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).
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!