These pictures are from our trip earlier today to the Newseum in DC. The Newseum is a museum devoted to the news media located about a block from the National Mall. Now off to eat Thai food. UPDATE: Delicious! Click on the first picture to embiggen, then just click on each picture to move to the next.
The cold Michigan winds blew Donnie, Kelsey, Austin and Alexis down here Thursday Night. Kelsey is going to stay with us for a couple semesters while she attends college in Virginia. Friday, Julian and Olivia came by to visit with their Michigan cousins. A terrific time was had by all. Julian, Austin and Alexis played hide and seek while Kelsey played with Olivia. Austin and Julian played games on Austin’s iPad. That thing Julian is playing with is a taser-gun-weapon-with-variable-length-spear, of Julian’s own design. I thought we were making pegs to hang clothes on. Silly me. Later, while we were watching “Planes, Fire and Rescue” in 3D, Julian, wearing his 3D glasses, muttered to himself “Best. Day. Ever.”
I guess this is it for my beloved 1995 Nissan Pickup. It failed the Virginia safety inspection because the frame is rotting out, and there is no way to fix it. Bastards! I could have gotten another year out of it driving on a frame with rust holes in it, because safety.
This truck is the first new vehicle I’ve ever had. It’s been back and forth between Michigan and Virginia countless times; it’s been to the beach even more often than that (see pic below from Google Earth of our place at the beach. Yep, there she is sitting in the parking lot). It’s hauled dozens of couches and chairs to and from various places… misty watercolor memories… The truck has served me well for these twenty years. And the 15 payment-free years have been kinda nice too!
Click on the first picture to embiggen, then click off to the right to go through the pictures.
Today is the winter solstice here in Freedom’s Land. On the east cost, where I am, that occurs at 6:03 this evening a little while after the Lions beat the Bears. [UPDATE: 20-14 Lions!]
That means that today is the shortest day of the year and technically the days should be getting longer starting tomorrow. Yay! But don’t pull out that seed catalog quite yet, it’s still going to look pretty wintery for a while yet.
Winter Solstice occurs when the sun’s daily maximum height in the sky is at its lowest, and the North Pole is tilted furthest away from the sun. This results in the least number of daylight hours and the longest night of the year.
The length of a solar day varies because the axis of the Earth’s rotation is tilted – 23.5 degrees from vertical – and because its speed fluctuates as it orbits the sun, accelerating when it is closer to the star’s gravitational pull and decelerating when further away.
It takes a while for the clock and the solar days to align: evenings draw in towards their earliest sunset a couple of weeks before the shortest day, and mornings continue to get darker until a couple of weeks after.
Back in the day, Winter Solstice was called “Yule” and northern Europeans used to burn a huge Yule log to keep away the night (the original fire pit), and to celebrate the coming longer days by eating while the log was burning. That’s why Yule logs are huge – so they would burn as long as 12 days (12 days of Christmas), in order that the celebratory eating would last as long as possible. The wisdom of the ancients runs deep.
So, we finally painted the bedrooms and bathrooms at the beach house. I guess it was time since it hadn’t been repainted…ever. Boring white walls have been replaced with less boring walls. They were kind of shocking at first, but now I’m used to it. Click on a pic to embiggen, then click on the picture to move to the next one.
A great song from Robert Crenshaw’s new album “Friends, Family and Neighbors.” Give it a listen!
With one practice under their belts, Team Green had their first game the very next day. And even thought the temperature was over 100 degrees, they won easily, scoring many more goals that Team Blue. The first score of the game came about 25 seconds after the game started. Julian took the ball, and just went up the field and scored. After the game, the team celebrated with the traditional water and orange slices.
Click on the first picture below, then click anywhere on right side of the image to move through the pictures.
So I’m driving to work this morning from Rehoboth Beach and my radio is telling me things. Did you know that the nursery rhyme “Hey diddle diddle…” refers to the spring constellations? Of course you did! But I didn’t. Turns out that this, which I always thought was just nonsense:
Hey, diddle diddle,
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon.
The little dog laughed to see such sport.
And the dish ran away with the spoon.
is a specific reference to the stars overhead in April and May, and is supposed to indicate planting time in the spring, or something. The cow is a reference to the constellation Taurus, and the New Moon of May is said to be in the sign of Taurus. So the cow jumps over the Moon. The Cat is a reference to Leo the Lion, which is chasing the little dog, Canis Minor (the “smaller dog” constellation), to the west and over the horizon. The fiddle is a reference to the lyre, or stringed instrument, which is overhead as the constellation Lyra, containing the bright star Vega. The dish and the spoon are the Milky Way and the Big Dipper. In May, Cygnus just starts to rise up in the northeast. Cygnus appears as though flying along the Milky Way, which is as flat around the horizon as it can get this month, like a plate, or a dish, and it seems to have “run away” from view. And while this is occurring, the Big Dipper, is straight up overhead: The dish runs away with the spoon!
Aside from this, my entire knowledge of the constellations I learned from The Simpsons.
Homer: “Well, there’s Jerry the Cowboy, and that big dipper looking thing? Alan . . . the Cowboy.”
Brenda, Amanda, and I, along with four dogs spent the long Labor Day weekend at the beach. It was glorious! Saturday started out a little cloudy as you can see in the picture on the left. That’s Amanda on her bike, ready to ride to the beach. In about an hour the clouds disappeared. The water temperature was perfect. I spent more time in the water floating like a manatee in 2 days than I have during all the summer visits this year combined. Last night, Brenda and I went into Rehoboth and had dinner at Claws. It was great of course, plus I had a leftover fish breakfast this morning. Bonus!
The only downside is that Labor Day traditionally marks the end of summer. Absolutely unbelievable how fast the summer went this year. Once again, I feel as though I’ve wasted the summer.
Marshall Crenshaw wrote an angry song back in the early 1970’s, called “Summer’s Over.” Some lyrics:
“I put my foot through my TV screen when I got up today…I’m mad, cause summer’s over.”
That song runs through my mind every Labor Day.