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


Thurs, Oct 1

2013—In the name of fiscal discipline, Republicans shut down the government. Cost to the economy: $24 billion. 2003—With Governor Benson’s blessing, Free Staters choose New Hampshire as their libertarian paradise. 2002—Northern Command is established to “Defend America’s Homeland”—posse comitatus be damned. 2002—George W.[MD] Bush claims he hasn’t “made up his mind we’re going to war…

Wed, Sept 30

2016—N.H.’s Attorney General reports that ex-Rep. Kyle Tasker [R-Nottingham] sold pot to five other State Reps. for medicinal purposes. 2011—U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki is smote by a drone in Yemen. Trial? We don’t need no stinkin’ trial! 1998—The GAO reports that Ken Starr had spent $40 million in a failed effort to nail Bill Clinton….

Tues, Sept 29

2008—The Dow drops 777 points. 2006—Anti child-porn crusader Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) resigns after his lurid e-mails to young males leak. 2002—George W.[MD] Bush claims Iraq has WMDs, al-Qaeda terrorists, and a nuke coming soon. 1980—The Washington Post publishes Janet Cook’s Pulitzer-winning story about a fictional eight year-old junkie. 1976—The Hyde Amendment gives Congress the…

Mon, Sept 28

2014—Future President D.J. Trump tweets, “Every time I speak of the haters and losers I do so with great love and affection. They cannot help the fact that they were born fucked up!” 2001—To avoid further scorn in these pages, Fleet Bank removes its 18-foot tall green, illuminated sign from the middle of Pleasant Street’s…

Sun, Sept 27

2018—Brett Kavanaugh whines, weeps, shouts, and badgers the Senate Judiciary Committee. 2002—Donald Rumsfeld calls the alleged link between al-Qaeda and Iraq “accurate and not debatable.” 2000—Frank Wills, the guard who discovered of the Watergate burglary, dies at 52, of a brain tumor, in poverty. 1994—On the Capitol steps, 350 GOP candidates led by Newt Gingrich…

Sat, Sept 26

2016—Two days before Jim Comey says the Clinton email investigation’s been re-opened, Giuliani says, “We’ve got a couple things up our sleeve that should turn this thing around.” 2011—Dick “Dick” Cheney is stuck in a Vancouver building while police clear an angry mob. 2002—George W.[MD] Bush claims that “the Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical…

Fri, Sept 25

2008—Somali pirates capture the MV Faina, a 500-foot freighter with a cargo of 33 Soviet tanks. 2007—Texas kills Michael Richard on schedule because Judge Sharon Keller refused to work overtime. 2003—An early draft of an interim report from weapons inspectors in Iraq says no WMD have been found. 2002—George W.[MD] Bush says nonsensically, “You can’t…

Thurs, Sept 24

2007—A plane previously used for “rendition” flights carrying alleged terrorists to Gitmo crashes in the Yucatan carrying 3.3 tons of cocaine. 2006—The New York Times publishes leaked intelligence concluding that the Iraq War has increased the threat of radical Islamic terrorism. 2006—George W.[MD] Bush says, “When the final history is written on Iraq, it will…

Wed, 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…

Tues, 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…

Mon, 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…

Sun, Sept 20

2006—“The devil came here yesterday,” says Hugo Chavez to the UN, “and it smells of sulfer 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…

Sat, Sept 19

2014—Iraq vet Omar J. Gonzalez jumps the fence and runs into the East Room of the White House. 2001—George W.[MD] Bush tells CIA chief George Tenet to look for links between S. Hussein and al-Qaeda and recommends Dick “Dick” Cheney as a source. 2001—The U.S. goes to war against Afghanistan—what could go wrong? 1991—Alpine tourists…

Fri, Sept 18

2001—Five anthrax-laced letters are mailed to journalists. Five people die. The persons responsible escape justice. 2001—EPA Chief Christine Todd Whitman, complying with a White House request, says the air at “Ground Zero” is safe to breathe. 1987—The N.Y. Times reports the FBI’s been spying on public library patrons. 1980—Cuban Arnoldo Tamayo becomes the first Black…

Thurs, Sept 17

2011—Occupy Wall Street begins. 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 stuff. It’s classified. 1980—“Operation Reptile:” in Paraguay, a team of Sandinistas whack Anastasio Somoza with an RPG. 1967—The Mt. Washington cog railway…


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.