Turns out I’m now a Scottish Laird – I own one square foot of land on the isle of Islay in Scotland! It came free with a bottle of Laphroaig I bought, like a decoder ring in a box of cereal. Here are pics of my holding. Someday I’ll go over there and build the tallest, skinniest house in the world. I bought the Laphroaig based on a suggestion from Steve Smeekins. The whisky is quite good. You can really taste and smell the peat. Pics – click to embiggen:
As sick as I am of this cold and snow, Julian and I had a great day today. We did a little sledding in the backyard, Julian rockin’ lime green snow pants. Then we made a new bow, arrows and a quiver, just like in the picture in his Robin Hood book, followed by several episodes of Scooby Doo and some popcorn – pretty much a perfect day.
But how did a groundhog get tied up with weather predictions and why on February 2nd? Well, let me put on my USPS jacket and Cliff Clavin mask and do some hogsplainin’.
The midpoints between the four seasonal equinoxes/solstices were important celebrations back in the pre-Christian day. What we call Halloween is the midpoint between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice; what we call May Day is midway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. Likewise, our Groundhog Day is midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.
Imbolic was the pre-Christian Celtic name for the festival between winter and spring and marked lambing season. Imbolc was also traditionally a time of weather divination, and the old tradition of watching to see if serpents or badgers came from their winter dens is probably the basis of our Groundhog Day. A Scottish Gaelic proverb about the day is:
“The serpent will come from the hole
On the brown Day of Bríde,
Though there should be three feet of snow
On the flat surface of the ground.”
“If Candlemas Day is bright and clear,
There’ll be two winters in the year.
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Winter will not come again.”
Looks like 2015 will be a two-winter year. Stupid groundhog.
Here’s the largest photograph of the universe ever taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. It gives a glimpse of how unimaginably vast the universe is – and this is just a small portion of the Andromeda galaxy. Watch and be amazed.
Oh, this is nice. When I walked outside about 7:30 this morning to take Frannie out, I was unexpectedly hit in the face with fake spring. And it was wonderful! It actually felt warm. Ducks were swimming in the pond that just yesterday was frozen hard enough that Artemis could walk out onto the ice (don’t tell Amanda). But best of all, it smelled like spring. I know, next week we’ll get an ice storm and two feet of snow and depression will set in. But I’m enjoying this while I can. Besides, I got a couple seed catalogs in the mail last week, so spring has to be on the way, right? Is that a robin?
Here’s a picture from yesterday back when it was still winter of 3 beautiful girls, I mean 5 beautiful girls at the beach. If you look closely, you’ll see Frannie’s nose right under Arty’s tongue above Amanda’s boot. UPDATE: Brenda noticed that the photo below shows three generations of our family – Cool!
Kelsey, Frannie and I drove to the beach last night after Artemis’ dog training. Today was great – sunny, upper-40’s, probably the best day we’re going to have all weekend. There’s something special about the beach in the off-season. Half the shops and restaurants are closed, and most of the folks you run into are local There’s very little traffic. Dogs are allowed on the beach. But best of all, they city unscrews the parking meters and you can park anywhere for free! Happy MLK Day! Oh, and click on the picture to embiggen.
When we were in high school, Marshall Crenshaw was the go-to encyclopedia of music. Just imagine what he must be like now that he, like me, is several hundred years old. Here he is at Amoeba Music in Hollywood on the “What’s in My Bag” series discussing interesting LPs he found in the store. When Marshall talks music, you have to listen. And you can hear him play and discuss music every Saturday night on “The Bottomless Pit,” at 10 EST, on WFUV (wfuv.org).