Did you know the Chesapeake Bay’s health is assigned a letter grade? Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Maryland, who gave the bay a C- in 2010, settled on a grade of D+ for 2011.

What kind of a grade is D+ anyway? Sort of a mixed message if you ask me. Who assigns D plusses?

To see how rare the grade is I googled “d+” — half the results for the first two pages were about this news story, which confirms my hypothesis. How’s that for scientific? (By the way, in case you have no point of reference for this letter grade, think of it like this: the Chesapeake is exactly as unhealthy as Montana is corrupt.)

And what’s the bay’s excuse for this poor showing? The weather. Classic! It’s the same old Ubu ate my homework and the teacher doesn’t like me excuse, except this one is The “dry, hot summer spurred algae blooms and increased the size of the [my] oxygen-starved ‘dead zone.’”