes a note to his Secretary of State saying, “I think I may need a…

Mon, Sept 13

2010—After calling for civility in the Primary, ex-Gov. John H. Sununu tells the N.Y. Times, “I came in [as N.H. GOP Chair] to clean the vermin [Democrats] out, then I’ll leave.” 2005—Two weeks after the catastrophe, George W.[MD] Bush admits the Federal response to Hurricane Katrina was less than ideal. 2001—Reverend Jerry Falwell says “The…

Sun, Sept 12

2008—Former Goldman Sachs boss Hank Paulson tells Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers execs the Fed will leave them twisting in the wind. 2004—WSCA-LP goes live. 1994—Frank E. Corder, 38, dies at 1:49 a.m., crash-landing a stolen Cessna on the White House grounds after a day-long beer and crack spree. 1983—Puerto Rican nationalists Los Macheteros rob…

Sat, Sept. 11

2016—The GOP nominee for President tweets “best wishes to all, even the haters and losers, on this special date, September 11th.” 2012—Benghazi!!! 2006—At Ground Zero, for a photo op, President Bush and the First Lady stand on an American flag carpet. 2001—Four American airliners are hijacked by Saudies and crashed; thousands die. George W.[MD] Bush…

Fri, Sept. 10

2008—Lehman Brothers execs say the firm has all the capital it needs, five days before it declares bankruptcy. 2001—Donald Rumsfeld admits the Defense Department can’t account for about $2.3 trillion dollars. One day later, no one remembers—or cares. 1980—“Approximately eighty percent of our air pollution stems from hydrocarbons released by vegetation,” says GOP candidate Ronald…

Thurs, Sept. 9

2013—Two out of of three lanes to the George Washington Bridge are closed without warning in Fort Lee, N.J., delaying commuters and emergency personnel. 2009—As President Obama addresses Congress, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) yells at him, “You lie.” 2008—Lehman Bros., the nation’s fourth largest investment bank, loses 45 percent of its value. 2005—“You know,” says…


Portsmouth, arguably the first town in this country not founded by religious extremists, is bounded on the north and east by the Piscataqua River, the second, third, or fourth fastest-flowing navigable river in the country, depending on whom you choose to believe.

The Piscataqua’s ferocious current is caused by the tide, which, in turn, is caused by the moon. The other player is a vast sunken valley — Great Bay — about ten miles upriver. Twice a day, the moon drags about seventeen billion gallons of seawater — enough to fill 2,125,000 tanker trucks — up the river and into Great Bay. This creates a roving hydraulic conflict, as incoming sea and the outgoing river collide. The skirmish line moves from the mouth of the river, up past New Castle, around the bend by the old Naval Prison, under Memorial Bridge, past the tugboats, and on into Great Bay. This can best be seen when the tide is rising.

Twice a day, too, the moon lets all that water go. All the seawater that just fought its way upstream goes back home to the ocean. This is when the Piscataqua earns its title for xth fastest current. Look for the red buoy, at the upstream end of Badger’s Island, bobbing around in the current. It weighs several tons, and it bobs and bounces in the current like a cork.

The river also has its placid moments, around high and low tides. When the river rests, its tugboats and bridges work their hardest. Ships coming in laden with coal, oil, and salt do so at high tide, for more clearance under their keels. They leave empty, riding high in the water, at low tide, to squeeze under Memorial Bridge.